Imágenes de páginas


preparations made by the secessionists, it is at once matter of surprise and regret that the first call Was for 76,000 instead of 500,000 men, and for the brief term of ninety days instead of three or five years. Perhaps, trusting to that love of country which had been Bo prominent a characteristic to the American people, the President had faith that the sober second thought would rescue the Southern people from the maelstrom of treason, and that, when the misguided leaders should see that the Government would preserve its authority, integrity and existence at every price, and that a separate confederacy could only be established by a costly war, extending almost indefinitely, they would recoil from the opening gulf, would decline to lay down the crimson consideration. Perhaps there was an overconfidence in the existence of Union sentiment in the revolted States, and yet a comprehensive view of the whole subject would have suggested that the Union sentiment in South Carolina, Georgia or Alabama needed large armies to give it assurance.

The President was reluctant to concede the existence of war, hence his proclamation summoned the militia of the States to "suppress combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or by the powers vested in marshals by law," and with this, he would be content to await the action of Congress, which, by the same proclamation, he convened in special session on the 4th of July following, leaving it to decide, after it should be seen that the States in rebellion should refuse to recognize the demands of the government and to bow to its authority, what further "measures the public safety and interests may seem to demand."

It is also true that the President found the government almost destitute of the arms and munitions of war. Said Mr. Secretary Cameron: "Upon my appointment to the position, I found the department destitute of all the means of defence—without guns, and with little prospect of purchasing the material of war; I found the nation without an army, and I found scarcely a man throughout the whole War Department in whom I could put my trust. The Adjutant-General deserted. The Quartermaster-General ran off. The Commissary-General was on his death-bed. More than half the clerks were disloyal."

That the Secretary did not overstate the appalling difficulties we have the confirmatory evidence of rebel authorities. Said thfc Richmond Enquirer:

"The facts we are about to state are official and indisputable. Under a single order of the Secretary of War, the Hon. Mr. Floyd, made during the last year, there were 115,000 improved muskets and rifles sent from the Springfield Armory, Mass., and Watervliet Arsenal, N. Y., to different arsenals at the South. The total number of improved arms, thus supplied to five depositories in the South, by a single order of the late Secretary of War, was 114,868."

Another secession organ (Memphis Appeal), stated that there had been distributed at different convenient points in the South, 707,000 stand of arms, and 200,000 revolvers. Not less discouraging was the state of the Navy. Demoralization prevailed among its officers, and the Secretary, Mr. Welles, said in his official report, "Many of whom (the officers) occupying the most responsible positions, betrayed symptoms of that infidelity which has dishonored the service." "The Home Squadron consisted of twelve vessels carrying 187 guns and about 2,000 men. Of this squadron only four small vessels, carrying 25 guns and about 280 men were in Northern ports."

The people have since shown that they can create armies and improvise navies, and had they been trusted, half a million might have been in the field or in camps of instruction before the meeting of Congress.

We must remember that all this is written after the events, and in the light of history, rather than in the dim twilight of uncertainty and the haze of doubt in which were Lincoln and his advisers. And in our very delays are seen the developing plans of the Infinite, who was leading our nation out of its Egypt of bondage into an Israel of freedom.



TfiN Days' WorkTen Thousand—Without ArmsState Messenger In BaltiMoreImportance Of CairoRiver And Railway KeyYates's Order To Gkic. SwiftMeans BusinessCairo ExpeditionEquipmentBig MuddyAt CairoArtillery Amunition—A Trio Of Border GovernorsImpertinenceKentucky NeutralityPious BeriahGovernor's Special MessageGrim RoManceBrass MissionariesCairo In KentuckyCol. Prentiss In CommandContraband TradeSeizure Of SteamersCargoLegislative ActionWar-footingNumbering RegimentsTen Regiment BillDistrict Headquab* TersPresident's Second CallCaptain StokesSt. Louis ArsenalSecesSionist DifficultiesTact And CourageSuccess—" Straight For Alton."

Within ten days after the proclamation of Governor Yates was published, more than ten thousand men had offered their services. On all sides, enlistments went rapidly forward, and there was earnest competition for the perilous honor of acceptance.

