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Copyrighted, 1901, by 




Two Copies ftEcnvtt 

AUG. 23 '<W 





• •• ! • . 

■• • • *«• •• 

• • • • • • • 



I have borne a part in some of the most important political 
events which have transpired in this state and the nation dur- 
ing the last half century; my own share in them was small, 
but that small share is dignified by its connection with the 
great actors who were the human agencies that gave to them 
historical importance. 

When I commenced the preparation of this ' ' Story of an 
Earnest Life," I intended to dedicate it to my friend, Lyman 
Trumbull, then living. 

We met first in December, 1839. He was at that time a 
lawyer, and lived in Belleville; I was a law student, and came 
from Carlinville to Springfield, where the Supreme Court was 
in session, to obtain admission to the bar. 

After that time, Mr. Trumbull and I became intimate 
friends, and agreed upon all questions of principle and policy, 
until the close of his life, with the exceptions which I shall 
probably hereafter mention. 

Mr. Trumbull died at his home, in Chicago, on the twenty- 
fifth of June, 1896. He was a profound lawyer, sincere in his 
friendships, a kind husband, an affectionate father, and an 
earnest, patriotic citizen. 

Now, that he, like Douglas and Lincoln, Bissell and 
Koerner, and a long catalogue of others, once my friends and 
political associates, has passed away (and but few survive), I 
can only dedicate what I have written to the ' ' People of the 
State of Illinois, and especially to the Young Men," who may 
feel some interest in the struggles of one who earnestly sought, 
in his private and public relations, to be useful in his "day and 
generation." J- M. P. 


If all the men and women 

He helped when sore distressed; 
If all the little children 

He loved and kissed and blessed; 
If all the slaves he helped to free, 

The battles fought and won, 
The civic wrongs he righted, 

The duties he has done; 
If all the poor, frail mortals 

Whose tears he wiped away, 
Could come from earth and heaven 

And be with us to-day, 
Ah, what a choir invisible 

Of blessings, thanks and tears 
Would thrill the hearts that mourn for him 

With his crown of earnest years! 



THE earthly portion of "An Earnest Life" was 
closed on the twenty-fifth day of September, 1900. 
Early, while the rising sun proclaimed the coming of a 
glorious Indian summer day, the summons came, and 
with tender thought for one so dear, the Master gave to 
"His beloved sleep" from which he awoke "in His 

Many times during the years spent together, we talked 
of the going hence, and while with reverent submission 
to whatever manner the call might come, he had ex- 
pressed the hope that it would find him with every fac- 
ulty bright from use and "with the harness on," ready, 
like the ancient trapper, of whom he loved to read, to 
answer "Here !" 

God granted his wish, and in peaceful slumber he 
passed away. 

We, whose privilege it was to be with him in the 
beautiful simplicity of his home life, beheld his character 
from a point of view different from that of the world, 
who saw only the wisdom of the lawyer, the bravery of 
the soldier, or the dignity of the statesman. Gentle to 
the last degree, he had a deep interest in the weak and 

Humanity in every phase appealed to him. Strong, 
self-reliant and buoyant with the vigor of robust health, 
he was always ready to shield those less fortunate ; his 
most tender care was for the weak one, be it an afflicted 
child or a stray lamb of the flock. 

The bearer of many burdens, as every great nature 
must be, he had the faculty of catching the stray sun- 
beams which glinted in the darkness, and possessing a 
keen sense of humor, which enabled him to enjoy a joke, 
even at his own expense, he was to all a genial companion. 

Being an ardent lover of nature, each changing season 


viii Preface. 

won from him a tribute. It was his custom to bring 
to our notice the first swelling bud of spring-time ; to 
pluck from snow and icy sleet the "Last Rose of Sum- 
mer," and a something in his nature responded to the 
grandeur of a thunder storm. 

Music was his delight, especially songs of the planta- 
tion, weird and full of melody ; the gentle strains of 
a childish lullaby, or the solemn measure of majestic 
hymns, associated with years of early manhood, and 
made doubly sacred by the memory of voices long still, 
of parents, brothers and sister — yea, of many dear ones. 

The writing of these "Recollections" was a labor of 
love. It may be that the never-weary fingers dallied 
with the pen while memory was busy. It was "hard to 
select" from .such a vast treasure-house that which might 
interest all. Most lovingly he lingered over the early 
years and paused for a space, while in imagination he 
fought again the fierce battles of the Civil War and re- 
called with reverence each brother soldier. 

And, as the busy life drew near its close and new 
problems and important issues demanded consideration, 
many times did he express the conviction that it was 
"too early to write more than a recital of facts: at a 
later day others would write of the history now being 

Surely, it was with a prescience born of nearness to 
the world beyond, that he gave utterance to the belief 
that when the last chapter was written he would "have 
nothing more to do." 

Patient, wise, devoted life ! By her whose privilege 
it was to share and be a part of this life for more than 
twelve beautiful years this sketch is written. 

His Wife. 


His conscience alone he served, 
However small the cause, or great; 

Never by friendship swerved, 
Never turned aside by hate. 

Honest his least intent, 

Therefore, let but one line be wrought 

At last upon his monument: 

"A man who acted what he thought." 

— S. E. K1SER. 


Birth and ancestry of the author— Removal to Green river coun- 
try—Character of the countn — Politics of the times — Slavery 
question — Removal to Illinois, in 1831 1 

Character of the people of Illinois — Black Hawk War — General 
Semple— Death of my Mother— My Father "gives me my 
time "—I leave home— Enter Shurtleff College— Brother Elihu 
— Arrested for debt — Voting in Illinois in 1836 13 

Engaged in selling clocks— Mob in Griggsville— First meeting with 
Stephen A. Douglas and John T. Stuart— Journey to St. Louis- 
Arrival at Carlinville 


Read law with Mr. Greathouse— Candidate for county clerk— Ad- 
mitted to the bar— Public men of the day— First case in the 
Circuit Court— Methods of study— Kindness of Judge Breese. . . 27 

Canvass of 1840— Impressions of Harrison and Van Buren— Disap- 
pointment of the Whig party— Scale of legal fees and prices 
of lands— My marriage in 1842— Lawyers as politicians- 
Elected probate justice of the peace in 1843 36 


Elected a delegate to convention of 1847— Constitutional pro- 
vision in regard to banks— Provisions in regard to negroes- 
Incident in regard to Reverend Albert Hale— Investment of 
school money— In regard to dueling— Township organization 
law 43 

Elected to the state senate 1851— The Logan Law— Major Beatty 

T. Burke— Quarrel with Douglas 56 



The Bloomington Convention— Organization of the Republican 
p art y_pl a tforin of the Convention— Delegate to the Philadel 
phia Convention— Fremont and Dayton— Platform adopted- 
Affair with Major Harris 71 

Nominated for Congress by the Republicans— Defeated— Platform of 
the Republican party— Decatur convention— Elector at large- 
Chicago national convention — Nomination of Mr. Lincoln — 
Interview with the New Jersey delegation 78 

The Peace convention — Organization — Personnel of the conven- 
tion — Amendments proposed to the constitution — Insolence of 
secessionists — Call from Judge Douglas 84 

Visits to Cairo— Visits to Cincinnati— Anna— Douglas— Visit from 
a Kentucky colonel— Muster regiment for sixth congressional 
district— Organization of 14th Illinois — Promoted to brigadier- 
general— In command at Otterville — New Madrid — Riddle's 
Point — First sight of gunboats— Colored preacher 91 

Retreat to Nashville— Mr. Slate— Pulaski— Major McKittrick dis- 
covers a friend — Arrive at Nashville 113 


Diary kept in Nashville— Call from Mr. Trimble— Capture of com- 
pany of the 22d Illinois— Arrival of Rosecrans at Nash ville— Skir- 
mish with the enemy— Stuart's creek — General Rosecrans* er- 
roneous report— First day's battle of Stone River. (18(52-1863.). 131 

Battle of Stone River continued— Military eloquence— Cripple 
Creek— An acquaintance— Mrs. Morgan's dress— Invitation to 
breakfast— Skirmish with Rebel cavalry— General Garfield— 
Letter to Assistant Adjutant General— Political situation at the 
North — A prudent preacher 14S 


Manchester— Governor of Tennessee— Union refugees— Cross the 
Tennessee river— Lookout Mountain— Ringgold— Battle of 
Cliickamauga — Colonel Robinson — Retire from Chickamauga — 
Russell's battery— Fatal order 166 



Retreat to Chattanooga— Rebel artillery— General Rosecrans, Mo- 
Cook and Crittenden relieved— Resigned— Letter giving rea- 
sons — Letter from Lincoln — Wounded — Assigned to command 
of 14th Army Corps 1 ! 

Beginning of the Atlanta campaign— Johnston abandons Resaca— 
Movements of the 14th Army Corps — Assault on Kenesaw 
Mountain— Enter Marietta— Battle of Peach Tree Creek— Cor- 
respondence — Relieved of command of the 14th Army Corps. . . 


Remained in Illinois until February— Letter to Mr. Lincoln— His 
reply— Enter again upon the practice of the law— Tried for 
bringing a negro slave into the state — Visited Washington 
for Governor Oglesby— Result of my mission— Assigned to the 
command of the Department of Kentucky— Conversation with 
Mr. Lincoln— Assumed command of the department— Address 
to the legislature of Kentucky— Correspondence— Orders 222 


Rumor of freedom amongst the negroes— Fourth of July, 1865— 
"Golden Chariot" and ' bosses ' of salvation"— Judge George 
W. Johnston— Indictments against me— Letter to Hon. George 
Robertson— Election order of 1865— Revisit the old home— Mr. 
Garrett— Letter to Mr. Dana— Letter to the president— Suc- 
cess of the conservatives— Letter to Judge Trumbull 240 

The guerrillas— Killing of Marion— Capture of "Sue Mundy "— 
Masruder and Medkiff— Sentence of Davis and Berry— Mrs. 
Smith and Miss Bailey— Feeding the guerrillas 267 

Inaugural address— Condition of the times— Change in situation of 
North and South— Democratic party— Railway corporations- 
Governor Oglesby— Public schools— Incorporation laws— Ve- 
toes— Local taxation — Lake front bill and veto 280 

Mercantile Protective Company— Constitutional Convention of 
1870— Detectives— Mobs— Bribes —Fees — Railroads — Eminent 
domain— Pardons— Talk to colored people on the seventh an- 
versary of emancipation— Address on the reinterment of Gov- 
ernor Bissell 312 


The Chicago fire— Correspondence with Mayor Mason, and the 

president— Message to the general assembly 343 

Meeting of the legislature of 1873— End of my term of office— Pro- 
vision for education— Defense of grand juries— Mobs— News- 
papers— Change of venue— Challenge to jurors -Pardons- 
Change in criminal law suggested— The poor— Suggestion of an 
officer to represent poor prisoners — The railroads 378 


Presidential canvass of 1876— Hayes nominated by the Republi- 
cans— Tilden nominated by the Democrats— Visited Louisiana — 
Hayes's electors counted in— Correspondence between Demo- 
crats and Republicans— Report to Mr. Hewitt— Nominated for 
U. S. Senate— Declined in favor of General Anderson — Election 
of Judge Davis 395 

Speech of welcome to General Grant— His reply— Obsequies of 

Hon. David Davis and General John A. Logan 432 

Marriage of the author — Nomination and canvass for Governor of 

Illinois 458 

Letter to Hon. James E. Campbell— Meeting and action of the Dem- 
ocratic State Convention— Speech on the ratification of my 
nomination— Letter from Hon. W. E. Mason— My reply 465 


Take my seat in the senate— Funeral of Senator Plumb— Speech on 
election of senators by the people— Discussion with Mr. 
Chandler 475 


Opposed the pure food bill— Favored pensions for judges of the su- 
preme court— Opposed the Indian bill— Homestead speech 496 

Correspondence with the secretary of the treasury— Defend the Dem- 
ocratic platform— Condemn the tariff— Oppose licensing dealers 
in options— Speech on the repeal of the purchasing clause of 
the " Sherman Act " 511 



Argument against alteration of the constitution by construction — 

Object to the seating of Messrs. Mantle, Beckwith and Allen.. . 532 

Letter to Mr. Isaac H. Webb — Letter to the president 555 

Oration delivered at the dedication of Chickamauga Park 560 


Resolutions and acceptance by the senate of the statute of Pere 
Marquette — My speech of acceptance — Unveiling of the Han- 
cock Memorial Statute 576 


The meeting of the Democratic state convention — Democratic 
leadership — Douglas, Pendleton — Democratic convention of 
1892 — Democratic convention of 1896 — Money planks in all of 
the platforms 589 

Visit at Galesburg — Address on Lincoln and Douglas — Met General 
Buckner at Chicago — Begin the canvass — Home of Don Dick- 
inson — Visit to Cincinnati 601 


Anniversary of the Bloomington convention of 1856 — Old politics — 

Deaths 620 


John M. Palmer (Civilian) 

Fac-simile of License 

Stephen A. Douglas .... 

Lyman Trumbull (U. S. Senator 18 years) 

Abraham Lincoln (President elect, 1860) 

John M. Palmer (Military) 

Letter of Lincoln .... 

Discharge from Army 

Richard J. Oglesby (Governor and U. S. Senator) 

John M. Palmer (Age of eighty-two) . 













Birth and ancestry of the author — Removal to Green river country — 
Character of the country — Politics of the times — Slavery question — 
Removal to Illinois, in 1831. 

My earliest recollections go back to a new, and then 
sparsely settled, portion of Southern Kentucky. My 
father, Louis D. Palmer, was born in Northumberland 
county, Virginia, on the third day of June, 1781, and 
was the third son of Isaac and Ann (McAuley) Palmer, 
who were both born in Northumberland county in that 
state, the first on the first day of November, 1747, and 
the latter in June of the year 1747 ; they died in Chris- 
tian county, Kentucky, within a few months of each 
other, the oldest persons in that part of the state. My 
great-grandfather, Charles McAuley, came to Virginia 
from the north of Ireland, and, as may be inferred from 
the name, was of Scotch descent. My great-grand- 
father, Thomas Palmer, emigrated to Virginia early in 
that century from England. 

My grandfather, Isaac Palmer, and my grandmother, 
Ann McAuley, were, when young, baptised by Lewis 
Lunsford, one of the early Baptist preachers in Virginia ; 
they adhered to that church as long as they lived with 
unshaken fidelity. 

My mother, Ann Hansford Tutt, was born on the 
twenty-seventh day of October, 1786, in Culpepper 
county, Virginia, where her father, Lewis Tutt, and her 
mother, Isabella Yancy, were born about the year 1750. 



Their ancestors were early settlers in Virginia, the 
Tutts from England and the Yanceys from Wales. Their 
families were wealthy, and so proud of their connection 
with the established church, that I imagine my grand- 
father Tutt did not join in the revolutionary movement 
in Virginia with much enthusiasm. My grandfather 
Palmer, in his quiet, stubborn way, took part in the 
contest ; he appears upon the roll of Revolutionary sol- 
diers as a "minute man," and received a pension of 
eight dollars per month for his services. I remember 
what I thought to be the excellent wit he exhibited in 
calling Cornwallis "Cobwallis," because he said "they 
shelled the corn off him in Yorktown !" In his old age 
his heroes were Washington and Lafayette, the latter of 
whom he remembered only in my day by the name of 
"De Marcus," to whom, as he said, "General Washing- 
ton compelled the shelled 'Cobwallis' to deliver his sword 
at Yorktown." 

His life was spent in the quiet pursuits of agriculture, 
following the simple methods of his day. I remember 
that his pride was, that he "owed no man," and that he 
attended the monthly church meetings which were always 
held on Saturday, and followed by Sunday preaching, 
with unfailing regularity. He had aspirations, however, 
for his boys, and "bound them out" to learn trades. 
Seven years was then the term of an apprenticeship. 
My father, when fourteen years of age, was bound to 
Archibald Mcllvaine, a cabinet-maker doing business in 
Lexington, Kentucky, where he remained until his 
twenty-first birthday, June 3, 1802, when his appren- 
ticeship expired. 

While in Lexington, my father, who was then and 
always was, an omnivorous reader, made himself familiar 
with the meager political literature of the day, and be- 
came an admirer and devoted adherent of Mr. Jefferson, 
while I even now remember that my grandfather dis- 
liked him. He insisted that Mr. Jefferson was an infidel, 
and had opposed Washington. Those were, in his esti- 


mation, unpardonable offenses. My father and mother 
were married on March 22, 1814, soon after he re- 
turned from a campaign in the northwest against the 
"British and Indians." He was in the rifle regiment 
raised and commanded by Colonel John Allen, who fell 
at the disastrous affair at Raisin river, where so many 
brave men were sacrificed to the tomahawk of the In- 
dians by the shameful conduct of the British com- 
mander. From all accounts I have heard, General Win- 
chester probably lacked capacity, and his volunteer 
troops were insubordinate and reckless, but they were 
brave, and if left to themselves, would either have died 
with their arms in their hands, as Colonel Allen and 
Captain McCracken did, or have obtained better terms 
than General Winchester did for them. My father was 
on detached service that day and escaped the massacre 
which followed the surrender. 

No names were more familiar to me in my boyhood 
than were those of Colonel John Allen and Captain Archi- 
bald McCracken, to whose company my father belonged ; 
both fell at Raisin river, gallantly doing their duty, and 
Kentucky has honored their names by bestowing them 
upon counties in that state. My father served for a 
short time after the affair at Raisin river, but as the time 
of his enlistment (six months) had nearly expired, he 
was not present at any other affairs of importance. 
After his return, he visited the then territory, now 
state, of Indiana, and bought land on the Ohio river, 
near Madison, but after his marriage he abandoned the 
idea of removing to that state. He followed his trade, 
living in Woodford and Scott counties (I was born in 
Scott county on September 13, 1817), and until the fall 
of the year 1819, then, attracted by the glowing descrip- 
tions of the beauty and fertility of what was then known 
as the "Green River Country," he, with my mother, my 
eldest brother Elihu and myself, removed to Christian 

Our removal was after the manner of the times ; we 


traveled the distance on horseback, my brother, then 
four years old, rode on the horse behind my father, and 
my mother, on another horse, carried me in her lap ; 
their worldly goods consisted of two hundred silver dol- 
lars and two horses, as I have often heard — "the silver 
was carried in saddle-bags." I have listened to many 
talks about their removal, but only recollect that my 
father often said that during the journey, if I had a full 
allowance of food and sleep, I gave no trouble. I think I 
have maintained the character then earned ever since. 

Soon after his arrival in Christian county, my father 
bought a tract of land containing about three hundred 
acres in the "Barrens," as they were called; the land 
was nearly in the condition of some of the prairies in 
Southern Illinois ; it had upon it scrubby black-jack and 
hickory growth which showed marks of the fires which 
had swept over it for many successive years ; it was 
easily cleared and when once put into cultivation, pro- 
duced excellent crops of corn and tobacco, which after- 
wards became the chief commercial crops of that part 
of the state. 

The settlers of Southern Kentucky established schools 
that met the demands for instruction in the essential 
branches of education as they were then understood — 
reading, writing and arithmetic as far as the "Rule of 
Three;" later, English grammar according to Lindley 
Murray, was introduced, but "grammar" was for many 
years treated as one of the optional studies, being con- 
sidered rather ornamental than useful. 

My teachers, Isaiah Boone, a relative or descendant of 
the famous Daniel Boone, and Hezekiah Woodward, a 
professional teacher, were competent instructors and 
used the rod of good sound hazel or hickory with great 
energy. I received my fair share of instruction and 
punishment and do not distinctly recollect when I could 
not read. 

Mr. Boone was a Baptist preacher and allowed no pro- 
fane amusements in connection with his school, but one 


of Mr. Woodward's schools was closed by a "barbecue." 
The dancing was under what was called an "arbor;" 
the meats were cooked in the "barbecue" style still 
practiced in some parts of Illinois ; bread was provided 
by the families interested, and a "still-house" near by 
furnished corn whisky for the occasion. I was then 
some ten years of age, but from that time until we re- 
moved to Illinois, in 1831, our manner of life was 

Other children were born until there were seven sons 
and one daughter who, with the exception of myself, 
were brought by my father to Illinois. 

The time of our residence in Christian county, from 
1819 to 1831, was filled with important political and 
social discussions and changes. I have a very distinct 
recollection of the great contest between what was known 
as the "old and new court" parties, which commenced 
by certain rulings of the Court of Appeals (Supreme 
Court) of the state. 

The lands in Kentucky were generally held under titles 
derived from Virginia, of which Kentucky had been a 
part ; the negligence of the land officers, and the careless 
manner in which surveys had been made, led to a con- 
fusion of boundaries in Kentucky, and involved the titles 
to land in hopeless uncertainty ; the courts were crowded 
with suits which involved conflicting surveys, or imper- 
fect transfers, and other questions of like character to 
the ruin of hundreds who had bought lands in good 
faith and made improvements upon them. 

The legislature of the state, in order to relieve the 
unfortunate settlers, passed laws for the protection of 
occupying claimants, which, had they been enforced by 
the courts, would have made the recovery of lands against 
occupants practically impossible ; at the same time the 
people were poor and in debt. 

The legislature, in its effort to relieve them, had cre- 
ated banks, and attempted to make their paper issues a 
practical tender in the payment of debts. The method 


of relief was by what were known as "replevin laws ;" 
these laws gave to the debtor, after the tender of pay- 
ment in bank paper, the right to stay of execution upon 
judgments on a tender of bond and security. 

The exact details of the methods provided by the stat- 
utes, by which the stay of execution was intended to be 
secured, are not important, for whatever they were the 
Court of Appeals (which consisted of John Boyle, chief- 
justice, William Owsley and Benjamin Mills, associate 
justices) held them to be unconstitutional, and upon 
that ground refused to enforce them. In 1824, an at- 
tempt was made by the legislature to remove the chief- 
justice and his associates by an address to the governor, 
but in order to remove them the concurrence of two- 
thirds of the members of each branch of the legislature 
was necessary. The requisite "two-thirds" could not be 
obtained to the address, so the expedient was adopted 
of repealing the law creating the court, and in that way 
get rid of the judges. 

The repealing bill also provided for the appointment 
of other judges of the court, the governor approved the 
repealing act, and appointed other judges, who it was 
expected would support the validity of the "relief laws" 
and other laws of like character ; but Chief-Justice Boyle 
and his associates, Owsley and Mills, refused to recog- 
nize the validity of the repealing act, or to surrender 
their records to the "new court;" the state had for a 
time two "Courts of Appeals," and the people were di- 
vided into parties which with great heat supported the 
rival tribunals. 

My father was a "new court" man, but Mr. Clay, 
who was then strong in the confidence of the people of 
Kentucky and most of the conservative men of the 
state, supported the "old court," and after a contest, 
characterized by great excitement, the "new court" party 
was defeated. A majority of the legislature was elected 
favorable to the old court ; this legislature repealed the 
law under which the new court was created. I have no 


doubt now but that the new court party was wrong, but 
the names of Boyle, Owsley and Mills, sometimes sar- 
castically called the "three kings," were for a long time 
odious to me. 

I have mentioned the name of Mr. Clay in connection 
with the "old and new" court controversy as support- 
ing the "old" court ; I think that fact made the "new" 
court party his enemies, for I remember in 1824, when 
the candidates for the presidency were Adams and Jack- 
son, Crawford and Clay, my father, and his "new court" 
friends, supported Jackson. 

I can now remember a political song, which I then 
read in a newspaper taken by my father, which com- 
menced : 

" Republicans, cheer the hickory tree, 
In time of war it sheltered thee." 

I recall but these two lines of the song, which was 
sung to some familiar hymn tune, but I remember a 
whole verse of another, which we sang to the tune of 
"Auld Lang Syne:" 

" Ladies, you are much mistaken, 
And can I tell you why, 
For General Jackson will be elected, 
And Clay will surely die'!" 

General Jackson was not elected, however, but it was 
then one of the articles of my belief that he was defeated 
by some "bargain and intrigue," to which Mr. Clay was 
a party. 

Of course, these impressions have long since passed 
away, but thousands no doubt believed that charge 
against Mr. Clay upon no better evidence than I had. 

I remember the presidential contest of 1828 with 
more distinctness. General Jackson and Mr. John 
Quincy Adams were the opposing candidates. Mr. 
Clay's great influence kept Kentucky steady, but by 
that time General Jackson's popularity was greatly in- 
creased, and his supporters were more numerous and 


bold than in 1824, though our neighborhood was over- 
whelmingly for Adams. 

I remember that my father and a friend left our house 
on the morning of election day to go to Hopkins ville, 
the county seat, where, I believe, all the votes cast in 
the county were received ; my father and his friend each 
carried a hickory bush as a sign of his faith. 

In the meantime, other subjects began to excite public 
attention. In 1829 or 1830, the neighborhood was 
greatly excited over what was called a "rising" of the 


Of course, there were no just grounds for apprehen- 
sion, but there were many credulous persons ready to 
believe such things, and weak and foolish negroes 
would make confessions that, though they carried false- 
hood on their faces, were thought to justify cruel perse- 
cutions . 

At the time to which I refer, the alarmed state of 
the public mind led the proper authorities to appoint 
"patrols," called by the negroes "patter-rollers." The 
patrols of our neighborhood were idle, reckless young 
men, in most instances the sons of respectable farmers, 
but some of them were the overseers of wealthy men, 
who had a large number of slaves. 

Tho patrols would enter any kitchen or house occupied 
by negroes without ceremony, and if any visiting negro 
was found without a "pass" signed by the master of the 
slave, or by some other person by his authority, he or 
she was at once whipped by the patrol, very much at 
their discretion. 

