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Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant [Volume One] by Ulysses S. Grant

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purchased by the commissary for the benefit of the fund. In the
emergency the 4th infantry was laboring under, I rented a bakery
in the city, hired bakers--Mexicans--bought fuel and whatever
was necessary, and I also got a contract from the chief
commissary of the army for baking a large amount of hard
bread. In two months I made more money for the fund than my pay
amounted to during the entire war. While stationed at Monterey I
had relieved the post fund in the same way. There, however, was
no profit except in the saving of flour by converting it into
bread.

In the spring of 1848 a party of officers obtained leave to
visit Popocatapetl, the highest volcano in America, and to take
an escort. I went with the party, many of whom afterwards
occupied conspicuous positions before the country. Of those who
"went south," and attained high rank, there was Lieutenant
Richard Anderson, who commanded a corps at Spottsylvania;
Captain Sibley, a major-general, and, after the war, for a
number of years in the employ of the Khedive of Egypt; Captain
George Crittenden, a rebel general; S. B. Buckner, who
surrendered Fort Donelson; and Mansfield Lovell, who commanded
at New Orleans before that city fell into the hands of the
National troops. Of those who remained on our side there were
Captain Andrew Porter, Lieutenant C. P. Stone and Lieutenant Z.
B. Tower. There were quite a number of other officers, whose
names I cannot recollect.

At a little village (Ozumba) near the base of Popocatapetl,
where we purposed to commence the ascent, we procured guides and
two pack mules with forage for our horses. High up on the
mountain there was a deserted house of one room, called the
Vaqueria, which had been occupied years before by men in charge
of cattle ranging on the mountain. The pasturage up there was
very fine when we saw it, and there were still some cattle,
descendants of the former domestic herd, which had now become
wild. It was possible to go on horseback as far as the
Vaqueria, though the road was somewhat hazardous in places.
Sometimes it was very narrow with a yawning precipice on one
side, hundreds of feet down to a roaring mountain torrent below,
and almost perpendicular walls on the other side. At one of
these places one of our mules loaded with two sacks of barley,
one on each side, the two about as big as he was, struck his
load against the mountain-side and was precipitated to the
bottom. The descent was steep but not perpendicular. The mule
rolled over and over until the bottom was reached, and we
supposed of course the poor animal was dashed to pieces. What
was our surprise, not long after we had gone into bivouac, to
see the lost mule, cargo and owner coming up the ascent. The
load had protected the animal from serious injury; and his owner
had gone after him and found a way back to the path leading up to
the hut where we were to stay.

The night at the Vaqueria was one of the most unpleasant I ever
knew. It was very cold and the rain fell in torrents. A little
higher up the rain ceased and snow began. The wind blew with
great velocity. The log-cabin we were in had lost the roof
entirely on one side, and on the other it was hardly better then
a sieve. There was little or no sleep that night. As soon as it
was light the next morning, we started to make the ascent to the
summit. The wind continued to blow with violence and the
weather was still cloudy, but there was neither rain nor snow.
The clouds, however, concealed from our view the country below
us, except at times a momentary glimpse could be got through a
clear space between them. The wind carried the loose snow
around the mountain-sides in such volumes as to make it almost
impossible to stand up against it. We labored on and on, until
it became evident that the top could not be reached before
night, if at all in such a storm, and we concluded to return.
The descent was easy and rapid, though dangerous, until we got
below the snow line. At the cabin we mounted our horses, and by
night were at Ozumba.

The fatigues of the day and the loss of sleep the night before
drove us to bed early. Our beds consisted of a place on the
dirt-floor with a blanket under us. Soon all were asleep; but
long before morning first one and then another of our party
began to cry out with excruciating pain in the eyes. Not one
escaped it. By morning the eyes of half the party were so
swollen that they were entirely closed. The others suffered
pain equally. The feeling was about what might be expected from
the prick of a sharp needle at a white heat. We remained in
quarters until the afternoon bathing our eyes in cold water.
This relieved us very much, and before night the pain had
entirely left. The swelling, however, continued, and about half
the party still had their eyes entirely closed; but we concluded
to make a start back, those who could see a little leading the
horses of those who could not see at all. We moved back to the
village of Ameca Ameca, some six miles, and stopped again for
the night. The next morning all were entirely well and free
from pain. The weather was clear and Popocatapetl stood out in
all its beauty, the top looking as if not a mile away, and
inviting us to return. About half the party were anxious to try
the ascent again, and concluded to do so. The remainder--I was
with the remainder--concluded that we had got all the pleasure
there was to be had out of mountain climbing, and that we would
visit the great caves of Mexico, some ninety miles from where we
then were, on the road to Acapulco.

The party that ascended the mountain the second time succeeded
in reaching the crater at the top, with but little of the labor
they encountered in their first attempt. Three of them--
Anderson, Stone and Buckner--wrote accounts of their journey,
which were published at the time. I made no notes of this
excursion, and have read nothing about it since, but it seems to
me that I can see the whole of it as vividly as if it were but
yesterday. I have been back at Ameca Ameca, and the village
beyond, twice in the last five years. The scene had not changed
materially from my recollection of it.

The party which I was with moved south down the valley to the
town of Cuantla, some forty miles from Ameca Ameca. The latter
stands on the plain at the foot of Popocatapetl, at an elevation
of about eight thousand feet above tide water. The slope down is
gradual as the traveller moves south, but one would not judge
that, in going to Cuantla, descent enough had been made to
occasion a material change in the climate and productions of the
soil; but such is the case. In the morning we left a temperate
climate where the cereals and fruits are those common to the
United States, we halted in the evening in a tropical climate
where the orange and banana, the coffee and the sugar-cane were
flourishing. We had been travelling, apparently, on a plain all
day, but in the direction of the flow of water.

Soon after the capture of the City of Mexico an armistice had
been agreed to, designating the limits beyond which troops of
the respective armies were not to go during its continuance. Our
party knew nothing about these limits. As we approached Cuantla
bugles sounded the assembly, and soldiers rushed from the
guard-house in the edge of the town towards us. Our party
halted, and I tied a white pocket handkerchief to a stick and,
using it as a flag of truce, proceeded on to the town. Captains
Sibley and Porter followed a few hundred yards behind. I was
detained at the guard-house until a messenger could be
dispatched to the quarters of the commanding general, who
authorized that I should be conducted to him. I had been with
the general but a few minutes when the two officers following
announced themselves. The Mexican general reminded us that it
was a violation of the truce for us to be there. However, as we
had no special authority from our own commanding general, and as
we knew nothing about the terms of the truce, we were permitted
to occupy a vacant house outside the guard for the night, with
the promise of a guide to put us on the road to Cuernavaca the
next morning.

Cuernavaca is a town west of Guantla. The country through which
we passed, between these two towns, is tropical in climate and
productions and rich in scenery. At one point, about half-way
between the two places, the road goes over a low pass in the
mountains in which there is a very quaint old town, the
inhabitants of which at that day were nearly all full-blooded
Indians. Very few of them even spoke Spanish. The houses were
built of stone and generally only one story high. The streets
were narrow, and had probably been paved before Cortez visited
the country. They had not been graded, but the paving had been
done on the natural surface. We had with us one vehicle, a
cart, which was probably the first wheeled vehicle that had ever
passed through that town.

On a hill overlooking this town stands the tomb of an ancient
king; and it was understood that the inhabitants venerated this
tomb very highly, as well as the memory of the ruler who was
supposed to be buried in it. We ascended the mountain and
surveyed the tomb; but it showed no particular marks of
architectural taste, mechanical skill or advanced
civilization. The next day we went into Cuernavaca.

After a day's rest at Cuernavaca our party set out again on the
journey to the great caves of Mexico. We had proceeded but a
few miles when we were stopped, as before, by a guard and
notified that the terms of the existing armistice did not permit
us to go further in that direction. Upon convincing the guard
that we were a mere party of pleasure seekers desirous of
visiting the great natural curiosities of the country which we
expected soon to leave, we were conducted to a large hacienda
near by, and directed to remain there until the commanding
general of that department could be communicated with and his
decision obtained as to whether we should be permitted to pursue
our journey. The guard promised to send a messenger at once, and
expected a reply by night. At night there was no response from
the commanding general, but the captain of the guard was sure he
would have a reply by morning. Again in the morning there was no
reply. The second evening the same thing happened, and finally
we learned that the guard had sent no message or messenger to
the department commander. We determined therefore to go on
unless stopped by a force sufficient to compel obedience.

After a few hours' travel we came to a town where a scene
similar to the one at Cuantia occurred. The commanding officer
sent a guide to conduct our party around the village and to put
us upon our road again. This was the last interruption: that
night we rested at a large coffee plantation, some eight miles
from the cave we were on the way to visit. It must have been a
Saturday night; the peons had been paid off, and spent part of
the night in gambling away their scanty week's earnings. Their
coin was principally copper, and I do not believe there was a
man among them who had received as much as twenty-five cents in
money. They were as much excited, however, as if they had been
staking thousands. I recollect one poor fellow, who had lost
his last tlacko, pulled off his shirt and, in the most excited
manner, put that up on the turn of a card. Monte was the game
played, the place out of doors, near the window of the room
occupied by the officers of our party.

The next morning we were at the mouth of the cave at an early
hour, provided with guides, candles and rockets. We explored to
a distance of about three miles from the entrance, and found a
succession of chambers of great dimensions and of great beauty
when lit up with our rockets. Stalactites and stalagmites of
all sizes were discovered. Some of the former were many feet in
diameter and extended from ceiling to floor; some of the latter
were but a few feet high from the floor; but the formation is
going on constantly, and many centuries hence these stalagmites
will extend to the ceiling and become complete columns. The
stalagmites were all a little concave, and the cavities were
filled with water. The water percolates through the roof, a
drop at a time--often the drops several minutes apart--and more
or less charged with mineral matter. Evaporation goes on
slowly, leaving the mineral behind. This in time makes the
immense columns, many of them thousands of tons in weight, which
serve to support the roofs over the vast chambers. I recollect
that at one point in the cave one of these columns is of such
huge proportions that there is only a narrow passage left on
either side of it. Some of our party became satisfied with
their explorations before we had reached the point to which the
guides were accustomed to take explorers, and started back
without guides. Coming to the large column spoken of, they
followed it entirely around, and commenced retracing their steps
into the bowels of the mountain, without being aware of the
fact. When the rest of us had completed our explorations, we
started out with our guides, but had not gone far before we saw
the torches of an approaching party. We could not conceive who
these could be, for all of us had come in together, and there
were none but ourselves at the entrance when we started in. Very
soon we found it was our friends. It took them some time to
conceive how they had got where they were. They were sure they
had kept straight on for the mouth of the cave, and had gone
about far enough to have reached it.

CHAPTER XIV.

RETURN OF THE ARMY--MARRIAGE--ORDERED TO THE PACIFIC
COAST--CROSSING THE ISTHMUS--ARRIVAL AT SAN FRANCISCO.

