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Full text of "Biographical Sketch of the Late Gen. B.J. Sweet: History of Camp Douglas. A Paper Read Before ..."

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Edwin Howard Brigham. 
HIS BOOK. 

HARVARD COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 




GIFT OF 
EDWIN H. BRIGHAM 

OF BROOKLINE,, 



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BIOGEAPHIOAL SKETCH 



OF THE LATE 



GEN". B. J. SWEET 



HISTORY OF CAMP DOUGLAS. 



A Paper Read before the Chicago Historical 

Society, 

Tuesday Evening, June 18th, 1878, 



BY 



William Bross, A. M., 

Lieutenant Governor of Illinois^ 1865-9. 



CHICAGO : 

JA.TSrSEJN', IS/LoCLaURQ- Sc CO. 

1878 



US^^s^*^'^ 



&fVd.rd Ooltoffe UbffWF 

June B.ieia 

Qift of 

Dr. B. H. Bftigtmm 



Historical Society Eooms, 

Chicagoy June 19th, 1878, 
Ex-Lieutenant Governor William JBross, 

Dear Sir: I have the honor to 

» 

inform you that at a meeting of the Chicago Historical Society, held 
last evening, the following resolution was adopted: 

"Resolved, Tliat the thanks of this Society are due, and are 
hereby tendered to Hon. WUliam J^ross, for his vcduable and inter- 
esting historical paper relating to Cam,p Douglas and the late Gen, 
H, tT, Sweet, and that he he requested to furnish the Society with a 
copy for publication,^^ 

Very Respectfully, 

Albert D. Hager, 

Secretary. 



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Camp Douglas, 1864-5. 



Dotted Lines show Streets as now Located. 



For Description of tlie Camp, see Page 11. 



Gen. B. J. SWEET. 



History of Camp Douglas. 



3Tr, President^ Ladies and Gentlemen: 

Chicago, with the exception of San Francisco, the youngest of 
the leading cities of the Eepubhc, has abundant reason to be satis- 
fied with her patriotic record made during the KebeUion. From 
that quiet Sabbath morning, when the news flashed through the 
streets, that the rebels had fired upon Fort Sumpter at 4 o'clock on 
Friday afternoon, April 12, 1861, and the people left their churches, 
with the organ peaHng out the ** Star Spangled Banner," till 
treason was stamped out by the capture of Jeff. Davis, on the 10th 
of May, 1865, a very large majority of them seemed deeply imbued 
with the same spirit that inspired their fathers when **they pledged 
their Hves, their fortunes and their sacred honor," to preserve the 
integrity, and to establish the Hberty of their country. The Board 
of Trade, though purely a commercial organization, was accorded 
the leadership in raising regiments and batteries, and they, and our 
merchants and citizens generally, poured out their money without 
stint for this purpose, and to send hospital stores to the front; the 
ladies got up sanitary fairs, and generally, from the beginning to 
the end of the war, all the energies, the wealth, and the power of 
the city were at the service of the Government. The treason and 
mahgnity of the few sHmy copperheads, that crawled about the dens 
of the city, seemed only to render the patriotism of the people the 
more conspicuous and inspiring. But though few in number, the 
traitors were ever active, and if Chicago escaped the bloody riots, 
the murders, and the incendiaries' torch that were rife in New York 



i 



6 HISTORY OF CAMP DOUGLAS. 

Baltimore, and it was simply because she had a small force of "the 
bravest of the brave " at Camp Douglas, commanded by an able 
general, whose energy never faltered, and whose vigilance never 
slept. 

The State has recorded, too briefly, it is true, the deeds of our 
brave boys on the battle-fields of the EepubHc. The National San- 
itary Commission has preserved the benevolent acts of our people ; 
but the complete History of Camp Douglas, and more especially, 
the means by which Chicago was saved from destruction, remains 
to be written. 

Prof. EHas Colbert in his "History of the Garden City," pub- 
lished in 1868, gives much valuable information and very important 
facts and figures, for many of which I am greatly indebted, but I 
shall confine myself, in this paper, mainly to what I know person- 
ally about these matters, to statements of men now living in our 
midst, and accurate sources of information now in my possession. 

What the pubHc may remember of the modest but brave soldier 
who commanded Camp Douglas during Chicago's greatest danger 
in 1864, and to whom the city owes her escape from burning and 
massacre, is derived mainly from brief newspaper articles at the 
time of his death. I therefore beg your attention to a short 

Biographical Sketch of Brigadier General B. J. Sweet. 

For the record, much of it in her own language, previous to his 
taking command of Camp Douglas, I am indebted to his accom- 
plished daughter. Miss Ada C. Sweet, Pension Agent of this city. 

Benjamin Jeffrey Sweet was bom in Kirkland, Oneida County, 
New York, April 24th, 1832. His father was the Rev. James 
Sweet, and his mother was Charlotte, daughter of the Rev. Jeffrey 
Newell. 

The Rev. James Sweet was a man of large heart and a fine, 
vigorous intellect. He was a speaker of great power, but his life 
was clouded by ill health and inadequate opportunities. 

Mrs. Sweet was a woman of remarkably strong mind and char- 
acter; a warm hearted, affectionate wife and mother, whose courage 
never faltered, though tried by care, sickness, and grief almost 
beyond the strength of human endurance to bear. 

Benjamin Jeffrey was named for his two grandfathers, Benja- 
min Sweet and Jeffrey Newell. He was the eldest of fourteen 



HIS TOR y OF CAMP D UGLAS, 7 

children, and after his tenth year he was one of the bread-winners ' 
of the family — often its main stay — as his father's health was 
broken. His boyhood was one of hard work and independent 
exertion. 

When he was nine years old he worked in a cotton mill, and 
soon became the most expert and accurate weigher in it — too expert, 
indeed, for his own good, as his employers refused to advance him 
at all because he was so valuable in his place as weigher. For 
several years, while a growing boy, his deep sleep was often broken 
by the clanging of the factory bell, at four o'clock in the morning. 
Sometimes he would get time for several weeks of school, and he 
studied at all times and seasons whenever a spare hour could be 
snatched from his long working days. 

In 1848, the family moved to Stockbridge, Calumet County, 
Wisconsin, and made their home there, on a small piece of wild 
forest land. 

Benjamin worked hke a young giant, clearing away the trees 
and bringing savage nature under subjection. The first winter he 
spent in Wisconsin, he stood, day after day, knee deep in snow, 
swinging his axe with his strong young arms, dreaming dreams of 
future health and usefulness. After a year of hard work he took 
his small earnings and entered Appleton College, Wisconsin. 

In the spring of 1850 he returned home, and taught school at 
Brothertown, a settlement near by. Wherever he was and what- 
ever his occupation, he was always an earnest student. After a 
hard day's work, he would read far into the night, and many a 
time the dawn found him still bending over his books. 

At the age of nineteen he was in appearance, and indeed in 
experience and maturity of mind, a man. He was strong and 
athletic, and weU skilled in all bodily exercises. He was genial in 
manner, warm hearted, full of gentle and playful humor, and a 
general favorite wherever he went. 

