Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

GABEIEL B. DURHAM. 601

Let this chapter close with brief mention of a young man who wore no ensignia of rank—a brave lad, a fine newspaper correspondent, a Christian young man—Gabriel B. Durham, son of Pleasant Durham, of Kankakee City. He enlisted in Barker's Dragoons, and with his company entered the 12th Cavalry. In that obstinate resistance made by Buford's cavalry to the enemy at Gettysburg, he, with others, was dismounted. Placing a rail for rest and barricade, he fired his twenty rounds and started for a fresh supply. While passing to the rear, he was struck by a fragment of shell and mortally wounded. He was placed in the Calvary Hospital and lingered until the 23d July, when he died. He knew he must die, but bravely, nobly said, " I have only done my duty. If I had other lives I would give them to save my country." The LieutenantGeneral could utter no grander words. The body was embalmed and brought home and buried from the Methodist Church.

"So sleep the dead who sink to rest
With all their country's wishes blest."

OHAPTEE XXXY.

THE ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE.

Its AppearanceIts OccupantsIts ContentsMatherWymanGrantLoomIsAdjutant-general FullerBiographyJudge—AdjutantGovernor Yates TestimonySpeakerResolution Op HouseEconomy.

IN the dingy capitol at Springfield, is the Adjutant-General's office, where are documents which will be searched in days to come, by the historian, the annalist, the lawyer.

Entering a room about forty feet square, you see double rows of desks, and peering above each is a head variously colored. The clerks are hard at work preserving the facts of our Illinois regiments. In those pigeon holes are documents which in curt official style tell of many a deed of daring, and many a weary march. In the casualty reports are enshrined the names of those who have received wounds or died the soldier's death on the field!

These "Descriptive Rolls" tell you the place and date of birth, place and date of enlistment, hight in feet and inches, color of hair and eyes of each soldier. They state when enlisted, when discharged, and when completed, will tell the story of wounds and death. We doubt if any office is more exact in the arrangement of these details. The best models—American, English and Continental were consulted, and a combined system adopted, covering ail the details.

At the commencement of hostilities, Thos. T. Mather, was Adjutant-General. General Wyman was detailed for a time, and then one Ulysses S. Grant, a retired Captain of the regular army. His military information, both in extent and detail astonished all. Did COLONEL J. S. LOOMIS. 603

any one ask about a Springfield musket, a Belgian rifle or any other arm, lie would quietly rest a moment and state the number of pieces it contained, how they are put together, and the advantages and drawbacks of each. He could enlighten a bewildered quartermaster on the mysteries of rations, how many pounds the soldiers would have to carry if rations of one kind were given, and how much if another, and then what constituents each ration contained, and in what it might be deficient. Quietly stood the retired captain solving the puzzles of men with eagles and stars. His suggestions were invaluable.

A young man, J. S. Loomis, had enlisted. He was judged to have rare qualifications for the duties of the adjutant's office, and he remained in it until near the close of Governor Yates' administration, having received the rank of Colonel. He rendered valuable service in the office, entering upon its duties con amore, searching the most minute details, and generalizing admirably.

In his last message, Governor Yates thus alludes to him:

"In March, 1864,1 sent Col. John S. Loomis, who had been connected with the State Department from the commencement of the war—first as Assistant AdjutantGeneral, and recently, as my principal aid-de-camp—to Washington, with instructions to urge final adjustment of all our accounts. His extensive acquaintance with the origin and history of our military organization and contracting and settlement of war claims, enabled him to make full explanation of our vouchers, and prosecute appeals from what was considered erroneous decisions of adjusting officers of the treasury, in disallowing and suspending a part of our claims. He was accompanied by Gen. John Wood, Quartermaster-General of the State, whose services were required to aid settlement of the class of claims originating in his department. From the report of Col. Loomis, and copies of his appeals on suspended and disallowed accounts, herewith transmitted, it will be seen that the claims of the State against the government, filed in the Treasury Department, for war expenses, amounted to three millions eight hundred and twelve thousand five hundred and twenty-five dollars and fifty-four cents (3,812,525.54); of which amount there has been allowed, on various settlements with the Third Auditor, three millions seven hundred and twenty-six thousand seven hundred and ninety-two dollars and eightyseven cents ($3,'726,792.87); leaving a difference between the claims and allowances, in that department, of eighty-five thousand seven hundred and thirty-two dollars and sixty-seven cents($85,'732.67); suspended and disallowed, because, in the opinion of the said Auditor the law did not sufficiently provide for them. Of the amount allowed by the Third Auditor, and passed to the Second Comptroller of the Treasury, it will also be seen, that the Comptroller suspended nearly all of our State claims upon ground of insufficiency of vouchers, but which decision, upon the appeal of Col. Loomis, the Secretary of the Treasury reversed, and ordered a settlement of the accounts. An appeal was also taken upon the suspension and disallowment of accounts in the Third Auditor's office ($85,732.6'7), which is set forth in the report.