My experience in the Mexican war was of great advantage to me
afterwards. Besides the many practical lessons it taught, the
war brought nearly all the officers of the regular army together
so as to make them personally acquainted. It also brought them
in contact with volunteers, many of whom served in the war of
the rebellion afterwards. Then, in my particular case, I had
been at West Point at about the right time to meet most of the
graduates who were of a suitable age at the breaking out of the
rebellion to be trusted with large commands. Graduating in
1843, I was at the military academy from one to four years with
all cadets who graduated between 1840 and 1846--seven classes.
These classes embraced more than fifty officers who afterwards
became generals on one side or the other in the rebellion, many
of them holding high commands. All the older officers, who
became conspicuous in the rebellion, I had also served with and
known in Mexico: Lee, J. E. Johnston, A. S. Johnston, Holmes,
Hebert and a number of others on the Confederate side; McCall,
Mansfield, Phil. Kearney and others on the National side. The
acquaintance thus formed was of immense service to me in the war
of the rebellion--I mean what I learned of the characters of
those to whom I was afterwards opposed. I do not pretend to say
that all movements, or even many of them, were made with special
reference to the characteristics of the commander against whom
they were directed. But my appreciation of my enemies was
certainly affected by this knowledge. The natural disposition
of most people is to clothe a commander of a large army whom
they do not know, with almost superhuman abilities. A large
part of the National army, for instance, and most of the press
of the country, clothed General Lee with just such qualities,
but I had known him personally, and knew that he was mortal; and
it was just as well that I felt this.

The treaty of peace was at last ratified, and the evacuation of
Mexico by United States troops was ordered. Early in June the
troops in the City of Mexico began to move out. Many of them,
including the brigade to which I belonged, were assembled at
Jalapa, above the vomito, to await the arrival of transports at
Vera Cruz: but with all this precaution my regiment and others
were in camp on the sand beach in a July sun, for about a week
before embarking, while the fever raged with great virulence in
Vera Cruz, not two miles away. I can call to mind only one
person, an officer, who died of the disease. My regiment was
sent to Pascagoula, Mississippi, to spend the summer. As soon
as it was settled in camp I obtained a leave of absence for four
months and proceeded to St. Louis. On the 22d of August, 1848, I
was married to Miss Julia Dent, the lady of whom I have before
spoken. We visited my parents and relations in Ohio, and, at
the end of my leave, proceeded to my post at Sackett's Harbor,
New York. In April following I was ordered to Detroit,
Michigan, where two years were spent with but few important
incidents.

The present constitution of the State of Michigan was ratified
during this time. By the terms of one of its provisions, all
citizens of the United States residing within the State at the
time of the ratification became citizens of Michigan also.
During my stay in Detroit there was an election for city
officers. Mr. Zachariah Chandler was the candidate of the Whigs
for the office of Mayor, and was elected, although the city was
then reckoned democratic. All the officers stationed there at
the time who offered their votes were permitted to cast them. I
did not offer mine, however, as I did not wish to consider myself
a citizen of Michigan. This was Mr. Chandler's first entry into
politics, a career he followed ever after with great success,
and in which he died enjoying the friendship, esteem and love of
his countrymen.

In the spring of 1851 the garrison at Detroit was transferred to
Sackett's Harbor, and in the following spring the entire 4th
infantry was ordered to the Pacific Coast. It was decided that
Mrs. Grant should visit my parents at first for a few months,
and then remain with her own family at their St. Louis home
until an opportunity offered of sending for her. In the month
of April the regiment was assembled at Governor's Island, New
York Harbor, and on the 5th of July eight companies sailed for
Aspinwall. We numbered a little over seven hundred persons,
including the families of officers and soldiers. Passage was
secured for us on the old steamer Ohio, commanded at the time by
Captain Schenck, of the navy. It had not been determined, until
a day or two before starting, that the 4th infantry should go by
the Ohio; consequently, a complement of passengers had already
been secured. The addition of over seven hundred to this list
crowded the steamer most uncomfortably, especially for the
tropics in July.

In eight days Aspinwall was reached. At that time the streets
of the town were eight or ten inches under water, and foot
passengers passed from place to place on raised foot-walks. July
is at the height of the wet season, on the Isthmus. At intervals
the rain would pour down in streams, followed in not many minutes
by a blazing, tropical summer's sun. These alternate changes,
from rain to sunshine, were continuous in the afternoons. I
wondered how any person could live many months in Aspinwall, and
wondered still more why any one tried.

In the summer of 1852 the Panama railroad was completed only to
the point where it now crosses the Chagres River. From there
passengers were carried by boats to Gorgona, at which place they
took mules for Panama, some twenty-five miles further. Those who
travelled over the Isthmus in those days will remember that boats
on the Chagres River were propelled by natives not inconveniently
burdened with clothing. These boats carried thirty to forty
passengers each. The crews consisted of six men to a boat,
armed with long poles. There were planks wide enough for a man
to walk on conveniently, running along the sides of each boat
from end to end. The men would start from the bow, place one
end of their poles against the river bottom, brace their
shoulders against the other end, and then walk to the stern as
rapidly as they could. In this way from a mile to a mile and a
half an hour could be made, against the current of the river.

I, as regimental quartermaster, had charge of the public
property and had also to look after the transportation. A
contract had been entered into with the steamship company in New
York for the transportation of the regiment to California,
including the Isthmus transit. A certain amount of baggage was
allowed per man, and saddle animals were to be furnished to
commissioned officers and to all disabled persons. The
regiment, with the exception of one company left as guards to
the public property--camp and garrison equipage principally--and
the soldiers with families, took boats, propelled as above
described, for Gorgona. From this place they marched to Panama,
and were soon comfortably on the steamer anchored in the bay,
some three or four miles from the town. I, with one company of
troops and all the soldiers with families, all the tents, mess
chests and camp kettles, was sent to Cruces, a town a few miles
higher up the Chagres River than Gorgona. There I found an
impecunious American who had taken the contract to furnish
transportation for the regiment at a stipulated price per
hundred pounds for the freight and so much for each saddle
animal. But when we reached Cruces there was not a mule, either
for pack or saddle, in the place. The contractor promised that
the animals should be on hand in the morning. In the morning he
said that they were on the way from some imaginary place, and
would arrive in the course of the day. This went on until I saw
that he could not procure the animals at all at the price he had
promised to furnish them for. The unusual number of passengers
that had come over on the steamer, and the large amount of
freight to pack, had created an unprecedented demand for
mules. Some of the passengers paid as high as forty dollars for
the use of a mule to ride twenty-five miles, when the mule would
not have sold for ten dollars in that market at other times.
Meanwhile the cholera had broken out, and men were dying every
hour. To diminish the food for the disease, I permitted the
company detailed with me to proceed to Panama. The captain and
the doctors accompanied the men, and I was left alone with the
sick and the soldiers who had families. The regiment at Panama
was also affected with the disease; but there were better
accommodations for the well on the steamer, and a hospital, for
those taken with the disease, on an old hulk anchored a mile
off. There were also hospital tents on shore on the island of
Flamingo, which stands in the bay.

I was about a week at Cruces before transportation began to come
in. About one-third of the people with me died, either at Cruces
or on the way to Panama. There was no agent of the
transportation company at Cruces to consult, or to take the
responsibility of procuring transportation at a price which
would secure it. I therefore myself dismissed the contractor
and made a new contract with a native, at more than double the
original price. Thus we finally reached Panama. The steamer,
however, could not proceed until the cholera abated, and the
regiment was detained still longer. Altogether, on the Isthmus
and on the Pacific side, we were delayed six weeks. About
one-seventh of those who left New York harbor with the 4th
infantry on the 5th of July, now lie buried on the Isthmus of
Panama or on Flamingo island in Panama Bay.

One amusing circumstance occurred while we were lying at anchor
in Panama Bay. In the regiment there was a Lieutenant Slaughter
who was very liable to sea-sickness. It almost made him sick to
see the wave of a table-cloth when the servants were spreading
it. Soon after his graduation, Slaughter was ordered to
California and took passage by a sailing vessel going around
Cape Horn. The vessel was seven months making the voyage, and
Slaughter was sick every moment of the time, never more so than
while lying at anchor after reaching his place of destination.
On landing in California he found orders which had come by the
Isthmus, notifying him of a mistake in his assignment; he should
have been ordered to the northern lakes. He started back by the
Isthmus route and was sick all the way. But when he arrived at
the East he was again ordered to California, this time
definitely, and at this date was making his third trip. He was
as sick as ever, and had been so for more than a month while
lying at anchor in the bay. I remember him well, seated with
his elbows on the table in front of him, his chin between his
hands, and looking the picture of despair. At last he broke
out, "I wish I had taken my father's advice; he wanted me to go
into the navy; if I had done so, I should not have had to go to
sea so much." Poor Slaughter! it was his last sea voyage. He
was killed by Indians in Oregon.

By the last of August the cholera had so abated that it was
deemed safe to start. The disease did not break out again on
the way to California, and we reached San Francisco early in
September.

CHAPTER XV.

SAN FRANCISCO--EARLY CALIFORNIA EXPERIENCES--LIFE ON THE PACIFIC
COAST--PROMOTED CAPTAIN--FLUSH TIMES IN CALIFORNIA.

San Francisco at that day was a lively place. Gold, or placer
digging as it was called, was at its height. Steamers plied
daily between San Francisco and both Stockton and Sacramento.
Passengers and gold from the southern mines came by the Stockton
boat; from the northern mines by Sacramento. In the evening when
these boats arrived, Long Wharf--there was but one wharf in San
Francisco in 1852--was alive with people crowding to meet the
miners as they came down to sell their "dust" and to "have a
time." Of these some were runners for hotels, boarding houses
or restaurants; others belonged to a class of impecunious
adventurers, of good manners and good presence, who were ever on
the alert to make the acquaintance of people with some ready
means, in the hope of being asked to take a meal at a
restaurant. Many were young men of good family, good education
and gentlemanly instincts. Their parents had been able to
support them during their minority, and to give them good
educations, but not to maintain them afterwards. From 1849 to
1853 there was a rush of people to the Pacific coast, of the
class described. All thought that fortunes were to be picked
up, without effort, in the gold fields on the Pacific. Some
realized more than their most sanguine expectations; but for one
such there were hundreds disappointed, many of whom now fill
unknown graves; others died wrecks of their former selves, and
many, without a vicious instinct, became criminals and
outcasts. Many of the real scenes in early California life
exceed in strangeness and interest any of the mere products of
the brain of the novelist.