In his home, then far removed from cities, there was a lack of 
books, but those whicli fell into the hands of the ambitious young 
man, were read and re-read. About this time he first made 
the aquaintance of Shakespeare's works, which he studied with 
passionate interest. Shakespeare remained, during his life, his 
study in leisure, his solace and comfort in grief, and his recreation 



8 HIS TOR Y OF CAMP DO UGLAS. 

at all times. His father and many of his friends wished him to 
enter the ministry, but he turned his attention to the study of law. 

I give these particulars the more freely, for they show the kind 
of stem disciphne to which most of our leading generals and 
statesmen have been subjected. From necessity they learn what 
hard work is in their youth and early manhood, and hence their 
success and usefulness in after life. 

In May, 1851, at the age of nineteen years, he married Miss 
Lovisa L. Denslow. She was a daughter of Ehhu Denslow, and 
from the same place in New York as the Sweet family, and an old 
school and playmate of her young husband. 

February 23d, 1862, a daughter was bom to the young couple, 
and named Ada Celeste; in 1854, Lawrence Wheelock; in 1858, 
Minnie; in 1865, Martha Winfred; and his youngest son Benjamin 
Jeffrey, named for hife father, was bom January 11th, 1871. 

In 1859, Gen. Sweet was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate. 
He was a Eepubhcan and a strong Abolitionist. 

He clearly foresaw the great, impending struggle, and at the 
beginning of the war advocated the raising of more troops than 
was thought necessary at that time. When the war broke out, he 
was one of the very first to enhst. He was commissioned Major, 
and went out with the Sixth Wisconsin Eegiment. 

The Eegiment was stationed on the Potomac, and in the sum- 
mer of 1862, weary with the inactivity of McClellan's army, Maj. 
Sweet resigned, came home, raised two new regiments, the Twenty- 
first and Twenty- second, and started again for the field as Colonel 
of the Twenty-first Wisconsin. The Twenty-first was ordered to 
the front before it had been mustered in three weeks, and was soon 
in its first battle at Perryville, Ky., on the 8th day of October, 1862. 
All day one corps of the Union forces sustained the whole force of 
Bragg' s army, which was on its retreat from the East Tennessee 
raid. 

The new regiment was poorly armed and composed of raw 
recruits, but it had been well drilled and disciplined, and, consider- 
ing the short time it had been organized, the men fought like 
veterans, and sustained a terrible loss of life. Three hundred were 
killed or wounded. The major and three captains were killed, and 
Col. Sweet, it was thought, was mortally wounded. 



HIS TOR Y OF CAMP DO UGLAS. 9 

He had been ill for several days with malarial fever, contracted 
from sleeping on the ground and from general exposure, but when 
the fight began he left the ambulance where he was lying, mounted 
his horse, and took command of his regiment. 

Early in the engagement he received a flesh wound in the neck, 
which did not affect him for a minute, though his regiment was 
nearly panic stricken when they saw that he was struck. He, 
however, remained untouched in a perfect storm of bullets during 
the rest of the engagement, but at the close, as he was rallying his 
men to leave the field for the night, a minnie ball, from a sharp- 
shooter's rifle came crashing into his right elbow, crushing the 
bones, tearing up the arm, and lodging in the chest. 

For several weeks his hfe was despaired of, and only by the 
most tender care of his wife, who joined him immediately, and that 
of two of his soldiers, Jas. Hodges and Chauncy Button, of the 
Twenty-first regiment, was he saved from impending death. His 
arm was saved, but the wound remained open and very painful for 
over a year, and caused him untold suffering. His arm ever after 
hung useless at his side. 

Although his health was shattered permanently, and he seemed 
to his friends only a hollow-cheeked shadow of his old self, he 
steadily refused to leave the army. He was subsequently given a 
commission as Colonel in the Veteran Reserve Corps, and in the 
winter of 1862-68 built a fort at Gallatin, Tenn., where he was in 
command. 

Late in May, 1864, General Sweet was ordered to take com- 
mand of Camp Douglas. It proved, by far, the most important 
position he had ever held, and we are now prepared to give 

A History 

Of that post. As only thirteen years have passed since it was 
abandoned, its property removed, and its buildings were sold, it 
may seem strange that the most difficult part of my task has been 
to find what were its exact boundaries. I could say, with scores of 
our old citizens of whom I asked the question, ** where was Camp 
Douglas?" that it was located directly north of the University, 
fronting east, on Cottage Grove Avenue ; but what were its exact 
limits east and west, north and south, it seemed for a time, about 



10 HIS TOR Y OF CAMP DOUGLAS, 

impossible for me to determine. After devoting leisure half hours 
among my friends for a couple of weeks, with no satisfactory 
results, I fortunately made the acquaintance of Capt. E. K. P. 
Shurley, Gen'l Sweet's Assistant Adjutant General, Capt. Charles 
Goodman, for most of the time Chief Quartermaster, from October 
23, 1862, till the camp was closed; and his chief assistant, Capt. E. 
V. Koddin. It is the highest possible compliment to Capt. Good- 
man that about $40,000,000 worth of Government property passed 
through his hands, and not a single mistake of any kind was 
found in his accounts. These gentlemen, on Tuesday, June 4th, 
spent half a day with me going all around and over the grounds once 
occupied by Camp Douglas, and it was one of the richest treats I 
ever enjoyed to hear them locate the different parts of it, and talk 
over the incidents of these memorable years. **Here were the 
ovens, there the hospitals, here was the dead-Hne, and there the 
officers quarters ; here were the rebel barracks, and in this corner, 
those that escaped, usually dug out." 

The sewer at the foot of Thirty- third Street, costing $9,000, 
though the digging was done by the rebels, half a dozen of whom 
came near losing their lives by the caving of the banks, still does 
excellent duty, and discharges a large stream into the lake ; it was 
built of plank, and hence it may be doubted whether it will last as 
long as the Cloaca Maxima, which still performs the same service 
for which it was built by Tarqiiin, 2,500 years ago. 