Saturday night was usually chosen by the patrol for 
their visitations, for that evening was commonly selected 
by the negro men for their visits to their wives and 
female acquaintances. 

A negro woman at our house had for her husband a 
very trustworthy, quiet man named Abram, who be- 
longed to a neighbor. One Saturday evening Abram 
came as usual to visit his wife, America, and about nine 


o'clock the patrol surrounded the house, to which the 
kitchen was attached, and prepared at once to force open 
the door leading into the room where the man and his 
wife had retired for the night. 

My father met them, there were two or three of the 
patrol, and objected to their entry upon his premises, of 
which he claimed exclusive control. I only remember 
that he was firm and they were overbearing and insult- 
ing, the more so as he was understood to be opposed to 
the institution of slavery. 

They did not enter the kitchen, but left, threatening 
my father with the law as well as personal chastisement ; 
he made no reply to their threats other than to defy 
them ; I had never before seen him so moved. The next 
morning he declared he would no longer remain in a 
state where scenes like those that occurred the night 
before were possible, and he announced his determina- 
tion to leave Kentucky and remove to the free State of 

This announcement startled us, for we had no idea 
of a state of society where negroes, if there were any, 
Avere not slaves ; our mother, as we inferred from what 
she said in her efforts to dissuade father from his pur- 
pose, entertained more serious apprehensions than we 
did of what she imagined to be the "social conditions' ' 
of a "free state." 

Father soon captured the imaginations of his boys ; 
he told us of the prairies, of lands so cheap that we could 
all be landholders, where men were all equal ; this con- 
sideration appealed to us strongly, for we already 
knew of the superior social standing of our wealthy 

We becan to look forward to the time of our removal 
to Illinois with impatience, but with all that my father 
could do, he did not complete his arrangements for leav- 
ing Kentucky until April, 1831, when the family started 
for Illinois, and left me with my aged grandparents, to 


follow the next fall with the husband of niy mother's 
sister, who was not then ready to go. 

The difficulty with the patrol had, no doubt, injured 
my father's standing in the neighborhood, especially 
with some of the extensive slaveholders, and what may 
seem strange, his views upon temperance were singular 
and very unpopular, even with the members of the 
church to which he was attached. 

I remember the appearance in Southern Kentucky of 
a volume of discourses by the Reverend Lyman Beecher, 
then of Connecticut, directed against the use of intoxi- 
cating liquors, used as a beverage, but I am not able to 
fix the exact date of their introduction into our neigh- 

These discourses produced a sensation that can now 
scarcely be understood. At that time the use of whisky 
was general. I remember to have attended a church 
meeting and Sunday preaching at the house of Captain 
Radford, a wealthy neighbor, where, after religious 
services were concluded two or three negroes entered 
with "waiters" upon each of which there were a dozen 
or more glasses well filled with whisky "toddy." 

These were passed first to the preacher and the older 
brethren, and then to the others, and none failed to take 
a share of the contents of the glasses. Almost every 
one kept whisky, which was made in abundance in the 
neighborhood, and it was a point of hospitality to offer 
it to every visitor. 

We had two good neighbors who never forgot boys, or 
negroes, in the dispensation of their hospitality ; and to 
be niggardly in this respect was degrading. I remember 
at a muster once to have heard a local poet sing of a 
well-known and stingy neighbor : 

is a mean man, 

And everybody knows it; 
He keeps good whisky in his honee, 
But never says, here goes it." 


This expressed the popular sentiment of the man who 
was wanting in the essential characteristics of hospi- 

My father and Mr. William T. Major, a neighbor and 
friend, became convinced about the same time of the 
evil effects of intoxicating liquor, and my father I know 
ceased to use or offer it to others. 

This was the subject of much remark, and perhaps 
added to the feelings of dislike with which some re- 
garded him on account of his views on the subject of 
slavery. At all events he sold his land, and in 1831 
came to Illinois and settled in Madison county, north of 
Edwards ville on Paddock's prairie, and about ten miles 
east of Alton, where he entered, I think, two hundred 
and forty acres of land, built a log house, and in the fall 
of that year I followed the family to Illinois. Those 
who know Illinois now can have no idea of the Illinois 
in 1831. 

After passing Hopkinsville, the seat of justice of 
Christian county, Kentucky, we took the route from 
that place by way of Princeton, in Caldwell county to 
Ford's ferry, on the Ohio river, and thence after cross- 
ing the river by Equality, Mt. Vernon and Carlyle to 
Edwardsville. This road which was then as far as 
Carlyle, the great route from Southern Kentucky, 
Middle Tennessee and North Carolina to Central Illinois 
and Missouri, was crowded with "movers" who were 
making their way by all the then known methods of 
travel, from the handsome family carriage to the hum- 
blest ox-cart. Many families traveled on foot with a 
pack-horse to carry their heavier movables or for the 
transportation of the smaller children. 

Such modes of travel are never noticed now to any 
extent, the railroads of modern life make scenes such as 
are described impossible. 

After passing along the road, which still runs some 
three miles west of McLeansboro in Hamilton county, 
for a few miles, we came to Moore's prairie, the first we 


had ever seen, and as we advanced towards Edwards- 
ville they grew more extensive. 

The prairies then were scarcely marked by improve- 
ments except very near the timber borders, for the early 
settlers dared not go out on the prairies ; many persons 
told us that the prairies would never be settled, and for 
years I believed that prairie land more than two or three 
miles from the timber was practically valueless. 

But the prairie in its natural state was indeed "a 
thing of beauty." Sometimes we would travel miles 
without seeing a habitation, or if houses could be dis- 
cerned, they would be situated at points of timber at a 
greater or less distance from the roads ; deer would be 
seen in herds as if they had not learned to be startled by 
human presence. 

Nothing was more animating than the scenes we 
witnessed as we journeyed over these long stretches. 

Perhaps the imagination had much to do in finding 
objects of interest on the prairies, but to me they were 
enchanting ; and after years of familiarity with the 
magnificent undulating acres of the great prairies of 
Illinois and other western and northwestern states, now 
that they are all inhabited, dotted with cities, towns, 
villages and highly-cultivated farms, they linger in my 
memory like a grand restful dream. 



Character of the people of Illinois— Black Hawk War — General Semple — 
Death of my Mother— My Father " gives me my time "—I leave 
home— Enter Shurtleff College — Brother Elihu— Arrested for debt- 
Voting in Illinois in 1836. 

After reaching my father's house in Illinois in Sep- 
tember, 1831, I found myself amongst a people alto- 
gether unlike those I had left in Kentucky ; many of them 
were natives of that state, but they were changed ; they 
were interested in subjects that were new to me. 

Of course, the entry of land, the improvements upon 
public lands, the breaking up of the prairie and matters 
of that kind were oftenest the subject of conversation, 
but many of the older men had been rangers and had 
fought the Indians and defended their homes from stroll- 
ing bands of savages long after they had troubled any 
part of Kentucky ; and religious controversies raged in 
every neighborhood to an extent that seemed to me to 
be absolutely unaccountable. 

The Indian disturbances which commenced in 1831, 
furnished some relief from the eternal babble of the des- 
potic leaders, and the Black Hawk war, in 1832, found 
employment for many of the old Indian fighters in the 
field, and subjects of interest to those who remained at 

The Black Hawk war interested me very much, and 
once seemed likely to influence my life. Before I came 
to Illinois, my father had made the acquaintance of 
General James Semple, who was a leading lawyer and 
politician, and of magnificent proportions and presence. 
He was amiable and kind to me, and in the spring of 
1832, when about to start north to join the command to 
which he was attached, he offered to furnish me a horse 


and such equipments as I would need, and take me with 
him on the campaign. 

I was then fifteen years old, and was delighted with 
the offer which I accepted, subject to the approval of my 
father. I did not doubt but that he would consent, and 
hastened home to report to him my opportunity, but he 
refused to allow me to go ; it was my first great disap- 
pointment, I bore it in silence when in my father's 
presence, for he held with Solomon on the use of the rod 
in family government. 

I did not go to the Black Hawk war, but I cherished 
very kind and respectful feelings for General Semple as 
long as he lived. 

My mother died on July 19, 1832 ; she was a wife and 
mother of the old type ; she spun and wove and made 
the clothing for herself, husband and seven children, six 
of them boys — for there was no ready-made clothing in 
that day. 

I remember that when a boy I filled "quills" for her, 
and the "loom" and the "shuttle" were familiar to her. 
I don't know how she did it, but she always kept her 
children well clothed and clean. 

She was reluctant to come to Illinois, and died two 
years after we came into the state from an attack of 
bilious fever. 

She filled the description given by Solomon of a good 
wife : "She looketh well to the ways of her household, 
and eateth not the bread of idleness ; her children rise 
up and call her blessed ; her husband also, and he 
praiseth her." 

The period to which I refer was one of great prosperity 
in Illinois ; lands were entered at one dollar and twenty- 
five cents per acre ; population poured into the state, and 
employment was abundant on every hand. I remember 
that one winter with a younger brother, I cut saw-logs 
on government land, and by that means earned forty- 
eight dollars ; my father added the balance needed, two 
dollars, and the amount of expenses at the land office, 


and I entered forty acres of land in rriy own name, which, 
after attaining my majority, I conveyed to my father. 

The next spring and early summer I drove a prairie 
team, four yoke of oxen attached to a twenty-four inch 
plow, at eight dollars per month. I worked at home 
when needed, and finally, in the summer of 1834, my 
father "gave me my time." 

This expression may have an amusing sound to the 
boys of this day, who will hardly consent to give their 
fathers their time. 

One evening while my father and self and younger 
brothers were discussing the subject of education and 
matters of that kind, my father said to me in reply to 
some expression of a wish to obtain a good education, 
"Very well, sir, you owe me four years' service yet, I 
will give you that ; go and get an education." 

I looked at him with an expression of surprise, no 
doubt, and asked in an excited, trembling voice, "When 
may I go, sir?" He seemed amused, and said, "To- 
morrow morning, if you like." I remember that I left 
the room to conceal my excitement ; after recovering my 
composure, I returned to the room where my father was 
seated, and sat for some time in silence, when he said, 
with signs of emotion, "I have no money to expend for 
your education, but a healthy boy as you are needs no 
help ; you may go to-morrow morning ; I give you your 
time. Don't disgrace me ; may God bless you!" 

This scene still lingers in my memory. I had looked 
forward to the independence of manhood with the eager- 
ness of hope ; I had reveled in dreams of results to be 
accomplished ; I had imagined myself a successful 
farmer or lawyer or a soldier, successful in every em- 
ployment. I meant, when I "got to be a man," to be 
rich, learned and happy ; my brothers were also to be 
happy and successful — and even then there would come 
into the picture a girlish face that was to share in the 
successes that I imagined were to attend my entry upon 
the sphere of manhood. Here was an offer made by my 


father to anticipate the day of my anticipation, to "give 
me my time." I accepted his offer, and as he had said 
it, I knew he would not mention it again. 

That evening I talked to "Roy" and "Frank," my 
brothers, who seemed as much elated with the prospect 
before me as I was. 

Next morning, after an early breakfast, I left home on 
foot without money or clothes ; both seemed unnecessary, 
for was I not going out into the world a free man, where 
clothes and money were abundant, and to be had by any- 
one who would earn them? 

The boys started with me, and they called the dogs, 
three of them, our constant companions ; they were to 
go with me to the top of the hill, a mile probably from 
the house. "We had crossed Indian creek, when the 
dogs started a rabbit ; the boys started to follow ; I 
called them back. We waited for the dogs and then 
moved on. 

My father was not at the house when I left, but he 
too had followed to a bluff we had passed, and from that 
point watched us. I did not then know why he stood 
watching, but I know now ! 

"When we reached the top of the hill, reluctant to sepa- 
rate, Roy said he "knew where he could start a rabbit 
on his way home." He called the dogs, and, without 
saying a word to me, ran off at his utmost speed, fol- 
lowed by Frank and the dogs, and I was left alone with 
my newly-acquired fortune — "my time" — with all of 
its hopes and possibilities. 

The boys ran until out of sight. I understood the 
reason why they ran very well, and would have been 
very glad to follow and overtake them, but my destina- 
tion was Upper Alton, where there was a school recently 
established. It was understood to be a "manual labor 
school," and it was my purpose to enter that institution 
and pay my expenses by my labor. 

I reached Upper Alton about one o'clock in the after- 
noon, and had made up my mind before arriving there 


that it would be necessary at once to find work. I had 
no doubt but that I could do so without difficulty. I 
needed no dinner — my dreams were more than food — 
but as I passed along the principal street soon after en- 
tering the town, I saw a man named Haney plastering 
a new frame house for Mr. George Haskell, and turned 
off to where he was superintending or making a bed of 
mortar. I asked him if he "wished to hire some one 
to make and carry mortar?" He said he did. I had 
never made mortar for a plasterer. He put a shovel into 
my hand and told me how to manage the sand, the lime 
and other ingredients, watched me work awhile, offered 
me seventy-five cents a day, told me where I could get 
board at one dollar and a quarter per week ; agreed to 
be responsible for me, and I worked that afternoon and 
continued to work until the job was done. I do not re- 
member the exact number of days this required, but I 
do remember that when I was paid and had settled my 
board, bought a shirt and a pair of socks, I had all of 
five dollars left, which was, as I thought, clothes and 
money enough for anybody. 

I then entered the college, and for awhile paid my 
board by my earnings on Saturdays. I also, with my 
elder brother, Elihu, took a contract to remove the trees 
from a street leading from Upper Alton to Middletown. 
The trees were large white oaks. We grubbed them up 
and were well paid for doing so. 

My brother, who was three years older than I, was a 
remarkable man even then. He was athletic, industrious 
and possessed a natural mechanical skill which was sur- 
prising. His capacity for the acquisition of languages 
was so great that it seemed as if he knew them by in- 
tuition. While I was plodding along in primary Latin, 
he surprised me, keeping up his Greek studies and at 
the same time dipped into German. 

He was an excellent musician, familiar with the science 
of music, and afterwards became an acceptable preacher ; 
indeed, he was, while we were at school, preparing him- 


self for the ministry. On the other hand, he was as 
guileless and simple as a child. 

He was without ambition, and had no fondness for the 
acquisition of property. He was very profoundly sin- 
cere in his opinions upon all subjects ; he was earnest 
in doctrinal belief, hated human slavery, and all forms 
of oppression, with an intensity that almost amounted 
to fanaticism. He lacked but ambition and selfishness 
to have made him eminent ; he labored while he lived 
more for others than for himself. 

I remained at school, in a desultory sort of way, un- 
til the spring of 1836, when the country was filled with 
rumors of the "Texas revolution," as it was called. 
My failure to carry out my intention to unite with the 
volunteers organized at St. Louis to join the "Revolu- 
tionists" was caused by an incident that seems now 
very ludicrous, but was at the time a crushing blow. I 
had volunteered, and my arrangements wore made to join 
a few friends at Alton, take the boat which it was ex- 
pected would take us to St. Louis, where another boat 
was waiting to start for New Orleans on our arrival. 

I spent the night before the morning fixed for my 
departure at my uncle's, two miles east of Upper Alton. 
I took leave of my relatives, and left the house filled 
with anticipations of the battlefield in Texas, and started 
on foot with a small pack of clothing to reach the 
boat, then off for the field of glory ! 

I had gone a mile perhaps after leaving Upper Alton, 
when I was overtaken by Mr. John Maxcy, whom I 
knew to be a constable of Upper Alton. He spoke to 
me kindly, inquired where I was going, and I told him 
to Lower Alton to take a boat for St. Louis, and from 
there to Texas to take part in the revolution. He handed 
me a paper, and said : "Here is something you have for- 

To my astonishment the paper read : "The people of 
the State of Illinois, Madison county, to any constable 
of said county, greeting : We command you to take the 


body of John M. Palmer, if he be found in your county, 
and bring him forthwith before me, to answer the com- 
plaint of," etc. I had never seen such a paper before ; 
it commanded the constable to arrest me, and take me 
before the justice of the peace. 

The constable told me I could discharge myself by 
paying to him four dollars and a half, and about one 
dollar and twenty-five cents cost. I assured him that I 
had not forgotten the debt, but had arranged with my 
cousin, Isaac Palmer, to pay it for me. He said that 
might be "all right," but he must have the money or I 
must go back. 

Unfortunately, my whole stock of money did not ex- 
ceed two dollars, so I went back, humiliated beyond 
measure. I arranged the matter during the day, but to 
get the money I had to promise to go to work. 

The steamboat lost a passenger, and the cause of 
Texas an enthusiastic supporter. I then went to work 
again, did not at once return to school, but paid the 
money I had borrowed ; and then in the May following 
occurred one of those incidents which so much resembles 
fiction that I cannot forbear relating it. 

Many persons now living remember Mr. Enoch Moore, 
of Springfield, whose remarkable form had so often at- 
tracted attention. In 1836, he kept a tailor's shop in 
Upper Alton. One day, I stepped into his shop, and 
saw hanging up a suit of clothes, the coat and pants 
were of some cotton goods which I cannot describe, and 
the vest was figured like calico. 

Mr. Moore saw that I needed clothes, and that I looked 
at the suit with interest. He told me that he had made 
it for a person who had failed to take it, and offered it 
to me for twelve dollars. 

I had no money, and told him so. He asked me my 
name, and when I told him he said he knew my father, 
and added that he thought I could earn the money 
and pay for the clothes. I finally, with great hesitation, 


agreed to take them, and for the first time contracted a 
debt deliberately. 

I have told the story of my arrest, which I supposed 
was applicable to all debts. 

During May and early June I paid most of the amount, 
and on the evening of July 3d, I went to my father's 
house with more than enough to pay the balance due 
Mr. Moore. My father, who saw the amount of money 
I had, and which "the boys" were counting with great 
satisfaction, said, "Go to-morrow and pay Mr. Moore, 
and then you will be a free man, but now you are a ser- 
vant." On the next day, accompanied by my brother 
Roy, I went to Upper Alton, on foot, paid Mr. Moore, and 
had money left ; went on to Lower Alton, spent freely 
(twenty-five cents) on cake and spruce beer (of the old 
kind), and reached my father's house about sun-down, 
a proud and happy boy. 

In 1869, after I was inaugurated governor, I reminded 
Mr. Moore of the fact that he had sold me the clothes on 
credit, and reappointed him secretary of the governor, 
ex officio fund commissioner, which he had held before, 
to which office a salary of fifteen hundred dollars a year 
was attached. 

In August, 1836, I was living in the south part of 
Macoupin county and attended house raisings, and other 
amusements of like kind, and witnessed and had oppor- 
tunities for familiarizing myself with the habits of the 
people, which were to me always interesting and 

The elections were then held on the first Monday in 
August, and although a voter, I attended an election held 
at the house of a Mr. Wood, south of where Woodburn v 
now is. 

There were three judges and two clerks of election, 
and the method of voting was viva voce. One of the 
qualifications required of a voter was residence in the 
state for six months previous to an election. I remember 
that a man named Hoskins, whom I had not seen be- 


fore, offered to vote, and when asked how long he had 
lived in the state, said he came here in the month of 
April previous, 

The senior judge, after telling him he had not been in 
the state long enough, hesitated a moment, then asked if 
he had "had the chills." He answered, "Yes ; I had one 
yesterday", and feel one coming on me now." The judge 
said, "put him down, and let him go home, the chills is 
as good as a six month's residence I' 1 His vote was re- 

It may be well enough to say, by way of apology for 
the judges, that there was a large bottle of whisky on 
the table, of which they had partaken liberally. Ac- 
cepting the rule adopted by the judges, I supposed for 
several years that "having the chills" was equivalent to 
a six month's residence in the state. 

In September, I returned to Upper Alton, where I 
spent most of the winter in school, working in payment 
of my board, in the family of the Rev. Ebenezer Rodgers, 
a Baptist preacher who had lately come into the state 
from Missouri. 

Mr. Rodgers was an Englishman by birth, and the 
father of my friend Colonel Andrew Fuller Rodgers, 
formerly of the 80th Illinois Infantry. 



Engaged in selling clocks — Mob in Griggsville — First meeting with 
Stephen A. Douglas and John T. Stuart — Journey to St. Louis — 
Arrival at Carlinville. 

In May, 1837, I formed the acquaintance of Mr. C. 
N. Henderson of New Hartford, Conn., who was largely- 
engaged in the business of selling clocks, and had ar- 
rangements for showing them easily. Four men who 
during the winter before boarded in the house I did 
were engaged in the practical business of peddling the 
clocks. The methods of the business were that a license 
would be taken out by him in some one county for the 
term of three months, which cost him fifty dollars, and 
then he put as many men and teams into the county as 
were sufficient to visit and canvass all parts of the 
county for the sale of brass and wooden clocks. 

After engaging with Mr. Henderson, I with three 
other employes and all of the wagons left Upper Alton 
by way of Waverly and Springfield, passed Petersburg 
and Ross' ferry (now Havana) and reached Lewistowu 
in Fulton county, where we operated for three months. 
It is difficult to imagine a more delightful life than I 
led while engaged in this business. 

The country was new and sparcely settled, the people 
were immigrants into the state, they were simple in 
their habits and hospitable to a degree that cannot be 
imagined by the people of the present day. 

Business was reasonably good, and everything in- 
dicated life and thrift in all the counties we visited. 
My first three months were spent in Fulton county, 
from that to Pike, where I made some valuable friends ; 
thence to Greene, and after that to Hancock, I was at 
Griggsville, Pike county, in October, 1837. One day 
when I was absent from the town, I came into my board- 


ing house after dark. Soon after a number of persons 
came into the public room, and I learned that during the 
evening a stranger had lectured upon the subject of 
slavery and had asked his audience to sign a petition to 
congress to prohibit the slave trade between the states 
and to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia. 

I would probably have signed the petition if I had 
been present at the meeting, but as it was I listened to 
a very sharp discussion between James A. McDougall, 
afterwards attorney-general of the State of Illinois and 
senator from California, and a lawyer named John P. 
Jordan, both of whom lived in Griggsville ; one of them 
had come into the state from New York and the other 
from Virginia. 

Mr. McDougall insisted upon the right of every citizen 
to petition congress to abolish slavery in the District of 
Columbia, and to prohibit the interstate slave trade, 
while Jordan argued that as congress had no right to do 
either, no citizen had a right to petition that either 
should be done. I went to bed leaving them in the 
midst of the dispute ; I slept late, but when I came from 
my room I saw that the street in front of the hotel was 
crowded with people, and across the street a number of 
persons were kicking at and striking a man by the name 
of Trumbull, and was then told that several men had 
followed the stranger who had lectured the night before, 
pulled him off his horse and had taken his petition from 
him, and were then pursuing every man who had signed 
it to compel him to take his name off the paper. 

I left the town soon after in pursuit of my business, 
returned in the afternoon about four o'clock, found the 
streets full of people, and learned that they had driven 
Mr. Ozias M. Hatch, afterwards secretary of the State 
of Illinois, into the belfry of the Baptist Church, in 
which he took refuge to avoid the mob, and that they 
were still in pursuit of others who had signed the peti- 
tion. I was on the street but a short time when a man 
named Pollock came running pursued by a mob ; I 


hated mobs then as I do now, but at the time I only in- 
sisted that Pollock should have what was then called a 
"fair fight." I had in my pocket a steel-barrel rifled 
pistol, I offered it to him, but to the honor of the crowd 
my idea of a "fair fight," "man to man," was accepted, 
and the affair ended for the moment, to be revived upon 
the appearance of some other obnoxious person. 

The town was under the control of the mob several 
days. Lovejoy was killed on November 7th following, 
which greatly added to the excitement. The local au- 
thorities were, as usual, overawed by the mob spirit, and 
did nothing to preserve the public peace. 

In Hancock county, I met for the first time Stephen 
A. Douglas. One night, after Mr. Sands N. Breed, who 
was employed with me, and I had retired (we occupied 
separate beds in the same room) , the landlord, Mr. 
Swope, came to our room, accompanied by two gentle- 
men, who were introduced to us as "Mr. Stuart and 
Mr. Douglas, opposing candidates for Congress." The 
landlord called us by name, and informed us that we 
would have to occupy the same bed. Douglas then 
asked our politics, and Mr. Breed told him that he 
was a Whig, and that I was a Democrat. Douglas re- 
plied, "I will sleep with the Democrat, and Stuart 
may sleep with the Whig." The arrangement suited 
all parties. I heard Douglas speak next day, and 
though not quite twenty-one years old voted for him on 
the first Monday in August following. He had no more 
devoted adherent than myself until we separated in 
1854 over the Nebraska bill. 

From Hancock we went to Knox count}', and remained 
there until Mr. Henderson closed out his business in Il- 
linois, and returned to Connecticut 

We made our headquarters in Fulton county, and about 
December 1, 1838, I took a school for three months, 
which closed about March 1, 1839, when I determined 
to visit my father, who lived in Madison county, and 
my eldest brother, who was married and lived in Car- 


linvUle, as pastor of the Baptist Church. I took pass- 
age at Utica for St. Louis on the famous steamboat then 
well known on the Illinois river as the "Ark." 

This was my first experience in river travel, and I was 
impressed by the novelty of the trip and the magnifi- 
cence of the boat, as it appeared to me then ; but my sub- 
sequent observation taught me that it was a miserable 
"tub," as compared with other boats upon the river. 

We spent two nights, and the whole of one and part 
of another day, and reached St. Louis the third day. I 
went to the "Green Tree Tavern," as it was then de- 
scribed ; I spent the night and next morning there, 
started on foot, and reached Edwardsville after a walk 
of some twenty miles, spent the night there, and next 
morning went to my father's house on Paddock's Prairie, 
arriving there after a further walk of eight miles, car- 
rying my belongings with me. On March 26, 1839, I ar- 
rived at Carlinville, Macoupin county, where I afterwards 
spent so many years of my life, and formed many valu- 
able and enduring friendships and entered into relations 
of the most interesting and affecting character. 