Those early days in California brought out character. It was a
long way off then, and the journey was expensive. The fortunate
could go by Cape Horn or by the Isthmus of Panama; but the mass
of pioneers crossed the plains with their ox-teams. This took
an entire summer. They were very lucky when they got through
with a yoke of worn-out cattle. All other means were exhausted
in procuring the outfit on the Missouri River. The immigrant,
on arriving, found himself a stranger, in a strange land, far
from friends. Time pressed, for the little means that could be
realized from the sale of what was left of the outfit would not
support a man long at California prices. Many became
discouraged. Others would take off their coats and look for a
job, no matter what it might be. These succeeded as a rule.
There were many young men who had studied professions before
they went to California, and who had never done a day's manual
labor in their lives, who took in the situation at once and went
to work to make a start at anything they could get to do. Some
supplied carpenters and masons with material--carrying plank,
brick, or mortar, as the case might be; others drove stages,
drays, or baggage wagons, until they could do better. More
became discouraged early and spent their time looking up people
who would "treat," or lounging about restaurants and gambling
houses where free lunches were furnished daily. They were
welcomed at these places because they often brought in miners
who proved good customers.

My regiment spent a few weeks at Benicia barracks, and then was
ordered to Fort Vancouver, on the Columbia River, then in Oregon
Territory. During the winter of 1852-3 the territory was
divided, all north of the Columbia River being taken from Oregon
to make Washington Territory.

Prices for all kinds of supplies were so high on the Pacific
coast from 1849 until at least 1853--that it would have been
impossible for officers of the army to exist upon their pay, if
it had not been that authority was given them to purchase from
the commissary such supplies as he kept, at New Orleans
wholesale prices. A cook could not be hired for the pay of a
captain. The cook could do better. At Benicia, in 1852, flour
was 25 cents per pound; potatoes were 16 cents; beets, turnips
and cabbage, 6 cents; onions, 37 1/2 cents; meat and other
articles in proportion. In 1853 at Vancouver vegetables were a
little lower. I with three other officers concluded that we
would raise a crop for ourselves, and by selling the surplus
realize something handsome. I bought a pair of horses that had
crossed the plains that summer and were very poor. They
recuperated rapidly, however, and proved a good team to break up
the ground with. I performed all the labor of breaking up the
ground while the other officers planted the potatoes. Our crop
was enormous. Luckily for us the Columbia River rose to a great
height from the melting of the snow in the mountains in June, and
overflowed and killed most of our crop. This saved digging it
up, for everybody on the Pacific coast seemed to have come to
the conclusion at the same time that agriculture would be
profitable. In 1853 more than three-quarters of the potatoes
raised were permitted to rot in the ground, or had to be thrown
away. The only potatoes we sold were to our own mess.

While I was stationed on the Pacific coast we were free from
Indian wars. There were quite a number of remnants of tribes in
the vicinity of Portland in Oregon, and of Fort Vancouver in
Washington Territory. They had generally acquired some of the
vices of civilization, but none of the virtues, except in
individual cases. The Hudson's Bay Company had held the
North-west with their trading posts for many years before the
United States was represented on the Pacific coast. They still
retained posts along the Columbia River and one at Fort
Vancouver, when I was there. Their treatment of the Indians had
brought out the better qualities of the savages. Farming had
been undertaken by the company to supply the Indians with bread
and vegetables; they raised some cattle and horses; and they had
now taught the Indians to do the labor of the farm and herd. They
always compensated them for their labor, and always gave them
goods of uniform quality and at uniform price.

Before the advent of the American, the medium of exchange
between the Indian and the white man was pelts. Afterward it
was silver coin. If an Indian received in the sale of a horse a
fifty dollar gold piece, not an infrequent occurrence, the first
thing he did was to exchange it for American half dollars. These
he could count. He would then commence his purchases, paying for
each article separately, as he got it. He would not trust any
one to add up the bill and pay it all at once. At that day
fifty dollar gold pieces, not the issue of the government, were
common on the Pacific coast. They were called slugs.

The Indians, along the lower Columbia as far as the Cascades and
on the lower Willamette, died off very fast during the year I
spent in that section; for besides acquiring the vices of the
white people they had acquired also their diseases. The measles
and the small-pox were both amazingly fatal. In their wild
state, before the appearance of the white man among them, the
principal complaints they were subject to were those produced by
long involuntary fasting, violent exercise in pursuit of game,
and over-eating. Instinct more than reason had taught them a
remedy for these ills. It was the steam bath. Something like a
bake-oven was built, large enough to admit a man lying down.
Bushes were stuck in the ground in two rows, about six feet long
and some two or three feet apart; other bushes connected the rows
at one end. The tops of the bushes were drawn together to
interlace, and confined in that position; the whole was then
plastered over with wet clay until every opening was filled.
Just inside the open end of the oven the floor was scooped out
so as to make a hole that would hold a bucket or two of water.
These ovens were always built on the banks of a stream, a big
spring, or pool of water. When a patient required a bath, a
fire was built near the oven and a pile of stones put upon it.
The cavity at the front was then filled with water. When the
stones were sufficiently heated, the patient would draw himself
into the oven; a blanket would be thrown over the open end, and
hot stones put into the water until the patient could stand it
no longer. He was then withdrawn from his steam bath and doused
into the cold stream near by. This treatment may have answered
with the early ailments of the Indians. With the measles or
small-pox it would kill every time.

During my year on the Columbia River, the small-pox exterminated
one small remnant of a band of Indians entirely, and reduced
others materially. I do not think there was a case of recovery
among them, until the doctor with the Hudson Bay Company took
the matter in hand and established a hospital. Nearly every
case he treated recovered. I never, myself, saw the treatment
described in the preceding paragraph, but have heard it
described by persons who have witnessed it. The decimation
among the Indians I knew of personally, and the hospital,
established for their benefit, was a Hudson's Bay building not a
stone's throw from my own quarters.

The death of Colonel Bliss, of the Adjutant General's
department, which occurred July 5th, 1853, promoted me to the
captaincy of a company then stationed at Humboldt Bay,
California. The notice reached me in September of the same
year, and I very soon started to join my new command. There was
no way of reaching Humboldt at that time except to take passage
on a San Francisco sailing vessel going after lumber. Red wood,
a species of cedar, which on the Pacific coast takes the place
filled by white pine in the East, then abounded on the banks of
Humboldt Bay. There were extensive saw-mills engaged in
preparing this lumber for the San Francisco market, and sailing
vessels, used in getting it to market, furnished the only means
of communication between Humboldt and the balance of the world.

I was obliged to remain in San Francisco for several days before
I found a vessel. This gave me a good opportunity of comparing
the San Francisco of 1852 with that of 1853. As before stated,
there had been but one wharf in front of the city in 1852--Long
Wharf. In 1853 the town had grown out into the bay beyond what
was the end of this wharf when I first saw it. Streets and
houses had been built out on piles where the year before the
largest vessels visiting the port lay at anchor or tied to the
wharf. There was no filling under the streets or houses. San
Francisco presented the same general appearance as the year
before; that is, eating, drinking and gambling houses were
conspicuous for their number and publicity. They were on the
first floor, with doors wide open. At all hours of the day and
night in walking the streets, the eye was regaled, on every
block near the water front, by the sight of players at faro.
Often broken places were found in the street, large enough to
let a man down into the water below. I have but little doubt
that many of the people who went to the Pacific coast in the
early days of the gold excitement, and have never been heard
from since, or who were heard from for a time and then ceased to
write, found watery graves beneath the houses or streets built
over San Francisco Bay.

Besides the gambling in cards there was gambling on a larger
scale in city lots. These were sold "On Change," much as stocks
are now sold on Wall Street. Cash, at time of purchase, was
always paid by the broker; but the purchaser had only to put up
his margin. He was charged at the rate of two or three per
cent. a month on the difference, besides commissions. The sand
hills, some of them almost inaccessible to foot-passengers, were
surveyed off and mapped into fifty vara lots--a vara being a
Spanish yard. These were sold at first at very low prices, but
were sold and resold for higher prices until they went up to
many thousands of dollars. The brokers did a fine business, and
so did many such purchasers as were sharp enough to quit
purchasing before the final crash came. As the city grew, the
sand hills back of the town furnished material for filling up
the bay under the houses and streets, and still further out. The
temporary houses, first built over the water in the harbor, soon
gave way to more solid structures. The main business part of
the city now is on solid ground, made where vessels of the
largest class lay at anchor in the early days. I was in San
Francisco again in 1854. Gambling houses had disappeared from
public view. The city had become staid and orderly.

CHAPTER XVI.

RESIGNATION--PRIVATE LIFE--LIFE AT GALENA--THE COMING CRISIS.

My family, all this while, was at the East. It consisted now of
a wife and two children. I saw no chance of supporting them on
the Pacific coast out of my pay as an army officer. I
concluded, therefore, to resign, and in March applied for a
leave of absence until the end of the July following, tendering
my resignation to take effect at the end of that time. I left
the Pacific coast very much attached to it, and with the full
expectation of making it my future home. That expectation and
that hope remained uppermost in my mind until the Lieutenant-
Generalcy bill was introduced into Congress in the winter of
1863-4. The passage of that bill, and my promotion, blasted my
last hope of ever becoming a citizen of the further West.

In the late summer of 1854 I rejoined my family, to find in it a
son whom I had never seen, born while I was on the Isthmus of
Panama. I was now to commence, at the age of thirty-two, a new
struggle for our support. My wife had a farm near St. Louis, to
which we went, but I had no means to stock it. A house had to be
built also. I worked very hard, never losing a day because of
bad weather, and accomplished the object in a moderate way. If
nothing else could be done I would load a cord of wood on a
wagon and take it to the city for sale. I managed to keep along
very well until 1858, when I was attacked by fever and ague. I
had suffered very severely and for a long time from this
disease, while a boy in Ohio. It lasted now over a year, and,
while it did not keep me in the house, it did interfere greatly
with the amount of work I was able to perform. In the fall of
1858 I sold out my stock, crops and farming utensils at auction,
and gave up farming.

In the winter I established a partnership with Harry Boggs, a
cousin of Mrs. Grant, in the real estate agency business. I
spent that winter at St. Louis myself, but did not take my
family into town until the spring. Our business might have
become prosperous if I had been able to wait for it to grow. As
it was, there was no more than one person could attend to, and
not enough to support two families. While a citizen of St.
Louis and engaged in the real estate agency business, I was a
candidate for the office of county engineer, an office of
respectability and emolument which would have been very
acceptable to me at that time. The incumbent was appointed by
the county court, which consisted of five members. My opponent
had the advantage of birth over me (he was a citizen by
adoption) and carried off the prize. I now withdrew from the
co-partnership with Boggs, and, in May, 1860, removed to Galena,
Illinois, and took a clerkship in my father's store.

While a citizen of Missouri, my first opportunity for casting a
vote at a Presidential election occurred. I had been in the
army from before attaining my majority and had thought but
little about politics, although I was a Whig by education and a
great admirer of Mr. Clay. But the Whig party had ceased to
exist before I had an opportunity of exercising the privilege of
casting a ballot; the Know-Nothing party had taken its place, but
was on the wane; and the Republican party was in a chaotic state
and had not yet received a name. It had no existence in the
Slave States except at points on the borders next to Free
States. In St. Louis City and County, what afterwards became
the Republican party was known as the Free-Soil Democracy, led
by the Honorable Frank P. Blair. Most of my neighbors had known
me as an officer of the army with Whig proclivities. They had
been on the same side, and, on the death of their party, many
had become Know-Nothings, or members of the American party.
There was a lodge near my new home, and I was invited to join
it. I accepted the invitation; was initiated; attended a
meeting just one week later, and never went to another
afterwards.