In 1861, when the Camp was located by General A. C. Fuller, 
then Adjutant General of the State, and untU after it was aban- 
doned in 1865, the ground it occupied, and all around it, was 
open prairie. For this reason the Government took possession of 
it for that purpose. Now there are several streets cut through 
it, and single houses, and even blocks are scattered over it in all 
directions. Hence, it is no disparagement to the excellent military 
gentlemen who so kindly accompanied me, that they were not a 
Httle confused, as to where the fence around Camp Douglas was, 
and it was not till they compared their impressions with the posi- 
tive knowledge of the owner of the grounds, Henry Graves, Esq., 
whom we fortunately met, that I was able to settle, as I hope, 
definitely, where the enclosure of the Camp was located. None of 
the streets are named on the latest lithograph of Capt. Goodman, 



HIS TOR V OF CAMP D UGLAS. 1 1 

as also that of Capt. Sburley, both of which I have the pleasure, 
in their behalf, to present to the Society, though it is not at all 
difficult to locate Cottage Grove Avenue. A map kindly furnished 
me by W. B. H. Gray, Esq., conceded to be the best informed man 
in the city in regard to its topography, was valuable to us; but I 
am sorry to say it is incorrect in several particulars. After all these 
prehminaries I can now say that the 

Boundaries of Camp Douglas were as follows : 

The south-east comer was at the intersection of Cottage Grove 
Avenue and CoUege Place, the northern boundary of the University 
Grounds ; thence the hne ran west on CoUege Place to its intersec- 
tion with Ehodes Avenue ; thence diagonaUy in a north-westerly 
direction, to the comer of South Park Avenue and Thirty-third 
Street; thence west on Thirty-third Street to its intersection with 
Forest Avenue; thence north on Forest Avenue to Thirty-first 
Street; thence east along Thirty-first Street to South Park Avenue; 
thence south along South Park Avenue about one hundred and sixty 
feet; thence east to Cottage Grove Avenue; thence along that ave- 
nue to the place of beginning, except the residence of Henry Graves, 
Esq., around which the fence was built as shown upon the htho- 
graph.* It was, perhaps, two hundred feet south of the main 
entrance, three hundred feet front on Cottage Grove Avenue by two 
hundred feet deep. Since the camp was abandoned. Thirty-second 
street has been cut through it east and west ; and Graves and Dexter 
Place, Ehodes, Vernon, South Park and Calumet Avenues, with sun- 
dry aUeys north and south, so that its location might weU confuse 
any one who had not been constantly on the ground as Mr. Graves 
has, to take note of the changes that have been so constantly going 
on from year to year. And besides, as above stated, many blocks of 



♦Since the text was writteo, Mr. Chas. Cook, who, as boss- carpen- 
ter, erected the buildings at Camp Douglas, has brought me a survey of 
the camp, on which the west line is Calumet Avenue. But as Messrs. 
Shurley, Goodman, Koddin and Col. Pierce all agree that Forest Avenue 
was the Wost line, I prefer to let the description stand; and, as the sur- 
vey has no date attached, it may be inferred that the camp was afterward 
extended to Forest Avenue to afford more room for the barracks of the 
rebel prisoners. 



12 HISTOR Y OF CAMP DOUGLAS, 

residences, single dwellings, and several grocery houses are now 
scattered all over it. The south gate was at Khodes Avenue ; the 
main entrance, the posts of which are still to be seen just above 
ground was a httle north and nearly in front of B. F. Kansom's 
hvery stable. It, with the building next south of it, and the build- 
ing south of the United States Hotel, on the south-east comer of 
Cottage Grove Avenue and Thirty-first Street are a part of the 
buildings onc^ located within the camp. The fence was a substan- 
tial wood structure, some twelve feet high, with a walk around it 
on the inside, some foiir feet below the top, for the sentinels to go 
their rounds. This walk or parapet commenced at the entrance on 
Cottage' Grove Avenue, and extended all round the camp. The 
north-east part of the camp was occupied by the barracks of the 
troops and officers' quarters. 

Camp Douglas was named for Senator Douglas, who gave the 
grounds for the University, and whose dust reposes on the Lake 
shore near it. In your behalf and that of the people of the State, 
I had the honor to sign the bill that appropriated the money from 
the State Treasury to purchase that acre from his widow, and on 
which an appropriate monument is soon to perpetuate his memory. 
Camp Douglas was built in the latter part of the summer of 1861, 
by Col. Joseph H. Tucker, who had been ordered by Gov. Yates to 
take command of the noi-them district of the State. It was at first 
intended to use it for the troops raised in this part of the State, as 
a camp of instruction and rendezvous, but Capt. Christopher, 
United States recruiting officer then stationed in the city, assumed 
the cost of its construction, and it was turned over to the General 
Government. Immediately after the capture of Fort Donaldson, in 
February, 1862, Col. Tucker was ordered to prepare for the recep- 
tion of the rebels taken there and in some other engagements, and 
in a few days between eight and nine thousand prisoners arrived in 
camp. Near the close of the month Col. Tucker was superseded 
by Col. Mulhgan, who there organized his Irish Brigade. In June, 
Col. Tucker was ordered to take command of the Sixty-ninth Kegi- 
ment, and again took charge of the camp. During the summer and 
fall a large number of our own paroled men, captured at Harper's 
Ferry and other places, among them Capt. Goodman, arrived in 
camp, and on the last day of September, Gen. Tyler was placed in 
cammand. His rule was severe and unpopular and tlie cause of 



HISTOR V OF CAMP DO UGLAS, 13 

much trouble and ill feeling. In the fall of 1862, Gen. Tyler was 
superseded by Gen. Ammon ; our troops that had been paroled at 
Harper's Ferry were exchanged, and nearly all of them left for the 
front, and their place was suppHed by a camp full of 

Rebel Prisoners. 

Coming, many of them, from the far South, they suffered severely 
from the inclemency of our winter. Of course, in spite of all that 
the ojfficers of the camp, and a self-appointed detachment of our 
benevolent ladies, could do, large numbers died, and what was due 
to the rigor of the climate, was charged, by the mahgnant Copper- 
heads, to the neglect and the cruelty of our people. But it is a fact, 
or the truth of which I appeal to thousands of hving men. North and 
South, that the prisoners, all throiigh the history of Camp Douglas, 
were treated precisely as our own soldiers. They had full rations 
of the best of food, and the sick had ajl that the most skillful 
physicians and the most careful nursing could do for them. Capt. 
Shurley relates that, while on duty at Kichmond, after the war, he 
was recognized by some of his former prisoners, and so grateful 
were they for their kind treatment while here, that they gave him a 
splendid diimer, and treated him with all possible attention and 
politeness. I forbear to draw a parallel between the treatment the 
rebels received and the systematic cruelty and starvation, even to 
death, which our brave boys were forced to siiffer in the prison 
pens of the South. Those who saw, as I did, scores of mere ghostly 
skeletons returning from Sahsbury and Anderson ville, in 1864, will 
recoil from the horrible memory. 

The Work of the Camp. 