It was then a place of about four hundred inhabitants, 
and was a rough specimen of an Illinois town. I reached 
Carlinville on a Saturday about noon ; my brother, Rev. 
Elihu J. Palmer (whom I have mentioned) had mar- 
ried a year or two before Miss Eliza Gordon, of Ed- 
wardsville. He lived in Carlinville, and had charge of 
the Baptist Church at that place. He was poor, and so 
was his congregation, but his and their wants were few 
and simple. My own capital was entirely satisfactory to 
me ; I had twelve dollars in money, a few extra clothes, 
a rifle gun, which I had left in Fulton county, and a 
silver watch, which was of uncertain value. When I 
left my father in Madison county, I intended to go to 
Bloomington. I knew that many of my father's old 
friends and neighbors of his in Kentucky had settled in 
McLean and Tazewell counties, and I promised myself 
that I would be able to make up a school amongst them, 


and continue my law studies. My brother was not at 
home when I reached Carlinville, having gone some 
days before to attend a religious meeting at a distance. 
He returned, however, on Monday afternoon, and per- 
suaded me that Carlinville had advantages for me that 
I could find at no other place. He proposed that I 
should make my home with him, assist in the neces- 
sary work, which included the chopping of firewood 
where it grew, assist in hauling it to the house, which 
we did generally with a borrowed team, and cutting it 
into lengths for the fire-place. 

I accepted his offer, and we lived very happily until 
in the fall of that year he removed from the town. After 
my brother moved away, I got excellent board at one 
dollar and twenty-five cents per week, washing included. 
The washing involved no great labor, for two extra 
shirts, made of what we called "domestic," with col- 
lars of the same material as a part of the garment, left 
the laundry labor \ery light. 



Read law with Mr. Greathouse — Candidate for county clerk — Admitted 
to the bar— Public men of the day — First case in the Circuit Court 
Kindness of Judge Breese — Methods of study. 

I entered the office of Mr. John S. Greathouse, who 
was one of the leading lawyers of the town, and "Coke 
on Littleton," with Hargraye and Butler notes, were 
placed in my hands for a beginning of my studies. I 
had read Blackstone's Commentaries much as every 
student reads that excellent and learned work the first 
time. It will be interesting to students of the present 
day, when law books are so multiplied, that general 
treatises on every subject are to be found in the book- 
stores, as special works on all important subdivisions of 
the law, and federal, state and English reports are found 
in law libraries by the thousand, that the reports of the 
Supreme Court of Illinois at that time were contained in 
one volume, "Breese." 

My preceptor, Mr. Greathouse, who was a well-read 
lawyer, had in his office a few volumes of English re- 
ports, Coke, Raymond, Buller's Nisi Prius, Starkey and 
McNally on Evidence and Chitty's Pleadings, then a 
comparatively new work ; the copy I used as a student I 
have now. It descended to Tevis Greathouse on the 
death of his father, Mr. John S. Greathouse, and was 
bought at the sale of his property by Judge Jacob Fouke, 
and presented by him to me. I have a few of these old 
books still, but some of the most ancient and rare have 
fallen into the hands of the "filchers" of rare books, 
who have always looted careless collectors. It may be 
useful to students to state for their benefit my methods 
of study. 

I read carefully, with a glossary of law terms, and 
made full notes. I did not in my notes, as a rule, 


merely quote the language of the authors I read, but my 
effort was to grasp the subject and state it in my own lan- 
guage ; my conception of the meaning of what I read 
was often inaccurate, but I think on the whole the 
method I adopted was preferable to any other. It pro- 
moted brevity and terseness, and aided systematizing 
the knowledge acquired ; and I think my experience 
justifies me in saying that knowledge of the law, ac- 
quired by this method, is much longer retained and more 
easily and intelligently applied to practical use, than it 
can be when the student merely masters words of his 
author or instructor. I may add here, for I will probably 
not return to the subject, that it is essential to a success- 
ful study of the law that the student should master the his- 
tory of the people with whom laws originate. Laws are 
but expressions of the feelings, habits and necessities of 
mankind, and can only be understood by a thorough 
familiarity with their history, and of their applications 
and uses. I read English history and Reeves' History 
of the English Law with great profit. 

I was aided in my studies by that great promoter of 
diligence, poverty. I was compelled to earn something, 
and as there were some sales of land, and the volumes 
of tli e records were few, I examined titles and prepared 
deeds, and soon found some employment before justices 
of the peace. 

It was not long before I found myself able to meet my 
expenses which, with board at one dollar and a quarter 
a week, did not exceed $100 a year. The only interrup- 
tion of my studios was, that my political friends insisted 
that I should become a candidate for county clerk, in 
opposition to John A. Chestnut, Esq., of this city 
(Springfield) , now deceased, and who has been my per- 
sonal friend for more than fifty years. 

Mr. Chestnut was then the clerk, and a candidate for 
re-election. He was well qualified for the discharge of 
the duties of the office, and was deservedly popular. 
He was a Whig, and I know that the leaders of my 


party, when they insisted upon my candidacy in 1839, 
had no expectation of my success, but they desired to 
find employment for Mr. Chestnut, and preserve the 
party organization . 

The election was then held on the first Monday in 
August ; we commenced the canvass in May ; I had no 
money and needed none, for the candidates were wel- 
comed to the hospitalities of the people. 

I borrowed a young and partially "broke" horse, and 
rode over the country from house to house. 

Public meetings were held in the few villages in the 
county, and all the candidates were expected to make 
"speeches," and sometimes a popular party leader, who 
was not then a candidate for office, would address the 

The apology for the appearance of non-candidates be- 
fore the people was the necessity for defending them- 
selves from some personal charge or charges, though it 
was generally supposed the real object was to rally the 

I remember that a meeting at Stanton, one of the vil- 
lages in the county which was called to hear the candi- 
dates, was addressed by General John Harris, who was 
a brigadier-general in the state militia, and had been 
sheriff, was then a representative and afterwards a state 

He apologized for speaking by saying the Whigs had 
invented and were circulating a charge against him 
that he had "stolen a house;" he explained the trans- 
action from which the charge had originated, read cer- 
tificates from men in his neighborhood to support his 
explanation, and was fully acquitted in the judgment of 
his friends. 

He was followed by the candidates according to some 
theory of the relative dignity of the office to which they 
aspired. I made a speech, defended myself against 
some charges which were made against me — I have for- 
gotten what they were — and Mr. Chestnut, who was an 


agreeable, fluent speaker, edified the people. There 
were charges against him, too, I think. He defended 
himself successfully as it seemed to me. 

When the election came off, he defeated me about one 
hundred and twenty majority, but the other Democratic 
candidates were elected. 

My canvass made me acquainted over the county, and 
at the same time I acquired many sincere and useful 

I pursued my studies with great industry, and made 
some progress in the acquisition of the knowledge 
of the mysteries of the law, so that, in December, 
1839, I borrowed five dollars from a friend to pay 
my expenses, and as Mr. Greathouse was going to 
Springfield in his own carriage, he invited me to ride 
with him, which I did. 

We started late in the day, and reached Auburn, a 
mile or two west of the present town of Auburn, which 
is on the railroad, and stayed at a public house kept by 
a Mr. Eastman, father of the late Mr. Asa Eastman, of 
this city. I remember that my share of the night's ex- 
penses was twenty-five cents, and the bill of Mr. Great- 
house, for himself and horse, was fifty cents. We 
reached Springfield about noon the next day, and "put 
up" at the "Globe Hotel," "Inn" or whatever was the 
title of public houses then. "The Globe" was kept by 
Colonel Spottswood, who, I soon learned, was a Virginia 
gentleman of the old school. 

I met Mr. Douglas soon after reaching the city ; told 
him my business was to obtain a license to practice law. 
He, with that cheerful kindness which always charac- 
terized him and made him so popular, with young men 
particularly, made my application for admission ; had 
himself and the late J. Y. Scammon appointed a com- 
mittee to examine me touching my qualifications to prac- 
tice law. He invited me to his room for examination, 
where I met Mr. Scammon. 

The committee treated me with great kindness, and 



'&£eS#?C &?k^ 



made a favorable report. Mr. Douglas drew the license 
and made the motion for admission. The license was 
signed by two justices of the Supreme Court, Judges 
Smith and Browne. I took the prescribed oath and 
signed the roll, and was then a lawyer, lacking nothing 
but learning, experience and clients ! I had money 
enough to pay my hotel bills before leaving Spring- 
field, and I took "no thought for the morrow." 

The legislature was then in session in Springfield, 
and the city was filled with strangers, including most 
of the public men in the state. I here-saw, for the first 
time, Lincoln, Baker, Calhoun, Field, Browning and 
others, who were the party leaders of the day. 

In the evening, after my arrival in Springfield, I at- 
tended a public meeting held in the Second Presby- 
terian meeting-house, which was then used by the House 
of Representatives, and listened to speeches from Alex. 
P. Field, John Calhoun, then of Springfield, 0. H. 
Browning and Stephen A. Douglas. Field's speech 
was an eloquent and most bitter arraignment of The- 
ophiles W. Smith, one of the judges of the Supreme 
Court. Judge Smith had held, in opposition to the 
other members of the court, that the secretary of state 
was subject to removal by the governor. 

Field was secretary of state, and possessed a marvel- 
ous capacity for invectives, which he used unsparingly ; 
Calhoun defended the judge with great dignity and 
force ; Browning took sides with Field, and delivered a 
most eloquent and attractive argument. He was fol- 
lowed by Douglas with characteristic ability. Dis- 
cussions of this character were kept up night after 
night by Lincoln, Isaac P. Walker, then a member of 
the legislature from Vermillion county and afterwards 
United States senator for Wisconsin, and others. 
"There were giants in those days." Not one of these 
great leaders is now living. Field died in New Orleans ; 
Walker, in Wisconsin ; Calhoun, in Kansas. 

Mr. Greathouse, who had business before the Supreme 


Court, stayed a day or two longer in Springfield, and 
when lie was ready we left Springfield early in the 
morning and reached Carlinville before night, a distance 
of thirty-eight miles ; the roads were good. The next 
two or three weeks were to me the most wretched of my 
life ; I had no money, I was in debt for a month's 
board, I had no business and no prospect of getting any ; 
my landlord was a generous fellow, but was nearly as 
poor as I was ; he was in debt and needed money badly. 
I still used Mr. Greathouse's office, I had no difficulty 
in obtaining firajvood for the office, for I could cut on 
congress land and pay half for hauling, but when I went 
to one of the stores to buy candles, which were twenty- 
five cents a pound, I was refused credit. After about 
two weeks of this life I tried a case before a justice 
of the peace in Carlinville and got a fee of two dollars 
and a half, I paid two dollars of this to my poor land- 
lord, Allison. 

During the first week in January I traveled about 
twelve miles to the head of Cahokia creek and tried a 
suit, for which I received five dollars : after paying 
Allison three dollars of this and fifty cents for the horse, 
I took courage and started on foot to Edwardsville to 
attend the circuit court of Madison county, which was 
then in session ; Judge Sidney Breese, afterwards so 
distinguished in the political and judicial history of the 
state, presiding. It is thirty-five miles from Carlinville 
to Edwardsville ; I walked the first day from Carlinville 
to my father's, he lived near the road, ten miles from 
Edwardsville. I spent the day with my father and the 
following morning went to Edwardsville, stopped at a 
public house kept by a man named Wilson with whom 
I had a friendly acquaintance ; I explained to Mr. Wil- 
son that I had no money to pay bills, when without 
waiting to hear more he told me, with a rough gener- 
osity I shall never forget, that I should stay with him 
as long as I pleased, pay him what I could and if I 
never could "it didn't made a d — d bit of difference." 


It can well be imagined that after this reception I felt 
at home. I had known Judge Breese when I was 
a boy, and the first law speech I ever heard was made by 
him . 

He met and remembered me kindly, and soon after 
assigned me to the defense of a poor fellow who was in- 
dicted for larceny ; I have often repeated the incidents of 
this trial and the conduct of Judge Breese toward me, to 
illustrate the wisdom of judges who treat young mem- 
bers of the bar with kindness. 

Any lawyer may easily guess the character of the de- 
fense I made for this, my first, client. I had never be- 
fore appeared in the circuit court ; my client was un- 
questionably guilty, and the jury so found after very 
brief hesitation. After the jury had found him guilty 
I remembered that "according to the books," after a 
verdict against his client, it was the duty of the lawyer 
to make a motion for a new trial, and if that motion 
failed then to move in arrest of judgment ; accordingly I 
made a motion for a new trial for the usual formal 

I know I attempted to argue the motion, and although 
at the time I was so embarrassed by the surroundings 
that I then scarcely understood what I said, I was satis- 
fied soon afterwards when I heard from the judge that 
I made a most learned and forcible argument. 

When I had concluded my speech, whatever it was, 
I was confused enough, but when Mr. Kitchell, the then 
attorney-general, finished his caustic and almost con- 
temptuous reply, I was overwhelmed with confusion. 

The judge, however, rescued me ; he noticed the 
reasons I had assigned in writing for a new trial in 
succession, and said that the learned counsel had sup- 
ported these reasons with great force of argument. 

He stated what he said were the arguments I had used, 
confessed he was impressed with their force, and then 
proceeded to answer them with great deliberation, and 


concluded by saying that the defendant had been ably 
defended by learned counsel and tried by an intelligent 
and impartial jury, and that he therefore felt con- 
strained to overrule the motion for a new trial and 
render a judgment on the verdict. 

I did not make a motion in arrest of judgment, but I 
will confess that, for awhile after the judge had con- 
cluded, I believed I had really used the arguments that 
he attributed to me, and then repeated and answered, 
and, though I afterwards realized that both the argu- 
ments and the answers to them were the work of the 
judge, he made an impression upon me that still remains, 
and secured for himself my best personal services as long 
as he had occasion for them, and he left upon my mind an 
impression which I still retain-«-that Sidney Breese was 
in all respects an ideal judge ; and, in view of his inapt- 
ness as a politician, I have been inclined to repeat what 
Dryden says of Shaftesbury : 

" In Israel's courts, ne'er sat an Abeth-din 
With more discerning eyes, or hands more clean, 
Unbribed, unsought, the wretched to redress, 
Swift of despatch, and easy of access. 
O, had he been content to serve the crown 
With virtues, only proper to the gown ; 
Or, had the rankness of the soil been freed 
From cockle that oppressed the noble seed, 
David, for him, his tuneful harp had strung 
And Heaven had wanted one immortal song." 

The judge was, for some reasons, a failure as a poli- 
tician, but his preeminence as a judge has never been 

In the May following my admission to the bar, a term 
of the circuit court was held in Macoupin county, and I 
was appointed, in conjunction with Mr. Chestnut, and 
a lawyer by the name of Fiske, who lived at Hillsboro, 
to defend Aaron and William Todd, brothers, who were 
indicted for the murder of their cousin, Larkin Scott. 

This murder was so remarkable in its circumstances 
that it excited the greatest horror in the minds of the 


people, who, though not unfamiliar with violence, were 
shocked at what was manifestly a cold-blooded, deliberate 

The Todds and Scott, their victim, lived in Indiana, 
and had during the latter part of the winter visited some 
relatives in Illinois. At the time of the murder they 
were traveling on foot across the then unsettled prairie, 
near the head of Sugar creek, along the road from Jack- 
sonville to Hillsboro. 

At a point several miles distant from any house, Scott 
was killed, and an attempt was made to conceal the body, 
which was found after some days. The men in the 
neighborhood in which the body was found ascertained, 
at the house where the parties had spent the night be- 
fore the murder, the name of the man killed, as well as 
the name of his companions. They had told the people 
of the house where they lived and to what point they 
were traveling. A pursuing party overtook the Todds 
before they reached their destination ; they were brought 
back to Carlinville and committed to jail. Before the 
trial, Aaron Todd, the elder of the brothers, confessed 
the killing, and exonerated William. 

The result of the trial was that Aaron was convicted, 
and afterwards hung ; William was acquitted. 

It is probable that the brothers killed the poor man to 
get possession of a few dollars (sixteen, it was said) , 
and that Aaron took upon himself the entire responsi- 
bility of the murder in order to shield his brother. 
Such was his statement after William had been ac- 
quitted and hastily left Carlinville, manifesting no 
further interest in the fate of Aaron. 

By this time my business had so increased that it af- 
forded me means of support, according to the simple 
habits of the times, and I think I may say that, from 
that time to the present, I have never seen a day when 
I was without employment. I do not mean to say I 
have worked every day, but that, if idle, it was not be- 
cause I had not something to do. 



Canvass of 1840— Impressions of Harrison and Van Buren— Disappoint- 
ment of the Whig party— Scale of legal fees and prices of lands— 
My marriage in 1842 — Lawyers as politicians — Elected probate jus- 
tice of the peace in 1843. 

I have now reached a period at which almost every 
kind of business was abandoned, and the people gave 
themselves up to the excitement which attended the 
memorable political canvass of 1840. 

Mr. Van Buren was the Democratic candidate for the 
presidency, and General William Henry Harrison was 
the candidate of the Whigs. Mr. Van Buren, elected in 
1836 as the favorite of General Jackson, was never pop- 
ular in the West or South. General Jackson had, by 
the vigor of his administration, his determined purpose 
and efforts to crush out the dangerous heresy of nullifica- 
tion given mortal offense to Mr. Calhoun, its author and 
champion, and his followers. 

He had also made enemies of the commercial classes 
by his overthrow of the bank of the United States. The 
enemies of Mr. Van Buren, who were also the enemies 
of General Jackson, pretended to attribute to the advice 
and management of Mr. Van Buren those acts of 
General Jackson, of which they complained (commercial 
distress not attributable to the financial policy of Jack- 
son or Van Buren, but to the wild and unreasonable 
spirit of speculation) , which prevailed all over the coun- 
try and especially in the West, filled the minds of the 
people with the most profound and widespread dis- 

General Harrison, too, had considerable military 
reputation acquired during the then late war in cam- 
paigns against the British and the Indians in the North- 


These causes enabled the opponents of Mr. Van Buren 
to unite upon General Harrison, whose amiable personal 
qualities and negative political character repelled none. 
No political contest in the history of the country was 
characterized by more bitterness than that of 1840. 

Men of all classes participated in the canvass, while 
popular partisan orators never distinguished themselves 
more. The Whig party in Illinois at that time contained 
many men distinguished for eloquence ; among the most 
eminent were Colonel E. D. Baker, then a resident of 
Springfield (who afterwards distinguished himself in 
congress, representing in succession two districts remote 
from each other in Illinois, and afterwards in California 
by his matchless funeral oration upon Broderick, and 
then as senator from Oregon, and who perished at Ball's 
Bluff, during the civil war, in one of those affairs where 
his bravery by no means atoned for his want of pru- 
dence) , Lincoln, Browning and John Hogan, then a 
Methodist preacher ; while Douglas and Breese, Lam- 
born and Calhoun, their equals, championed the De- 

The state elections held in August before the presi- 
dential election, then as now held in November, indi- 
cated the defeat of Mr. Van Buren, but did not give 
warning of the total overthrow of the Democratic party 
which happened in November. 

I took part in the canvass for Mr. Van Buren, and be- 
lieved then, as I do now, that he was a great statesman, 
devoted to sound principles and eminently patriotic. 
The election of General Harrison was soon after followed 
by his death, and the discordant elements, which had 
united to elect * 'Tippecanoe and Tyler, too," separated, 
never again to be reunited — their only bond of union 
was their opposition to Mr. Van Buren. The political 
combination which placed Harrison and Tyler upon the 
same ticket had no common principles, and the accession 
of Tyler to the presidency destroyed it. 

The Whig party proper, which was made up of the 


protectionists, supporters of the National Bank, and the 
remnants of the Federal party (for the sake of success) , 
abandoned Mr. Clay, its true representative and leader, 
and nominated General Harrison for the presidency on 
the ground of mere availability. The selection of John 
Tyler as a candidate for vice-presidency, who was an 
enemy of protection and the banking system, an ultra 
states' rights man and admirer and follower of Mr. Cal- 
houn, was the price paid by the Whig party in order to 
secure the cooperation of the southern leaders. 

This became manifest upon the accession of Tyler to 
the presidency after the death of Harrison. After a 
violent struggle between the Whig leaders and Tyler, the 
latter threw himself into the arms of the Nullifiers, 
called Mr. Calhoun and other men of uncertain political 
character to his cabinet, and entered upon a line of 
policy which enabled the Democratic party, by an alli- 
ance with the southern leaders to carry the election of 
1844, electing James K. Polk to the presidency, and de- 
feating Mr. Clay, under whose leadership the Whigs in 
that year attempted to rally. 

I return from this digression and continue my per- 
sonal narrative. After the election of 1840, I continued 
the practice of my profession with great industry, and 
won a fair share of the very small amount of legal busi- 
ness that reached the courts. 

The scale of legal fees charged and collected by 
lawyers would not be very attractive to the profession of 
to-day. It is, perhaps, correct to say, that ten dollars 
would be the full average fee for the trial of a suit in 
the circuit court, while two dollars and a half, and five 
dollars, were the amounts usually charged before a 
justice of the peace. But this mere statement of the 
rates of professional compensation reflects very little 
light upon the actual state of the business of the country. 
Public lands could still be entered at the landoffice at 
one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre ; improved 
farms that are now worth fifty dollars could then be 


bought for five dollars an acre ; the means of sustenance 
were abundant and cheap ; the habits of the people were 
simple and inexpensive, so that while the comforts and 
luxuries of modern life are now more abundant, the 
people were then far more independent than they are at 

On the twentieth day of December, 1842, I was mar- 
ried to Miss Malinda Ann Neely, daughter of Mr. James 
Neely, of Carlinville. 

She was born in Kentucky, and was very young at 
the time of our marriage, but within a few days after- 
wards we went to housekeeping, neither of us needing 
any assistance. I had no home for her, but we found a 
snug, hewed-log house, which I rented for four dollars 
per month. It stood upon the ground now occupied by 
the magnificent "Macoupin Court House ;" her mother 
gave her the "Illinois fortune," a feather bed and its 
equipments. I had a bureau, which still stands in my 
home in Springfield, "none the worse for wear," and 
which I always insisted to her was an equivalent for the 
bed and its furnishings. A local mechanic made for us 
a walnut table, and with twenty-five dollars worth of 
the simple household and kitchen furniture, which was 
common at that time, a little sugar and coffee, some 
flour and a ham, I, proud of my new position, the head 

of the family, 

"Felt that swelling of the heart 
I ne'er shall feel again." 

She was a true and devoted wife and mother, and a 
sincere Christian. 

Ten children were born to us, six of whom survived 
her. On May 9, 1885, she died of that incurable disease, 
consumption, and sleeps in our little private cemetery 
at Carlinville, with the four of our children who pre- 
ceded her. 

When I left home on May 15, 1861, to assume com- 
mand of the regiment to which I had been elected, 
she remained with five of our children, all of whom 


needed her care, I expected to return within a few 
months, at most. I was only occasional!}' at home, but 
my military service ended by the acceptance of my 
resignation as Major-General of Volunteers, on Septem- 
ber 1, 1866. 

She never failed in her duty to our children, while the 
anxieties she suffered on account of her husband and two 
of her brothers who were in the army, must be left to 
the imagination of those who had like experiences. I 
have never doubted but that the wives of soldiers en- 
dured and suffered far more than did the soldiers them- 

To go back to the period to which I have adverted, it 
ought to be said that in a new country, as Illinois was 
then, lawyers from their relations to the people, were 
more or less necessarily politicians and office seekers. 
There were then no railroads, telegraphs or telephones, 
nor "the daily newspaper," which by the railroads is 
now delivered on the day of its publication, at nearly 
every postoffice in the state. 

It was then the habit of the lawyers to "goon the 
circuit," and some of them, like Lincoln, would follow 
the judge and go to all the courts in the circuit, and as 
all were partisans, the more read}' and ambitious of them 
would on the first day of the term, at the adjournment 
of the court at noon or in the evening after the ad- 
journment of the court, make a speech either assailing 
the party opposed to him, or defending his own party, 
or both. Some orator would reply to him on the next 
day or evening, and thus the debate was kept up until 
the close of the term. The terms of the courts at that 
time lasted but four or five days, and it was easy to find 
amongst the lawyers in attendance speakers to fill up the 

The people who attended the courts expected the 
lawyers to speak, and such speed ics afforded the only 
political information accessible to them. Some of the 
lawyers were more indebted to their adroitness as po- 


litical speakers than to their legal knowledge for their 
popularity at the bar. 

In 1843, I became a candidate for an office, which no 
longer exists, that of "probate justice of the peace." 
The office was abolished by the constitution of 1848, 
which created county courts with similar and more ex- 
tended jurisdiction. The probate justices of the peace 
were elected by the legal voters of the whole county for 
the term of four years; they had probate jurisdiction, 
and had also the civil and criminal jurisdiction of ordi- 
nary justices of the peace. The probate justices were 
their own clerks, and were paid by fees. I was elected 
by a large majority of votes. During the canvass, I 
made speeches, as did my opponent and the candidates for 
other county offices. I do not remember the topics we 
discussed, other than that I was charged with abolition- 
ism, and defended myself by proving that I was a con- 
tributor to the "American Colonization Society." I 
kept no account of the fees received from this office, nor 
of nry professional earnings, but they probably amounted 
to some seven hundred dollars per annum. 