I have no apologies to make for having been one week a member of
the American party; for I still think native-born citizens of the
United States should have as much protection, as many privileges
in their native country, as those who voluntarily select it for
a home. But all secret, oath-bound political parties are
dangerous to any nation, no matter how pure or how patriotic the
motives and principles which first bring them together. No
political party can or ought to exist when one of its
corner-stones is opposition to freedom of thought and to the
right to worship God "according to the dictate of one's own
conscience," or according to the creed of any religious
denomination whatever. Nevertheless, if a sect sets up its laws
as binding above the State laws, wherever the two come in
conflict this claim must be resisted and suppressed at whatever
cost.

Up to the Mexican war there were a few out and out
abolitionists, men who carried their hostility to slavery into
all elections, from those for a justice of the peace up to the
Presidency of the United States. They were noisy but not
numerous. But the great majority of people at the North, where
slavery did not exist, were opposed to the institution, and
looked upon its existence in any part of the country as
unfortunate. They did not hold the States where slavery existed
responsible for it; and believed that protection should be given
to the right of property in slaves until some satisfactory way
could be reached to be rid of the institution. Opposition to
slavery was not a creed of either political party. In some
sections more anti-slavery men belonged to the Democratic party,
and in others to the Whigs. But with the inauguration of the
Mexican war, in fact with the annexation of Texas, "the
inevitable conflict" commenced.

As the time for the Presidential election of 1856--the first at
which I had the opportunity of voting--approached, party feeling
began to run high. The Republican party was regarded in the
South and the border States not only as opposed to the extension
of slavery, but as favoring the compulsory abolition of the
institution without compensation to the owners. The most
horrible visions seemed to present themselves to the minds of
people who, one would suppose, ought to have known better. Many
educated and, otherwise, sensible persons appeared to believe
that emancipation meant social equality. Treason to the
Government was openly advocated and was not rebuked. It was
evident to my mind that the election of a Republican President
in 1856 meant the secession of all the Slave States, and
rebellion. Under these circumstances I preferred the success of
a candidate whose election would prevent or postpone secession,
to seeing the country plunged into a war the end of which no man
could foretell. With a Democrat elected by the unanimous vote of
the Slave States, there could be no pretext for secession for
four years. I very much hoped that the passions of the people
would subside in that time, and the catastrophe be averted
altogether; if it was not, I believed the country would be
better prepared to receive the shock and to resist it. I
therefore voted for James Buchanan for President. Four years
later the Republican party was successful in electing its
candidate to the Presidency. The civilized world has learned
the consequence. Four millions of human beings held as chattels
have been liberated; the ballot has been given to them; the free
schools of the country have been opened to their children. The
nation still lives, and the people are just as free to avoid
social intimacy with the blacks as ever they were, or as they
are with white people.

While living in Galena I was nominally only a clerk supporting
myself and family on a stipulated salary. In reality my
position was different. My father had never lived in Galena
himself, but had established my two brothers there, the one next
younger than myself in charge of the business, assisted by the
youngest. When I went there it was my father's intention to
give up all connection with the business himself, and to
establish his three sons in it: but the brother who had really
built up the business was sinking with consumption, and it was
not thought best to make any change while he was in this
condition. He lived until September, 1861, when he succumbed to
that insidious disease which always flatters its victims into the
belief that they are growing better up to the close of life. A
more honorable man never transacted business. In September,
1861, I was engaged in an employment which required all my
attention elsewhere.

During the eleven months that I lived in Galena prior to the
first call for volunteers, I had been strictly attentive to my
business, and had made but few acquaintances other than
customers and people engaged in the same line with myself. When
the election took place in November, 1860, I had not been a
resident of Illinois long enough to gain citizenship and could
not, therefore, vote. I was really glad of this at the time,
for my pledges would have compelled me to vote for Stephen A.
Douglas, who had no possible chance of election. The contest
was really between Mr. Breckinridge and Mr. Lincoln; between
minority rule and rule by the majority. I wanted, as between
these candidates, to see Mr. Lincoln elected. Excitement ran
high during the canvass, and torch-light processions enlivened
the scene in the generally quiet streets of Galena many nights
during the campaign. I did not parade with either party, but
occasionally met with the "wide awakes"--Republicans--in their
rooms, and superintended their drill. It was evident, from the
time of the Chicago nomination to the close of the canvass, that
the election of the Republican candidate would be the signal for
some of the Southern States to secede. I still had hopes that
the four years which had elapsed since the first nomination of a
Presidential candidate by a party distinctly opposed to slavery
extension, had given time for the extreme pro-slavery sentiment
to cool down; for the Southerners to think well before they took
the awful leap which they had so vehemently threatened. But I
was mistaken.

The Republican candidate was elected, and solid substantial
people of the North-west, and I presume the same order of people
throughout the entire North, felt very serious, but determined,
after this event. It was very much discussed whether the South
would carry out its threat to secede and set up a separate
government, the corner-stone of which should be, protection to
the "Divine" institution of slavery. For there were people who
believed in the "divinity" of human slavery, as there are now
people who believe Mormonism and Polygamy to be ordained by the
Most High. We forgive them for entertaining such notions, but
forbid their practice. It was generally believed that there
would be a flurry; that some of the extreme Southern States
would go so far as to pass ordinances of secession. But the
common impression was that this step was so plainly suicidal for
the South, that the movement would not spread over much of the
territory and would not last long.

Doubtless the founders of our government, the majority of them
at least, regarded the confederation of the colonies as an
experiment. Each colony considered itself a separate
government; that the confederation was for mutual protection
against a foreign foe, and the prevention of strife and war
among themselves. If there had been a desire on the part of any
single State to withdraw from the compact at any time while the
number of States was limited to the original thirteen, I do not
suppose there would have been any to contest the right, no
matter how much the determination might have been regretted. The
problem changed on the ratification of the Constitution by all
the colonies; it changed still more when amendments were added;
and if the right of any one State to withdraw continued to exist
at all after the ratification of the Constitution, it certainly
ceased on the formation of new States, at least so far as the
new States themselves were concerned. It was never possessed at
all by Florida or the States west of the Mississippi, all of
which were purchased by the treasury of the entire nation.
Texas and the territory brought into the Union in consequence of
annexation, were purchased with both blood and treasure; and
Texas, with a domain greater than that of any European state
except Russia, was permitted to retain as state property all the
public lands within its borders. It would have been ingratitude
and injustice of the most flagrant sort for this State to
withdraw from the Union after all that had been spent and done
to introduce her; yet, if separation had actually occurred,
Texas must necessarily have gone with the South, both on account
of her institutions and her geographical position. Secession was
illogical as well as impracticable; it was revolution.

Now, the right of revolution is an inherent one. When people
are oppressed by their government, it is a natural right they
enjoy to relieve themselves of the oppression, if they are
strong enough, either by withdrawal from it, or by overthrowing
it and substituting a government more acceptable. But any
people or part of a people who resort to this remedy, stake
their lives, their property, and every claim for protection
given by citizenship--on the issue. Victory, or the conditions
imposed by the conqueror--must be the result.

In the case of the war between the States it would have been the
exact truth if the South had said,--"We do not want to live with
you Northern people any longer; we know our institution of
slavery is obnoxious to you, and, as you are growing numerically
stronger than we, it may at some time in the future be
endangered. So long as you permitted us to control the
government, and with the aid of a few friends at the North to
enact laws constituting your section a guard against the escape
of our property, we were willing to live with you. You have
been submissive to our rule heretofore; but it looks now as if
you did not intend to continue so, and we will remain in the
Union no longer." Instead of this the seceding States cried
lustily,--"Let us alone; you have no constitutional power to
interfere with us." Newspapers and people at the North
reiterated the cry. Individuals might ignore the constitution;
but the Nation itself must not only obey it, but must enforce
the strictest construction of that instrument; the construction
put upon it by the Southerners themselves. The fact is the
constitution did not apply to any such contingency as the one
existing from 1861 to 1865. Its framers never dreamed of such a
contingency occurring. If they had foreseen it, the
probabilities are they would have sanctioned the right of a
State or States to withdraw rather than that there should be war
between brothers.

The framers were wise in their generation and wanted to do the
very best possible to secure their own liberty and independence,
and that also of their descendants to the latest days. It is
preposterous to suppose that the people of one generation can
lay down the best and only rules of government for all who are
to come after them, and under unforeseen contingencies. At the
time of the framing of our constitution the only physical forces
that had been subdued and made to serve man and do his labor,
were the currents in the streams and in the air we breathe. Rude
machinery, propelled by water power, had been invented; sails to
propel ships upon the waters had been set to catch the passing
breeze--but the application of stream to propel vessels against
both wind and current, and machinery to do all manner of work
had not been thought of. The instantaneous transmission of
messages around the world by means of electricity would probably
at that day have been attributed to witchcraft or a league with
the Devil. Immaterial circumstances had changed as greatly as
material ones. We could not and ought not to be rigidly bound
by the rules laid down under circumstances so different for
emergencies so utterly unanticipated. The fathers themselves
would have been the first to declare that their prerogatives
were not irrevocable. They would surely have resisted secession
could they have lived to see the shape it assumed.

I travelled through the Northwest considerably during the winter
of 1860-1. We had customers in all the little towns in
south-west Wisconsin, south-east Minnesota and north-east
Iowa. These generally knew I had been a captain in the regular
army and had served through the Mexican war. Consequently
wherever I stopped at night, some of the people would come to
the public-house where I was, and sit till a late hour
discussing the probabilities of the future. My own views at
that time were like those officially expressed by Mr. Seward at
a later day, that "the war would be over in ninety days." I
continued to entertain these views until after the battle of
Shiloh. I believe now that there would have been no more
battles at the West after the capture of Fort Donelson if all
the troops in that region had been under a single commander who
would have followed up that victory.

There is little doubt in my mind now that the prevailing
sentiment of the South would have been opposed to secession in
1860 and 1861, if there had been a fair and calm expression of
opinion, unbiased by threats, and if the ballot of one legal
voter had counted for as much as that of any other. But there
was no calm discussion of the question. Demagogues who were too
old to enter the army if there should be a war, others who
entertained so high an opinion of their own ability that they
did not believe they could be spared from the direction of the
affairs of state in such an event, declaimed vehemently and
unceasingly against the North; against its aggressions upon the
South; its interference with Southern rights, etc., etc. They
denounced the Northerners as cowards, poltroons, negro-
worshippers; claimed that one Southern man was equal to five
Northern men in battle; that if the South would stand up for its
rights the North would back down. Mr. Jefferson Davis said in a
speech, delivered at La Grange, Mississippi, before the
secession of that State, that he would agree to drink all the
blood spilled south of Mason and Dixon's line if there should be
a war. The young men who would have the fighting to do in case
of war, believed all these statements, both in regard to the
aggressiveness of the North and its cowardice. They, too, cried
out for a separation from such people. The great bulk of the
legal voters of the South were men who owned no slaves; their
homes were generally in the hills and poor country; their
facilities for educating their children, even up to the point of
reading and writing, were very limited; their interest in the
contest was very meagre--what there was, if they had been
capable of seeing it, was with the North; they too needed
emancipation. Under the old regime they were looked down upon
by those who controlled all the affairs in the interest of
slave-owners, as poor white trash who were allowed the ballot so
long as they cast it according to direction.