The winter of 1862-8 was an eventful one, and many were the 
men who passed to their long homes in Camp Douglas. By 
March, 1868, the prisoners had nearly all been exchanged, and only 
a few of our own troops remained as a guard for them. Up to 
this time at least 80,000 troops had been recmited, drilled, organ- 
ized and equipped at Camp Douglas. Prof. Colbert enumerates 
them as follows: Rock Island Regiment, Nineteenth, Twenty- 
third, Twenty-fourth, Forty-second, Forty-fourth, Forty-iifth, Fifty- 



w.^..^- 



14 HIS TOR Y OF CAMP D UGLAS. 

first, Fifty-third, Fifty-fifth, Fifty-sixth, Fifty- seventh, Fifty-eighth, 
Sixtieth, Sixty-fifth, or Scotch Eegiment; Sixty-seventh, Sixty- 
ninth, Seventy-first, Seventy- second, or First Board of Trade; 
Eighty-eighth, or Second Board of Trade; Eighty-ninth, or Kail- 
road Eegiment ; Ninetieth, or Irish Legion ; Ninety-third, One Hun- 
dred and Fifth, One Hundred and Thirteenth, Van Arman's Eegi- 
ment, and the Third Board of Trade Eegiment. Of Infantry Com- 
panies, the German Guides and the Lyman Color Guard. Cavalry: 
Ninth, Twelfth and Thirteenth lUinois. Artillery: First lUinois, 
Bouton's, Bolton's, Silversparre's, PhiUips', Ottawa, Mercantile, 
Elgin, and Board of Trade Batteries. Besides this immense work 
as a camp of rendezvous and instruction, some 17,000 rebel prison- 
ers and 8,000 of our own paroled troops had all been cared for in 
and about Camp Douglas in the short space of about eighteen 
months. This shows what the sternly loyal city of Chicago and 
the great North-west were ready and wilhng to do to rescue the 
Eepublic from treason and rebeUion. I said these troops were cared 
for in and about Camp Douglas, for it will be remembered at times 
the section west of the camp and nearly to State street and south, 
far away toward Hyde Park were covered with camps and open 
spaces for drilling the troops. 

Again Active. 

Activity again was the order of the day during the last half of 
the year 1863, for some 5,000 rebel soldiers arrived in camp; Gen. 
Ammon was ordered to Springfield, and Col. De Land, of the First 
Michigan Sharp Shooters was made post commandant under Gen. 
Orme. During the winter of 1868-4, the usual incidents of camp 
life occurred. Col. De Land ordered a substantial fence built, the 
one heretofore described, several new buildings were erected, and 
the camp was improved in aU respects. These important improve- 
ments were made under Capt. Chas. Goodman, his assistant, Capt. 
E. V. Eoddin having the immediate charge of the work. On the 
2d of May, 1864, General Orme resigned, and General B. J. Sweet 
assumed the command, his headquarters being on Washington 
street, in the city. Col. Jas. Strong had the immediate command 
for a time, under Gen. Sweet, but about the middle of July, Gen. 



HIS TOR Y OF CAMP D O UGLAS, 1 5 

Sweet removed to camp and took personal command, as the exigen- 
cies seemed to require his constant presence. He ordered the pris- 
oners' barracks to be raised several feet, so as to render it impossible 
for them to dig tunnels and thus escape; their quarters were 
enlarged; additional hospitals and buildings for stores and equip- 
ments were erected, and in all respects the accommodations for 
troops and prisoners were greatly enlarged and improved. Two 
regiments, the Eighth and Fifteenth, of the Veteran Keserves — 
only about 1,000 men, were all the troops Gen. Sweet had to guard 
his prisoners — every available man had been sent to the front; but 
just before the assembhng of the Democratic Convention, on Mon- 
day, July 29th, he was reinforced by the One Hundredth Pennsyl- 
vania Kegiment, ninety day troops, and the Twenty-fourth Ohio 
Battery. They were suppHed with the best of Parrott Guns, and 
were kept as a reserve in case of emergency. 

Impending Dangers. 

At the commencement of 1864, there were some 5,000 rebel 
prisoners in camp, and about 7,500 were received during the year, 
and there were probably from ten to twelve thousand there during 
the incidents I am about to describe. With this very inadequate 
force, had it not been for the marked ability of Gen. Sweet and his 
sleepless vigilance, your humble servant and hundreds of other citi- 
zens would probably have lost their hves in the burning and mas- 
sacres that would have followed the breaking out of the prisoners 
from Camp Douglas. 

In the spring and early summer of 1864 the whole country was 
shrouded in gloom. For more than three years the war had been 
raging, and yet the rebellion seemed still strong and vigorous and 
likely to require years of hard fighting before it could be put down, 
if in fact so desirable a result could ever be achieved. Even brave 
hearts quailed when thinking upon the tens of thousands of noble 
patriots who had fallen before the serried hosts of the rebelhon, or 
were wasting slowly away amid tortures worse than death, in rebel 
prison dens. On every street could be seen strong men, known to 
all of us, with an empty sleeve, or hobbUng along on crutches ; and 
orphans and woe stricken women in sable garments met us at every 



16 HIS TOR Y OF CAMP DOUGLAS 

turn. Foreign nations were losing confidence in our cause. Lord 
Bulwer had declared in the Enghsh ParHament that it was for the 
interest of humanity that America should be divided into at least 
four separate States, for if the country remained united, "in a 
century hence it woiild contain two hundred miUions of people 
hanging like a dark cloud upon the civihzation of the world. " The 
credit of the nation was about gone, for in July, gold rose to 285, 
making the greenback, and therefore the credit of the government, 
worth only thirty-five cents on the dollar. Some enthusiasm fol- 
lowed the renomination of Mr. Lincoln, in June, at Baltimore, but 
.our armies were not generally successful, and a darker pall of gloom 
settled down upon the country. On the 30th Jiily, the mine at 
Petersburg was exploded, and in it Chicago lost Col. John A. Bross, 
and most of his officers, who were selected from the noblest and 
best young men of the city. Washington did not escape the gen- 
eral despondency. On my way to the front to seek the body of my 
lost brother, early in the morning before any one else, I called on 
Mr. Lincoln. His table was covered with reports and bundles of 
documents over which he was poring; but he received me most 
cordially and asked anxiously for news from the West. I told him 
the people were patriotic and determined as ever; but it could not 
be denied that they were anxious and earnest for a more vigorous 
prosecution of the war. **Well," said Mr. Lincoln, sadly, **they 
want success and they haven't got it; but we are all doing the best 
we can. For my part I shall stay right here and do my duty. 
Traitors will find me at my table. They can come and hang me to 
that tree if they hke," pointing with his long skinny finger to the 
maple at his window. 

Such was the condition of the country when the Democratic 
Convention assembled in this city on Monday, August 29th, 1864. 
It had been postponed from July 4th, in order that the plottings of 
the Copperhead portion of it might be the better matured. The gloom 
that pervaded the whole country was specially thick and murky in 
Chicago. The Knights of the Golden Circle and the Copperheads 
of every stripe and hue were decidedly active and venomous. Whis- 
perings of blood nmning through the streets ankle deep, and lamp 
posts bearing black Eepublican fruit were in the air. Canada was 
swarming wifch rebel officers who, in twenty-four hours coiUd be in 



HISTOR Y OF CAMP DOUGLAS, 17 

the city, and it was believed that many were here ready to take 
command of the rebel prisoners at Camp Douglas at any moment.* 
It is in times like these that strong men and patriots step forward 
to save their comitrymen from pillage and massacre. Gen. Sweet 
proved himself the man for the hour. Perhaps two weeks before 
the Convention assembled, I was standing near the Journal office, 
then in front of the Tremont House, when a friend said to me, " do 
you know there are ten thousand stand of arms secreted in cellars 
and basements within four blocks of us?" I said I presume the 
rebels have that many hid in different parts of the city. During 
the afternoon several similar stories were told me by others, and in 
the morning, thinking Gen. Sweet should know them, I called on 
him at Camp Douglas. He listened to the facts and suspicions I 
narrated with great attention ; said he would investigate them and 
call at my office the next day at eleven o'clock. I had previously, 
if any, a mere casual acquaintance with Gen. Sweet, but his close 



* In confirmation of this, Capt. Shurley, in a note to me, dated June 
3d, says: 

At one time we had 22,000 prisoners there, and only a few hundred 
men for duty at the time the conspiracy was brewing. It was impossible 
to get reinforcements, notwithstanding Gen. Sweet's urgent appeals. I 
must say at this time, and after these years have elapsed, that the city 
of Chicago does not know what she owes to Gen. Sweet. 