Between 1843 and 1849, I bought a house in Carlin- 
ville and three lots for $200. I spent $100 or more in 
altering and repairing the house, and purchased text- 
books and reports, and in that way provided myself with 
a respectable law library. I mention the price at which 
I purchased the house and three lots in Carlinville to 
justify a statement which I now make that there never 
was a time in the history of Illinois when the prices of 
all property, real and personal, were as low as from 1840 
to 1848. Pork and beef were worth one and a half and two 
cents a pound, horses were lower in price than they are 
now, in this age of electricity, bicycles and horseless car- 
riages, and I remember that soon after my marriage I 
bought from an acquintance an excellent cow and her 
calf, for which I paid ten dollars, and he afterwards 
boasted that he beat me in the transaction, the average 
price of such cows as I bought being about eight dol- 


lars ; common labor was fifty cents a day, and plows and 
harrows and other agricultural implements were made by 
the local mechanics. 

I was married on the 20th day of December, 1843, and 
within a few days thereafter, I was employed to attend a 
suit before Squire Stewart, who lived fourteen miles north 
of Carlinville. I hired a horse to ride for fifty cents a 
day, and appeared before the "squire" for my client. 

My defense was usury. When I reached the office of 
Justice Stewart, I was confronted by a letter to the jus- 
tice from Major P. H. Winchester, an old lawyer in Car- 
linville, who had the full confidence of the justice, in 
which he said, "that as there were no pleadings before 
justices of the peace, it could not appear by the plead- 
ings that the fact of usury was put in issue, and de- 
fendant could not therefore become a witness." 

I knew that it would be useless to argue to Justice 
Stewart that Major Winchester was wrong, but I knew 
him to be a conscientious, honest man, so I insisted that 
as the statute gave the defense of usury, a justice, who 
was bound to give full effect to the statute, ought to dis- 
miss the suit, in order to give the maker of the note an 
opportunity to plead his defense, and as the plaintiff was 
alive, to become a witness. 

The justice dismissed the suit. I charged my client 
five dollars, and he asked me if I "would take my fee 
in cornmeal?" 

Being the head of a family, but wholly ignorant of 
its wants, I told him I would. A few days afterwards, 
he came to my office, and told me that he "would have 
brought all the meal he owed me if he had had barrels 
enough to hold it, but as he had only six barrels he had 
only brought eighteen bushels." I went to the house, 
saw the cornmeal, and told my client that I forgave him 
the balance he owed me. 

As my family consisted then of myself and wife only, 
it may well be guessed that my neighbors profited by the 
distribution of the meal. 



Elected a delegate to convention of 1847 — Constitutional provision in 
regard to banks — Provisions in regard to negroes — Incident in re- 
gard to Revered Albert Hale— Investment of school money — In re- 
gard to dueling — Township organization law. 

On April 3, 1847, I was elected a delegate to a con- 
vention which was called in pursuance on an "Act to 
provide for the call of a convention to revise the Con- 
stitution of the State of Illinois," and the convention 
was required to meet on the first Monday in June, 
1847. The county of Macoupin was democratic, but 
the people refused to be controlled by mere partisan 
considerations, but elected Captain James Graham to 
be my colleague, defeating Benjamin R. Barr, Esq., 
who was the democratic candidate ; Lewis Solomon, 
senior, was also a candidate for a seat in the conven- 
tion, and received two hundred and sixty-one votes, de- 
feating Mr. Barr. The convention assembled on June 
7, 1847, and organized by the election of Newton 
Cloud, of Morgan county, president, Henry W. Moore, 
secretary, and John A. Wilson, sergeant-at-arms. 

Being in favor of publicity, I offered a resolution in- 
viting the editors and reporters of the state to seats 
within the bar, which was adopted, and I was assigned 
at my own request to the committee on education. 

On the 10th day of June, I offered a resolution proposing 
a scheme for the re-organization of the judicial depart- 
ment of the state government. It was in substance, 
"that the judicial system of this state shall be com- 
posed of a supreme court, circuit courts and such in- 
ferior courts as shall be established by law. That the 
supreme court shall be composed of not less than three 
nor more than five judges, who shall be appointed by 
the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the 


senate, and shall hold their offices for the term of ten 
years, and shall receive for their services a compensation 
not exceeding twelve hundred dollars per annum, and 
shall be ineligible to any other office for and during the 
term for which they shall have been elected." "That 
the state shall be divided into a convenient number of 
judicial circuits, and in each of these circuits there shall 
be elected by the legal voters thereof a judge who shall 
hold his office for the period of ten years, who shall re- 
ceive for his services the sum of one thousand dollars 
per annum, and shall be ineligible to any other office 
for and during the term for which he shall have been 
elected. Each of which said judges shall appoint a 
clerk of said court in each of the counties of his cir- 
cuit, who shall hold his office for and during the term 
for which said judge shall have been elected." 

The resolutions expressed at the time my ideas of the 
proper organization of the judicial department of the 
state government, but I am now convinced that popular 
elections afford the most satisfactory method of filling 
judicial places. At that time the population of the 
state was sparse, its means of communication imperfect, 
and while my scheme proposed the election of circuit 
judges by the people of the circuits interested, it con- 
templated an appointment of the judges of the supreme 
court by the governor, subject to the confirmation by 
the senate. 

On June 14, 1847, Mr. Markley, a delegate from 
Fulton county, offered a resolution that the "committee 
on incorporations be and they are hereby instructed to 
report an amendment to the constitution prohibiting 
forever within this state the incorporation of any bank, 
or company for banking purposes, and the manufacture 
and emission by any company, copartnership, or in- 
dividual, of any banknote, or other paper, designed to 
circulate as paper money." 

Mr. Pratt moved to amend the resolution offered by 


Mr. Markley by striking out all after the word "re- 
solved," and inserting as follows : 

"1. There shall be no bank of issue or of discount 
within this state. 

"2. The legislature shall not have power to authorize 
or incorporate by any general or special law any bank 
or other institution having banking power, privileges, 
or to confer upon any corporation, institution, person or 
persons any banking power or privileges. 

"3. It shall not be lawful for any corporation, insti- 
tution, j)erson or persons within this state, under any 
pretense or authority, to make or issue any paper money, 
note, bill, certificate or other evidence of debt intended 
to circulate as money. 

"4. It shall not be lawful for any corporation within 
this state, under any pretense or authority to exercise 
the business of receiving deposits of money, making dis- 
counts or buying or selling bills of exchange, or to do 
any other banking business whatever. 

"5. No bank, or agency of any bank, or banking in- 
stitution of the United States, or any other state or terri- 
tory within or without the United States, shall be es- 
tablished or maintained within this state. 

"6. It shall not be lawful to circulate in this state, 
after the year 1848, any paper money, note, bill, certifi- 
cate or other evidence of debt whatever, intended to cir- 
culate as money, issued without this state, of any de- 
nomination less than ten dollars ; after the year of 1850, 
of any denomination less than twenty dollars. 

"7. All payments made, or business transactions done, 
in paper money in this state, and coming within the 
meaning of the last section, are declared to be utterly 
void, and the legislature shall at its first session after 
the adoption of these amendments, and from time to 
time thereafter as it may be necessary, enact adequate 
remedies for the punishment of all violations and 
evasions of the provisions of the preceding section." 
Mr. Laughlin moved to amend the amendment as fol- 


lows: "That the legislature of this state shall have no 
power to incorporate any bank, or banks, or other 
moneyed institution, without such act of incorporation 
being first sanctioned by a direct vote of the people of 
this state." 

I was opposed to all banks of issue, and sought, as far 
as possible, to limit the circulation of bank-bills in this 
state, hence I favored Mr. Markley's proposition, which 
was simply to prohibit the creation of banks and the cir- 
culation of all bank-notes, and impose the duty upon the 
legislature of passing laws prohibiting the emission of 
any paper designed to circulate as money. 

The combined propositions of Messrs. Markley and Pratt 
were never able to command more than fifty -eight votes. 
In the first instance, the several propositions were referred 
to the committee on corporations, but the subject con- 
stantly recurred during the session of the convention. 

On June 24th, I addressed the convention, and said : 
"I think the friends of the banks ought to come forward 
with their propositions. . . . We were altogether 
on the defensive, . . . the question of banks was 
the most important one that would come before the con- 
vention, as it would affect the future interest and pros- 
perity of the state, and it depended upon our resistance 
to defeat the evils of the system : if we were to be 
beaten, and the state was to have banks, I would prefer 
that the friends of these institutions should prepare that 
system which their wisdom and experience should sug- 
gest — if the rights of the people were to be invaded, let 
it be done by the friends of the system." 

In reply to Mr. Thomas, I said: "I am certain that 
no one dares send to the people a system of banks with- 
out many restrictions." 

"He stood there upon the side of the people, behind a 
prohibitory clause in the constitution, and while his 
party presented a perfectly invulnerable barrier to pro- 
tect the people from any system of banks or banking, the 
other party were compelled by their duty to the people 


of the state to come forward with a restrictive policy, 
something put around the plan to sweeten the dose, and 
showed that they were unwilling to turn the monster un- 
restricted upon the people." 

The convention finally adopted the views of Mr. 
Laughlin, and by the seventh section of the 10th article 
of the constitution, made provision : 

"1. That no state bank shall hereafter be created, nor 
shall the state own, or be liable for, any stock in any cor- 
poration or joint stock association for banking pur- 
poses hereafter to be created. 

"2. The stockholders in every corporation or joint 
stock association for banking purposes, issuing bank- 
notes or any kind of paper credit to circulate the money, 
shall be individually responsible to the amount of their 
respective shares of stock, in any such corporation, or 
association, for all of its debts or liabilities of any kind. 

"3. No act of the general assembly authorizing cor- 
porations or associations with banking powers shall go 
into effect, or in any manner be in force, unless the same 
shall be submitted to the people at the general election 
next succeeding the passage of the same, and be ap- 
proved by a majority of all the votes cast at such elec- 
tion for and against such law." 

On June 25th, Mr. Bond, a delegate from Clinton 
county offered a resolution directing the committee on 
the "bill of rights" to report a clause for the new con- 
stitution, prohibiting free negroes from hereafter emi- 
grating to and settling within the bounds of this state, 
and to prevent the owners of slaves in other states from 
bringing them into and setting them free in this state, 
with such penalties as will be calculated to effectuate the 
object in view. 

Mr. Adams, of Kane county, moved to strike out all 
after the word "resolved" and insert the words "that 
the legislature shall have no power to pass laws of an 
oppressive character applicable to persons of color." 
Upon a motion to lay upon the table, I voted with the 


majority opposing any provision in the constitution in 
regard to negroes. 

I said, in substance, "I thought the introduction of 
this subject into the convention was unwise, and would 
be productive of no good. Almost all the evil growing 
out of the excitement upon this question had been pro- 
duced by persons occupying the extremes of both parties. 
On the one side were those who were honest, sincere 
and consistent in their opinions, and men of the most 
respectable character, who devote all their zeal, ardor 
and means for the accomplishment of their object, men 
of one idea. On the other side was a class of persons 
who, to check abolition, use the most violent language 
and often occupied very untenable ground, and they to- 
gether have contributed more than anything else to 
create the excitement on this question. I would ask 
gentlemen to reflect upon the consequences of the adop- 
tion of this provision. If it was adopted, and its pro- 
visions inserted in the constitution, a large class of per- 
sons would oppose it. Why then unnecessarily provoke 
a battle against the constitution? Intemperance on the 
one side was as objectionable as on the other. Every 
impulse of my heart and every feeling is in opposition 
to slavery, and if my acts or votes here would do any- 
thing to ameliorate the condition of those held in bond- 
age, no man would exert himself more zealously than I ; 
no one would do more to remove the great stain of moral 
guilt now upon this great republic ; but I look upon every 
proposition either for or against that object as checking 
the good work." 

This speech was quoted on me at "Dry Fork" on elec- 
tion day, and resulted in the fact that every vote (twenty- 
three) cast in the precinct was for my opponent, who 
was elected probate justice of the peace by twenty-seven 

Early in the session, the convention had passed a 
resolution inviting the ministers of the city of Spring- 
field to open the convention with prayer, one of whom 


was the Rev. Albert Hale, who, from his services, 
merited the title so lovingly given him of "Bishop of 
the Highways and Hedges," and who was one of the 
purest men in the state. 

Mr. Akin, who had not attended the service, offered 
the following resolution: "Whereas, Mr. Hale, in a 
sermon on July 11th, in the Second Presbyterian Church, 
denounced the existing war with Mexico as being un- 
just ; and whereas, such declarations ought not to be 
tolerated, more especially in a republican government ; 
and whereas, it is unbecoming a minister of the gospel 
to use such language in a gospel sermon or before the 
young and rising generation ; therefore, resolved, that 
Mr. Hale be excused from holding prayers in this con- 
vention for the future." 

A vote was taken, but no quorum having voted upon 
a motion to lay this resolution upon the table, Mr. Camp- 
bell (of Jo Daviess) moved that "Rev. Mr. Hale be ex- 
cused from service as chaplain in this convention." 
Mr. Knapp, of Scott, offered the following, that "this 
convention highly appreciates the services of the volun- 
teers, both officers and privates, of this state who 
have periled their lives in the cause of our common 
country in the war with Mexico ; that their fame is es- 
tablished upon an immovable basis, far above the reach 
of calumny, having earned for themselves a character 
that needs no vindication, and which cannot be impaired 
by detraction." Mr. Campbell moved to amend by 
adding the following, which was adopted: "And that 
this convention highly deprecate all reflections prejudicial 
to the volunteers coming from the pulpit or any other 

source . ' ' 

Mr. Palmer, of Macoupin, moved the following resolu- 
tion as a substitute for the resolution as amended : 
"Whereas, all men have a natural and indefeasible right 
to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of 
their own consciences, and that no human authority can, 


in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights 
of conscience ; and, whereas, liberty of speech is one of 
the invaluable rights of a free people, being responsible 
to the laws of the land for any abuse thereof ; therefore, 
resolved, that, while as individuals we dissent from 
many of the positions assumed by the Rev. Mr. Hale, as 
they have been reported to this convention, we disclaim 
all censorship over the pulpit, or of the opinions ex- 
pressed therefrom, inasmuch as such censorship is in 
violation of the rights of the reverend gentleman, and 
beyond our legitimate sphere." — Convention Journal, 
1847, page 167 et seq. 

The resolution was laid on the table by a close vote, 
after a debate, in which many leading members of the 
convention took part, and the preamble was referred to 
the committee on the bill of rights, but the controversy 
ended at that point, all parties being satisfied that the 
introduction of the subject was unfortunate. Mr. Hale, 
on the morning of Monday, July 19th, officiated at the 
opening of the convention, and as he left the hall a cir- 
cumstance occurred which is sufficiently explained by 
the preamble to a resolution offered by Mr. Knapp, of 
Jersey, which is as follows: "Whereas, a respectable 
minister of the gospel, whilst attending the convention 
to open the session by prayer, under a resolution of the 
convention, has been grossly insulted and menaced with 
bodily injury by a member of the convention ; and, 
whereas, it is alike due to the convention, and to the 
ministers, that we should not invite them to perform that 
duty, unless we could secure them against such indigni- 
ties ;" to this preamble was added, that the "resolution 
inviting the clergymen of Springfield to open the session 
with prayer," be rescinded, and that the secretary be 
instructed to inform said clergymen of the same, with 
the assurance of the convention that ' 'this step is not 
adopted from any dissatisfaction with the manner in 
which they have discharged their sacred duty, but solely 
from an unwillingness to subject them to a repetition of 


such indignities." Mr. Aiken was the member referred 
to in Mr. Knapp's resolution. It is not much to the 
credit of the convention that this preamble and resolution 
•were adopted without a word of debate. I remember 
my own feelings of humiliation when I witnessed their 
adoption, and I saw in the countenances of others that 
their feeling was like my own. 

An attempt was subsequently made in the convention 
to recover what was lost by the passage of Mr. Knapp's 
preamble and resolution, for, on the 26th of July, the 
convention, on motion of Mr. Hays, a delegate from 
White county, "Resolved, that so much of a preamble 
and resolution in relation to the chaplains of this body 
(which appears on the Journal of Tuesday last) assumes 
that this convention is not able and willing to protect 
itself and officers from interruption and insult, while in 
the discharge of their duties, be rescinded ; resolved, 
that the president be requested to open the morning 
session with prayer ;" which was adopted unanimously. 

Mr. Hale was an extraordinary man ; the proceedings 
with reference to him were made the subjeet of news- 
paper comment, and, while he exhibited some emotion, 
he merely said to me : "I thank you ; I hope you may 
live to be useful." 

Controversies in regard to the chairmanship of the 
committee on education, or the leadership of that com- 
mittee, between Mr. Campbell, of Jo Daviess, and Mr. 
Edwards, of Madison, made it my duty to prepare a re- 
port from that committee, which I did, as follows : 

"Article — , Sec. 1. The moneys received from the 
United States under the provisions of an act of congress 
of April 18, 1818, for the encouragement of learning, 
constituting 'the school fund,' and that bestowed on a 
college, or university, constituting the 'college fund,' 
as well as that arising from the sale of lands granted for 
the use of a seminary of learning, constituting 'the 
seminary fund,' with all additions which have been or 
may hereafter be made to said funds, or any of them, 


shall remain perpetual funds and be held by the state 
for the uses and purposes aforesaid, the annual in- 
terest only to be applied to the support of the schools, 
a college, or seminaries, under the authority of the gen- 
eral assembly. 

"Sec. 2. Officers and trustees having the care or con- 
trol of any school, college, or seminary funds, or any 
school fund or any township in this state, for investment, 
may purchase therewith or invest the same in the bonds 
of this state, at their market value, under such regula- 
tions as the general assembly may prescribe, and it 
shall be the duty of the general assembly to provide for 
the prompt payment of the interest of such bond, so 
purchased as aforesaid, as the same becomes due : Pro- 
vided, that the general assembly may hereafter prohibit 
or restrict such investments as the public good may re- 

"Sec. 3. It shall be the duty of the general assembly 
to provide for a system of common schools, which shall 
be as nearly uniform as may be throughout the state, 
and such common schools shall be equally free to all 
children in the state, and no sectarian instruction shall 
be permitted in any of them. 

"Sec. 4. The superintendence' of public instruction 
in this state shall be vested in an officer to be styled 'the 
superintendent of common schools,' and such county and 
local superintendencies as may be established by law. 

"Sec. 5. At the first session of the general assembly 
after the adoption of this constitution, and biennially 
thereafter, it shall be the duty of the governor, by and 
with the advice and consent of the senate (a majority of 
all the members elected thereto concurring therein), to 
appoint a superintendent of common schools, who shall 
hold his office for the term of two years, and shall perform 
such duties and receive such salary as the general assem- 
bly may prescribe : Provided, that vacancies occurring in 
said office by death, resignation, refusal to act, or other- 
wise, may be filled by the governor, and persons thus 


appointed shall continue in office until the end of the 
next session of the general assembly. 

"Sec. 6. The preceding section shall continue in 
force for the term of six years from and after the time 
at which such first appointment is made in pursuance 
thereof, and no longer, after which time the general as- 
sembly may provide for the continuance of said office of 
for the election of such office by the people." 

To some members of the convention the proposition 
to invest the school funds at their market value, when 
it was known that they were not worth more than fifty 
cents on the dollar, had the appearance of repudiation. 
I thought differently, and supposed that the investment 
of the school funds in state bonds was legitimate ; but 
there was another interest that opposed the report. That 
was, that it required the legislature to provide a system 
of common schools, which "shall be as nearly uniform as 
may be throughout the state, and such common schools 
shall be equally free to all the children throughout the 

A majority of the convention supposed that this would 
give negroes a chance to enter the schools, aud therefore 
opposed the report. 

It ought not to be considered a reproach to the people of 
Illinois that they were not prepared for the admission of 
negroes into the schools at that time, when the same sub- 
ject is still a matter of dispute in the state. 

I supported the "two mill tax" introduced by Mr. Ed- 
wards, of Madison county. The object of this provision 
was the imposition of a tax of two mills upon all the prop- 
erty in the state. It provided that the "fund so created 
shall be kept separate, and shall annually, on January 
1st, be apportioned and paid over, pro rata, upon all such 
state indebtedness, other than the canal and school in- 
debtedness, as may for that purpose be presented by the 
holders of the same, to be entered as credits upon, and 
to that extent, in extinguishment of the principal of 
said indebtedness." 


This separate article of the constitution was adopted 
by the people, and did more to establish and maintain 
the credit of the state than any other measure. 

The history of the dueling clause in the constitution 
is a very curious one. 

Messrs. Campbell and Pratt, both of Jo Daviess county, 
became involved in a controversy as to their respective 
positions as to alien suffrage. It is not important which 
was the challenger, but it led to the adoption of that 
stringent clause in the constitution that "from and after 
the adoption of the constitution, every person who shall 
be elected or appointed to any office of profit, trust or 
emolument, civil or military, legislative, executive or 
judicial, under the government of this state, shall, be- 
fore he enters upon the duties, in addition to the oath 
prescribed in this constitution, take the following oath : 
'I do most solemnly swear (or affirm) as the case may 
be) , that I have not sent or accepted a challenge to fight 
a duel, the probable issue of which might have been the 
death of either party, nor have been a second to either 
party, nor in any manner aided or assisted in such duel, 
nor been knowingly the bearer of such, challenge, or ac- 
ceptance, since the adoption of the constitution, and 
that I will not be so engaged or concerned, directly or 
indirectly, in or about such duel, during my continuance 
in office, so help me God.' " 

After the convention closed, I prosecuted my profes- 
sion, and in the meantime my successful opponent, Col- 
onel Seborn Gilmore, having resigned, I became a candi- 
date again at the special election held in May, 1848, for 
the office of probate justice of the peace, and was elected 
to fill the vacancy, against Mr. Harmon Y. A. Tap- 
pan, by a majority of 410 votes. 

On the Tuesday after the first Monday in November 
(to which time the election had been changed by the 
constitution of 1848), I was a successful candidate for 
the office of county judge under the new constitution, 


with James Bredan and George A. W. Cloud (brother 
of the president of the convention) my associates. 

One question we had to settle was whether township 
organization had been adopted in Macoupin county. 
The constitution of 1848, so called on account of the 
time of its adoption by the people, provided "that the 
general assembly shall provide by a general law, for a 
township organization, under which any county may 
organize, whenever a majority of voters of such county 
may determine, and when any county shall adopt a 
township organization, so much of this constitution as 
provides for the management of the fiscal concerns of 
said county, by the county court, may be dispensed 
with, and the affairs of said county may be transacted 
in such manner as the general assembly may provide." 

At the time of the adoption of the constitution of 1848, 
the townships of 11 and 12 N. 6 W. were so sparse that it 
was doubtful whether they would be able to furnish the 
men to hold the offices created by the township orgi- 
zation law ; Virden was not laid out, and Girard was 
but a brick kiln. It was finally agreed by the county 
board of Macoupin that the opinion of Judge Stephen 
T. Logan should be taken upon the question as to 
whether township organization was or was not adopted. 

Macoupin gave a majority of the votes cast upon the 
question at the election for township organization, but 
it did not give a majority of all the votes cast at that 
election for township organization. 

It was agreed that I was to obtain the opinion of 
Judge Logan, and I went to Springfield for that pur- 
pose, on horseback, there being no railroad. 

He decided that the township organization law had 
not been adopted by this county, giving a written opinion, 
for which he charged me ten dollar--. 



Elected to the senate 1851 — The Logan Law — Major Beatty T. Burke — 

Quarrel with Douglas. 

I was elected to the state senate in 1851, and attended 
a called session which was held at Springfield, begin- 
ning on June 7, 1852. I offered resolutions deploring 
the death of my predecessor, Hon. Franklin Witt, who 
had resided in Green county. 

I was placed on the committee on incorporations, 
and introduced a bill for amendment to the law exempt- 
ing homesteads from executions and other measures of 
like character. In 1853, I appeared at the regular 
session of the legislature, which commenced January 
3d of that year. The session was organized with Hon. 
William McMurtry, lieutenant-governor, in the chair ; 
ft. E. Goodell, secretary, and I was assigned to the 
chairmanship of the committee on incorporations. At 
that session I introduced a bill "for an act to prevent 
fraudulent banking," and voted in caucus, as well as in 
joint session, for Stephen A. Douglas as senator in the 
senate of the United States, and took part in the joint 
session for canvassing the votes for governor. It may 
be interesting to know that Joel A. Matteson had eighty 
thousand, seven hundred and eight v-nine votes, and E. 
B. Webb had sixty thousand, four hundred and eight. 
This session was remarkable for the interest taken and 
the agitation of the temperance question. The legisla- 
ture passed an act very much resembling the Maine 
liquor law, referring the question of the adoption of the 
law to the voters of the state at the following general 
elections. On January 25th, I offered a resolution for 
submission to the jDeople, "an amendment to the con- 
stitution providing a salary of two thousand dollars to 
the judges of the supreme and circuit courts of the state 


in place of fifteen hundred allowed them by the clause 
of the constitution proposed to be amended." 

It may be interesting in this connection to state that 
the present salary of a supreme judge is seven thousand 
dollars, and that of a judge of the circuit court is live 

I also introduced a bill for the "repeal of an act to 
establish a general system of banking." A bill was 
passed at this session changing the name of "Fevre" 
river to that of "Galena." 

