« AnteriorContinuar »
PREFATORY NOTES. 19
religious instruction to the men in the army! The people saw an army of souls, not of fighting machines! In addition the Illinois donations to the Freedmen's Aid Commission amount to $81,865.81.
In what follows it is not claimed that other states have not done nobly, for they have. In the patriotic sisterhood Illinois claims to be second to none. She is worthy to clasp them by the hand, for she has not disgraced them. She has not faltered when they called, nor deserted in the hour of extreme peril. With Peninsular Michigan, glorious Indiana, gallant Wisconsin, Iowa, whose rolling prairies resemble some vast ocean suddenly solidified, and with Missouri lately made free by her own act; with these her immediate neighbors she is well worthy to clasp hands, to exchange greetings, and when the day of victory shall come, to mingle congratulations.
Illinois is justly proud of the eminent leaders she has given to the country. There is Grant, of cool persistence and undying purpose; McClernand, whose early record was so brilliant; Prentiss, who suffered from wasting captivity; Pope, whose military genius shone brilliantly in the campaign of Island No. 10 and Corinth; Huiibut, whose fighting 4th division stood as a wall on the bloody plain of Pittsburg Landing and whose admirable generalship won the battle of the Hatchie; Logan, whose shout has many a time steadied the waving column; Palmer, whose reputation rests upon a solid basis, with many others of lower rank, but not lower bravery.
The official action of churches deserves permanent record in these volumes, and will receive it, but in the present is omitted.
It has not been possible to speak of surgeons and chaplains as their services demand. The surgeon has no promotion ahead ; nothing to cheer or stimulate, but the stern sense of duty. The chaplain has no promotion, and during the earlier part of the war had no rank, and was made the foot-ball of contrary and sometimes oppressive decisions. But with these drawbacks, statements yet to be made will show that the service owes much to these officers. The surgeons have saved life, the chaplains have pointed to the higher life.
With the exception of two who rose from the ranks to the chaplaincy, special mention has been avoided from a purpose to collect arid generalize certain facts and suggestions in the second volume.
The burdens of a chaplain's life, early in the service were very onerous, and with the shifting orders in reference to his rank and pay, no wonder he was sometimes driven to resignation. The vexations culminated in giving such a construction to the law, that if a chaplain was absent from active duty, though it might be from wounds or sickness contracted in actual service, all allowances of pay and rations were stopped! In one instance a chaplain refused to leave the hospital when he was serving the wounded, and worked on until prostrated. His conduct merited honorable mention in official reports, and promotion if such a thing had been possible. What it brought him was deduction of fifty days' pay! No wonder so many were driven out of the army. The law has been amended, but is yet vague and too indefinite, and is susceptible of improvement.
Richmond, the rebel capital, has surrendered, and the Libby prison has opened its gloomy portals; the tramp of Weitzel's armed freedmen has been heard in its streets, and Mr. Lincoln lived to give audience in the departments of Davis. The iron chamber has been compressing its walls; General Lee has surrendered his grand army, and this volume goes to its patrons with the glad prophecy of early peace. The country is saved, and before it are long days of peace and quietness.
"God bless our native land."
The author sends out this volume, craving for it such modification of severe criticism as the circumstances suggest. Our regiments are a-field—forty-six are with Sherman as he marches through the sea-board States of the Confederacy, and in many instances communication with them is impossible. Matter designed for this volume is unavoidably delayed until the second.
There has been honesty of intention, close and faithful application, and free expenditure of means in gathering information. Error has been guarded against,but 'twere too much to hope that it is entirely excluded.
* * * * rpke author craves indulgence to state that the delay of sending this volume to press, gives opportunity to say that Charleston, which fired the first gun of the rebellion has yielded to Federal authority and without any desperate resistance, and the U. S. colored troops, South Carolina freedmen, were first to parade its streets, singing as they marched, the Glory Halleluiah of the John Brown song!
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.
THE PRECEDING CHAPTERS.