I released the remaining prisoners of war, and after Gen. Sweet, I 
was the last commanding officer of that camp — thirteen years ago. After 
I had paroled some of the most intelligent, I questioned them in reference 
to the "conspiracy ;" they told me that they were divided into compa- 
nies, regiments and brigades, and confidently expected officers from the 
South to command them, and the intention was to destroy Chicago after 
securing all the arms, horses, and whatever would be useful in the pros- 
ecution of their war. There is no question that but for the energy, fore- 
thought, and ability of General Sweet, and the manner in which he was 
sustained by General Hooker, serious consequences might have ensued. 
The question is often asked me, was there really a conspiracy for that 
purpose — to burn Chicago and other Western towns? All the papers 
passed through my hands. The reports of the spies out; what transpired 
at the sessions held by the Knights of the Golden Circle and other kin- 
dred organizations in this city, all make me sure there was such a con- 
spiracy. But history should do justice to one who was arrested at that 
time: I refer to Judge Bucknor S. Morris. He was entirely innocent of 
any such attempt, although arrested and held in camp. 



1 8 HIS TOR Y OF CAMP D O UGLAS. 

attention and careful analysis of the facts I had given him, gave 
me great confidence in his abiHty and fitness for the important post 
he occupied. He called promptly as appointed and I foimd his 
entire detective force had been busy all night searching the city 
through ; that he had verified some of our suspicions, and got track 
of many more. He had subsequently trusty men in every Golden 
Circle of the Knights, and by ten o'clock next day he knew what had 
occurred, and the plans that were made all over the city. Almost 
every leading rebel that arrived from the South or from Canada was 
spotted and tracked to his den and could not move, even for the most 
trivial purpose if a leading man, but sharp loyal eyes were upon him. 
For a week or more I saw Gen. Sweet frequently, and I found that 
his detectives tracked Hke sleuth-hounds every scent and nimor to its 
source, and his plans and the way he carried them out filled my 
highest ideal of the abihty needed to cope with his adversaries, and 
I therefore soon gave the matter little further care and attention. 
On Saturday, Aiigust 26th, the Democratic politicians, many of 
them very respectable gentlemen, with their blowers and strikers, 
began to arrive. As day after day passed, the crowd increased till 
the whole city seemed aHve with a motley crew of big-shouldered, 
blear-eyed, bottle-nosed, whisky-blotched vagabonds — the very 
excrescence and sweepings of the slums and sinks of all the cities in 
the nation. I sat often at my window on Michigan Avenue, and saw 
the filthy stream of degraded humanity swagger along to the wigwam 
on the lake shore and wondered how the city could be saved from 
burning and plunder, and our wives and daughters from a far more 
dreadful fate. Many besides myself would have been in despair 
had we not trusted in the good providence of God, Gen. Sweet, and 
the brave boys under him. We knew that he had small squads of 
men with signs and pass-words in aU the alleys in the central por- 
tions of the city ready to concentrate at the point of danger at any 
moment. But the city had another and an efficient soiirce of safety 
of which many of our people even at this day have not the slightest 
knowledge. It was a matter of wonder then, and perhaps has been 
ever since, how such a horde of cut-throats, and bloated, beastly vag- 
abonds, spoihng for free whisky and a free fight, could have been 
kept in perfect order, for our streets under presence of so many 
people were never more orderly, and in its doings and surroundings 



HISTORY OF CAMP DOUGLAS, 19 

the Democratic Convention of 1864 was as quiet and respectable as 
any other poHtical body that ever assembled in the city. This fact 
can best be understood by relating an incident. 

On my way to my office early on Monday, calhng in a store on 
Clark Street, a friend said to me, **do you know the danger we 
have escaped?" Feigning ignorance, I asked what? He said, **a 
yonng gentleman from Kentucky, a warm friend of mine, came in 
on Friday morning, and, in a whisper, inquired anxiously if my 
family were in the city; for if they are," said he, "by all means, as 
you love them, send them to the country this afternoon. Look for 
horrid times within the next three days — the Devil will be to pay." 
He was greatly reheved when I told him they were already in the 
country, and would stay for several days. As he left, he said, **for 
my sake, keep mum and take good care of yourself." This morning 
he came in, every feature beaming with pleasure, and said: "we're 
all safe; the New York poUticians, Dean Kichmond, Seymour, 
Tilden and the rest, arrived Saturday and yesterday morning ; they 
caucussed all day yesterday, and last night they put down their 
foot and declared if there were any riots or disturbance it would 
ruin the Democratic party; they might as well go home, for the 
cause would be lost and they would be beaten out of sight at the 
polls, and orders were accordingly given to the clans and messes;" 
and said he, ** in spite of the hordes of brutal wretches, you see every 
where, this will be the most orderly convention you ever saw." So 
it was, and that the orders were imperative and well understood, is 
well illustrated by another pertinent incident. Henry M. Smith was 
at the time, in the editorial department of the Tribune, He was 
standing at the entrance, 45 Clark Street, on Monday afternoon, I 
think it was, when he noticed two big bulUes watching him and the 
boys, who eveiy few minutes darted out with a package of docu- 
ments which they distributed freely to all who would take them. 
Glancing over the pamphlet, they saw it contained a sharp, searcli- 
ing war record of their party, and came across the street and asked 
Smith if he belonged to the Trihnne office. Answering that he did, 
they ordered him with words and adjectives, far more expressive and 
profane than poHte, to stop sending out such lying stuff. Quick 
as hghtning the plucky little editor struck the brute with all his 
might square on his nose, and the rebel blood spurted in all direc- 