At this session of the general assembly an act was in- 
troduced by John A. Logan, a representative from 
Williamson county, entitled "an act to prevent the 
immigration of negroes into this state." The act pro- 
vided that "If any person or persons shall bring or 
cause to be brought into this state any negro or mulatto 
slave, whether said slave is set free or not, shall be 
liable to an indictment, and upon conviction thereof be 
fined for every such negro or mulatto the sum of not 
less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hun- 
dred dollars and imprisoned in the county jail not more 
than one year, and shall stand committed until said fine 
and costs are paid. . . . Provided that this section 
shall not ,be construed so as to affect persons or slaves 
bona fide traveling through this state from and to any 
other state in the United States." 

Section 3 of the act provides that "if any negro or 
mulatto, bond or free, shall hereafter come into this 
state and remain ten days, with the evident intention 
of residing in the same, every such negro or mulatto 
shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and for 
the first offense shall be fined the sum of fifty dol- 
lars, to be recovered before any justice of the peace in 
any county where such negro or mulatto may be found. 
. . ." Section 4 provides, "if said negro or mulatto 
shall be found guilty and the fine assessed be not paid 
forthwith to the justice of the peace before whom such 
proceedings were had, it shall be the duty of said 


justice to commit said negro or mulatto to the custody 
of the sheriff of said county, or otherwise keep him 
or them in custody, and said justice shall forthwith 
advertise said negro or mulatto, by posting up notices 
thereof in at least three of the most public places in his 
district, which said notices shall be posted up for ten 
days, and on the day and at the time and place men- 
tioned in said advertisement the said justice shall at 
public auction proceed to sell said negro or mulatto to 
any person or persons who will pay said fine and costs 
for the shortest time, and said purchaser shall have the 
right to compel said negro or mulatto to work for and 
serve out said time, and he shall furnish said negro or 
mulatto with comfortable food, clothing and lodging 
during said servitude. 

Section 5 of the act provides "that if said negro or 
mulatto shall not, within ten days after the expiration 
of his or her time of service as aforesaid, leave the state, 
he or she shall be liable to a second prosecution, in 
which the penalty shall be increased fifty dollars over 
and above the last penalty inflicted, and the same pro- 
ceedings shall be had in each case as provided for in the 
preceding sections for the first offense." 

Section 6 provides that "said negro or mulatto shall 
have a right to take an appeal to the circuit court of the 
county in which such proceedings shall have been had 
within five days after the rendition of the judgment be- 
fore the justice of the peace, by giving bond and security 
to be approved by the clerk of said court to the people 
of the State of Illinois, and to be filed in the office of said 
clerk within said five days in double the amount of said 
tine and costs, conditioned that the party appearing will 
personally be and appear before said circuit court at the 
next term thereof and not depart said court without 
leave, and will pay said fine and all costs if the same 
shall be so adjudged by said court, and said security 
shall have the right to take said uegro or mulatto into 


custody and retain the same until the order of said court 
is complied with." 

All the provisions of the act are an example of bar- 
barity which can only be excused by the prejudices of 
that part, the southern, of the State of Illinois. The 
whole act appears on page 57 of the "Acts of 1853." 

This statute was declared unconstitutional by Hon. 
Samuel S. Marshall, who was circuit judge at the time, 
and he refused to enforce it. 

The subject of the action of congress on the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill was introduced into the senate at the 
special session of 1854 by Mr. O'Melveny, a senator 
from Monroe and St. Clair counties. The governor had 
made no allusion to the subject in his message, which 
was devoted exclusively to state affairs. 

The legislature had, in the early days of the republic, 
instructed the senators as to their votes and duties, and, 
though Mr. Douglas had acted independently of the 
legislature of Illinois, it was thought best by his friends 
that he should be indorsed by the legislature of his own 
state. Mr. O'Melveny introduced into the senate the 
following resolutions on February 9, 1854 : 

"Resolved, by the senate of Illinois, that the bill to 
form the Nebraska and Kansas territories, as presented 
and advocated by our distinguished Senator Douglas 
at the present session of congress, meets with our ap- 

"Resolved, that we believe that the best interests of 
the Union demands the passage of said bill. 

"Resolved, that we call upon all Union men through- 
out the state to support said bill. 

"Resolved, that we will sustain Judge Douglas against 
all Abolitionists and Free-soilers in this state so far as the 
provisions of his bill is concerned." 

Mr. O'Melveny moved to make the resolutions the 
special order of the da} r for next Monday week, which 
motion was decided in the affirmative — yeas, 13 ; nays, 
9 — and the resolutions were made the special order of 


the day for Monday week. Thereupon, I offered, on the 
10th day of the same month, the following concurrent 
resolutions as a substitute for the resolutions of Mr. 
O'Melveny : 

"Resolved, by the senate and house of representatives 
concurring therein : 1. That the Missouri Compromise 
and the compromise measures of 1850 provide for a satis- 
factory and final settlement of the subject of slavery, 
and the people of the State of Illinois in common with 
the citizens of all the states are pledged to maintain the 
same, and to resist and discountenance all further agita- 
tion of the question as tending to weaken the bonds of 
the Union, and as threatening its perpetuity and peace." 

"2. That the compromise measures of 1850 were not 
intended by the framers, nor understood by the people of 
the United States, in any manner, in letter or spirit, to 
weaken the prohibition of slavery in that portion of the 
territory of the United States from which it was excluded 
by the terms of the Missouri Compromise. 

"3. That the provision of the bill for the organization 
of Kansas and Nebraska territories, now pending in the 
congress of the United States, so far as the same pro- 
poses to tolerate the introduction or existence of slavery 
in said territory, or weakens or impairs the restrictions 
imposed thereon by the Missouri Compromise, meets the 
unqualified condemnation and opposition of this general 
assembly, as directly exciting the elements of agitation 
and strife so happily allayed by the compromise afore- 

I was at that time sincerely in favor of the Missouri 
Compromise, which excluded slavery from the territory 
west of the State of Missouri, north of the latitude of 
36° 30". and I was equally sincere in my support of the 
compromise measures of 1850, aud I felt indignant that 
an Illinois senator should, from the committee on terri- 
tories, make a report, and declare the Missouri act of 1820 
void, as being contrary to law, and in conflict with the 
measures of 1850. In order to give a full history of the 


action of the senate with regard to the Nebraska bill, 
Mr. Judd offered the following resolution: "That the 
general assembly of the State of Illinois regard the act 
generally known as the 'Missouri Compromise Act,' 
which excludes slavery north of 36° 30", as a wise and 
a beneficial enactment, and good faith requires that the 
same be preserved inviolate." Mr. Judd was a Demo- 
crat and a senator from Cook county. 

The house was in favor of the "Nebraska bill," and 
passed resolutions which Mr. Davis (of Hancock) intro- 
duced into the senate, and were as follows : "Resolved, 
that our liberty and independence are based upon the 
right of the people to form for themselves such govern- 
ment as they may choose ; that this great privilege, the 
birthright of freemen, the gift of heaven secured to us 
by the blood of our ancestors, ought to be extended to 
future generations, and no limitations ought to be ap- 
plied to this power in the organization of any territory 
of the United States of either a territorial government 
or a state constitution ; provided, the government so es- 
tablished shall be republican and in conformity with the 

"Resolved, that we will stand by the compromise of 
1850 ; that we are attached to the great fundamental 
principles of democracy and free institutions which lie 
at the basis of our creed and gives every political com- 
munity the right to govern itself, to form such a gov- 
ernment as they may choose without limitation, re- 
striction or hinderance, save obedience to the constitu- 
tion of our country. 

"Resolved, that the institution of slavery was one of 
the principal subjects of compromise embraced in the 
constitution ; that it is recognized therein, and we deem 
the restriction of a geographical line upon the right of 
the people to form such a government as they may choose 
in regard to the question of slavery, was a gross violation 
of that sacred right, as a similar restriction upon any 
other question of government, the right whereof is 


equally recognized by the constitution of the United 

"Resolved, that this principle is contained and carried 
out in the Nebraska bill offered in the congress of the 
United States by our distinguished Senator Stephen A. 
Douglas ; that we approve of said bill, and that we will 
sustain our senator in his advocacy of the same." 

Efforts were made to evade a vote upon the main 
question by some senators who were anxious to avoid 
committing the Democratic party to an unwise and dan- 
gerous policy. I offered the following amendment to 
Mr. Davis' resolution: "That the law now in force, 
called the Missouri Compromise, and the bill for the or- 
ganization of Oregon territory excluding slavery from 
its limits, are wise and judicious, and ought to be main- 

The vote upon the passage of the resolution proposed 
by Mr. Davis and rejecting my proposed amendment 
was fifteen to seven. Those voting in the affirmative 
were : Messrs. Bryan of Marion, Campbell of Mc- 
Donough, Corder of Williamson, Cockle of Peoria, 
Davis of Hancock, Detrick of Randolph, Howard of 
Jo Daviess, Jerningan of Christian, Kuykendall of 
Johnson, Morton of Morgan, O'Kean of Richland, 
O'Melveny of Monroe, Parker of Coles, Parsons of 
Pike, Wynn of Clark ; and those voting in the affirm- 
ative on my amendment and in the negative on the 
resolutions were : Messrs. Cook of La Salle, Gillespie of 
Madison, Gridley of McLean, Judd of Cook, Osgood of 
Will, Palmer of Macoupin, Talcott of Winnebago. 

After the adjournment of the special session of 1854, 
I was conscious that I had differed with my party upon 
the subject of the Kansas-Nebraska bill and of the 
repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and had from that 
cause alienated many of the ultra-proslavery men of 
the Democratic party, and I knew that I had given that 
class of men some evidence, which they used unspar- 
ingly, to convict me of the political offense called 


"abolitionism ;" but I did not then foresee, what I after- 
wards discovered to be true, that the slavery question 
would not cease to disturb the country as long as that 
institution existed. I supposed that the Democratic 
party would again unite upon other issues, and I was 
mainly anxious to j)reserve my personal independence 
and the right, inside of the party lines, to act according 
to the dictates of my own sense of personal duty. 

I was fully awakened from that delusion by the 
events which transpired on July 4, 1854. On that day, 
in pursuance of an invitation, I attended a celebration 
held north of Virden, in the edge of Sangamon county, 
and undertook the oration of the day. I indulged in 
the usual glorification of our revolutionary fathers and 
quoted from the Declaration of Independence, as I had 
often done on like occasions, that "All men are created 
equal, and are endowed with certain inalienable rights, 
among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of hap- 
piness," words which Mr. John C. Calhoun had char- 
acterized as "glittering generalities," and Mr. Douglas 
said meant "no more than our fathers intended to claim 
by those words that British subjects born on this con- 
tinent had the same rights that British subjects had who 
were born in Great Britain." I attacked Mr. Calhoun, 
but spoke of Mr. Douglas with the respect I really felt 
for him, but my remarks stirred up a storm. Before I 
left the ground I was convinced that the Democratic 
party was hopelessly divided, and that the repeal of the 
Missouri Compromise had stirred up passions that could 
not be allayed, and that the country was about entering 
upon a struggle which would probably result in very 
serious consequences. My first conclusion was to avoid 
all participation in the approaching controversy, and I 
did, in a letter dated August 14, 1854, decline to be a 
candidate for nomination for reelection to the state 
senate by any convention which made adhesion to the 
Nebraska bill a test of party orthodoxy. . . . This, 
however, did not satisfy the ultra party men, who would 


accept from me nothing but complete submission. The 
Democratic party had then practically controlled the 
government of the United States from the time of the 
administration of General Jackson ; and though Harrison 
had defeated Van Buren in 1840, and Taylor was elected 
over Cass in 1848, in both instances the victories of the 
enemies of democracy were barren of results. The 
election of General Pierce over General Scott, in 1852, 
had annihilated the Whig party, and the democracy 
were triumphant and arrogant. Douglas was absolutely 
supreme in the party in Illinois, and his supremacy was 
a despotism ; his demand was to "shoot the deserters," 
and by deserters he meant all Democrats who were un- 
willing to follow him. 

The district senatorial convention, which assembled in 
August, 1854, passed resolutions indorsing the Nebraska 
bill, and nominated Major Beatty T. Burke, of Macoupin 
county, as a candidate for the senate. 

Major Burke was a remarkable man, and as my re- 
lations to him were of a peculiar character, I regard it as 
a duty to attempt at least to do justice to his memory. 
He was a native of Virginia, and before he came to 
Illinois was employed in the armory at Harper's Ferry. 
When I came to Macoupin county, in 1839, he was 
sheriff of the county, elected in 1838, after a cont.-t 
which was conducted with great heat, although the 
issues between himself and Jefferson Weatherford, the 
former sheriff, and a candidate for reelection, were 
mainly personal. He was elected to the office of sheriff 
for five terms of two years each, and after two years of 
service in the legislature, was again elected sheriff. We 
became friends soon after we met in 1839, and remained 
so until we were opposing candidates for the senate. 
Major Burke possessed vigorous physical and mental 
powers, but he had little knowledge of politics, he was 
an active canvasser, and had many friends in Macoupin 
county. His sympathies were with the South, and he 
really thought the pretensions of the slaveholding states 


were so moderate, that they should be acceded to by the 
North without hesitation. He had opposed the compro- 
mise measures of 1850 for the same reasons the southern 
leaders did, and was ready to support them in whatever 
they might consider to be their rights. He was honest 
and truthful, a good citizen and a sincere friend. He 
was a member of the house of representatives in 1852, 
while I was a member of the senate, and our relations 
were most pleasant. 

Major Burke was renominated for a seat in the house, 
in 1854, but he preferred to make a canvass for the sen- 
ate, and accordingly sought and obtained the nomina- 
tion from the convention which assembled at Tegard's 
mill, now Rockbridge. After he was nominated for the 
senate, his course towards me was so personal that I de- 
termined to become an independent Democratic candi- 
date, making no other issue with him than that of the 
policy of the repeal of the compromise measure of 1820. 

At the beginning of the canvass Major Burke had the 
advantage of me, on account of certain local and personal 
matters, one of which was my connection with the de- 
fense of Andrew J. Nash, who was tried for murder in 
Macoupin county. Nash, who was a most dangerous and 
vindictive man, had killed one Alexander Lockerman, a 
quiet and inoffensive citizen, and fled the country. A year 
or two afterward he was arrested in Arkansas, and brought 
back to Macoupin county for trial, With all his faults 
he had always been a true friend of mine. He was tried 
by a jury, found guilty, and sentenced to be hung on a 
fixed but not distant day. I had given him my profes- 
iional service gratuitously, and was assisted in his de- 
fense by Hon. Murray McConnell, of Jacksonville, one 
of the leading criminal lawyers of his day. Mr. Mc- 
Connell was afterwards assassinated in his home in 
Jacksonville under circumstances of peculiar atrocity. 

After Nash was convicted and sentenced I obtained the 
signatures of some of the jury to a petition asking the 
governor (Matteson) to commute his sentence to impris- 


onment for life, and also obtained other signatures, in- 
cluding that of Major Burke, who was at the time sheriff 
of the county. "With these petitions I applied to Gov- 
ernor Matteson, but the governor refused to interfere un- 
less Judge David M.Woodson, of Carrollton, who presided 
at the trial, would recommend it. I left Carlinville on 
Tuesday before the Friday fixed for the execution of the 
sentence, and hoped to obtain the order of commutation 
from the governor, and return home on the same even- 
ing, so that on Wednesday, Nash could be removed from 
the jail to the penitentiary. The necessity of obtain- 
ing Judge Woodson's recommendation imposed upon 
me by the governor compelled me to go to Jacksonville, 
which I did by rail, and from thence to Carrollton, 
where Judge Woodson resided, by stage. I went to 
Carrollton, saw the judge, who very kindly indorsed the 
recommendation, returned to Jacksonville, and reached 
Springfield, Thursday forenoon, obtained the order from 
the governor, but was not able to reach Carlinville be- 
fore eleven o'clock at night. The jail was built of logs. 
I called to Nash, told him of my success, and expressed 
the hope that he could be removed the next morning. 
It was too late, however, men, women and children had 
come from Greene, Madison, Bond, Montgomery, Mor- 
gan and other neighboring counties, to "see the hang- 
ing." Some of them had camped near the jail, and 
heard what I had told Nash, so that when morning came 
the mob spirit was fairly aroused. 

During the forenoon, hundreds of others came in, 
and the removal of Nash was impossible. The mob 
charged the jail, to take Nash out and hang him. The 
sheriff, Major Burke, who was a man of resolution, sup- 
ported by about twenty men, held the mob at bay, when 
some one proposed to substitute me for Nash. My office 
was upon the ground floor, north of the public square, and 
a short distance from the jail. I had no other weapon 
than an axe. The crowd was led by Nick Lockerman, 
a brother of the murdered man. I met them at the 


door with the axe in my hand, and as they had no firearms, 
I thought I would try strategy. I said to Lockerman : 
"Nick, I have friends in that crowd that will kill you if 
I do not — look around you!" He was startled, and 
commenced cursing me. I knew at once that the danger 
was over. A short time afterwards, information reached 
a part of the crowd that Nash was dead ; he had hung 
himself in the jail. His body was soon afterwards 
brought upon the square, and publicly shown. The mob 
being satisfied dispersed, and the excitement of the day 
was over. 

I was aware of the fact that my defense of Nash, my 
interference on his behalf after his conviction, was con- 
demned by the inconsiderate ; but I knew the people of 
the county so well that I was satisfied that before the 
election I could turn it to my advantage. 

My competitor and I followed the old plan of ad- 
dressing the people at all the important points of the 
senatorial district, which was composed of the counties 
of Macoupin, in which we both lived, and Greene and 
Jersey. Our first public meeting was at Stanton, in the 
southeastern corner of Macoupin county. Major Burke 
spoke first, and alluded to the affair of Nash. He ad- 
mitted that he had signed the petition for the commuta- 
tion of Nash's sentence, but claimed that he did so at 
my request. 

He then proceeded to define his position on the sub- 
ject of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. He 
claimed that the states of the Union were equal, and 
that the citizens of the states in which slavery existed had 
a right to remove into the territories of the United States 
with their slaves and hold them as slaves until the peo- 
ple with the sanction of congress formed a state govern- 
ment, when slavery might be tolerated in or excluded 
from the new state. He attacked the popular sover- 
eignty doctrine of Douglas as absurd (which it was) , 
and said that John P. Hale, Geo. W. Julian and Owen 
Love joy were with me in opposition to the repeal of 


the Missouri Compromise. These were the most distin- 
guished of the abolitionists of that day, and abolition- 
ism and abolitionists were odious to the people to an ex- 
tent which cannot now be understood. In my reply, I 
adopted a course of conduct which I have always acted 
upon, and which has never failed me, and will not fail 
any one else before a western audience. I frankly 
avowed that Nash was my friend, and briefly adverted to 
the services he had rendered me. I said that on his re- 
turn to Carlinville, after his apprehension in Arkansas, 
he had sent for me and told me that his wife and chil- 
dren had but little to pay for defending him, but asked 
me to do so. I then said I had told him that the charge 
against him was an aggravated one ; that his conviction 
was almost certain, but that I would defend him, and 
that he should not die until every means of saving his 
life was exhausted. I said to the people that I had kept 
the promise made to Nash, and if anyone chose to vote 
against me for doing so, I had no objection. They were 
a manly, generous people, and neither Major Burke nor 
I ever alluded to the subject again. 

I had more trouble in defending myself for opposing 
the Nebraska bill. At that time the prejudice against 
abolitionists was bitter, and affected the minds of three- 
fourths of the voters. I was only remotely influenced 
in my course by hostility to slavery, though I avowed 
my opposition to the institution. I was chiefly con- 
cerned by the fact that the repeal of the Missouri Com- 
promise reopened the slavery question. 

In February, 1854, at the special session of the senate, 
I had offered for adoption the resolutions heretofore 
copied, which at once expressed my opinions as well as 
my apprehensions. I reiterated the substance of these 
resolutions in all the speeches I made in the district, and 
assailed Major Burke for his opposition to the compro- 
mise of 1850, and the result was I was elected by about 
two hundred majority. 

This contest had much to do with my subsequent po- 


litical career. I have already expressed my great regard 
for Mr. Douglas, and up to the time to which I refer, I 
regarded him as my friend. Two or three weeks before 
the election, he came into the district and addressed the 
people of Greene county at Carrollton, and from that 
place came to Carlinville, my home. I came into Car- 
linville from Jersey ville, where I had attended court, 
after sundown on the same day, and hearing that Judge 
Douglas was at the hotel, I called upon him, and we 
spent two hours or more in earnest conversation, of the 
purport that Judge Douglas was anxious that as the 
legislature would elect a senator to succeed General 
James Shields, I should agree to attend the legislative 
caucus and vote for whoever might be nominated as 
a candidate for senator. On the other hand, I insisted 
that as I was an independent Democratic candidate for 
state senator in opposition to the Nebraska bill, and es- 
pecially opposed to that measure as a test of party or- 
thodoxy, he ought to agree that the Democratic caucus 
should pass no resolutions favoring that measure. 

Our discussion was somewhat heated, and both of us 
obstinate, and he finally said to me : "You may join the 
Abolitionists if you choose to do so, but if you do, there 
are enough patriotic Whigs to take your place and elect 
Shields." I answered: "I will beat Burke in spite of 
all you can do against me. You will fix the imputation 
of abolitionism upon me, and by that means beat me 
down : we have fought the Whigs together, you now 
promise yourself that they will take my place, and help 
elect Shields. I will fight you until you are defeated, 
and have learned to value your friends." I kept my 
word, and I think Judge Douglas had no more active or 
earnest political enemy than I was from that time until 
I met him in Washington in February, 18G1, as I will 
hereafter relate. 

In 1854, Major Burke obtained a "dispensation" for 
the establishment of Mt. Nebo Lodge, No. 76, and Mr. 
Charles Fisher, of this city and Dr. Z. T. Cabinis, whose 


home was afterwards Petersburg, Menard count}-, at 
which place lie died, came to Carlinville and opened the 
lodge. I was initiated, passed and raised by the same 
dispensation to the degree of Master Mason. The dis- 
pensation was issued by William Lavely, the Grand 
Master Mason at that time. I have been a member of 
that lodge ever since. 




The Bloomington Convention — Organization of the Republican party — 
Platform of the Convention — Delegate to the Philadelphia Conven- 
tion — Freemont and Dayton — Platform adopted— Affair with Major 

As I have before stated, the Kansas-Nebraska bill, 
which passed congress in May, 1854, declared the Mis- 
souri Compromise of 1850, by which slavery was re- 
stricted on the north of the line of 36° 30" inoperative 
and void, by reason of its alleged inconsistency with the 
compromise measures of 1850, and established instead 
the principle of popular sovereignty ; that is, "that con- 
gress should not legislate slavery into any territory or 
state, or exclude it therefrom, but leave the people 
thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic 
institutions in their own way, subject only to the consti- 
tution of the United States." 

This came upon the country like a "clap of thunder 
from a clear sky." The Democratic party still main- 
tained its organization. Mr. Douglas was aware of the 
effect which such a measure might be expected to pro- 
duce upon the country. 

Under such circumstances, the general assembly con- 
vened on the first Monday in January, 1855, and the 
election of senator was fixed for the 8th of February 

Mr. Lincoln was the choice of a large majority of the 
anti-Nebraska members for senator, while General James 
Shields received the caucas nomination of the Nebraska 
Democrats. Ten ballots were had in the joint session, 
and Lincoln received, on the first ballot, 45 votes ; 
Shields, 41 ; Lyman Trumbull, 5. In the six following 
ballots, Lincoln fell off 36 votes ; Trumbull increased to 
10, and Shields received 42 votes. It now becoming ap- 


parent that the choice must fall upon either Trumbull or 
Matteson (who had taken the place of Shields on the bal- 
loting, and received the whole Nebraska vote) , Lincoln 
came into the hall of representatives, where the ballot- 
ing was held, and urged his Whig friends to vote for 
Trumbull, and on the final ballot Trumbull received 51 
votes, and Matteson 47, and 1 for Archibald Williams, 
cast by Louis H. Waters, who afterwards commanded 
the 84th Illinois Regiment. The five anti-Nebraska 
Democrats were Messrs. Cook, of La Salle, Judd, of 
Cook, and Palmer, of the senate ; Allen and Baker, both 
of Madison county, of the house. 

"In order to reconcile seemingly conflicting but actu- 
ally congenial elements in the election of 1856, a con- 
vention was called to meet at Decatur, February 22, 
1856. This convention was composed of Paul Selby, of 
the Jacksonville Journal; Wm. J. Storey, Decatur 
Chronicle; V. Y. Ralston, Quincy Whig; Charles H. 
Ray, Chicago Tribune ; 0. P. Wharton, Rock Island 
Advertiser; E. C. Dougherty, Rockford Register; Thos. 
J. Prickett, Peoria Republican; Geo. Schneider, Staats 
Zeitung, Chicago; Charles Faxton, Princeton Post; A. 
U. Ford, Lacon Gazette; and B. F. Shaw, Dixon Tele- 
graph . ' ' 

This committee appointed a central committee, con- 
sisting of James C. Conkling, Springfield ; Asahel Grid- 
ley, Bloomington ; Burton C. Cook, Ottowa ; Charles H. 
Ray and N. B. Judd, of Chicago, which was authorized 
to call a convention, which was held at Bloomington, 
May 29, 1856, called the Anti-Slavery Extension Con- 

I was made permanent president of the convention, 
assisted by a number of vice-presidents. The platform 
adopted embraced the following planks: "1. Opposi- 
tion to the Democratic administration of Mr. Buchanan. 
2. That congress possessed the power to abolish slavery 
in the territories, and should exorcise that power to pre- 
vent the extension of slavery into territories heretofore 


free. 3. Opposition to the repeal of the Missouri Com- 
promise, and in favor of making Kansas and Nebraska 
free states. 4. In favor of the Union and the constitu- 
tion. 5. In favor of the immediate admission of Kan- 
sas as a free state under the constitution adopted by 
her people. 6. In favor of liberty of conscience as well 
as political freedom, proscribing no one on account of 
religious opinions or in consequence of place of birth." 

