« AnteriorContinuar »
The proclamations of Fremont and Hunter, liberating the slaves of traitors, had been revoked by the President for prudential reasons, but the act was there, and increased the confusion, the doubt and uncertainty.
There was a demand for war in earnest, for leaders who would hurl all the power of the Government upon the rebellion, and they were to come, but not yet.
At this juncture came the call of the President, July 6, 1862, for 300,000 volunteers. It was at first intended, says Adjutant-General Fuller, "to credit on this call those States for any surplus which they had furnished. It was not known at the time what our surplus was. On the next day the Secretary of War called upon Illinois for nine more regiments, 'being a part of your (our) quota under the call of the President.' These regiments were immediately called for by General Order No. 42, from this Department, and regulations prescribed for their rendezvous and organization. Before these regiments were filled, however, and on the 17th of July, Congress enacted that whenever the President should 'call forth the militia of the States, to be employed in the service of the United States,' he should specify in his call the period for which said services should be required, not exceeding nine months, and the militia so called should be mustered in and continue to serve during the period so specified. The fourth section of the act authorized the President, for the purpose of filling up old regiments, to accept the services of one hundred thousand volunteers, for a period not exceeding one year.
"Three hundred thousand militia, to serve for a period of nine months, unless sooner discharged, were called for August 5th. The order of the Secretary of War, making the call upon this State, assumed that a draft would be necessary; and, in anticipation that the States would not be able to contribute their quotas of the call in July for three years' service, announced that if any State should not by the 18th of August furnish its quota of the three years' volunteers, the deficiency would be made up by a special draft from the militia."
Immediately after the call for 300,000 for three years, and before the announcement of the quota under the two calls, Governor Yates issued the annexed proclamation:
Governor's Proclamation. 121
PROCLAMATION OF GOY. YATES.
"people Of Illinois:
u Under a late requisition of the President, I am called upon to furnish, at the earliest practicable period, nine regiments of Infantry, for three years' service, being a part of the quota of the State, under the call of the President for three hundred thousand men. An order of Adjutant-General Fuller, this day published, will give the details as to the mode of raising the troops, subsistence, transportation, place of rendezvous, etc.
"The war has now arrived at the most critical point. A series of splendid successes has crowned our arms. The enemy has been driven from Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky, from Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, and from the sea coast at almost all points. The Mississippi has been opened from Cairo to the Gulf. The Potomac has been opened from Washington to the Chesapeake. Beaten, broken, demoralized, bankrupt and scattered, the insurgents have fled before our victorious legions, leaving us a large area of conquered territory, and almost innumerable posts in the enemy's country to garrison with our troops.
"The rebels, whose leaders are bold and sagacious, and with whom it is neck or nothing as to the rebellion, have, with the energy of desperation resolved to cast all upon the hazard of a single battle; and while weak at every other point, they have, by the evacuation of Corinth, and by the rapid concentration of their scattered forces at Richmond, brought together a great and powerful army, far superior in numbers to that of our own at the same point.
"With consummate skill and generalship they have planned so as not only to defend their own capital, but also, should they be succesful in driving back McClellan, to take our's, and raise the rebel flag upon the capitol at Washington, with the expectation that so great a conquest would reanimate the South, revive their fading fortunes, and secure them the immediate co-operation of the two great powers of Europe—England and France.
"This is their last great stake. The desperation with which they have fought has developed the depth, intensity and recklessness of r their designs. Their mode of warfare is the most malignant, desperate and savage. Thus we are brought to the very crisis of the rebellion, and all our hopes, and the hopes of this great country, hang upon the issue.
"It is for this reason that the President telegraphs me in a private dispatch, 'Time is everything. Please act in view of this.'
"Illinoisans! In view of the crisis, when the battles soon to be fought will be decisive; when the alliance with foreign powers is not only sought, but confidently relied upon by the rebels; and when our own brave volunteers contending against unequal numbers stretch out their hands for help, I cannot doubt the response you will give. Indeed I am most happy to state, that in response to most active measures already taken, every mail brings me the glad tidings of the rapid enrollment of our volunteers in the nine regiments which are forming.
"Covered all over with glory, with a name honored throughout the earth—shining with the luster of the great achievements of her sons on almost every field, Illinois will not now hold back and tarnish the fame she has so nobly earned. To the timid who suppose that the State will not now respond, I say 6 take courage.' They vastly underrate the patriotism and courage of the men of Illinois.
"But I repeat, time is everything. Defeat now would prolong the war for years. Also remember that every argument of public necessity, of patriotism, every emotion of humanity appeals to the people to turn out in overwhelming demonstration, so that the rebellion may be speedily crushed and an end put to this desolating war. Remember the words of Douglas, that the 'shortest road to peace is the most stupendous preparation for war.'