20 MISTOR Y OF CAMP D UGLAS. 

tions. Either of the men might have crushed the hfe out of Smith 
in a moment, but they did not. They knew they must obey their 
orders, and that there must be no rows, and quietly pocketing the 
insult they walked toward the Sherman House. In a few moments 
after, they were arrested and lodged in jail, and then I expected an 
attempt to rescue them every hour by the abominable rabble in the 
city, but they obeyed orders, and left their friends to their fate. In 
the evening or early morning they were let out on their own recogni- 
zance and that was the end of the matter. In the light of what 
followed, it is a fair inference, that in commanding and keejnng the 
peace, the wily New York pohticians had not only an eye upon the 
election to be held in November, but a wholesome regard for their 
own safety, for it is not unlikely their friends and detectives had 
pretty accurate knowledge of the arrangements Gen. Sweet had 
made to give their crowd of bloated wretches a very lively time of 
it, and in this sternly loyal city, should an emute occur, their own 
precious skins might be very uncomfortably punctured. Their 
villainous schemes took a wider range, and hkely to do the rebel- 
lion far better service, for from their wigwam on the lake shore they 
planned and got up a tremendous 

Fire in the Rear 

By resolving " that after four years of failure to restore the Union by 
the experiment of war, during which, under the pretence of a mih- 
tary necessity, or war power, higher than the constitution, the con- 
stitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and pubhc Hb- 
erty and private right alike trodden down, and the material pros- 
perity of the country, essentially impaired, justice, humanity and 
the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for the 
cessation of hostihties," and tliis **fire in the rear," they knew they 
could keep up among the people with perfect safety to each party 
hack, with great advantage to the rebels tiU after the November 
election. Thus they insulted the patriotism of the nation, polluted 
the breezes and defiled the pure waters of Lake Michigan by 
blurting out their blatant treason, in the face of high Heaven. 
The loyal men of the nation accepted the gauge of battle, and the 
election of Mr. Lincoln and the indorsement of his pohcy to put 



HIS TOR Y OF CAMP D O UGLAS. 2 1 

down the rebellion, is one of the most important and glorious events 
in the history of this Kepublic. 

During the months of September and October, the 

Nation Trembled 

As by an earthquake from centre to circumference. The war of 
words in the rail cars, on the streets, from the stump, in fact every 
where in the loyal States was loud, bitter, relentless and unceasing. 
Sherman was fighting his way, inch by inch, toward Atlanta ; Grant 
was poimding away in the wilderness, and it required all the energy 
of Secretary Stanton, a war minister whose place in history has 
scarcely ever been equaled, to fill up the ranks, decimated before 
the rebel intrenchments. In its desperation, the Genius of the 
rebellion seemed more active, mahgnant and. fiendish than ever. 
Plans to bum all the leading cities of the North and to scatter 
infectious and deadly diseases throughout the loyal States were care- 
fully and earnestly discussed among the chiefs of the Confederacy.^ 



* This discussion was kept up through the winter of 1864-5, as the 
following letter will show. I am indebted to Capt. Shurley for tho priv- 
ilege of publishing it. He saw the original before it was sent to Wash- 
ington, and vouches for its accuracy: 

Hi8 Excellency, Kichmond, February 11, 1865. 

President Davis, 

President C. S. A. 

Sib : When Senator Johnson, 
of Missouri, and myself waited on you a few days since in relation to the 
prospect of annoying and harassing the enemy by means of burning their 
shipping, towns, etc., there were several remarks made by you upon 
the subject, that I was not fully prepared to answer, but which, upon 
subse(iuent conference with parties proposing the enterprise, I find can- 
not apply as objections to the scheme. The combustible materials con- 
sist of several preparations, and not one alone, and can be used without 
exposing the party using them to the least danger of detection whatever. 
The preparations are not in the hands of McDaniel, but are in the hands 
of Professor McCuUough, and are known but to him and one other party, 
as I understand. 

There is no necessity for sending persons in the military service into 
the enemy's country, but the work may be done by agents, and in most 
cases by persons ignorant of the facts, and therefore innocent agents. 

I have seen enough of the effects that can be produced to satisfy me 
that in most cases, without any danger to the parties engaged, and in 
others but very slight. We can (1) bum every vessel that leaves a for- 
eign port for the United States. (2) We can bum every transport that 
leaves the harbor of New York, or other Northern port, with supplies for 
the armies of the enemy in the South. (3) Burn every transport and 
gunboat on the Mississippi river, as well as devastate the country of the 



22 HISTORY OF CAMP DOUGLAS. 

In the loyal States, and in our own city especially, venomous 
Copperlieads kept up their warfare to the very last week of the can- 
vas. They were bent on letting loose the ten thousand prisoners in 
Camp Douglas, that they might bum and destroy the city, and thus 
prevent an election here.* And besides, they had lists of scores of 

enemy, and fill his people with terror and consternation. I am not alone 
of the opinion, but many other gentlemen are as fully and thoroughly 
impressed with the conviction as I am. I believe we have the means at 
our command, if promptly appropriated and energetically applied, to 
demoralize the Northern people in a very short time. For the purpose 
of satisfying your mind upon the subject, I respectfully but earnestly 
request that you will have an interview with Gen. Harris, formerly a 
member of Congress from Missouri, who, I think, is able by conclusive 
proof to convince you that what I have suggested is perfectly feasible 
and practicable. 

The deep interest I feel for our cause in this struggle; and the con- 
victions of the importance of availing ourselves of every element of 
defense, must be my excuse for writing you and requesting to invite 
Gen. Harris to see you. If you should see proper to do so, please signify 
to him when it will be convenient for you to see him. 

I am, very respectfully, your ob'dt serv't, 

[Signed] W. S. OLDHAM. 

It had the following endorsement: 

Secretary of State, at his earliest convenience, will please see Gen. 
Harris, and learn what plan he has for overcoming the difficulty hereto- 
fore experienced. 

Feb. 20th, 1865. [Signed] J. D. 

Rec'd Feb. 19th, 1865. 



* An attempt was actually made to break out. In a note to me, Oapt. 

Shurley says: 

In October, 1864, one of the prisoners requested an interview with 
the Commandant of the Post, Gen. Sweet. The message was sent to 
headquarters. In the absence of Gen. Sweet, I ordered the prisoner 
sent to my office. He told me that for some time there had been an 
organization amongst the prisoners of war to break out of the prison 
square — and that one hundred men had taken an obligation to lead the 
way, to break the fence, attack the guard in rear of camp, and in the 
confusi(m that would ensue, the 11,000 prisoners then in charge would 
escape. He said that at eight that evening was the time appointed — 
this was about six p. m. that the interview mentioned took place. It 
was a cloudy evening, and dark — looking like rain. After dismissing the 
prisoner, I started for the prison square. The officer in charge told me 
there seemed to be an unusual activity among the prisoners — advised 
me not to go round without a guard. This, I knew, would attract atten- 
tion, if not suspicion. At this time the barracks occupied by the prison- 
ers were in rows raised on posts, and each barrack contained from cme 
hundred and fifty to two hundred men. I noticed that there was an 
unusual stir among the prisoners in the barracks. After completing the 
tour, I returned to headquartei's satisfied that there might be truth in 
the statement of my " spy." I at once sent an order to the commanding 