I am aware that this last statement may be disputed and
individual testimony perhaps adduced to show that in ante-bellum
days the ballot was as untrammelled in the south as in any
section of the country; but in the face of any such
contradiction I reassert the statement. The shot-gun was not
resorted to. Masked men did not ride over the country at night
intimidating voters; but there was a firm feeling that a class
existed in every State with a sort of divine right to control
public affairs. If they could not get this control by one means
they must by another. The end justified the means. The
coercion, if mild, was complete.

There were two political parties, it is true, in all the States,
both strong in numbers and respectability, but both equally loyal
to the institution which stood paramount in Southern eyes to all
other institutions in state or nation. The slave-owners were
the minority, but governed both parties. Had politics ever
divided the slave-holders and the non-slave-holders, the
majority would have been obliged to yield, or internecine war
would have been the consequence. I do not know that the
Southern people were to blame for this condition of affairs.
There was a time when slavery was not profitable, and the
discussion of the merits of the institution was confined almost
exclusively to the territory where it existed. The States of
Virginia and Kentucky came near abolishing slavery by their own
acts, one State defeating the measure by a tie vote and the
other only lacking one. But when the institution became
profitable, all talk of its abolition ceased where it existed;
and naturally, as human nature is constituted, arguments were
adduced in its support. The cotton-gin probably had much to do
with the justification of slavery.

The winter of 1860-1 will be remembered by middle-aged people of
to-day as one of great excitement. South Carolina promptly
seceded after the result of the Presidential election was
known. Other Southern States proposed to follow. In some of
them the Union sentiment was so strong that it had to be
suppressed by force. Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri,
all Slave States, failed to pass ordinances of secession; but
they were all represented in the so-called congress of the
so-called Confederate States. The Governor and Lieutenant-
Governor of Missouri, in 1861, Jackson and Reynolds, were both
supporters of the rebellion and took refuge with the enemy. The
governor soon died, and the lieutenant-governor assumed his
office; issued proclamations as governor of the State; was
recognized as such by the Confederate Government, and continued
his pretensions until the collapse of the rebellion. The South
claimed the sovereignty of States, but claimed the right to
coerce into their confederation such States as they wanted, that
is, all the States where slavery existed. They did not seem to
think this course inconsistent. The fact is, the Southern
slave-owners believed that, in some way, the ownership of slaves
conferred a sort of patent of nobility--a right to govern
independent of the interest or wishes of those who did not hold
such property. They convinced themselves, first, of the divine
origin of the institution and, next, that that particular
institution was not safe in the hands of any body of legislators
but themselves.

Meanwhile the Administration of President Buchanan looked
helplessly on and proclaimed that the general government had no
power to interfere; that the Nation had no power to save its own
life. Mr. Buchanan had in his cabinet two members at least, who
were as earnest--to use a mild term--in the cause of secession
as Mr. Davis or any Southern statesman. One of them, Floyd, the
Secretary of War, scattered the army so that much of it could be
captured when hostilities should commence, and distributed the
cannon and small arms from Northern arsenals throughout the
South so as to be on hand when treason wanted them. The navy
was scattered in like manner. The President did not prevent his
cabinet preparing for war upon their government, either by
destroying its resources or storing them in the South until a de
facto government was established with Jefferson Davis as its
President, and Montgomery, Alabama, as the Capital. The
secessionists had then to leave the cabinet. In their own
estimation they were aliens in the country which had given them
birth. Loyal men were put into their places. Treason in the
executive branch of the government was estopped. But the harm
had already been done. The stable door was locked after the
horse had been stolen.

During all of the trying winter of 1860-1, when the Southerners
were so defiant that they would not allow within their borders
the expression of a sentiment hostile to their views, it was a
brave man indeed who could stand up and proclaim his loyalty to
the Union. On the other hand men at the North--prominent
men--proclaimed that the government had no power to coerce the
South into submission to the laws of the land; that if the North
undertook to raise armies to go south, these armies would have to
march over the dead bodies of the speakers. A portion of the
press of the North was constantly proclaiming similar views.
When the time arrived for the President-elect to go to the
capital of the Nation to be sworn into office, it was deemed
unsafe for him to travel, not only as a President-elect, but as
any private citizen should be allowed to do. Instead of going
in a special car, receiving the good wishes of his constituents
at all the stations along the road, he was obliged to stop on
the way and to be smuggled into the capital. He disappeared
from public view on his journey, and the next the country knew,
his arrival was announced at the capital. There is little doubt
that he would have been assassinated if he had attempted to
travel openly throughout his journey.

CHAPTER XVII.

OUTBREAK OF THE REBELLION--PRESIDING AT A UNION
MEETING--MUSTERING OFFICER OF STATE TROOPS--LYON AT CAMP
JACKSON--SERVICES TENDERED TO THE GOVERNMENT.

The 4th of March, 1861, came, and Abraham Lincoln was sworn to
maintain the Union against all its enemies. The secession of
one State after another followed, until eleven had gone out. On
the 11th of April Fort Sumter, a National fort in the harbor of
Charleston, South Carolina, was fired upon by the Southerners
and a few days after was captured. The Confederates proclaimed
themselves aliens, and thereby debarred themselves of all right
to claim protection under the Constitution of the United
States. We did not admit the fact that they were aliens, but
all the same, they debarred themselves of the right to expect
better treatment than people of any other foreign state who make
war upon an independent nation. Upon the firing on Sumter
President Lincoln issued his first call for troops and soon
after a proclamation convening Congress in extra session. The
call was for 75,000 volunteers for ninety days' service. If the
shot fired at Fort Sumter "was heard around the world," the call
of the President for 75,000 men was heard throughout the
Northern States. There was not a state in the North of a
million of inhabitants that would not have furnished the entire
number faster than arms could have been supplied to them, if it
had been necessary.

As soon as the news of the call for volunteers reached Galena,
posters were stuck up calling for a meeting of the citizens at
the court-house in the evening. Business ceased entirely; all
was excitement; for a time there were no party distinctions; all
were Union men, determined to avenge the insult to the national
flag. In the evening the court-house was packed. Although a
comparative stranger I was called upon to preside; the sole
reason, possibly, was that I had been in the army and had seen
service. With much embarrassment and some prompting I made out
to announce the object of the meeting. Speeches were in order,
but it is doubtful whether it would have been safe just then to
make other than patriotic ones. There was probably no one in
the house, however, who felt like making any other. The two
principal speeches were by B. B. Howard, the post-master and a
Breckinridge Democrat at the November election the fall before,
and John A. Rawlins, an elector on the Douglas ticket. E. B.
Washburne, with whom I was not acquainted at that time, came in
after the meeting had been organized, and expressed, I
understood afterwards, a little surprise that Galena could not
furnish a presiding officer for such an occasion without taking
a stranger. He came forward and was introduced, and made a
speech appealing to the patriotism of the meeting.

After the speaking was over volunteers were called for to form a
company. The quota of Illinois had been fixed at six regiments;
and it was supposed that one company would be as much as would
be accepted from Galena. The company was raised and the
officers and non-commissioned officers elected before the
meeting adjourned. I declined the captaincy before the
balloting, but announced that I would aid the company in every
way I could and would be found in the service in some position
if there should be a war. I never went into our leather store
after that meeting, to put up a package or do other business.

The ladies of Galena were quite as patriotic as the men. They
could not enlist, but they conceived the idea of sending their
first company to the field uniformed. They came to me to get a
description of the United States uniform for infantry;
subscribed and bought the material; procured tailors to cut out
the garments, and the ladies made them up. In a few days the
company was in uniform and ready to report at the State capital
for assignment. The men all turned out the morning after their
enlistment, and I took charge, divided them into squads and
superintended their drill. When they were ready to go to
Springfield I went with them and remained there until they were
assigned to a regiment.

There were so many more volunteers than had been called for that
the question whom to accept was quite embarrassing to the
governor, Richard Yates. The legislature was in session at the
time, however, and came to his relief. A law was enacted
authorizing the governor to accept the services of ten
additional regiments, one from each congressional district, for
one month, to be paid by the State, but pledged to go into the
service of the United States if there should be a further call
during their term. Even with this relief the governor was still
very much embarrassed. Before the war was over he was like the
President when he was taken with the varioloid: "at last he had
something he could give to all who wanted it."

In time the Galena company was mustered into the United States
service, forming a part of the 11th Illinois volunteer
infantry. My duties, I thought, had ended at Springfield, and I
was prepared to start home by the evening train, leaving at nine
o'clock. Up to that time I do not think I had been introduced
to Governor Yates, or had ever spoken to him. I knew him by
sight, however, because he was living at the same hotel and I
often saw him at table. The evening I was to quit the capital I
left the supper room before the governor and was standing at the
front door when he came out. He spoke to me, calling me by my
old army title "Captain," and said he understood that I was
about leaving the city. I answered that I was. He said he
would be glad if I would remain over-night and call at the
Executive office the next morning. I complied with his request,
and was asked to go into the Adjutant-General's office and render
such assistance as I could, the governor saying that my army
experience would be of great service there. I accepted the
proposition.

My old army experience I found indeed of very great service. I
was no clerk, nor had I any capacity to become one. The only
place I ever found in my life to put a paper so as to find it
again was either a side coat-pocket or the hands of a clerk or
secretary more careful than myself. But I had been
quartermaster, commissary and adjutant in the field. The army
forms were familiar to me and I could direct how they should be
made out. There was a clerk in the office of the Adjutant-
General who supplied my deficiencies. The ease with which the
State of Illinois settled its accounts with the government at
the close of the war is evidence of the efficiency of Mr. Loomis
as an accountant on a large scale. He remained in the office
until that time.

As I have stated, the legislature authorized the governor to
accept the services of ten additional regiments. I had charge
of mustering these regiments into the State service. They were
assembled at the most convenient railroad centres in their
respective congressional districts. I detailed officers to
muster in a portion of them, but mustered three in the southern
part of the State myself. One of these was to assemble at
Belleville, some eighteen miles south-east of St. Louis. When I
got there I found that only one or two companies had arrived.
There was no probability of the regiment coming together under
five days. This gave me a few idle days which I concluded to
spend in St. Louis.