Moses says, Illinois, Vol. 2, p. 599 : "It was a famous 
gathering, and marked the commencement of a new era 
in the politics of the state. All those who subsequently 
became leaders of the Republican party were there — 
Whigs, Democrats, Know-Nothings and Abolitionists. 
Those who had all their lives been opposing and fight- 
ing each other found themselves harmoniously sitting 
side by side, consulting and shouting their enthusiastic 
and unanimous accord. Among these were Lincoln, 
Palmer, Browning, Wentworth, Yates, Lovejoy, Oglesby 
and Koerner. . . ." 

The nominees of the convention were William H. Bis- 
sell, for governor ; Francis A. Hoffman, lieutenant-gov- 
ernor, both of whom were Democrats ; Ozias M. Hatch, 
secretary of state, and Jesse K. DuBois, auditor, and 
James Miller, for treasurer (all Whigs), and Wm. H. 
Powell, superintendent of public instruction, a Demo- 
crat. Again quoting from Moses, p. 600 : 

"It was a body in which ideas predominated, to the ex- 
clusion of personal prejudices, and the absorbing inter- 
est of the convention centered upon the discussion of the 
political principles embraced in the platform. Eloquent 
speeches were made by all the prominent delegates — 
Palmer, from a Democratic standpoint ; Browning, from 
the outlook of an old Whig ; and Lovejoy, from a pin- 
nacle which others had not been able hitherto to climb. 
These were all able, earnest efforts, aroused by wild en- 
thusiasm, but it was left for Abraham Lincoln, in the 
final address, in what was the greatest forensic effort of 


his life, to stir the souls of that vast assemblage to the 
lowest depths." 

I only remember one expression used by Mr. Lincoln 
on that occasion, "Yv T e will not dissolve the Union, and 
you shall not do it." 

I was elected by the convention a delegate to the 
National Republican Convention, which was held at 
Philadelphia, June 17, 1856, and in which John C. Fre- 
mont was nominated for the presidency, and William 
L. Dayton for the vice-presidency. I placed in nomina- 
tion for the vice-presidency Abraham Lincoln, of Illi- 
nois, who received the highest number of votes given to 
an unsuccessful candidate. 

Moses, in his "Illinois," p. 602, has given an account 
of an affair which occurred between Major Thos. L. Har- 
ris and myself at Plainview, in Macoupin county. 
There was no "ill feeling," as Moses says, between Major 
Harris and myself up to that time, for I had voted for 
him in 1854, and was a member of the convention which 
nominated him. 

Major Harris had come into the county during his can- 
vass for election to congress, and learned that I had spoken 
severely of a letter written by him to Mr. Geo. H. Holi- 
day, and read at the opening of the Macoupin Circuit 
Court. I had said of the letter when it was read that 
it contained "statements that Major Harris would not 
have made if any honest man had been looking him in 
the face." Major Harris afterwards came to Carlinville 
and professed to be hunting for me to hold me respon- 
sible for what I had said. I was, on the day preceding 
the meeting at Plainview, at Edwardsville with Mr. 
Lincoln, where we had made Fremont speeches. 

On my return home Mr. William M. Maddox told me 
with something like exultation that Major Harris had 
been in town the day before looking for me. I learned 
that Major Harris was to speak at Plainview on the 
next day. I went to the station at Carlinville and took 
the train for that place, and at that time of my life was 


not unwilling to interview any gentleman who desired 
to interview me, found the major on board the train. 
He was very friendly, and during our ride of fifteen miles 
together treated me courteously. I was surprised at his 
conduct, and after dining with friends I attended the 
meeting which was called by him, and which was first 
addressed by Charles A. Keyes, of Springfield, in a 
speech of nearly an hour. When Mr. Keyes had con- 
cluded Major Harris took the stand and said that he 
"had heard that a gentleman now present had said that 
his letter to the Carlinville Convention had contained 
matter that he would not have dared to write if he (the 
gentleman referred to) had been looking him in the 
face." At that time it was the custom to mob anti- 
slavery men, and as we were called "Black-Repub- 
licans" it was supposed that we had adopted their 
methods of "non-resistance." I said, in reply to Major 
Harris, "I did not say he would not have used the 
Avords of the letter if I had been looking him in the 
face," but added that "he would not have used the 
words of the letter if any honest man had been looking 
in his face." 

He said in reply, "that is a specimen of these das- 
tardly Black-Republicans;" I said to him, "If you ap- 
ply that language to me, you area liar!" The major 
then stepped off the stand he occupied and said, after 
advancing toward me, "He has a pistol." I said, "I did 
not draw a pistol on you, I can whip you with one hand 
tied behind me, but I am watching your dogs." I was 
not in the habit of carrying a pistol, as there were no 
pockets for concealing "pints, "quarts," or pistols in 
the trousers of 1856. It had been handed me at the 
station by Mr. George H. F. Work, a student in my 
office, who called my attention to certain persons going 
to Plainview, ostensibly to hear Major Harris speak, and 
said, "You will have a row before you return and will 
need it." The pistol was taken from me by Mr. Sam- 
uel T. Mayo and Mr. James Fishback, two of my 


friends, and returned after Major Harris had ceased 
speaking. When he was through I made the speech 
which Moses attributes to rne, and said in its opening, 
"I have nothing of the border ruffian about me but this 
pistol." There was no further disturbance, but more 
than once I had the pleasure of hearing the words, "I 
would like to bounce a rock off his head." 

Before the affair with Major Harris, I went to Alton, 
and with many friends visited St. Louis to hear Colonel 
Thomas H. Benton who had just returned from his 
"forty days in the wilderness." We called upon 
Colonel Benton at the "Planter's House," and were in- 
troduced to him. He invited me to take a seat with 
him in the evening on the platform from which he was 
to speak, but I told him that "my Illinois friends would 
expect me to be with them, and we would be heard from 
during the evening." He said : "It was a commenda- 
ble determination." 

I had no idea that Benton could grow old until I saw 
"Gratz Brown" assist him to the platform. Benton de- 
scribed his travels in Missouri, and said of his enemies, 
"I have laid them out like milestones on my way." In 
describing his visit to Independence he said, "the first 
man called upon was Branson, Benton's friend, and he 
was present and took the seat of honor on Benton's right 

He described one of his enemies as the "man whose 
patronymic signifies the smallest particle of bread ; ' ' an- 
other, "whoso name calls to mind an infant sheep;" 
alluded to another by the name of Birch and said, "lie 
aspires to fill Benton's seat, as well might a tumble-bug 
aspire to fill the seat of an elephant." 

The hour for the steamboat's departure having ar- 
rived, we took off our hats to him just as he delivered 
a terrible philippic against his enemies, saying, "the 
history of the world shows two crops of antis — Anti- 
Benton and Anti-Christ ;" and as we returned to Alton 


we concluded that no one had a better right to be an 
egotist than Benton had. 

In 1856, Colonel Benton was prevailed upon by his 
friends to allow the use of his name as a candidate for 
governor of Missouri. 

He was not elected; Trusten Polk, Democrat, re- 
ceived 46,903 votes; Robert C. Ewing, American, 
40,589, and Thomas H. Benton, Independent, 27,618. 

Trusten Polk was afterwards senator in the con- 
federate congress from the State of Missouri. 

In August, 1856, Mr. W. C. Phillips appeared in Car- 
linville, and was desirous of establishing a Republican 
newspaper. After some negotiations Mr. Pittman, my 
law partner, and I agreed to give our notes to an old 
firm, which has long ceased to exist (Ladew & Peers), 
and gave Mr. Phillips besides one hundred dollars to 
buy such fixtures as he might select and would be 
necessary for the establishment of a weekly paper. 

We save our notes, due at three and six months for 
five hundred dollars each, and we paid them. 

As Mr. Phillips was in haste to start his paper, the 
first issue was on September 6, 1856. 

The paper was to be entitled "The Free Democrat." 
In December, 1856, Mr. H. M. Kimball came to Carlin- 
ville from Kansas, to which territory he had been an 
emigrant under the Beecher regime, and was for some 
time in partnership with Mr. Phillips, until Mr. Phillips 
was succeeded by Major A. W. Edwards. The paper is 
still in existence under the name of "The Democrat, 1 ' 
published by the Macoupin Printing Company, of which 
Mr. A. G. David is the principal stockholder. 



Nominated for Congress by the Republicans — Defeated— Platform of 
the Republican party — Decatur convention— Elector at large — 
Chicago national convention — Nomination of Mr. Lincoln — Inter- 
view with the New Jersey delegation. 

I continued the practice of my profession during the 
early months of 1858-9, and was surprised when on Sep- 
tember 29, 1859, the Republican convention nominated 
me unanimously for the house of representatives in con- 
gress. The convention having adopted a platform which 
was entirely satisfactory to me, I accepted the nomi- 

The platform is that which I give below : 

"Resolved, that we reaffirm the platform of the national 
Republican convention held at Philadelphia, and the 
state Republican conventions held at Bloomington and 
Springfield, and renew our devotion to the principles 
therein enunciated, both because experience demonstrates 
them to be the true principles of our republican govern- 
ment, and because they have been rendered politically 
'sacred' by being advocated and practiced by the most il- 
lustrious of our revolutionary fathers, as well as modern 

"Resolved, that the territories of the United States 
are the common property of all the free white citizens of 
the whole Union, but that the institution of slavery has 
no right or heritage therein, and that it is the right and 
duty of congress to follow the example of Jefferson and 
the founders of our government in prohibiting the ex- 
tension of slavery into the territories, but at the same 
time we strenuously oppose every attempt to interfere 
with slavery in the states where it now exists. 

"Resolved, that freedom is universal, and slavery sec- 
tional, and cannot exist where it is not authorized by 


special legislation, and the government of the United 
States in the exercise of its powers, whether executive, 
legislative or judicial, is bound to adhere in substance and 
form to the generous and noble spirit of these important 

"Resolved, that we pledge our unremitting efforts to 
prevent the reopening of the African slave trade so ar- 
rogantly demanded by many Democratic papers and 

"Resolved, that we are opposed to the self-styled 
Democracy which allows the public lands to be monopo- 
lized by speculators and capitalists, and are in favor of 
their free occupation by actual settlers in limited quanti- 
ties, as proposed by the Republicans in the last con- 
gress, and voted down by the so-called Democracy. 

"Resolved, that the reckless disregard of the rights of 
naturalized citizens, by the administration of James Buch- 
anan, as exhibited in the letter of General Cass to Mr. Le- 
Clerc, calls for our unqualified reprobation, and that we 
claim for every citizen, whether native or adopted, from 
whom we exact allegiance, protection at home and abroad.'' 1 

On the day before the Republican convention met, the 
Democratic convention had assembled and nominated 
Colonel (now General) John A. McClernand for the same 
office. The fact of my nomination was communicated 
to me on the following day (30th) , and as there was no 
possibility of an election I accepted the nomination. 

General McClernand had been oue of the original op- 
ponents of the test proposed by Mr. Douglas of party 
orthodoxy. I immediately proceeded to make a canvass, 
and think I visited every county in the district. 

I spoke at Winchester, Scott county, on October 11th ; 
on the 12th, at Petersburg ; on the 13th, at Jacksonville ; 
at Jerseyville on the 14th ; Carrollton on the 15th, and 
at Shelbyville on the 19th, where I received information 
that John Brown had invaded Virginia at Harper's Ferry, 
which produced such a sensation as cannot be under- 
stood, and reversed the vote of the district. 


I had expected to be beaten by one or two thousand 
votes. I reminded the people of Shelby county that the 
compromise measure of 1850, to which all were pledged, 
fully justified my prediction that the repeal of the com- 
promise of 1820 would endanger the perpetuity and 
peace of the Union. 

By this time Colonel McClernand was fully committed 
to the doctrine of popular sovereignty, under which 
slavery was to be introduced into all the territories, and 
I made some impression on my hearers, but still I failed 
to carry one county in the district. Colonel McClernand 
beat me more than four thousand votes. My fellow- 
citizens still retained their confidence in me as a lawyer, 
and my republicanism did not injure me professionally. 

The Republican State Convention was held in Deca- 
tur on May 9, 1860 ; I attended the convention as a 
delegate from Macoupin county. After a spirited con- 
test between Richard Yates, Leonard Swett, and Nor- 
man B. Judd for candidate for governor, Richard Yates 
received the nomination, and Francis A. Hoffman for 
lieutenant-governor; Ozias M. Hatch, for secretary of 
state ; Jesse K. Du Bois, for auditor, and William But- 
ler, for treasurer, and Newton Bateman, for superin- 
tendent of public instruction. 

On June 13th of the same year, the Democratic State 
Convention was held in Springfield, at which James C. 
Allen was nominated as a candidate for governor, Lewis 
W. Ross, for lieutenant-governor. The canvass was 
conducted by the candidates for governor and lieutt n- 
ant-governor, and the Republicans succeeded in the elec- 
tion, Mr. Yates having received one hundred and sev- 
enty-two thousand one hundred and ninety-six (172, 19G) 
and Mr. Allen one hundred and fifty-nine thousand two 
hundred and fifty-eight (159,258) votes. It is notice- 
able that my old friend, Major B. T. Burke, was nomi- 
nated by the Buchanan Democracy of the state and re- 
ceived two thousand and twenty-two (2,022) votes. 

The Seward men in the Decatur convention resisted 



instructions to the delegates to the national convention 
for Mr. Lincoln, but finally consented that they be in- 
structed to vote as a unit for him. 

The National Republican Convention was held in 
Chicago, on May 16th, and resulted in the nomination 
of Lincoln for president on the third ballot, and Han- 
nibal Hamlin for vice-president. Undoubtedly, Judge 
David Davis and Norman B. Judd contributed most to 
the nomination of Mr. Lincoln ; they were indefatigable 
in their efforts to secure his nomination. In one instance, 
Judge Davis visited the New Jersey delegation, and re- 
ported to me that he had found that the New Jersey 
delegation were insisting that Seward should have the 
first place on the ticket and Lincoln the second, and 
asked me to go and see them. I did not know what I 
could do to aid the judge, but determined upon my line 
of conversation while on the way. When introduced to 
the delegation, they suggested that Mr. Seward be nom- 
inated for the presidency, and Mr. Lincoln be given the 
vice-presidency, when I told them that there were forty 
thousand Democrats who would vote the Republican 
ticket, but who would not consent to do so if two old 
Whigs were placed upon the ticket. Judge Davis was 
asked if there was as much party feeling, as much preju- 
dice, in the minds of the Democratic-Republicans as I 
had represented. And he replied, "Oh! Oh! these old 
Loco-focos will do anything!" I said to them, "You 
must take a Democrat for one of these offices." And in 
that way we escaped the responsibility of two old Whig 
party men being placed upon the ticket ; and thus Mr. 
Lincoln and Mr. Seward were brought face to face as 
candidates for the presidency. Lincoln succeeded, and 
Hannibal Hamlin, of Maine, originally a Democrat, was 
nominated for the vice-presidency. 

The convention adopted the following platform : "Re- 
solved, that we, the delegated representatives of the Re- 
publican electors of the United States in convention as- 


sembled, in discharge of the duty we owe to our con- 
stituents and our country, unite in the following declara- 
tions : 

"1. That the history of the nation during the last 
four years has fully established the propriety and neces- 
sity of the organization and perpetuation of the Repub- 
lican party, and that the causes which called it into exist- 
ence are permanent in their nature, and now more than 
ever before demand its peaceful and constitutional 
triumph. . . ." 

"3. That to the union of the states, this nation owes 
its unprecedented increase in population ; its surprising 
development of material resources and its rapid aug- 
mentation of wealth ; its happiness at home and its 
honor abroad ; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes 
for disunion, from whatever source they may come, and 
we congratulate the country that no Republican mem- 
ber of congress has uttered or countenanced the threats 
of disunion so often made by Democratic members with- 
out rebuke, and with applause from their political asso- 
ciates. And we denounce those threats of disunion in 
case of a popular overthrow of their ascendancy as 
denying the vital principles of free government, and as 
an avowal contemplated of treason, which it is the im- 
perative duty of a free people sternly to rebuke and for- 
ever silence." 

The convention then passed a resolution committing 
its members to the doctrine that "the maintenance in- 
violate of the rights of the states, and especially each 
state to order and control its own domestic institutions 
according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential 
to tli at balance of power on which the perfection and en- 
durance of our political fabric depends. And we de- 
nounce the lawless invasion by armed force of any state 
or territory, no matter upon what pretext, as amongst 
the gravest of crimes. . . ." 

"7. That the new dogma, that the constitution of its 
own force carries slavery into any or all of the terri- 


tories of the United States, is a dangerous political 
heresy — at variance with the explicit provisions of that 
instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and 
with legislative and judicial precedent, is revolutionary 
in its tendency and is subversive of the peace and har- 
mony of the country. . . ." 

"17. Finally, having thus set forth our distinctive 
principles and views, we invite the cooperation of all 
citizens, however differing on other questions, who sub- 
stantially agree with us in their affirmance and support." 



The Peace convention — Organization — Personnel of the convention- 
Amendments proposed to the constitution — Insolence of secession- 
ists — Call from Judge Douglas. 

The Peace convention which assembled on February 
4, 1861, convened under circumstances of great political 
confusion and uncertainty. It was organized by the 
election of Judge Tyler, former President of the United 
States, as president of the convention, Crafts J. Wright, 
of Ohio, secretary. 

The delegates from Illinois, who were appointed by 
Governor Yates, were John Wood, Stephen T. Logan, 
John M. Palmer, Burton C. Cook and Thos. J. Turner. 

After Mr. Lincoln's arrival in Washington, he expected 
nothing from the proceedings of the convention, and ad- 
vised us to deal as liberally as possible with the subject 
of slavery. He pointed out to us the impossibility of 
restoring the Union without a struggle, in which we 
concurred. He said, "whatever I may think of the 
merit of the various propositions suggested, I should re- 
gard any concession in the face of a menace, as the de- 
struction of the government itself, and a consent on all 
hands that our system should be brought down to a 
level with the disorganized state of affairs in Mexico. 
But this thing will hereafter be, as it is now, in the 
hands of the people, and if they desire to call a conven- 
tion to remove any grievances complained of, or to give 
new guarantees for the pnrpose of vested rights, it is not 
mine to oppose." 

The convention consisted of some of the most dis- 
tinguished citizens of the several states. It contained 
William P. Fessenden and Lot M. Morrill, of Maine; 
Amos Tuck, from New Hampshire ; L. E. Chittenden, 
who reported the proceedings of the convention, from 


Vermont ; Geo. S. Boutwell, afterwards secretary of the 
treasury in Grant's cabinet, from Massachusetts ; David 
Dudley Field, Win. Curtis Noyes, a distinguished law- 
yer, James S. Wadsworth, who was killed during the 
civil war as a volunteer in the United States army, 
Erastus Corning, Green C. Bronson and General John 
E. Wool, from New York; John Tyler, fm. C. Rives, 
the distinguished senator, and James A. Seddon, after- 
wards Confederate secretary of war, from Virginia ; 
among others were George Davis, attorney-general 
under the Confederate government ; Daniel M. Bal- 
linger, minister to Spain during Buchanan's term ; 
Thomas Martin, whom I afterwards met at Pulaski, 
Tennessee, under different circumstances ; "William Hick- 
erson, of Manchester, Tennessee, and General F. K. Zolli- 
coffer, who was killed at the battle of Mill Springs ; 
from Kentucky there was William 0. Butler, candi- 
date for vice-president on the ticket of Cass and Butler ; 
James B. Clay (son of Henry Clay) , Joshua F. Bell, 
Charles S." Morehead, who had been governor of Ken- 
tucky ; James Guthrie, who had been secretary of the 
treasury, and Charles A. Wickliffe, afterwards governor 
of Kentucky ; Salmon P. Chase, afterwards chief-justice ; 
Thomas Ewing, the great senator from Ohio ; and others 
equally worthy of mention, from the various states. 

The convention recommended that the following be 
proposed to the several states as amendments to the con- 
stitution of the United States : 

"Art. 13, Sec. 1. In all the present territory of the 
United States north of the parallel of 36° 30" north lati- 
tude, involuntary servitude, except in punishment of 
crime, is prohibited. In all the present territory south 
of that line the status of persons held to involuntary ser- 
vice or labor as it now exists shall not be changed ; nor 
shall any law be passed by congress, or the territorial 
legislature to hinder or prevent the taking of such per- 
sons from any of the states of this Union to said terri- 
tory, nor to impair the rights arising from said rela- 


lation, but the same shall be subject to judicial cogni- 
zance in the federal courts according to the course of the 
common law. When any territory north or south of said 
line within such boundary as congress may prescribe 
shall contain a population equal to that required for a 
member of congress, it shall, if its form of government 
be republican, be admitted into the Union, on equal 
footing with the original states, with or without invol- 
untary servitude, as the constitution of said state may 

"Sec. 2. No territory shall be acquired by the United 
States except by discovery, and for naval and commercial 
stations, depots and transit routes, without the concur- 
rence of a majority of all the senators from states which 
allow involuntary servitude, and the majority of all the 
senators from states which prohibit that relation. Nor 
shall territory be acquired by treaty unless the votes of 
a majority of the senators from each class of states 
hereinbefore mentioned be cast as a part of the two-thirds 
majority necessary to the ratification of such treaty. 

"Sec. 3. Neither the constitution nor any amend- 
ment thereof shall be construed to give congress power 
to regulate, abolish or control, within any state, the 
relation established or recognized by the laws thereof, 
touching any person held to labor or involuntary serv- 
ice therein, nor to interfere with or abolish involuntary 
service in the District of Columbia without the con- 
sent of Maryland and without the consent of the owners, 
or making the owners who do not consent just compen- 
sation ; nor the power to interfere with or prohibit rep- 
resentatives and others from bringing with them to the 
District of Columbia, retaining and taking away persons 
so held to labor or service ; nor the power to interfere 
with or abolish involuntary service in places under the 
exclusive jurisdiction of the United States within those 
states and territories where the same is established or 
recognized ; nor the power to prohibit the removal or 


transportation of persons held to labor or involuntary 
service in any state or territory of the United States to 
any other state or territory thereof, where it is so estab- 
lished or recognized by law or usage, and the right dur- 
ing transportation, by sea or river, of touching at ports, 
shores and landings, and of landing in case of distress, 
shall exist ; but not the right of transit, in or through 
any state or territory, or of sale or traffic against the 
laws thereof. Nor shall congress have power to author- 
ize any higher rate of taxation on persons held to labor 
or service than on land. The bringing into the District 
of Columbia of persons held to labor or service for sale, 
or placing thern in depots to be afterwards transferred to 
other places for sale as merchandise, is prohibited. 

"Sec. 4. The third paragraph of the second section of 
the fourth article of the constitution shall not be con- 
strued to prevent any of the states, by appropriate legis- 
lation and through the action of their judicial and min- 
isterial officer, from enforcing the delivery of fugitives 
from labor to the person to whom such service or labor 
is due. 

"Sec 5. The foreign slave trade is hereby forever 
prohibited ; and it shall be the duty of congress to pass 
laws to prevent the importation of slaves, coolies or per- 
sons held to service or labor into the United States and 
the territories from places beyond the limits thereof. 

"Sec. 6. The first, third and fifth sections, together 
with this section of these amendments, and the third 
paragraph of the second section of the first article of the 
constitution, and the third paragraph of the second sec- 
tion of the fourth article thereof, shall not be amended 
or abolished without the consent of all the states. 

"Sec. 7. Congress shall provide by law that the United 
States shall pay to the owner the full value of his fugi- 
tive from labor in all cases where the marshal or other 
officers, whose duty it was to arrest such fugitive, was 
prevented from so doing by violence or intimidation from 


mobs or riotous assemblages, or when, after arrest, such 
fugitive was rescued from like violence or intimidation, 
and the owner thereof deprived of the same ; and the 
acceptance of such payment shall preclude the owner 
from further claim to such fugitive. Congress shall 
provide by law for the securing to the citizens of each 
state the privileges and immunities of citizens in the 
several states." 

On February 22, 1861, President Buchanan, at the re- 
quest of John Tyler, president of the convention, had 
forbidden the troops of the United States to parade, upon 
the ground that "the South" might regard it as a "me- 
nace." Secretary Cobb had resigned on December 10th, 
Secretary Lewis Cass had resigned on the 14th, and sec- 
retary of war, John B. Floyd, on the 29th of that month, 
and secretary of the interior, Jacob Thompson, on Janu- 
ary 8 th. 

Alarm continued to increase, and Ex-governor Lowe, 
who afterwards left his state to engage in the Rebel- 
lion, testified: "I have not the slightest doubt that if 
Maryland does secede, she will claim her rights here, 
and I will advocate them, peaceably, if possible, forci- 
bly, only as a last resort." And Governor Hicks, of 
Maryland, issued an address to the people of that state, 
in which he said: "I have been repeatedly warned by 
persons having opportunity to know, and who are en- 
titled to the highest confidence, that the secession lead- 
ers in Maryland have resolved that the border states, 
and especially Maryland, shall be precipitated into se- 
cession with the cotton states before the 4th of March." 

The secessionists had resolved that Mr. Lincoln should 
never be inaugurated, and the peace convention con- 
ceded to them all that was required, except the prohi- 
bition of slavery north of latitude 36° 30". We knew 
then that Mr. Lincoln would be inaugurated on March 
4th, and the country could depend upon his prudence. 