"The crisis is such that every man must feel that the success of our cause depends upon himself, and not upon his neighbor. Whatever his position, his wealth, his rank or condition, he must be ready to devote All to the service of the country. Let all, old and young, contribute, work, speak, and in every possible mode further the work of the speedy enrollment of our forces. Let not only every man, but every woman be a soldier, if not to fight, yet to cheer and encourage and to provide comforts and relief for the sick and wounded. The public as yet know but litle how much the country is indebted to the noble women of our State for their assistance to our soldiers in the field. All along the path of our army, upon the banks Governor's Proclamation. 123
of our rivers, filling our steamboats and ambulances, in the tent of the soldier far from his home, I have witnessed the bright traces of woman's enduring love and benevolence. When the war shall have closed and its history shall be written, the labors of our Sanitary Associations and Aid Societies will present pages as bright as the loftiest heroism of the camp and field. Let all loyal men and women persevere in the good work.
"Illinoisans! Look at the issue and do not falter. Your all is at stake. What are your beautiful prairies, comfortable mansions and rich harvests ?—:what is even life worth, if your government is lost?
"Better that the desolation of pestilence and famine should sweep over the State, than that the glorious work of our fathers should now forever fail. Look out upon your country with a government so free, institutions so noble, boundaries so broad—a beautiful sisterhood of States so prosperous and happy, and resolve afresh that as your fathers gave it you, you will hand it down to your children, a glorious inheritance of liberty and union for their enjoyment forever. For seven long years our fathers endured, suffered and fought to build up the fair fabric of American freedom. The precious boon purchased by patriot blood and treasure was committed to us for enjoyment, and to be transmitted to our posterity with the most solemn injunctions that man has the power to lay on man. By the grace of God, we will be faithful to the trust! And if need be, for seven years to come will we struggle to maintain a perfect Union, a government of one people, in one nation, under one Constitution.
"The coming of the brave boys of Illinois will be hailed on the banks of the Potomac and James River with shouts of welcome.
"During my recent visit East, I felt my heart to leap with exultant delight at the praise of Illinois heard from every lip. You will be hailed as the brothers of the men who have faced the storm of battle, and gloriously triumphed at Donelson, Pea Ridge, Shiloh, and other memorable fields.
"Go, then, and doubt not the result. We are sure to triumph. The God of liberty, justice and humanity is on our side.
"Your all and your children's all—all that is worth living or dying for, is at stake. Then rally once again for the old flag, for our country, union and liberty.
"richard Yates, Governor of Illinois."
He also addressed to the President the following letter:
"Executive Department, Springfield, Iii., July 11, 1862. "President Lincoln, Washington, D. C.:
"The crisis of the war and our national existence is upon us. The time has come for the adoption of more decisive measures. Greater vigor and earnestness must be infused into our military movements. Blows must be struck at the vital parts of the rebellion. The Government should employ every available means compatible with the rules of warfare to subject the traitors. Summon to the standard of the Republic all men willing to fight for the Union. Let loyalty, and that alone, be the dividing line between the nation and its foes. Generals should not be permitted to fritter away the sinews of our brave men in guarding the property of traitors, and in driving back into their hands loyal blacks, who offer us their labor, and seek shelter beneath the Federal flag. Shall we sit supinely by, and see the war sweep off the youth and strength of the land, and refuse aid from that class of men, who are, at least worthy, foes of traitors and the murderers of our Government and of our children?
<l Our armies should be directed to forage on the enemy, and to cease paying traitors and their abettors exorbitant exactions for food needed by the sick or hungry soldier. Mild and conciliatory means have been tried in vain to recall the rebels to their allegiance. The conservative policy has utterly failed to reduce traitors to obedience and to restore the supremacy of the laws. They have, by means of sweeping conscriptions, gathered in countless hordes, and threaten to beat back and overwhelm the armies of the Union. With blood and treason in their hearts, they flaunt the black flag of rebellion in the face of the Government, and threaten to butcher our brave and loyal armies with foreign bayonets. They arm negroes and merciless savages in their behalf.
"Mr. Lincoln, the crisis demands greater and sterner measures. Proclaim anew the good old motto of the Republic, * Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable,' and accept the services of all loyal men, and it will be in your power to stamp armies out of the earth—irresistible armies that will bear our banners to certain victory.
"In any event, Illinois, already alive with beat of drum and resounding with the tramp of new recruits, will respond to your call. Adopt this policy and she will leap like a flaming giant into the fight.
"This policy for the conduct of the war will render foreign intervention impossible, and the arms of the Republic invincible. It will bring the conflict to a speedy close, and secure peace on a permanent basis.
These calls, and the response of the State Executive, kindled the old enthusiasm, and from all parts of the State came assurances that men should be furnished if time was given for volunteering,