But the State was without arms. In addition to the former extracts from the Adjutant-General's report, the following paragraphs ehow how deplorable was the condition of a State "on the border," and liable to immediate invasion:

There being no serviceable arms in the arsenal at Springfield, an unsuccessful application was made to Brigadier-General Harney, at the arsenal in St. Louis. Application was also made, on the 19th, at the arsenal at New York and a messenger dispatched to Washington to obtain them. As these troops were to be mustered into the service of the United States, on the 19th, more than our full quota having been tendered, application was made for a mustering officer, and on the 22d Captain Pope arrived to perform that service. There were volunteers enough, and a surplus, on that eventful 19th of April, 1861, but the want of arms had become painful and alarming. It was on that day that Union soldiers from a sister State, hastening to the defence of the National Capitol were shot down in the streets of Baltimore; and on that, and following days, that your messenger, returning from that Capitol, and bearing concealed orders from the President to the commanding officer at St* Louis for arms, was obliged to deny the principles of his manhood, and avow disloyal sentiments, to escape the vengeance of an infuriated mob in that city." v

The unprofessional common sense of the people, as well as the judgment of military authorities, pronounced Cairo a point of strategic importance, valuable for defence, and as a depot for supplies. It is situated at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and is the key to the navigation of both. It is also the southern terminus of the Illinois Central Railroad, which runs thence to Centralia, where, dividing, one line tends northward to Chicago, there striking Lake Michigan, thus connecting the river and chain of great lakes; the other reaches northwestwardly striking the Mississippi River again at Dunleith, opposite the flourishing city of Dubuque, Iowa. These lines have connection with other roads, and their importance for furnishing transportation of troops and subsistence for operations in the Southwest, can scarcely be overestimated. The seizure of Cairo would have given the rebels control of the railway combinations of the West, and would have closed the navigation of its two chief water lines. It was, therefore, no matter of surprise to Governor Yates that he received, on the 29th of April, the following dispatch from the Secretary of War: "As soon as enough of your troops are mustered into service, send a Brigadier General at or near Grand* Cairo." The Governor at once sent the following dispatch:

"Spring?Ield, April 19,1861. "General Smft:

« As quick as possible have as strong a force as you can raise, armed and equipped with amunition and accoutrements, and a company of artillery, ready to march at a moment's warning. A messenger will start to Chicago to-night

"rkjhakd Yates, "Commander in Chief."

"That means business," was the response when this dispatch appeared in the newspapers, and business it was, for on the 21st, or only forty-eight hours after its reception, General Swift left Chicago with four six-pounders, and 495 men. His artillery was strengthened, however, by Captain Houghtaling's battery, of Ottawa, Captain Hawley's, of Lockport, Captain McAllister's, of Plainfield, and Captain Carr's, of Sandwich, which went forward on the 23&

*The Hon. Secretary knew Cairo was in « Egypt," hence some confusion of prefix.


The expedition consisted of the following force:

Brig. Gen. Swift and Staff H

Chicago Light Artillery, Capt. Smith 150

Ottawa Light Artillery, Capt. Houghtaling 86

Lockport Light Artillery, Capt. Hawley 52

Plainfield Light Artillery, Capt. McAllister *72

Co. A, Chicago Zouaves, Capt. Hayden . * 89

Co. B, Chicago Zouaves, Capt. Clyboume 83

Capt. Harding's company 80

Turner Union Cadets, Capt. Kowald 97

Lincoln Rifles, Capt. Miholotzy 66

Sandwich company, Capt. Carr. 102

Drum Corps 1*7

Total 908

To which was added Captain Campbell's Ottawa Independent Artillery, with about twenty men and two six-pounder cannon, which reported to the commanding General on the 28th.

This advance "army of occupation" and defence was equipped after a fashion not specified in the Regulations, nor described in the "Tactics." It was a citizen-corps, made up largely of the youth of the best families of the State, and many of them were armed by a requisition on their homes and friends, and Chicago stores.

The expedition reached Big Muddy Bridge, on the Illinois Central road, at 5 P.m., on the 22d. Here Captain Hayden's company was detached to guard the bridge, and protect the road from straggling traitors.* The rest went forward, arriving at Cairo the next morning at 8 o'clock. The batteries, for which they had neither shot, shell, nor canister, were provided with slugs hurriedly made, and destined to do deadly work among the rebel squadrons at Fort Donelson.

The occupation was not effected a day too soon. Hard by were the disloyal Governors, Claibourn M. Jackson, of Missouri, Isham Harris, of Tennessee, and Beriah McGomn, of Kentucky, who prated of neutrality. Jackson responded to the President's call for troops by saying, "Your requisition, in my judgment, is illegal, unconstitutional and revolutionary in its objects, inhuman and diaboli

* Information having been received of an attempt to burn the bridge at Big Muddy, Gen. Swift detached part of Company B Chicago Zouaves, under command of Lieut. P. N. Guthrie, and one section of Capt. Smith's Chicago Light Artillery, under command of Lieut Willard, with instructions to report to Capt. Hayden. A section of Capt. Houghtaling's Ottawa Light Artillery, was also ordered to this bridge.

« AnteriorContinuar »