I told Mr. Lincoln, before I left Washington, "that I 
would have to go into the army, in order to prove, 


after voting for the proposed amendments to the consti- 
tution, that I was a sincere anti-slavery man." 

Mr. Yulee (senator from Florida) had written to the 
legislature of his state: "I think by the 4th of March 
all the Southern States will be out, except, perhaps, 
Kentucky and Missouri, and they will soon have to fol- 
low. A strong government of eight states, promptly or- 
ganized, with Jeff Davis general-in-chief , will bring them 
to a realizing sense of the gravity of the crisis. I shall 
give the enemy a shot next week before retiring ; I say 
enemy, and yet I am theirs and they are mine. I am 
willing to be their master, but not their brother." 

This was the spirit manifested by the secessionists 
when the so-called Peace convention assembled. John 
B. Floyd had already armed the south by placing the 
government arms in its hands, and at the time of the 
assembling of the "Peace convention, and adjournment, 
the Rebellion was in the full tide of experiment." 

I have already stated the substance of the quarrel be- 
tween Judge Douglas and myself, in 1854, while I was 
a candidate for state senator against Major Burke. I 
reached Washington on February 3, 1861, and the first 
person who sent his card to my room at "Willard's" 
was "Stephen A. Douglas." I invited him to my room, 
and he came in, extended his hand, which I grasped, 
and he said : "I have beaten you long ago, and you at 
last have beaten me ; according to your own limitation 
we are friends again." I expressed my satisfaction at 
meeting him again, and we consulted for half an hour. 
He said to me : "You and your friends did me great in- 
justice in the Lecompton controversy. If I had had 
my way, and Buchanan had not been a traitor, I would 
have compelled Davis to raise the standard of rebellion 
during that controversy, and then there would have been 
Union sentiment enough in the country to put him down 
in thirty days ; but now this continent will tremble un- 
der the tread of a million armed men before the Re- 


bellion is ended." He died on June 3, 1861, at the Tre- 
mont House, in Chicago. I have no doubt but that 
Douglas had splendid military qualities, and would, like 
Baker, have entered the army. He could have had any 
command he might have selected, and could from the 
younger men of the "old army" have chosen a staff 
which would have assured him success. 



Visits to Cairo — Visits to Cincinnati — Anna — Douglas — Visits from a 
Kentucky colonel — Muster regiment for sixth congressional dis- 
trict — Organization of 14th Illinois — Promoted to brigadier-general — 
In command at Otterville — New Madrid — Riddle's Point — First 
sight of gunboats — Colored preacher. 

On April 18, 1861, I was with Mason Brayman, Hall 
Wilson and General John A. McClernand appointed to 
go to Cairo and the southern part of the state, and 
ascertain the condition of public sentiment with regard 
to the rebellion. We visited Cairo and found public 
feeling favorable to the proposition that Cairo should be 
declared and treated as a neutral city, where all parties 
should buy and sell at their discretion — so little was 
known of the magnitude of the civil war that was then 
impending. I took the train on the Illinois Central 
Railroad and came back to Anna, and there met Union 
men and told them of my mission, and there joined 
other members of the commission. In the afternoon 
of April 22d, I met a few members of the legislature 
from neighboring counties who were going to Spring- 
field, having been convened by the governor to "meet in 
special session on April 23, 1861." 

Soon after I came on the train, one member of the 
legislature handed me a scheme which proposed the 
division of the state upon the line of the National road 
which passed through Vandalia, and permitting the 
south part of the state to join the Confederacy. I told 
him that he would find himself in jail if he urged such 
a scheme seriously. I reached Springfield on the morn- 
ing of the twenty-third, and heard Douglas make that 
incomparable speech which gave so much comfort to 
the Union people, and the eloquence of which thrilled 
the whole country. 


On April twenty-fourth I started "with Colonel Ben- 
jamin Prentiss with seven companies of the 10th Illinois 
Infantry to Cairo. On the way we saw General Swift's 
men at the Big Muddy and at Cairo. The troops we 
took with us were encamped about the city. It may be 
observed, as an illustration of the delicacy of the situa- 
tion, that a colonel of militia from Kentucky called 
upon Colonel Prentiss soon after our arrival and asked 
why "Cairo was occupied by the troops of the State of 
Illinois?" General Prentiss replied, "We occupy Cairo 
to defend the Union ; Cairo belongs to Illinois, and we 
will hold it till hell freezes over." 

I returned to Springfield, and was then requested by 
Governor Yates to visit General George B. McClellan, 
whose headquarters were in Cincinnati. After reaching 
Cincinnati I met General McClellan, and we discussed 
the importance of Cairo and its military value, and he 
approved all that the governor had done. I returned to 
St. Louis on the day before Camp Jackson was captured. 
I met Frank Blair and was let into the secret that 
"Camp Jackson was to be attacked and captured the 
next day." I came home to Carlinville and heard of its 
capture with all of its equipments, which was the means 
of preserving Missouri to the Union. 

The legislature at its April session had made provision 
and enacted laws for a more perfect equipment of the 
militia and of devising means to render efficient assist- 
ance to the government in preserving the Union, en- 
forcing the laws and protecting the rights of the people. 

The legislature passed an act creating ten regiments, 
one from each congressional district that the state con- 
tained, and one from the state at large. When I reached 
my home at Carlinville I learned that I had been elected 
colonel of the sixth congressional district regiment, which 
was ordered to assemble at Jacksonville, Morgan county. 
It was composed of one company each from the counties 
of Cass, Christian, Greene, Morgan, Macoupin, Menard, 
Jersey, Scott, Sangamon and Shelby. The regimental 


officers were Lieutenant-Colonel Amory K. Johnson and 
Major Jonathan Morris ; and Captains, Thomas M. 
Thompson, from Cass, Co. A ; Cyrus Hall, from Shelby, 
Co. B ; A. H. Cornman, from Macoupin, Co. C ; Thomas 
J. Bryant, from Greene, Co. D ; Frederic Mead, from 
Menard, Co. E ; Louis C. Reiner, from Sangamon, Co. 
G; Milton S. Littlefield, from Jersey, Co. F; John W. 
Meacham, from Morgan, Co. I ; Andrew Simpson, from 
Christian, Co. H; Wm. Camm, from Scott, Co. K. 

On May 15th I took command of the regiment, and on 
the twenty-fifth of the same month, under the orders of 
Governor Yates, we were mustered into the service of 
the United States by Captain Thomas C. Pitcher for 
three years, unless sooner discharged. We remained in 
camp until some time in the month of June, and took 
part in the public funeral of Douglas, and were after- 
wards removed to Quincy, Illinois, and took part in the 
Fourth of July exercises in that city. On the morning 
of the oth of July, we were ordered to Canton, Missouri. 
A man named Sowers had killed Captain Howell, an in- 
ternal revenue officer, and we were called on to arrest 
him. We arrested Sowers ; also, James S. Green, a sen- 
ator from Missouri, whom I had heard in Washington in 
February, 1861, in reply to Senator Douglas, in which 
speech he gave the extreme Southern view of the subject 
of slavery. Mr. Green was an intellectual man, full of 
resources, and answered Douglas as far as could be done 
from the standpoint which he occupied. 

From Canton I expected to return to Quincy and re- 
sume camp duties, but in the meantime the rebels had 
surrounded Colonel Robert Smith, of the 16th Illinois 
Infantry, at Monroe, Missouri, and the regiment was 
ordered to Hannibal, Missouri, and proceeded by way of 
that place to Palmyra and to Monroe, and the 14th Regi- 
ment never returned to Quincy, but was ordered to 
Brookville, and then returned to Macon, on the North 
Missouri Railroad, from which place we went to Stur- 
geon, leaving a battalion at Renick. 


On the 31st of July, 1861, I was at Sturgeon, and ob- 
tained leave of absence to go home ; arrived there on the 
2d day of August ; remained a few days, and rejoined 
my regiment at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. 

On the 11th day of August, the battle of Wilson Creek 
having occurred on the 10th, I was ordered to go to 
Rolla, Missouri, meet the returning force, and cover the 
retreat of General Siegel, who had retired from the battle- 
field of Wilson Creek. We arrived at Rolla on the 11th 
of August, and, with the exception of occasional runs 
into the country, remained there until October, covering 
the country. In October, we returned to Franklin, and 
proceeded to Jefferson City, and finally to Tipton, Mis- 
souri. We then proceeded to make the Springfield cam- 
paign ; we encamped at Otterville until February, 1862, 
when all the troops were ordered from Otterville, Smith- 
ton and Sedalia, and other points on the railroad, to the 
Tennessee river, to reenforce General Grant. I was ap- 
pointed to the rank of brigadier-general on December, 
20, 1861, and was assigned by General Pope to the com- 
mand of the post at Otterville. 

On January 1, 1862, I was in command of the post of 
Otterville, which place was also the headquarters of 
General John Pope, who commanded a district with 
rather indefinite boundaries. There was really at that 
time nothing for an army to do in Central Missouri ; a 
small mounted force was no doubt necessary to scour the 
country, keep down the ill-organized rebel forces which 
were disturbing the public peace and stirring up disorder, 
inflicting about as much injury upon their real or re- 
puted friends as upon their enemies, and were the nucleus 
of those bands that later were the scourge of Central and 
Western Missouri. In fact, the borders of Missouri and 
Kansas had been, from a time which commenced before 
the breaking out of the civil war, infested with lawless 
men, known as Red-legs and Jayhawkers, on the one 
side, and Border-ruffians, and other like names, on the 


The crimes of these lawless men had demoralized so- 
ciety and prepared such men as Quantrell, Todd and 
Anderson, and also created for them the desperate fol- 
lowers who ravaged the country, and, upon any pretext, 
murdered and robbed, at their discretion. This condi- 
tion of things produced leaders for the Union men who 
did them no credit, unless they were useful to fight the 
Missouri borderers by methods and in a spirit resembling 
their own. The names of Lane and Jennison and Mont- 
gomery are still mentioned with bitter execrations. 
Enough is known of the horrors of the border warfare 
to justify the belief, that no spot on earth was ever cursed 
with more desperate and lawless men than those who 
carried on a ruthless, predatory warfare on both sides of 
the line which divides Kansas and Missouri. 

I watched the growth of this reckless spirit, and ad- 
vised, to the extent of my supposed right to speak, that 
early steps be taken to drive these men from the States 
of Missouri and Kansas, and something was done in that 
direction, but the work was not fully accomplished, and 
the important and more decisive operations of armies in 
Western Kentucky and Tennessee attracted the attention 
of the President and the war department, and Missouri 
and Kansas were in a measure overlooked and neglected. 

On January 1, 1862, the Rebel army occupied Bowling 
Green, Kentucky, with troops pushed forward nearly to 
Louisville. They had all western Kentucky and Ten- 
nessee, occupied Fort Henry on the Tennessee river, and 
Fort Donelson on the Cumberland. In the latter part of 
January, General Grant commenced one of the most im- 
portant campaigns of the war, in which by the middle 
of February he had captured both Forts Henry and 
Donelson, forced Albert Sidney Johnston to evacuate all 
the points held by the Rebels in Kentucky, and finally 
abandon Nashville and Middle Tennessee ; and appear- 
ances indicated that the spring campaign would be 
active and possibly decisive. 

All of the troops around Otterville and Sedalia, and at 


other points in the vicinity, were ordered to move at 
once, by rail and quick marches to St. Louis, and thence 
south, to join the forces under General Grant. I left 
Otterville for St. Louis, and upon leave of absence, 
visited my family at Carlinville for a few days, and then 
proceeded to Cairo and reported to General Pope, whose 
headquarters were on a steamboat, which the next day 
went up the river to Commerce, some forty miles above, 
and then a few days were spent in preparations for sub- 
sequent operations against New Madrid and Island No. 
10, on the Mississippi river. 

I was assigned by General Pope to the command of a 
division consisting of the 34th, 43d, 46th, 47th and 59th 
Indiana regiments of infantry, that were at the time I as- 
sumed command, at Benton, about ten miles west of 
Commerce. These regiments were strong in numbers, 
and were commanded by Colonels Ryan, McLean, Fitch, 
Slack and Lieutenant-Colonel Scott, respectively. We 
had been but a few days in Benton, until orders were re- 
ceived to march to New Madrid, which was occupied by 
the Rebel forces. They also held Island No. 10, which 
was fortified, and as was thought, commanded the pass- 
age of the Mississippi river. We reached the vicinity of 
New Madrid on March 1st, advanced and reconnoitered 
the Rebel defenses. I had here my first experience in 
the business of serious warfare. The enemy's works at 
New Madrid were in themselves well constructed, but 
like all works of the kind on the Mississippi river, were 
built on a plain easily observed and turned. 

Our troops soon occupied Point Pleasant, which with 
artillery commanded the river, and early made New 
Madrid untenable, and the Rebels abandoned it. After 
its evacuation I was ordered with my division to move 
down the river to Riddle's Point. The road to this 
place led down the river for much of the distance near 
the banks, and from the high state of the water the Rebel 
gunboats commanded it with their guns ; the water 
covered the bottom too, so that it was dangerous to leave 


the road, which was also for the greater portion of the 
distance flooded, often to the depth of three feet. 

The danger of suffering from the fire of the gunboats 
made it necessary to make the march at night. We left 
New Madrid on the evening of March 16th, and hauled 
with us a twenty-four pound iron gun and ammunition 
wagon, and reached Point Pleasant in the evening of the 
17th, soon after sunrise, after wading half the distance. 

In the afternoon of that day we marched about five 
miles to a point opposite Tiptonville, Tennessee, and 
during the night constructed an earthwork on the bank 
of the river for the protection of the gun, and flanked 
the works with rifle-pits dug in the sand, sufficient for 
the protection of a regiment. The gun was in charge of 
a detachment of Iowa volunteer artillerists, and the 47th 
Indiana were placed in a position for the occupancy of 
the rifle-pits when necessary. 

The point occupied by these troops was one of singular 
loveliness ; around the position was a peach orchard in 
full bloom, and in the rear were the undulations in the 
surface made by the great earthquakes of 1818, follow- 
ing each other in almost regular succession at short dis- 
tances. The narrow elevations with corresponding de- 
pressions formed a natural protection for troops at 
supporting distances from the earthworks and the rifle- 
pits, while the river, here confined within its banks on 
both sides, flowed south in a rapid but smooth current. 

On the morning of March 18th, word was received at 
the battery that several Rebel gunboats were steaming 
up the river, and would soon be in sight. I must pause 
in the story long enough to describe the scene as it ap- 
peared to me soon afterwards, when I caught sight of 
the leading gunboat around the bend below. The course 
of the river at that point was from north to south, and 
the little town of Tiptonville was directly opposite to us 
on the east side of the river ; the sun shone brightly, and 
the reflection of its rays upon the water gave it an ap- 


pearance of clearness and depth which was delightful ; 
and just below were trees beginning to show their leaves, 
while in the rear were a few farm buildings, and at a 
small distance was the orchard of the magnificent dis- 
play of peach blossoms of which I have spoken, and in 
and around it and near the line of rifle-pits were soldiers 
looking upon the coming fleet of gunboats steadily ap- 
proaching with the evident purpose of making an attack. 
We were then unfamiliar with war in any of its aspects, 
and knew nothing of the character of the strange enemy 
which by this time had increased to five. The leading 
boats, when a short distance below us, for some reason 
threw a few shots into the woods, and then, probably dis- 
covering the infantry, moved out towards the middle of 
the river, and our little body of artillerists fired a shot 
at the leading boat, which we could see struck the water 
ahead of its object, and then ricocheted away towards the 
other shore. Then came the return short, and at the 
flash the men leaped into their rifle-pits and disappeared, 
and then followed shot after shot from the guns of each 
of the boats and the steady roar of our single piece. 

Two of the boats soon appeared to be crippled, moved 
slowly down the river, and took no further part in the 
combat. Once the boats moved in the direction of the 
shore, but the musketry from the rifle-pits convinced the 
enemy that they could not safely land. How long the 
cannonade continued I cannot tell with exactness, but 
after awhile our gun ceased firing, and upon going to the 
battery, I found the gunners completely exhausted lying 
down beside their piece. 

The gun was struck near the muzzle, but not seriously 
damaged, and after a few more shots directed towards 
the rifle-pits, the enemy started down the river. It is 
remarkable that, though more than a hundred shots 
were fired from the gunboats, not a man on our side was 
injured, nor do I know that anyone on the boats was 
hurt. After that affair the gunboats of the pattern then 
in use were no longer objects of apprehension to us, and 


they never again to my knowledge appeared above Fort 

A day or two afterwards, an Ohio regiment reached 
us with another twenty-four pound gun, and the two 
were placed at a point further down the river, in order to 
cover the landing below Tiptonville, and prevent the 
landing of transports to carry off the troops if they 
should attempt to escape from Island No. 10. Trans- 
ports frequently attempted to approach the landing, but 
our artillery fire kept them away, and in the meantime 
our gunboats continued to shell Island No. 10 from 
above, and General Pope completed his preparations to 
cross the river with his forces and capture it. On Sat- 
urday night, March 19th, Captain Walk with the gun- 
boat Carondelet ran past the Rebel batteries on Island 
No. 10 without injury, and appeared on the river below. 
The passage of the Rebel batteries by the Carondelet 
changed the whole face of affairs. On Sunday, he came 
down the river opposite my camp and invited me to 
come aboard and return with him up the river to New 
Madrid, and on the way point out the Rebel batteries. 
We found one about three miles above my camp, and 
but one. It was a single twenty-four pound gun pro- 
tected by a slight earthwork. The Carondelet was a 
turreted ironclad of a pattern lately introduced, and we 
landsmen for the first time witnessed the operations of 
the floating battery against the one on land. The boat 
made quick work of it. It moved up in short range, 
and with a few shots, which sent the earth around the 
ears of the artillerists, drove them from their gun. 

A party was sent ashore to spike the piece, and we 
went on our way up the river to New Madrid. The next 
day General Pope crossed the river with his forces and 
captured Island No. 10, with a large amount of arms, ar- 
tillery and a number of prisoners. 

During the time that my command was in camp at 
Riddle's Point, one incident occurred which first taught 
me the sincerity of the friendship of the negroes for our 



armies and the value of their assistance, especially in 
minor matters in a country like that in which we were 
then operating. The fact has already been mentioned, 
that from the stage of the water in the Mississippi river 
the lowlands in the bottoms were overflowed, and in ad- 
dition to this the creeks and sloughs were full, so that 
reconnoissances and scouting parties, necessary to our 
safety, were unable to move any considerable distance 
without boats or other means of crossing them. The 
Rebels had removed all boats and skiffs which could be 
found on the west side of the river. I sent out parties 
in search of them, and made extensive inquiries, but 
was unable to find one, and had abandoned the expecta- 
tion of doing so, when one night a colored boy, who had 
escaped from the Rebel works and come to our camp, and 
had guided my command on the night march from New 
Madrid to Point Pleasant, told me that he knew a man 
who could find for me what I wanted. I told him I 
must see this man, and then he left me. Within an hour 
lie brought to my tent a negro man, who seemed anxious 
to conceal his visit to me. After answering some ques- 
tions as to his name and residence, and some other 
matter of like character, and inquiring of me in what di- 
rection I desired to send my party, he said he could find 
such means of transportation as the party needed, but 
his agency in the matter must not be known, and pointed 
out the danger to himself which would follow the dis- 
covery by any white person. The next day one of my 
scouting parties found no difficulty in crossing streams or 
bayous. The necessary means of crossing were ready 
when needed ; where they came from no one seemed to 
know, and I was informed that after the parties had 
used them they disappeared as if by magic. 

I have rarely met a more remarkable person than 
the negro referred to ; his exact age was of course to me 
uncertain, but he seemed to be approaching middle life. 
He was not tall, but was athletic ; his head was large, 
and his eyes were overhung with heavy projecting brows ; 


his manner was grave almost to sadness. He was a 
pure negro, beyond doubt, and, as almost all the ambi- 
tious negroes were, he was a preacher. I found all over 
the South that, as the only thing resembling a profession 
open to the slaves was the ministry, a very large number 
of them became preachers, and, by virtue of the position, 
leaders of their people. 

As a class the preachers were regarded with jealousy 
by the slave owners, but they were often useful to them 
as teachers of the religious duty of the slave to obey his 
master. The man to whom I refer had often no doubt (es- 
pecially in the hearing of white people) preached to his 
race from the choice texts of the slaveholder's gospel : 
"Servants, obey your masters," etc., but he furnished 
evidence by his language, and more forcibly by his con- 
duct, that the iron of hopeless servitude had entered his 
soul, and that he would be prepared, if ever the hour 
should come when it was necessary, to shed blood to 
rid himself from bondage. 

I occasionally met among the blacks men somewhat 
like this one, but none that I thought his equal in craft, 
cunning, or capacity. He was useful while he remained 
in the neighborbood, and I know but little of his subse- 
quent history. On March , a part of my command 

was sent to Tiptonville, and with two of my regiments, 
and nearly all the forces commanded by General Pope, 
I descended the river. The ostensible object of the 
movement was the capture of Fort Pillow. We reached 
a point a few miles above the fort with a fleet of trans- 
ports, and after remaining there two days, without 
landing more troops than were necessary to guard the 
boats, orders were received to return up the Mississippi 
to the mouth of the Tennessee, and up that river to 
Hamburg, where the force under General Pope was 
landed, and became the left wing of the army, which, 
under Halleck, was then, and for a month afterwards, 
engaged in digging its way to Corinth, Mississippi. 

As soon as the forces were landed, I was assigned to 


the command of a brigade of the first division of the 
Army of the Mississippi. The second brigade was com- 
manded by that fine soldier Brigadier-General James D . 
Morgan, and General E. A. Paine commanded the di- 

Very soon after I was assigned to a command, I 
moved to the front slowly, only keeping pace with the 
movements of the army. The enemy occupied Corinth 
with his whole army ; we moved out by slow marches, 
frequently encountering small bodies of Rebel troops 
that were being driven before us until we reached the 
east side of an extensive swamp which lay between us 
and Farmington, Mississippi, and probably six miles from 


We remained in camp a few days until the roads 
across the swamp were constructed, and on May 9th I 
was ordered, with other troops in support, to make a 
reconnoisance in the direction of Corinth. We ad- 
vanced close to that place until we discovered an earth- 
work on a hill to our front and then fell back slowly. 
Soon after we commenced the return march, I discovered 
a Rebel force on both flanks, who made a determined ef- 
fort to cut us off, and then for the first time I learned the 
superiority of the repeating arms such as we then pos- 
sessed, over the muskets then in use. 

Two companies of the 42d Illinois were armed with 
Colt's revolving rifles. These companies were placed on 
the flanks of their regiment, and opened fire upon the 
forces opposed to us. The effect of this rapid firing 
caused the enemy to fall back, while we moved forward 
and took a position on the hill east of the creek, and in 
the direction of the camp. The Rebels attacked us with 
a good deal of earnestness at first, but as our forces were 
partially concealed, they were not willing to engage us 
closely ; they returned in the direction of Corinth, and 
we returned to our camp on the east side of the swamp, 
but pickets were left well advanced west of the swamp, 
with a brigade to support them. 


The next day I was made general officer of the day, 
and was ordered to advance to Farmington with my 
whole command and occupy the village. I ordered my 
command to move, and rode forward across the swamp, 
in the direction of Farmington, to visit the pickets, as 
was my duty. I proceeded, accompanied by a single 
orderly, and overtook and passed a large company of the 
14th Michigan Infantry, under the command of Captain 
Fitzgibbon, a jolly Irishman with whom I was ac- 
quainted. This company was on the march to relieve 
the pickets who were posted on the west side of a cleared 
field which had to be crossed by us. I reached the hol- 
low south of the field, and had ridden until I had got to 
its head, when I was fired upon by a squadron of Rebel 
cavalry. I rode back at full speed, entered a hundred 
yards ahead of my pursuers, and reached Fitzgibbon, 
who with great presence of mind, gave them a volley 
which emptied several saddles, and sent them away in a 
hurry. I had barely again reached the table land, this 
time accompanied by the infantry, when I heard firing 
on the picket line, and noticed the pickets coming in 
across the field, and soon saw infantry skirmishers com- 
ing out of the woods from the direction of Corinth. I 
rode back to my brigade, which had crossed the swamp 
and were well advanced in the direction they were ordered 
to move. I pushed the 27th Illinois forward towards 
the point at which I had met Fitzgibbon, moved the 22d 
Illinois to the front of a point of woods on the right of 
the 27th, moved the 51st Illinois to the left of the 27th, 
and left one battalion of the 42d Illinois to cover my 
left, and placed the other battalion of the same regiment 
along the edge of a wood to cover my right, and placed 
Hiscox's battery near the center, to command a force of 
infantry which by that time were passing east, with the 
apparent purpose of turning my left. 

I made my dispositions with much more composure 
and confidence, though this was my first battle, than I 
ever felt on later fields. I had four good regiments of 


Illinois men, of an aggregate strength of some twenty-four 
hundred ; I had a battery of six pieces — four "Parrots' ' 
and two twelve-pound howitzers. I did not stop to count 
the enemy, but was confident of victory. I proceeded to 
ride along the front of my troops, and gave them the 
orders which veracious history tells us are usually given 
by great generals on the eve of a battle. I told them to 
"stand firm," and withhold their fire until they could 
"see the whites of the enemy's eyes;" to "fire low," 
etc. It is needless to repeat all that I said, as much of 
my eloquence may be found in almost any well-written 
military history. 