HISTORY OF CAMP DOUGLAS, 23 

our leading citizens whose property and lives conld alone atone for 
the loyal part they had acted throughout the war. Gen. Sweet and 
his brave officers at Camp Douglas were equally active and vigilant. 
The appointments at the post were strengthened by every means in 
his power, so that as small a force as possible might safely guard 
the prisoners, and that a large detail might be spared to station in 
the city at the time of the election. Detectives were kept intensely 
busy to watch every suspicious character that arrived by the cars, 
and some were sent to Canada to learn from officers there what 
villainous schemes they were plotting for the destruction of Chicago.* 
Others went to the virulent Copperhead districts in central and 
southern Illinois and found that large detachments were to be sent 
here, ready for carnage and plunder, should the prisoners break 
out, and in any event to vote early and often in the infected sections 
of the city. Hence, on the Saturday before the election — Tuesday, 

officer of the Eighth regiment to take post on the south and west of the 
camp. I ordered the Pennsylvania regiment on the rear of that, and 
around it. I had notified the officer in command of the guard of what 
might be expected, at the same time had strengthened tho guard by turn- 
ing out the other two reliefs. The rain began to fall, and it seemed to 
me that the camp was unusually quiet. The disposition of the troops 
had been made so quietly that the prisoners had not suspected it. I 
greatly regretted the absence of Gen. Sweet; he had been summoned to 
Wisconsin, but I carried out his plan to the best of my ability. Eight 
o'clock had scarcely sounded, when crash went some of the planks from 
the rear fence, and the one hundred men rushed for the opening. One 
volley from the guard, who were prepared for them, and the prisoners 
recoiled, gave up, and retreated to their barracks. Eighteen of the most 
determined got out, but in less time than I can relate it, quiet was 
restored. I had the Pennsylvania regiment gradually close in from the 
outer circle of the race course to the camp, and recaptured all of those 
that had escaped. I think eight or ten were wounded, but they gradu- 
ally recovered. 



*In a note to me dated June 3d, Oapt Shurley says: 

One thing history will bear out : that during the administration of 
Gen. Sweet the prisoners of war were treated as well as it was possible 
to treat men in their situation. Of course, the very fact of confinement 
is a hardship — but the Government furnished good clothing and provi- 
sions, and allowed a sufficient quantity. I ihave read (extracts from 
southern papers citing the number that died at Camp Douglas. I account 
for this from the fact that many of the prisoners received at that camp 
were wounded and sick — run down by hard service — and the change of 
climate may have had some effect. We had a most admirable hospital, 
and busy, competent surgeons. Dr. Emmons, of this city, was one of 
them. I know that Gen. Sweet left that command poorer than when he 
entered it, and of all the millions he disbursed, not one cent entered his 
pocket — or those around him. 



24 HISTORY OF CAMP DOUGLAS. 

the 8th of November — Gen. Sweet knew where all the dens of the 
Knights of the Golden Circle were, and what was going on in them; 
what rebel gangs were expected from our own State, and what offi- 
cers were expected from Canada to lead them and the rebel hordes 
in Camp Douglas in their bloody raid upon the city. To know 
them was to know how to provide against and defeat them. 

But to be more specific : At first it was proposed to let loose 
the prisoners two weeks earher, but for various reasons the thing 
was postponed till the night before the election. During the previ- 
ous week, delegations began to arrive from Fayette and Christian 
counties, in this State. Bushwhackers journeyed north from Mis- 
souri and Kentucky. Some came from Indiana, and rebel officers 
from Canada. But so perfectly had General Sweet made himself 
master of their movements, that in the early morning of Monday, 
he arrested Col. G. St. Leger Grerifell, Morgan's Adjutant General, 
in company with J. T. Shanks, an escaped prisoner of war, at the 
Kichmond House; Col. Vincent Marmaduke, brother of the rebel 
general of that name; Brigadier Gen. Charles Walsh, of the Sons 
of Liberty; Capt. Cantrall, of Morgan's command, and others. In 
Walsh's house. Gen. Sweet's officers captured two cart loads of 
large sized revolvers, loaded and capped, and two hundred muskets 
and a large quantity of ammunition. In his official report. Gen. 
Sweet says most of these jebel officers were in the city in August, 
on the same bloody errand that brought them here when arrested. 
When the officers were secured. Gen. Sweet's boys turned their 
attention to certain parties of a baser sort. Twenty-seven were 
arrested at the **Fort Donaldson House" — a base misnomer, of 
course — aU well armed ; another lot were captured on North Water 
street, and by evening. Camp Douglas had an accession of at least 
a hundred of these wretches. During the day the secesh sympa- 
thizers telegraphed their friends in the central and southern parts 
of the State that the trap had been sprung ; parties on the way were 
notified of the fate that awaited them here, and they got off at Wil- 
mington and Joliet; but some fifty who had missed the notice 
arrived on Monday evening, and were at once duly honored with an 
escort to Camp Douglas. Some of these visitors had boasted in 
Vandalia, on their way here, to intimate friends, that "they would 
hear of hell in a few days," and generally they were of the most 
desperate class of bushwhacking vagabonds. 



HISTORY OF CAMP DOUGLAS. 25 

The plan, as derived from confessions of the rehel officers and 
other sources was, to attack Camp Douglas, to release the prison- 
ers there, with them to seize the polls, allowing none but the Cop- 
perhead ticket to be voted, and to stuff the boxes sufficiently to 
secure the city, county and State for McClellan and Pendleton, then 
to utterly sack the city, burning and destroying every description 
of property except what they could appropriate to their own use 
and that of their southern brethren — to lay the city waste and carry 
off its money and stores to Jeff Davis' dominions. 

Thanks to a kind Providence, all this was averted, and the day 
after the arrests were made, Nov. 8th, the leading loyal journal of 
the city had the following deserved comphment to Gen. Sweet : 

The praises of this vigilant, untiring officer are on every tongue. 
Those whose homes have been saved from midnight pillage and 
conflagration, whose families have been rescued from a perfect car- 
nival of horrors, by his promptness and energy, will hold the name 
of Gen. B. J. Sweet in everlasting gratitude. When the story of 
this hideous conspiracy to let loose ten thousand cut-throats upon 
a defenseless city comes to be written, people will not only appre- 
ciate the magnitude of the danger which has been averted from 
them by the cool head and steady nerve of one man comparatively 
unknown to them ; but they will be astonished at the perseverance 
and skill with which the plot has been ferreted out and the ring- 
leaders tracked to their cover. 

In a general order, dated Nov. 25th, Gen. Sweet gives the num- 
ber of men under his command during the previous eventful weeks 
at seven hundred and ninety- six all told, and adds: 

On the 6th of November this garrison and the immense interests 
committed to its care in this camp, and in the city of Chicago, were 
threatened by Southern and Northern traitors from within and 
without. Added duty was demanded of men already worn. 
Detachments from the garrison, and heavy and repeated details 
were made, with scarcely an interval of rest allowed, which, if not 
done from absolute necessity, would have been cruel. Officers and 
enhsted men of the command answered each new call with a 
cheerful alacrity and earnest zeal which commands the warmest 
admiration. Seldom have so few men been charged with the pro- 
tection of interests so great — never have such interests been more 
faithfully guarded. 