There was a considerable force of State militia at Camp Jackson,
on the outskirts of St. Louis, at the time. There is but little
doubt that it was the design of Governor Claiborn Jackson to
have these troops ready to seize the United States arsenal and
the city of St. Louis. Why they did not do so I do not know.
There was but a small garrison, two companies I think, under
Captain N. Lyon at the arsenal, and but for the timely services
of the Hon. F. P. Blair, I have little doubt that St. Louis
would have gone into rebel hands, and with it the arsenal with
all its arms and ammunition.

Blair was a leader among the Union men of St. Louis in 1861.
There was no State government in Missouri at the time that would
sanction the raising of troops or commissioned officers to
protect United States property, but Blair had probably procured
some form of authority from the President to raise troops in
Missouri and to muster them into the service of the United
States. At all events, he did raise a regiment and took command
himself as Colonel. With this force he reported to Captain Lyon
and placed himself and regiment under his orders. It was
whispered that Lyon thus reinforced intended to break up Camp
Jackson and capture the militia. I went down to the arsenal in
the morning to see the troops start out. I had known Lyon for
two years at West Point and in the old army afterwards. Blair I
knew very well by sight. I had heard him speak in the canvass of
1858, possibly several times, but I had never spoken to him. As
the troops marched out of the enclosure around the arsenal,
Blair was on his horse outside forming them into line
preparatory to their march. I introduced myself to him and had
a few moments' conversation and expressed my sympathy with his
purpose. This was my first personal acquaintance with the
Honorable--afterwards Major-General F. P. Blair. Camp Jackson
surrendered without a fight and the garrison was marched down to
the arsenal as prisoners of war.

Up to this time the enemies of the government in St. Louis had
been bold and defiant, while Union men were quiet but
determined. The enemies had their head-quarters in a central
and public position on Pine Street, near Fifth--from which the
rebel flag was flaunted boldly. The Union men had a place of
meeting somewhere in the city, I did not know where, and I doubt
whether they dared to enrage the enemies of the government by
placing the national flag outside their head-quarters. As soon
as the news of the capture of Camp Jackson reached the city the
condition of affairs was changed. Union men became rampant,
aggressive, and, if you will, intolerant. They proclaimed their
sentiments boldly, and were impatient at anything like disrespect
for the Union. The secessionists became quiet but were filled
with suppressed rage. They had been playing the bully. The
Union men ordered the rebel flag taken down from the building on
Pine Street. The command was given in tones of authority and it
was taken down, never to be raised again in St. Louis.

I witnessed the scene. I had heard of the surrender of the camp
and that the garrison was on its way to the arsenal. I had seen
the troops start out in the morning and had wished them
success. I now determined to go to the arsenal and await their
arrival and congratulate them. I stepped on a car standing at
the corner of 4th and Pine streets, and saw a crowd of people
standing quietly in front of the head-quarters, who were there
for the purpose of hauling down the flag. There were squads of
other people at intervals down the street. They too were quiet
but filled with suppressed rage, and muttered their resentment
at the insult to, what they called, "their" flag. Before the
car I was in had started, a dapper little fellow--he would be
called a dude at this day--stepped in. He was in a great state
of excitement and used adjectives freely to express his contempt
for the Union and for those who had just perpetrated such an
outrage upon the rights of a free people. There was only one
other passenger in the car besides myself when this young man
entered. He evidently expected to find nothing but sympathy
when he got away from the "mud sills" engaged in compelling a
"free people" to pull down a flag they adored. He turned to me
saying: "Things have come to a ---- pretty pass when a free
people can't choose their own flag. Where I came from if a man
dares to say a word in favor of the Union we hang him to a limb
of the first tree we come to." I replied that "after all we
were not so intolerant in St. Louis as we might be; I had not
seen a single rebel hung yet, nor heard of one; there were
plenty of them who ought to be, however." The young man
subsided. He was so crestfallen that I believe if I had ordered
him to leave the car he would have gone quietly out, saying to
himself: "More Yankee oppression."

By nightfall the late defenders of Camp Jackson were all within
the walls of the St. Louis arsenal, prisoners of war. The next
day I left St. Louis for Mattoon, Illinois, where I was to
muster in the regiment from that congressional district. This
was the 21st Illinois infantry, the regiment of which I
subsequently became colonel. I mustered one regiment
afterwards, when my services for the State were about closed.

Brigadier-General John Pope was stationed at Springfield, as
United States mustering officer, all the time I was in the State
service. He was a native of Illinois and well acquainted with
most of the prominent men in the State. I was a carpet-bagger
and knew but few of them. While I was on duty at Springfield
the senators, representatives in Congress, ax-governors and the
State legislators were nearly all at the State capital. The
only acquaintance I made among them was with the governor, whom
I was serving, and, by chance, with Senator S. A. Douglas. The
only members of Congress I knew were Washburne and Philip
Foulk. With the former, though he represented my district and
we were citizens of the same town, I only became acquainted at
the meeting when the first company of Galena volunteers was
raised. Foulk I had known in St. Louis when I was a citizen of
that city. I had been three years at West Point with Pope and
had served with him a short time during the Mexican war, under
General Taylor. I saw a good deal of him during my service with
the State. On one occasion he said to me that I ought to go into
the United States service. I told him I intended to do so if
there was a war. He spoke of his acquaintance with the public
men of the State, and said he could get them to recommend me for
a position and that he would do all he could for me. I declined
to receive endorsement for permission to fight for my country.

Going home for a day or two soon after this conversation with
General Pope, I wrote from Galena the following letter to the
Adjutant-General of the Army.

GALENA, ILLINOIS,
May 24, 1861.

COL. L. THOMAS
Adjt. Gen. U. S. A.,
Washington, D. C.

SIR:--Having served for fifteen years in the regular army,
including four years at West Point, and feeling it the duty of
every one who has been educated at the Government expense to
offer their services for the support of that Government, I have
the honor, very respectfully, to tender my services, until the
close of the war, in such capacity as may be offered. I would
say, in view of my present age and length of service, I feel
myself competent to command a regiment, if the President, in his
judgment, should see fit to intrust one to me.

Since the first call of the President I have been serving on the
staff of the Governor of this State, rendering such aid as I
could in the organization of our State militia, and am still
engaged in that capacity. A letter addressed to me at
Springfield, Illinois, will reach me.

I am very respectfully,
Your obt. svt.,
U. S. GRANT.

This letter failed to elicit an answer from the Adjutant-General
of the Army. I presume it was hardly read by him, and certainly
it could not have been submitted to higher authority. Subsequent
to the war General Badeau having heard of this letter applied to
the War Department for a copy of it. The letter could not be
found and no one recollected ever having seen it. I took no
copy when it was written. Long after the application of General
Badeau, General Townsend, who had become Adjutant-General of the
Army, while packing up papers preparatory to the removal of his
office, found this letter in some out-of-the-way place. It had
not been destroyed, but it had not been regularly filed away.

I felt some hesitation in suggesting rank as high as the
colonelcy of a regiment, feeling somewhat doubtful whether I
would be equal to the position. But I had seen nearly every
colonel who had been mustered in from the State of Illinois, and
some from Indiana, and felt that if they could command a regiment
properly, and with credit, I could also.

Having but little to do after the muster of the last of the
regiments authorized by the State legislature, I asked and
obtained of the governor leave of absence for a week to visit my
parents in Covington, Kentucky, immediately opposite
Cincinnati. General McClellan had been made a major-general and
had his headquarters at Cincinnati. In reality I wanted to see
him. I had known him slightly at West Point, where we served
one year together, and in the Mexican war. I was in hopes that
when he saw me he would offer me a position on his staff. I
called on two successive days at his office but failed to see
him on either occasion, and returned to Springfield.

CHAPTER XVIII.

APPOINTED COLONEL OF THE 21ST ILLINOIS--PERSONNEL OF THE
REGIMENT--GENERAL LOGAN--MARCH TO MISSOURI--MOVEMENT AGAINST
HARRIS AT FLORIDA, MO.--GENERAL POPE IN COMMAND--STATIONED AT
MEXICO, MO.

While I was absent from the State capital on this occasion the
President's second call for troops was issued. This time it was
for 300,000 men, for three years or the war. This brought into
the United States service all the regiments then in the State
service. These had elected their officers from highest to
lowest and were accepted with their organizations as they were,
except in two instances. A Chicago regiment, the 19th infantry,
had elected a very young man to the colonelcy. When it came to
taking the field the regiment asked to have another appointed
colonel and the one they had previously chosen made
lieutenant-colonel. The 21st regiment of infantry, mustered in
by me at Mattoon, refused to go into the service with the
colonel of their selection in any position. While I was still
absent Governor Yates appointed me colonel of this latter
regiment. A few days after I was in charge of it and in camp on
the fair grounds near Springfield.

My regiment was composed in large part of young men of as good
social position as any in their section of the State. It
embraced the sons of farmers, lawyers, physicians, politicians,
merchants, bankers and ministers, and some men of maturer years
who had filled such positions themselves. There were also men
in it who could be led astray; and the colonel, elected by the
votes of the regiment, had proved to be fully capable of
developing all there was in his men of recklessness. It was
said that he even went so far at times as to take the guard from
their posts and go with them to the village near by and make a
night of it. When there came a prospect of battle the regiment
wanted to have some one else to lead them. I found it very hard
work for a few days to bring all the men into anything like
subordination; but the great majority favored discipline, and by
the application of a little regular army punishment all were
reduced to as good discipline as one could ask.

The ten regiments which had volunteered in the State service for
thirty days, it will be remembered, had done so with a pledge to
go into the National service if called upon within that time.
When they volunteered the government had only called for ninety
days' enlistments. Men were called now for three years or the
war. They felt that this change of period released them from
the obligation of re-volunteering. When I was appointed
colonel, the 21st regiment was still in the State service. About
the time they were to be mustered into the United States service,
such of them as would go, two members of Congress from the State,
McClernand and Logan, appeared at the capital and I was
introduced to them. I had never seen either of them before, but
I had read a great deal about them, and particularly about Logan,
in the newspapers. Both were democratic members of Congress, and
Logan had been elected from the southern district of the State,
where he had a majority of eighteen thousand over his Republican
competitor. His district had been settled originally by people
from the Southern States, and at the breaking out of secession
they sympathized with the South. At the first outbreak of war
some of them joined the Southern army; many others were
preparing to do so; others rode over the country at night
denouncing the Union, and made it as necessary to guard railroad
bridges over which National troops had to pass in southern
Illinois, as it was in Kentucky or any of the border slave
states. Logan's popularity in this district was unbounded. He
knew almost enough of the people in it by their Christian names,
to form an ordinary congressional district. As he went in
politics, so his district was sure to go. The Republican papers
had been demanding that he should announce where he stood on the
questions which at that time engrossed the whole of public
thought. Some were very bitter in their denunciations of his
silence. Logan was not a man to be coerced into an utterance by
threats. He did, however, come out in a speech before the
adjournment of the special session of Congress which was
convened by the President soon after his inauguration, and
announced his undying loyalty and devotion to the Union. But I
had not happened to see that speech, so that when I first met
Logan my impressions were those formed from reading
denunciations of him. McClernand, on the other hand, had early
taken strong grounds for the maintenance of the Union and had
been praised accordingly by the Republican papers. The
gentlemen who presented these two members of Congress asked me
if I would have any objections to their addressing my
regiment. I hesitated a little before answering. It was but a
few days before the time set for mustering into the United
States service such of the men as were willing to volunteer for
three years or the war. I had some doubt as to the effect a
speech from Logan might have; but as he was with McClernand,
whose sentiments on the all-absorbing questions of the day were
well known, I gave my consent. McClernand spoke first; and
Logan followed in a speech which he has hardly equalled since
for force and eloquence. It breathed a loyalty and devotion to
the Union which inspired my men to such a point that they would
have volunteered to remain in the army as long as an enemy of
the country continued to bear arms against it. They entered the
United States service almost to a man.