"I am recently advised, by letter from the Treasury Department, that upon last settlement there was found to be due the State four hundred and sixty-eight thousand two hundred and sixty-five dollars and ninety-eight cents ($468,265.98), and that the amount of suspensions and disallowances has been reduced to twentyseven thousand three hundred and ninety dollars and seventy-four cents (127,390.74.)

"Thirty thousand dollars have recently been paid by the government on the balance found due on our accounts; which sum is sufficient to pay off all warrants drawn upon the State Treasury against the war fund.

"In this connection, I desire to call your attention specially to the report of Col. Loomis. It gives a complete history of a necessity for all expenses incurred by the State for the general government, and, in my opinion, clearly establishes the right of the State to the reimbursement of every dollar we have advanced, and which yet remains suspended. Colonel Loomis' labors in the adjustment of our war accounts have been invaluable, and it is recommended that a sufficient appropriation be made for his services and expenses."

But the name of Allen C. Fuller has been more frequently mentioned in State military matters than that of any other man beside Governor Yates. He came to Belvidere in 1846, a young lawyer, without means, without patronage, with nothing upon which to depend, but industry, integrity and capacity. He soon built up a lucrative practice, and by sympathy with and participation in public interests, he became a leading and influential man in Northern Illinois. He was elected Judge of the Circuit Court, the duties of which high office he discharged with much ability. He was upon the bench when the war broke out, and was tendered the position of Adjutant-General. The members of the bar objected to his resignation, and urged him to accept temporarily the appointment. He accordingly entered upon its duties November 11, 1861, and in July following resigned his seat on the bench. That he has faithfully performed its laborious duties, has been attested by the Legislature and Governor.

The House of Representatives at its last session unanimously adopted a report of its committee appointed to inspect the AdjutantGeneral's office, and from which report we extract the following:

"That we have thoroughly examined the office of the Adjutant-General and find ADJUTANT-GENERAL ALLEN C. FULLER. 605

it a model in completeness; one that preserves in all its glory the proud records of our soldiery, and reflects infinite credit upon the great State whose sons they are.

"That in the judgment of this committee, the thanks of ev-ery patriot citizen of the State are due to Gen. Fuller for the able and efficient manner in which he has discharged the duties of the office, and for his indefatigable efforts in collecting and preserving this glorious record of a glorious State."

Governor Yates, in his last message of 1863, says: "I refer you to the report of the Adjutant-General, to whose untiring labors, and able and faithful co-operation I acknowledge myself deeply indebted, and in the management of the military affairs of the State." In his last message, after regretting that the Adjutant-General's serious illness in November and December, 1864, had prevented the preparaof his biennial report, the Governor says: "I have also inspected the Adjutant-General's Office, and deem it proper to say that it is as complete in all its arrangements, and in the perfection of its system and method, as any similar office in the United States. General Fuller has been a most able, faithful and energetic officer, and is entitled to the gratitude of the State."

These official "well dones" are echoed by the officers and boys in blue. They have recognized in the General a true and competent friend. In 1864, the leading Republican journals of the northern part of the State and some from the Central and Southern advocated his nomination as the successor of Governor Yates, but the choice fell upon the brave General Oglesby.

He was elected to represent Boone County in the General Assembly, and on the 1st of January resigned the position of AdjutantGeneral, and was chosen Speaker of the House of RepresentativesBefore adjournment, that body by unanimous vote, adopted the fol. lowing:

"Resolved, That we tender our heartfelt thanks to Hon. Allen C. Fuller, our presiding officer, for the kind, courteous, able and impartial manner in which he has presided over us, and as such recognize in his general bearing and demeanor the perfect model of a gentleman."

The Adjutant's office has been most economically managed. Indeed it may be doubted, if in any other department of State service so much labor has been performed for so slight a remuneration. In his report of 1861-2, General Fuller says:

"Under the law of May 2, 1861, the salary of the Adjutant-General is fixed at

« AnteriorContinuar »