Of course the modest, brave man who directed all these move- 
ments gives no hint of his own exhaustive labors in all these weeks 
of danger. He not only attended sharply to all his duties as com- 



26 HISTORY OF CAMP DOUGLAS, 

mander of the post, but he organized and sent out scores of detec- 
tives in all directions; he scanned their reports with an eagle's 
eye, and from a great mass of isolated facts, traced out the plans 
of his wily enemies, their location and their expected part in the 
breaking out of the rebels from the camp and the sacking of the 
city — knowledge of all these and much more was wrought out by 
his sharp, incisive judgment and ceaseless energy. As I had given 
him the lead of important facts at the inception of the conspiracy 
in August, he did me the honor to give me the substance of what I 
have above written, except, of course, as to himself, from his own 
hps ; and all that I have said of this villainous rebel plot is more 
than confirmed by the records of the subsequent trials, and by 
articles and documents pubhshed during the progress of the events 
which I have but too briefly described. 

May it not, therefore, safely be said that Chicago can never 
fully appreciate, certainly can never repay to his family the debt of 
gratitude she owes to the services of Gen. Sweet. Other brave men 
fought and fell in the fore-front of tlie battle ; Gen. Sweet was there, 
and ever after his right arm hung useless at his side. Other 
Generals rushed mto the thickest of the fight when towns and cities 
were burning around them; Gen. Sweet stood firmly and quietly at 
his post and saved Chicago from a fate equally terrible and destruc- 
tive. They knew that the lurid glare would flash out their names 
on all the pages of their country's history; he was content to do his 
duty, to save his fellow citizens from death and their city from 
plunder and burning. Their adversaries were in the front, fighting 
openly** man to man and brand to brand"; his were venomous 
reptiles, crawHng about in dark lanes and filthy dens, till with one 
fell spring the loyal city should be laid in ashes, and its people flee- 
ing in terror before the bullets and the swords of the destroyer. 
They fought the rebeUion with all the weapons of legitimate war- 
fare ; he had to fight secret treason with such strategy and the best 
means that his own genius and restless energy could invent. Before 
their serried ranks the rebellion was consumed in a blaze of glory; 
Gen. Sweet's wisdom and untiring efforts saved Chicago to rejoice 
with brave men and sterling patriots everywhere over a country 
saved, a free, united, enduring Eepublic. 



HISTORY OF CAMP DOUGLAS, 27 

The subsequent history of Camp Douglas can be told in a brief 
space. With the exception ef Fortress Monroe, it was said to be 
the largest and best appointed camp in the United States. More 
than 80,000 prisoners had been housed there, and large numbers 
were confined there during the winter of 1864-5. The spring after 
the collapse of the rebeUion, they were gradually discharged and 
furnished with transportation to their homes, one even being sent 
by Capt. Shurley to San Francisco. Gen. Sweet resigned at the 
commencement of the year, and Capt. Shurly succeeded as Post 
Adjutant. He remained in charge till October, discharging the 
prisoners and attending to the other duties incident to his position. 
During the fall of 1865 the camp was dismantled, and the property 
sold under the direction of Col. L. H. Pierce. 

During the winter previous a Court Martial convened at Cincin- 
nati, and the officers captured in November, were duly tried for 
their crimes. Walsh, General of the Sons of Liberty, was sen- 
tenced to the State's prison with hard labor for three years; Mar- 
maduke and Morris were acquitted; Grenfell was found guilty of 
conspiracy to release the prisoners from Camp Douglas, and to lay 
waste and destroy Chicago, and was sentenced to death; Semmes 
was sentenced to a year in the penitentiary, and Anderson shot 
himself, thus saving the authorities all further trouble on his 
account. Fortunately for the others, the rebeUion was crushed 
out and their sentences were in due time remitted. 

A few words more in relation to Gen. Sweet: After he was 
mustered out of the service he bought a small farm at Wheaton, 
and opened a law office in this city. In 1869, he was appointed 
United States Pension Agent for the Northern District of Illinois, 
office at Chicago, and he held that position until April, 1870, when 
he received the appointment of Supervisor of Internal Kevenue for 
the State of Illinois. In January, 1872, he was called to Washing- 
ton and offered the position of First Deputy Commissioner of Inter- 
nal Kevenue. He accepted, and held that place until his death. 
Gen. Sweet died on the 1st day of January, 1874, at Washington, 
D. C, aged forty-one years, eight months and eight days. The 
cause of his death was acute pneumonia. He was ill only a few 
days, and his deatli was a cruelly sudden and unexpected blow to 
his family and his many devoted friends. Gen. Sweet's family 



28 HISTORY OF CAMP DOUGLAS, 

were all living at the time of his death, except his eldest son, Law- 
rence, who died August 10th, 1872. The death of this son was a 
terrible affliction to the General, and his spirit never recovered 
from the weight of this sorrow. On the last day of the General's 
life, when all hope of recovery was over, he spoke many times of 
his family in words of anxiety and affection. Throughout his sick- 
ness he was calm, courageous, and cheerful. He died as he had 
Hved, hke a man whose soul no terrors, no suffering, no sorrow 
could shake. He hved through struggles, sorrows, wounds, poverty 
and discouragement, bravely, resolutely, calmly and undismayed; 
and as he Hved, so he died. Chicago will not fail to hold his inestima- 
ble services in grateful and honored remembrance. When monu- 
ments are built to perpetuate the memory of her preservers and 
heroes, let none rise higher than that on which stands the statue 
of General B. J. Sweet. 

As an evidence that Kepubhcs are not always ungrateful, I beg 
to add, that his accomphshed daughter. Miss Ada, was her father's 
Chief Clerk while Pension Agent, and also served in the same 
capacity imder Mr. Blakeslee. In April, 1874, President Grant 
appointed her Pension Agent in this city, and it is the highest pos- 
sible compliment to her, that no office in the country is conducted 
with more accuracy and success. While the last vestige of Camp 
Douglas must soon be swept away, and its place and history will 
only be known to the historian and the curious antiquary, the 
memory of her patriotic, noble father will become brighter and 
more highly honored as the ages roll onward. 



"A treasury of literary gems/' » "Tribune . 

CHOICE READINGS, 

FOB PUBLIC ATXli FBIVATE BNTEBTAINMZNTS, WITH 

ELOCUTIONABY ADVICE. 



By ROBERT McLAIN CUMNOCK, 

PBOrXSSOB OF BUETOBIO AMD ELOCUTION IN THE NOBTHWESTEBN UNIVEB8ITT. 



Large 12mo. 426 Pages. Price $1.75. 

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TALES OF ANCIENT GREECE.-By the Rev. G. w. 

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THE PRIMER OF POLITICAL ECONOiVIY.-i° 

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ANIMAL ANALYSIS.-A Method of Teaching Zoology, to 
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[see next paqb.] 



REBECCA ; or, a Woman's Secret.—By Mas. Car- 
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