General Logan went to his part of the State and gave his
attention to raising troops. The very men who at first made it
necessary to guard the roads in southern Illinois became the
defenders of the Union. Logan entered the service himself as
colonel of a regiment and rapidly rose to the rank of
major-general. His district, which had promised at first to
give much trouble to the government, filled every call made upon
it for troops, without resorting to the draft. There was no call
made when there were not more volunteers than were asked for.
That congressional district stands credited at the War
Department to-day with furnishing more men for the army than it
was called on to supply.

I remained in Springfield with my regiment until the 3d of July,
when I was ordered to Quincy, Illinois. By that time the
regiment was in a good state of discipline and the officers and
men were well up in the company drill. There was direct
railroad communication between Springfield and Quincy, but I
thought it would be good preparation for the troops to march
there. We had no transportation for our camp and garrison
equipage, so wagons were hired for the occasion and on the 3d of
July we started. There was no hurry, but fair marches were made
every day until the Illinois River was crossed. There I was
overtaken by a dispatch saying that the destination of the
regiment had been changed to Ironton, Missouri, and ordering me
to halt where I was and await the arrival of a steamer which had
been dispatched up the Illinois River to take the regiment to St.
Louis. The boat, when it did come, grounded on a sand-bar a few
miles below where we were in camp. We remained there several
days waiting to have the boat get off the bar, but before this
occurred news came that an Illinois regiment was surrounded by
rebels at a point on the Hannibal and St. Joe Railroad some
miles west of Palmyra, in Missouri, and I was ordered to proceed
with all dispatch to their relief. We took the cars and reached
Quincy in a few hours.

When I left Galena for the last time to take command of the 21st
regiment I took with me my oldest son, Frederick D. Grant, then a
lad of eleven years of age. On receiving the order to take rail
for Quincy I wrote to Mrs. Grant, to relieve what I supposed
would be her great anxiety for one so young going into danger,
that I would send Fred home from Quincy by river. I received a
prompt letter in reply decidedly disapproving my proposition,
and urging that the lad should be allowed to accompany me. It
came too late. Fred was already on his way up the Mississippi
bound for Dubuque, Iowa, from which place there was a railroad
to Galena.

My sensations as we approached what I supposed might be "a field
of battle" were anything but agreeable. I had been in all the
engagements in Mexico that it was possible for one person to be
in; but not in command. If some one else had been colonel and I
had been lieutenant-colonel I do not think I would have felt any
trepidation. Before we were prepared to cross the Mississippi
River at Quincy my anxiety was relieved; for the men of the
besieged regiment came straggling into town. I am inclined to
think both sides got frightened and ran away.

I took my regiment to Palmyra and remained there for a few days,
until relieved by the 19th Illinois infantry. From Palmyra I
proceeded to Salt River, the railroad bridge over which had been
destroyed by the enemy. Colonel John M. Palmer at that time
commanded the 13th Illinois, which was acting as a guard to
workmen who were engaged in rebuilding this bridge. Palmer was
my senior and commanded the two regiments as long as we remained
together. The bridge was finished in about two weeks, and I
received orders to move against Colonel Thomas Harris, who was
said to be encamped at the little town of Florida, some
twenty-five miles south of where we then were.

At the time of which I now write we had no transportation and
the country about Salt River was sparsely settled, so that it
took some days to collect teams and drivers enough to move the
camp and garrison equipage of a regiment nearly a thousand
strong, together with a week's supply of provision and some
ammunition. While preparations for the move were going on I
felt quite comfortable; but when we got on the road and found
every house deserted I was anything but easy. In the twenty-
five miles we had to march we did not see a person, old or
young, male or female, except two horsemen who were on a road
that crossed ours. As soon as they saw us they decamped as fast
as their horses could carry them. I kept my men in the ranks and
forbade their entering any of the deserted houses or taking
anything from them. We halted at night on the road and
proceeded the next morning at an early hour. Harris had been
encamped in a creek bottom for the sake of being near water. The
hills on either side of the creek extend to a considerable
height, possibly more than a hundred feet. As we approached the
brow of the hill from which it was expected we could see Harris'
camp, and possibly find his men ready formed to meet us, my
heart kept getting higher and higher until it felt to me as
though it was in my throat. I would have given anything then to
have been back in Illinois, but I had not the moral courage to
halt and consider what to do; I kept right on. When we reached
a point from which the valley below was in full view I halted.
The place where Harris had been encamped a few days before was
still there and the marks of a recent encampment were plainly
visible, but the troops were gone. My heart resumed its
place. It occurred to me at once that Harris had been as much
afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view of the
question I had never taken before; but it was one I never forgot
afterwards. From that event to the close of the war, I never
experienced trepidation upon confronting an enemy, though I
always felt more or less anxiety. I never forgot that he had as
much reason to fear my forces as I had his. The lesson was
valuable.

Inquiries at the village of Florida divulged the fact that
Colonel Harris, learning of my intended movement, while my
transportation was being collected took time by the forelock and
left Florida before I had started from Salt River. He had
increased the distance between us by forty miles. The next day
I started back to my old camp at Salt River bridge. The
citizens living on the line of our march had returned to their
houses after we passed, and finding everything in good order,
nothing carried away, they were at their front doors ready to
greet us now. They had evidently been led to believe that the
National troops carried death and devastation with them wherever
they went.

In a short time after our return to Salt River bridge I was
ordered with my regiment to the town of Mexico. General Pope
was then commanding the district embracing all of the State of
Missouri between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, with his
headquarters in the village of Mexico. I was assigned to the
command of a sub-district embracing the troops in the immediate
neighborhood, some three regiments of infantry and a section of
artillery. There was one regiment encamped by the side of
mine. I assumed command of the whole and the first night sent
the commander of the other regiment the parole and
countersign. Not wishing to be outdone in courtesy, he
immediately sent me the countersign for his regiment for the
night. When he was informed that the countersign sent to him
was for use with his regiment as well as mine, it was difficult
to make him understand that this was not an unwarranted
interference of one colonel over another. No doubt he
attributed it for the time to the presumption of a graduate of
West Point over a volunteer pure and simple. But the question
was soon settled and we had no further trouble.

My arrival in Mexico had been preceded by that of two or three
regiments in which proper discipline had not been maintained,
and the men had been in the habit of visiting houses without
invitation and helping themselves to food and drink, or
demanding them from the occupants. They carried their muskets
while out of camp and made every man they found take the oath of
allegiance to the government. I at once published orders
prohibiting the soldiers from going into private houses unless
invited by the inhabitants, and from appropriating private
property to their own or to government uses. The people were no
longer molested or made afraid. I received the most marked
courtesy from the citizens of Mexico as long as I remained there.

Up to this time my regiment had not been carried in the school
of the soldier beyond the company drill, except that it had
received some training on the march from Springfield to the
Illinois River. There was now a good opportunity of exercising
it in the battalion drill. While I was at West Point the
tactics used in the army had been Scott's and the musket the
flint lock. I had never looked at a copy of tactics from the
time of my graduation. My standing in that branch of studies
had been near the foot of the class. In the Mexican war in the
summer of 1846, I had been appointed regimental quartermaster
and commissary and had not been at a battalion drill since. The
arms had been changed since then and Hardee's tactics had been
adopted. I got a copy of tactics and studied one lesson,
intending to confine the exercise of the first day to the
commands I had thus learned. By pursuing this course from day
to day I thought I would soon get through the volume.

We were encamped just outside of town on the common, among
scattering suburban houses with enclosed gardens, and when I got
my regiment in line and rode to the front I soon saw that if I
attempted to follow the lesson I had studied I would have to
clear away some of the houses and garden fences to make room. I
perceived at once, however, that Hardee's tactics--a mere
translation from the French with Hardee's name attached--was
nothing more than common sense and the progress of the age
applied to Scott's system. The commands were abbreviated and
the movement expedited. Under the old tactics almost every
change in the order of march was preceded by a "halt," then came
the change, and then the "forward march." With the new tactics
all these changes could be made while in motion. I found no
trouble in giving commands that would take my regiment where I
wanted it to go and carry it around all obstacles. I do not
believe that the officers of the regiment ever discovered that I
had never studied the tactics that I used.

CHAPTER XIX.

COMMISSIONED BRIGADIER-GENERAL--COMMAND AT IRONTON,
MO.--JEFFERSON CITY--CAPE GIRARDEAU--GENERAL PRENTISS--SEIZURE
OF PADUCAH--HEADQUARTERS AT CAIRO.

I had not been in Mexico many weeks when, reading a St. Louis
paper, I found the President had asked the Illinois delegation
in Congress to recommend some citizens of the State for the
position of brigadier-general, and that they had unanimously
recommended me as first on a list of seven. I was very much
surprised because, as I have said, my acquaintance with the
Congressmen was very limited and I did not know of anything I
had done to inspire such confidence. The papers of the next day
announced that my name, with three others, had been sent to the
Senate, and a few days after our confirmation was announced.

When appointed brigadier-general I at once thought it proper
that one of my aides should come from the regiment I had been
commanding, and so selected Lieutenant C. B. Lagow. While
living in St. Louis, I had had a desk in the law office of
McClellan, Moody and Hillyer. Difference in views between the
members of the firm on the questions of the day, and general
hard times in the border cities, had broken up this firm.
Hillyer was quite a young man, then in his twenties, and very
brilliant. I asked him to accept a place on my staff. I also
wanted to take one man from my new home, Galena. The canvass in
the Presidential campaign the fall before had brought out a young
lawyer by the name of John A. Rawlins, who proved himself one of
the ablest speakers in the State. He was also a candidate for
elector on the Douglas ticket. When Sumter was fired upon and
the integrity of the Union threatened, there was no man more
ready to serve his country than he. I wrote at once asking him
to accept the position of assistant adjutant-general with the
rank of captain, on my staff. He was about entering the service
as major of a new regiment then organizing in the north-western
part of the State; but he threw this up and accepted my offer.

Neither Hillyer nor Lagow proved to have any particular taste or
special qualifications for the duties of the soldier, and the
former resigned during the Vicksburg campaign; the latter I
relieved after the battle of Chattanooga. Rawlins remained with
me as long as he lived, and rose to the rank of brigadier general
and chief-of-staff to the General of the Army--an office created
for him--before the war closed. He was an able man, possessed
of great firmness, and could say "no" so emphatically to a
request which he thought should not be granted that the person
he was addressing would understand at once that there was no use
of pressing the matter. General Rawlins was a very useful
officer in other ways than this. I became very much attached to
him.

Shortly after my promotion I was ordered to Ironton, Missouri,
to command a district in that part of the State, and took the
21st Illinois, my old regiment, with me. Several other
regiments were ordered to the same destination about the same
time. Ironton is on the Iron Mountain railroad, about seventy
miles south of St. Louis, and situated among hills rising almost
to the dignity of mountains. When I reached there, about the 8th
of August, Colonel B. Gratz Brown--afterwards Governor of
Missouri and in 1872 Vice-Presidential candidate--was in
command. Some of his troops were ninety days' men and their
time had expired some time before. The men had no clothing but
what they had volunteered in, and much of this was so worn that
it would hardly stay on. General Hardee--the author of the
tactics I did not study--was at Greenville some twenty-five
miles further south, it was said, with five thousand Confederate
troops. Under these circumstances Colonel Brown's command was
very much demoralized. A squadron of cavalry could have ridden
into the valley and captured the entire force. Brown himself
was gladder to see me on that occasion than he ever has been
since. I relieved him and sent all his men home within a day or
two, to be mustered out of service.

Within ten days after reading Ironton I was prepared to take the
offensive against the enemy at Greenville. I sent a column east
out of the valley we were in, with orders to swing around to the
south and west and come into the Greenville road ten miles south
of Ironton. Another column marched on the direct road and went
into camp at the point designated for the two columns to meet. I
was to ride out the next morning and take personal command of the
movement. My experience against Harris, in northern Missouri,
had inspired me with confidence. But when the evening train
came in, it brought General B. M. Prentiss with orders to take
command of the district. His orders did not relieve me, but I
knew that by law I was senior, and at that time even the
President did not have the authority to assign a junior to
command a senior of the same grade. I therefore gave General
Prentiss the situation of the troops and the general condition
of affairs, and started for St. Louis the same day. The
movement against the rebels at Greenville went no further.

From St. Louis I was ordered to Jefferson City, the capital of
the State, to take command. General Sterling Price, of the
Confederate army, was thought to be threatening the capital,
Lexington, Chillicothe and other comparatively large towns in
the central part of Missouri. I found a good many troops in
Jefferson City, but in the greatest confusion, and no one person
knew where they all were. Colonel Mulligan, a gallant man, was
in command, but he had not been educated as yet to his new
profession and did not know how to maintain discipline. I found
that volunteers had obtained permission from the department
commander, or claimed they had, to raise, some of them,
regiments; some battalions; some companies--the officers to be
commissioned according to the number of men they brought into
the service. There were recruiting stations all over town, with
notices, rudely lettered on boards over the doors, announcing the
arm of service and length of time for which recruits at that
station would be received. The law required all volunteers to
serve for three years or the war. But in Jefferson City in
August, 1861, they were recruited for different periods and on
different conditions; some were enlisted for six months, some
for a year, some without any condition as to where they were to
serve, others were not to be sent out of the State. The
recruits were principally men from regiments stationed there and
already in the service, bound for three years if the war lasted
that long.

The city was filled with Union fugitives who had been driven by
guerilla bands to take refuge with the National troops. They
were in a deplorable condition and must have starved but for the
support the government gave them. They had generally made their
escape with a team or two, sometimes a yoke of oxen with a mule
or a horse in the lead. A little bedding besides their clothing
and some food had been thrown into the wagon. All else of their
worldly goods were abandoned and appropriated by their former
neighbors; for the Union man in Missouri who staid at home
during the rebellion, if he was not immediately under the
protection of the National troops, was at perpetual war with his
neighbors. I stopped the recruiting service, and disposed the
troops about the outskirts of the city so as to guard all
approaches. Order was soon restored.

I had been at Jefferson City but a few days when I was directed
from department headquarters to fit out an expedition to
Lexington, Booneville and Chillicothe, in order to take from the
banks in those cities all the funds they had and send them to St.
Louis. The western army had not yet been supplied with
transportation. It became necessary therefore to press into the
service teams belonging to sympathizers with the rebellion or to
hire those of Union men. This afforded an opportunity of giving
employment to such of the refugees within our lines as had teams
suitable for our purposes. They accepted the service with
alacrity. As fast as troops could be got off they were moved
west some twenty miles or more. In seven or eight days from my
assuming command at Jefferson City, I had all the troops, except
a small garrison, at an advanced position and expected to join
them myself the next day.

But my campaigns had not yet begun, for while seated at my
office door, with nothing further to do until it was time to
start for the front, I saw an officer of rank approaching, who
proved to be Colonel Jefferson C. Davis. I had never met him
before, but he introduced himself by handing me an order for him
to proceed to Jefferson City and relieve me of the command. The
orders directed that I should report at department headquarters
at St. Louis without delay, to receive important special
instructions. It was about an hour before the only regular
train of the day would start. I therefore turned over to
Colonel Davis my orders, and hurriedly stated to him the
progress that had been made to carry out the department
instructions already described. I had at that time but one
staff officer, doing myself all the detail work usually
performed by an adjutant-general. In an hour after being
relieved from the command I was on my way to St. Louis, leaving
my single staff officer(*6) to follow the next day with our
horses and baggage.

The "important special instructions" which I received the next
day, assigned me to the command of the district of south-east
Missouri, embracing all the territory south of St. Louis, in
Missouri, as well as all southern Illinois. At first I was to
take personal command of a combined expedition that had been
ordered for the capture of Colonel Jeff. Thompson, a sort of
independent or partisan commander who was disputing with us the
possession of south-east Missouri. Troops had been ordered to
move from Ironton to Cape Girardeau, sixty or seventy miles to
the south-east, on the Mississippi River; while the forces at
Cape Girardeau had been ordered to move to Jacksonville, ten
miles out towards Ironton; and troops at Cairo and Bird's Point,
at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, were to hold
themselves in readiness to go down the Mississippi to Belmont,
eighteen miles below, to be moved west from there when an
officer should come to command them. I was the officer who had
been selected for this purpose. Cairo was to become my
headquarters when the expedition terminated.

In pursuance of my orders I established my temporary
headquarters at Cape Girardeau and sent instructions to the
commanding officer at Jackson, to inform me of the approach of
General Prentiss from Ironton. Hired wagons were kept moving
night and day to take additional rations to Jackson, to supply
the troops when they started from there. Neither General
Prentiss nor Colonel Marsh, who commanded at Jackson, knew their
destination. I drew up all the instructions for the contemplated
move, and kept them in my pocket until I should hear of the
junction of our troops at Jackson. Two or three days after my
arrival at Cape Girardeau, word came that General Prentiss was
approaching that place (Jackson). I started at once to meet him
there and to give him his orders. As I turned the first corner
of a street after starting, I saw a column of cavalry passing
the next street in front of me. I turned and rode around the
block the other way, so as to meet the head of the column. I
found there General Prentiss himself, with a large escort. He
had halted his troops at Jackson for the night, and had come on
himself to Cape Girardeau, leaving orders for his command to
follow him in the morning. I gave the General his orders--which
stopped him at Jackson--but he was very much aggrieved at being
placed under another brigadier-general, particularly as he
believed himself to be the senior. He had been a brigadier, in
command at Cairo, while I was mustering officer at Springfield
without any rank. But we were nominated at the same time for
the United States service, and both our commissions bore date
May 17th, 1861. By virtue of my former army rank I was, by law,
the senior. General Prentiss failed to get orders to his troops
to remain at Jackson, and the next morning early they were
reported as approaching Cape Girardeau. I then ordered the
General very peremptorily to countermarch his command and take
it back to Jackson. He obeyed the order, but bade his command
adieu when he got them to Jackson, and went to St. Louis and
reported himself. This broke up the expedition. But little
harm was done, as Jeff. Thompson moved light and had no fixed
place for even nominal headquarters. He was as much at home in
Arkansas as he was in Missouri and would keep out of the way of
a superior force. Prentiss was sent to another part of the
State.

General Prentiss made a great mistake on the above occasion, one
that he would not have committed later in the war. When I came
to know him better, I regretted it much. In consequence of this
occurrence he was off duty in the field when the principal
campaign at the West was going on, and his juniors received
promotion while he was where none could be obtained. He would
have been next to myself in rank in the district of south-east
Missouri, by virtue of his services in the Mexican war. He was
a brave and very earnest soldier. No man in the service was
more sincere in his devotion to the cause for which we were
battling; none more ready to make sacrifices or risk life in it.

On the 4th of September I removed my headquarters to Cairo and
found Colonel Richard Oglesby in command of the post. We had
never met, at least not to my knowledge. After my promotion I
had ordered my brigadier-general's uniform from New York, but it
had not yet arrived, so that I was in citizen's dress. The
Colonel had his office full of people, mostly from the
neighboring States of Missouri and Kentucky, making complaints
or asking favors. He evidently did not catch my name when I was
presented, for on my taking a piece of paper from the table where
he was seated and writing the order assuming command of the
district of south-east Missouri, Colonel Richard J. Oglesby to
command the post at Bird's Point, and handing it to him, he put
on an expression of surprise that looked a little as if he would
like to have some one identify me. But he surrendered the office
without question.

The day after I assumed command at Cairo a man came to me who
said he was a scout of General Fremont. He reported that he had
just come from Columbus, a point on the Mississippi twenty miles
below on the Kentucky side, and that troops had started from
there, or were about to start, to seize Paducah, at the mouth of
the Tennessee. There was no time for delay; I reported by
telegraph to the department commander the information I had
received, and added that I was taking steps to get off that
night to be in advance of the enemy in securing that important
point. There was a large number of steamers lying at Cairo and
a good many boatmen were staying in the town. It was the work
of only a few hours to get the boats manned, with coal aboard
and steam up. Troops were also designated to go aboard. The
distance from Cairo to Paducah is about forty-five miles. I did
not wish to get there before daylight of the 6th, and directed
therefore that the boats should lie at anchor out in the stream
until the time to start. Not having received an answer to my
first dispatch, I again telegraphed to department headquarters
that I should start for Paducah that night unless I received
further orders. Hearing nothing, we started before midnight and
arrived early the following morning, anticipating the enemy by
probably not over six or eight hours. It proved very fortunate
that the expedition against Jeff. Thompson had been broken up.
Had it not been, the enemy would have seized Paducah and
fortified it, to our very great annoyance.

When the National troops entered the town the citizens were
taken by surprise. I never after saw such consternation
depicted on the faces of the people. Men, women and children
came out of their doors looking pale and frightened at the
presence of the invader. They were expecting rebel troops that
day. In fact, nearly four thousand men from Columbus were at
that time within ten or fifteen miles of Paducah on their way to

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