When the firing commenced, I had noticed a force of 
the enemy advancing towards my right ; I expected them 
to be met by the battalion of the 42d Illinois, and hoped 
for support in that direction from a brigade of Stanley's 
division which I had passed soon after crossing the 
swamp, so that I did not doubt that they would be re- 
pulsed. Another force which emerged from the woods 
into the open field to the front of the 22d Illinois, and 
those who appeared some time before to be moving east 
from Farmington to my right, changed their direction, 
and marched north, towards that part of the line occu- 
pied by the left of the 27th and 51st, and one battalion 
of the 42d. The state of my feelings may be guessed, 
when, soon after this time and the firing had become 
general, a messenger from General Pope rode up and 
inquired about the state of affairs, I wrote with a pencil : 
' ' 1 can hold my position against the world, the flesh and 
the devil." 

It seemed to me that I had at last found the opportu- 
nity I had waited for, and. with great confidence in my 
men, I expected to win a victory. 

I was with tho 22d Illinois opposing the force that 
came on the Purdy road. As these troops came out upon 
the open field, they, without perceptible halting, formed 
line of battle, and moved steadily upon us. When within 
what se< med fair range, we opened lire upon them, and, 


as I observed the steady fire of my regiment, I expected 
to see them thrown into disorder, and, perhaps, break 
and fly, but they did not seem to be in the slightest de- 
gree disturbed, but steadily advanced. Soon after, a 
battery was pushed through one of the intervals in the 
line and opened upon us. For a few minutes I felt, and 
think my men also felt, as raw troops always do when 
first exposed to the fire of artillery, "very much as if 
they wanted to get away from there !" Soon, however, 
I discovered that the noise made by artillery is altogether 
out of proportion to the mischief it does, and, satisfied 
with the appearances there, I rode to the left, where the 
fighting appeared to be very close and desperate. Here 
it also seemed to me, from the appearance and steady ad- 
vance of the enemy, that my fire was not so effective as 
it ought to be. I rode to Hiscox, and said : "You don't 
seem to strike them ; turn your howitzers upon these 
rascals who are coming down that point," and I pointed 
to a mass descending a hill to our front, at a distance of 
possibly four hundred yards. He said : "General, I will 
hardly have time to get my guns off the field." "Get 
your guns off the field! what do you mean?" He an- 
swered : "Good God, general, just look?" I did so, and 
saw a line advancing upon the whole semi-circle from the 
northwest to southeast. "Give them one anyhow!" I 
shouted. He did so, and moved off in a gallop ; and 
when I turned I saw my whole line rapidly retreating, 
pursued by the enemy. I rode some two hundred yards 
until I reached the head of the retreating troops, seized 
the flag of the 27th Illinois, and shouted to the men to 
"rally round the flag." Many of them looked at me as 
they passed, without stopping ; some halted and made a 
slight effort to rally their comrades. While this was 
going on, and everything was in confusion, and my 
own troops were hurrying towards the swamp, I received 
a blow from a fragment of a shell on the large muscle 
of the left arm above the elbow, which, for a moment or 
more, engaged all my thoughts ; the effect was to be- 


numb the arm so that it fell to my side ; it seemed to 
me that the bone of the arm was crushed into fragments. 
I remember that I reached around, and with mj right 
hand grasped my left wrist, and slowly raised it to a 
horizontal position, then let it go ; it remained so, though 
it tingled its whole length. I uttered a shout that at- 
tracted the surprised attention of my men, and seeing 
that the enemy had passed the timber which had been 
occupied by my troops on the south around to the west, 
I rode down towards the point where the road leading 
to camp entered the swamp. On my way I passed a 
few companies of the 47th Illinois in line, with their left 
approaching the road referred to, and about that time 
the 42d Illinois came up from the south to the same 
point. The enemy, evidently under the belief that our 
troops had all retreated beyond their reach or appre- 
hension of an ambuscade, came on so slowly that I had 
time to put the 42d Illinois troops in a favorable position 
before they came up. The portion of men referred to 
formed a triangle, the road cutting the woods at a point 
most distant from the enemy. I saw a party away to 
the left moving east as if they intended by a detour to 
interpose between us and the camp, but, being familiar 
with the ground in that direction, I knew the movement 
could not be successful. I could hear firing to the right 
somewhat in advance, but my only fear was that the 
enemy would cut off part of the 42d Illinois, which had 
been sent in that direction, which in fact they did ; but in 
my front was an open field much higher than the ground 
we occupied. I could see nothing of the enemy, though 
two or three batteries, as we judged from the sound, 
were using shells and grapeshot, which nearly all passed 
over our heads. They were evidently attempting to 
reach the causeway over which they knew we would re- 
treat. While waiting for a report from Major Swan- 
wick of the 22d Illinois, whose regiment, having left the 
field, returned and joined me, and Lieutenant Childs, 
one of my aides, whom I had sent to the left to learn 


the character of a force which had halted in the shade, 
and so made it impossible to make out their uniforms, 
I ordered a drummer boy standing by to climb a tree 
near to see what the enemy to my front was doing. He 
reported that they were coming, and had hardly de- 
scended when he was struck by a grapeshot on his left 
breast and killed within a few feet of me. I had but a 
moment to examine the little fellow and order him to 
be carried off the field, when the Rebels appeared in a 
confused mass, denouncing us as cowards, and telling us 
to "run, "in language which I cannot repeat. They had 
come into full view and were at short range, when a vol- 
ley was fired from the two sides of the triangle before 
described. I have rarely seen so much damage done 
by a single volley. I could see men and horses in con- 
fusion, and we took advantage of the delay occasioned 
and filed into the road and moved off. 

Colonel Roberts, of the 42d Illinois, halted one of his 
companies at the bridge over the creek which flowed 
through the swamp. A few, perhaps a battalion, of the 
enemy followed to that point, but were driven back by 
the rapid firing of the revolving rifles, with which that 
company was armed, and I marched into camp in the 
rear of the 42d Illinois, which was in excellent order. 
I had never seen the rear of any force during a battle, 
and though all of my troops that were not killed 
or wounded and left on the field from which we had 
been driven, were in good order in advance of that part 
of the 42d Illinois with which I came into camp ; but I 
was greatly disgusted when I reported to General Pope, 
and met the laughter of the general and officers around 
him, at the result of my boast, by saying that I was 
able "to withstand the world and the flesh, but the devil 
was too much for me ! ' ' and then added I had met a 
superior force and left the field in good order, to be told 
that my men had been coming into camp for three 
hours on the run, reporting everyone but themselves 
killed or captured, and to this was added the further 


statement, that if they had not been stopped in camp, 
one-half of them would have continued riming until 
they reached the Tennessee river ! I resented this im- 
putation upon the courage of my troops, but I am satis- 
fied that a great many of them left the field very early. 

This conclusion is, however, largely the result of my 
subsequent observation. This affair illustrates the fact 
i hat the mutual ignorance of opposing forces on a bat- 
tlefield produces some strange results. The Rebels in 
Cornith undoubtedly learned during the night of May 
9th that one of our brigades was on the west side of the 
swamp, and their movement was directed against that 
brigade ; they were no doubt disappointed when they 
met my brigade in motion, so much in advance of where 
they had expected to find the brigade that had attracted 
their attention, and from that circumstance probably 
supposed that a much heavier force was within sup- 
porting distance. Nothing but this or some other un- 
explained reason made their movements slow ; they had 
upwards of ten thousand men in the field, and if they 
had moved rapidly as might have been, expected nothing 
could have prevented them from capturing my brigade 
or cutting it in pieces. Perhaps as it was I am in- 
debted for my escape to an opportune charge made by 
the 2d Iowa Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Hatch un- 
der the orders of General Paine, who, discovering that 
I was hard pressed, ordered the cavalry charge to divert 
the attention of the enemy. 

At all events, the cavalry charged, and scattered the 
infantry supports. It was gallantly done, and no doubt 
checked the enemy's advance upon my right, and made 
it possible for me to give them a staggering blow as I 
left the field. We lost a good many men in this affair, 
and several valuable officers were killed ; among whom 
was Lieutenant-Colonel Miles of the 47th Illinois. Like 
many volunteer officers early in the war, he felt it to be 
his duty to expose himself to clanger in order to give 


his men confidence in his courage ; it cost him his life, 
and deprived the country of a promising officer. 

Within a few days after this affair, General Pope's 
command, which was still known as the Army of the 
Mississippi, moved forward to a position near Farming- 
ton, Mississippi, and as he approached the enemy near 
Cornith, my duties were pressing, and often fatiguing. 
I had frequent affairs with the Rebels' reconnoitering 
parties, but my last day's service was that of general 
officer of the day, on Sunday, May 29th. On the morn- 
ing of that day I rode along the line of pickets, which 
was very near the enemy and was exceedingly danger- 
ous from the number of sharpshooters. 

In going down from the right to the left along the 
line, a young lieutenant of a Michigan regiment riding 
by my side was shot through his body, and died within 
a few minutes. I proceeded still further south, and 
again passed a point much infested by the sharpshoot- 
ers ; one fellow was extremely watchful, and was a fine 
shot. Anxious to find his exact position I left my 
horse, and went forward to a tree, and undertook to 
look for him ; he caught sight of my hat, fired, and 
missed, but one of our sharpshooters some distance to 
our left caught sight of him as he fired at me and hit 
him fair ; we saw him spring forward, and heard from 
him no more. 

Once during the day the Rebels shelled the picket 
lines, but made no impression. Late in the evening 
I returned to my quarters ; I had eaten no dinner, 
but felt so heavy and drowsy that I lay down, and as 
I did so I said, "If I am asleep when supper is ready 
do not disturb me." I fell asleep at once, and in the 
night, at what time I do not know, I thought I heard 
firing on the skirmish line. I attempted to rise, imag- 
ining I had received a bayonet thrust in my left side, and 
have no recollection of any event which occurred for 
many days afterwards. 

I had observed for sometime that there was much 


sickness and many deaths in my own command, but 
anticipated no danger for myself. In the morning of 
the day I was attacked by illness, I felt as well as any 
time for many months ; I noticed at noon that I had no 
inclination for dinner, and about the middle of the 
afternoon I had experienced a sense of weariness for 
which I could not account; I rode to my tent, and felt 
a slight dullness, then fell asleep, and was aroused as 
before stated, then became unconscious. When I re- 
covered consciousness, Dr. Fitch of the 42d Illinois was 
near me, and he said, "He is all right." I asked in a 
whisper "What is the matter?" His answer was, "You 
have had a close graze," or some such expression. I 
thought from the excessive soreness in my side that I 
had received a wound, and did not know to the contrary 
until several hours afterwards, when told that I had 

On May 13th, I was assisted to mount my horse, to 
take part as I supposed in a battle for the possession of 
Corinth ; for once in my life I was absolutely indifferent 
to death. I rode to where my command Avas in line, 
ready to advance if required, and while waiting the re- 
port reached us that the enemy had evacuated the place 
and were in full retreat. I was then lifted from my 
horse and laid upon the rail roof of a shelter made by 
the pickets ; I was taken again to my tent, saw my own 
troops move off in pursuit of the enemy without me, 
and felt that the war was over as far as I was concerned. 

Some of the officers and men who knew my situation 
called, looked in, spoke a few words of sympathy, and 
in doing so left upon my mind the impression that our 
separation was final. I am quite sure that those who 
saw me believed that I would die, for there were few 
who recovered from such an attack as mine. I re- 
mained in my tent until the next day, and was then 
placed in an ambulance and removed to Hamburg. A 
steamboat was on the point of leaving for St. Louis ; it 
afforded comparatively comfortable accommodations for 


me, and I was at once placed on board, and soon moved 
down the Tennessee and Ohio rivers to Cairo, and then 
up the Mississippi to St. Louis. I have no recollection 
of the scenery along the river nor the difference between 
the days and nights of the passage ; I only know that at 
St. Louis I was taken from the boat to a hotel, and that 
I was placed in one of the cars on the railroad. I do re- 
member that at Godfrey I saw a wheatfield nearly ready 
for the harvest, and thought that I had never seen any- 
thing more beautiful. I reached home on June 5th, and 
with the attentions bestowed upon me, I at once began 
to improve. I had not remained at home long before I 
saw enough to convince me that home life during the 
war must have been to others who were unable to join 
the army, of all conditions most miserable ; the people 
were divided into hostile parties, who not only disliked 
but feared each other. The ardent Union men had 
formed a secret political society, as they said, to oppose 
the "Knights of the Golden Circle," and other disloyal 
societies, while as I could readily discover, there was a 
large number of conservative men, who though alarmed 
by the sign of the times, were active in their efforts to 
control the violent and rash, and preserve public order. 
I have always opposed secret political societies for 
reasons which seem to me unanswerable, and my obser- 
vation of their influence during the war, confirmed my 
dislike for them. The secret leagues of Union men dur- 
ing the war were dictated by the timidity of the Union 
people, and after they were organized, their proceedings 
so far as I am informed, were lawful and proper, and if 
they had been made public, would have been understood 
and would have excited no apprehensions, nor could they 
have been misrepresented by those who sought to induce 
the people to enter organizations of a questionable char- 
acter. I do not attempt to describe other political organ- 
izations of whose existence I was informed, but I was 
satisfied that they were unnecessary and believed them 
to be dangerous. I exerted myself to induce my neigh- 


bors of all parties to abandon the secret societies to 
which they were supposed to be attached, but I imagine 
that my efforts were not successful to any great degree, 
for I was told before I left home again for the army, that 
my reported opposition to a secret society of the Union 
men led some to express doubts of my loyalty to the 
Union cause. I invited one of the gentlemen who ques- 
tioned my loyalty upon that ground to return with me 
to the army ; he declined upon the ground, not apparent 
to others, that his health was too feeble to permit him to 
be a soldier. 



Retreat to Nashville— Mr. Slate— Pulaski— Major McKittrick discovers 
a friend — Arrive at Nashville. 

I remained at home until August 26th, when I started 
on my return to rejoin my command, which was then at 
different points upon the Memphis and Charleston Rail- 
road between Tuscumbia and Decatur. On reaching 
Tuscumbia, I was assigned to the command of a division 
of which my brigade was a part, and relieved General 
E. A. Paine, its former commander. Brigadier-General 
James D. Morgan was in command of the first of the 
brigades, and Colonel Geo. W. Roberts, of the 42d, suc- 
ceeded me. 

"With the command of the division, General Paine 
turned over to me orders from General Grant, who by 
this time had become the commander of the Army of 
the Mississippi, directing the division to march by the 
way of Athens and Madison Cross-roads to Dechard on 
the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, and there re- 
port to General Don Carlos Buell, who, on the west side 
of the Cumberland mountains, was watching Bragg, who 
had concentrated the whole of his army at Chattanooga. 
Morgan's brigade crossed the Tennessee river at Flor- 
ence, and on September 2d, I started by rail to Decatur 
to collect Robert's brigade at that point, cross the rive-, 
march to Athens and join Morgan's brigade, and, with 
the whole division, march to join Buell, as contemplated 
in my orders. The direction of my march was changed 
by an accident singular enough to describe. Morgan 
reached Athens, September 5th, the day before my ar- 
rival, and when I joined him I found a well-dressed and 
very quiet looking citizen under close arrest near his 
headquarters, which Morgan explained as follows : 


Soon after his arrival at Athens, he received a well 
written, anonymous note, which described a man named 
Slate as "a very dangerous person." Morgan was ad- 
vised to arrest Slate, and assured that if he did so and 
would use proper means of compulsion, he would fur- 
nish valuable information. The writer professed to be 
a devoted Union man, and insisted upon the prompt 
arrest of the person named Slate with great earnestness. 
A squad of soldiers was at once sent to the store of Slate, 
who was a dealer in flour, bacon, etc., and he was ar- 
rested and brought into camp. He was followed by some 
of his neighbors and acquaintances after his arrest, who 
spoke of him as a quiet, peaceable man, but when he 
found an opportunity to speak to Morgan alone, he said 
he was a native of Ohio, who found himself in Alabama 
at the breaking out of the war, and since that time had 
found no opportunity for escape to the North. He then 
said that two days before a courier from General Buell 
to the commander of my division was captured near 
Athens with dispatches announcing that Buell himself 
had fallen back to Nashville. The information with re- 
gard to the change of General Buell' s plans seemed suf- 
ficiently startling, but it disclosed to me the fact that I 
had a march of more than a hundred miles before me, 
my route infested with Rebel cavalry, and an uncertain 
force of infantry at no great distance to my right, who 
might easily place themselves on my road to Nashville. 
After securing this information, I knew there was no time 
to be lost. Ostensibly to punish the recreant Ohio man, 
we seized his whole stock of flour, bacon and whatever else 
he had, and after valuing the stock with a great show of 
fairness, gave him a voucher for the amount of its ap- 
parent value, payable upon proof of his loyalty, and to 
make his punishment apparently as harsh as possible, 
we took him with us as a prisoner. It is hardly neces- 
sary to add that whatever show of opposition he made 
at first, we had no difficulty in keeping him with us. 
After an hour's march, he disclosed his true character, 


said he had written the letter himself, and soon after we 
arrived at Nashville, his vouchers were paid in full with- 
out additional proof of his loyalty. 

The difficulties of the march from Athens to Nashville 
were greatly increased by the fact that the quartermaster 
at Decatur had undertaken to send under my protection 
to Nashville a large number of wagons loaded with prop- 
erty which would otherwise have been destroyed or aban- 
doned. Several hundred loyal men with their families 
from the hills south of the Tennessee river had joined 
me in order to reach the North and escape Rebel con- 
scription. I had also with my column one hundred or 
more convalescents from the regiments that remained 
with General Rosecrans, and a numerous crowd of negroes 
of all ages and sexes, who, in spite of all my exertions to 
prevent them, had crossed the Tennessee river on the 
ferry-boat which I had used in crossing my men. Thou- 
sands of them were collected on the south bank of the 
river hoping to cross. The wail of the poor creatures 
was piteous as the ferry-boat, fired by my order when 
the last of my troops had crossed, passed down the river 
in their sight wrapped in flames. 

On Sunday morning, September 7th, I moved out on 
the road from Athens to Elkton, by way of Blowing 
Springs, with nine regiments of infantry, two six-gun 
batteries, an escort of about fifty cavalry, and more 
than a thousand non-combatants, composed of conva- 
lescent soldiers, loyal Alabamans and negroes, as be- 
fore stated. 

As I anticipated, the route was infested with bands 
of mounted Rebels. Information of my situation as 
well as of my orders were in their possession, and it 
seemed to me that all the male inhabitants of the 
country who could raise a horse and shot-gun were 
out on that Sunday morning "hunting Yankees." We 
brushed them from our road when they confronted us, 
but they were numerous and troublesome. 

We moved in good order and at a steady pace until 


we reached "Blowing Springs," of which I have spoken, 
where we halted to close up the column. Blowing 
Springs — why so called I never knew — are a number 
of large and beautiful springs situated in a deep valley 
which opens to the north and terminates in the valley 
of Elk river, which we were approaching. After en- 
tering the descent into the valley where the springs are 
found, the head of the column marched about half a 
mile, so that when halted it extended along the road 
which was overlooked by hills at no great distance. 

A very exciting and as was thought by others an 
amusing incident occurred to me while the men were rest- 
ins in what seemed to us all a very comfortable and safe 
position. After we halted I saw near the road a hand- 
some log house, in the door of which stood a remarkably 
comely, neatly-dressed woman. She appeared so polite 
and good natured, that I crossed the little fence that 
stood in front of the house and commenced a conversa- 
tion with her. We were soon both standing in the door 
facing each other, when suddenly the Rebels on the hill 
west of us opened fire at not more than a hundred yards 
distance ; with the report the shot rattled against the 
fence and side of the house; she sprang inside and 
slammed the door, and as I was next to the hinges the 
closing door pushed me out of my place and against the 
fence. The firing wounded two or three men, but upon 
our return of the fire they fled. Upon reaching the 
place the Rebels had occupied we found two guns and a 
revolver, "signs" indicating that probably we had done 
some execution. 

We resumed our march and crossed the Elk river 
about the middle of the afternoon at Elkton, where we 
struck the turnpike from Elkton to Nashville ; I had 
never marched upon a turnpike before, and was de- 
lighted with its smoothness and the ease with which the 
whole column with a long train of wagons was kept 
closed up. Near sunset we reached Buchanan's creek, 
about six miles from Pulaski, Tennessee. 


The site of our camp for the night was an exceedingly 
pleasant one ; it was well watered and situated so that 
it could be easily guarded, and we prepared for a good 
night's rest after a march of upwards of twenty miles. 
It was about ten o'clock in the evening when a negro 
man was brought in by the pickets ; he reported that a 
Rebel force, commanded by Colonel Biffle, were at the 
Fair Grounds near Pulaski, and that they expected, as 
he expressed it, to give us some trouble next morning. 

I had no great respect for the forces he spoke of, and 
determined to surprise them about day break, instead of 
waiting for them, and accordingly Colonel Roberts with 
two regiments of his brigade left the camp about mid- 
night, guided by the negro man mentioned, with orders 
to push on to Pulaski, and make his attack as soon as 
he could reach the enemy. He reached their camp at 
daybreak, as was expected, but they had been warned 
of his advance and did not wait for him. He only suc- 
ceeded in capturing a few prisoners, a large mail and a 
breakfast, which the people of the neighborhood had 
prepared for them. 

On September 8th, we marched early and reached 
Pulaski about nine o'clock. I called upon the Hon. 
Thomas Martin, with whom I had become acquainted at 
Washington, while attending the Peace Conference in 
1861, of which body we were both members. He re- 
ceived me kindly, and satisfied me that he had no sym- 
pathy with the Rebellion, though his situation com- 
pelled him to acquiesce in the general sentiment of the 
people around him. I breakfasted with him, and when 
I took leave I felt that his situation was pitiable; he 
was advanced in life, and had large property in the 
town, and naturally felt apprehensive for its safety. 

I noticed when we entered Pulaski that there were 
many persons on the streets dressed in citizens clothes, 
who watched us as we passed through with apparent 
unconcern, but who were in fact, as I then supposed, a 


part of the men whom Roberts drove out of their camp 
that morning. 

They had made slight changes in their dress and had 
washed themselves, which had probably done as much 
to change their appearance as anything else. I was ex- 
tremely distrustful of them, for they attempted to capture 
the small guard that I left in the town to prevent mis- 
chief by stragglers. After moving out from Pulaski a 
short distance, I witnessed one of those scenes that try 
men's patience severely without affording an opportunity 
for redress. 

At about that distance from the town we passed a cotton 
mill by the roadside. It was a two-story frame house, 
with perhaps a dozen windows on the side next the road, 
and from each of these windows there peered as many 
heads of women as could crowd into them. They hissed 
as we passed, and some of them screamed, "Run, you 
cowards ; they'll catch you before you get to Nashville," 
with many other things of like character, pleasant to 
listen to. I stopped a moment in front of the building, 
provoked, I confess, but after listening to them a few 
moments, I said: "Ladies, do you know that nearly 
every one of these men carry matches in their pockets ; 
this building would burn nicely !" They took the hint, 
and we heard nothing more from them. 

A few minutes after this scene I heard firing up in the 
town, and upon riding back a short distance I met my 
guard, which had been left in the town for its protection, 
retreating pursued by some of the same citizens whom I 
had seen before leaving town. The temptation to march 
back and burn the town almost overpowered me. 

We marched forward, however, and in the afternoon 
were attacked by a force of six hundred mounted men. 
They killed two of the negroes who were following me, 
and stampeded some of the teams ; one of the wagons 
broke down and was burned with its contents. 

We reached Lynn creek after a march of twenty miles, 
and camped early in order to bring up the wagons and 


collect my miscellaneous followers before dark. It was 
evident that the Rebels were increasing in numbers and 
audacity. Impressed by this information as we passed 
Spring Hill, a small village, I ordered Captain Ranney 
of the 42d Illinois, to seize all the horses he could find, 
and mount his company. Ranney did this successfully, 
and soon had them mounted, and some of the men, not 
included in the order, "got something to ride." 

They brought into the line, as one of them said, 
"everything that had hair on 'em," stallions, brood 
mares, two year old colts of both sexes, and one good- 
looking fellow got hold of a "jack," which he rode bare- 
back and guided with a halter. We marched about 
three miles further and halted near an excellent spring, 
which was just outside the camp, and the Rebels "am- 
bushed" it, and wounded one or two men who went to 
the springs for water before we discovered them. A 
volley of musketry into their covert scattered them, and 
upon going to their hiding place we found they had suf- 
fered more injury than was inflicted upon us. 

Awhile before sunset, after we had made arrangements 
for the night, the picket brought in a stout, portly gen- 
tleman, pretty well mounted, who announced himself as 
Major McKittrick, and told me that he had followed me 
to induce me to give up his "stock." He described a 
number, four or five, to be mares that had suckled colts 
during the summer, and fillies, all "blooded." Luckily 
for the major, I had noticed his animals, and regretted 
that they had been taken. It was easy for him to ob- 
tain my consent to restore them. He wanted to take his 
stock at once and return home, but I invited him to 
spend the night with me. He declined very politely, but 
when I informed him that I would be compelled to insist 
upon his remaining, he submitted quite cheerfully. He 
took his supper, talked quite freely, and after awhile we 
discovered that we were relatives — "kin." His mother 
and mine were of the same name, and came from Cul- 
pepper county, Virginia. 


Having these facts to start with, Virginians and Ken- 
tuckians will readily understand that it was not diffi- 
cult for the major and myself to supply the "missing 
links." This was not the last time I met "my cousin," 
the major, for after our arrival in Nashville, most of the 
animals we had captured on this occasion were useless, 
and while wondering what could be done with them, the 
major came in one day with a number of majors and 
captains, who like himself were too old to go into the 
Rebel army, and were therefore loyal. They claimed 
the stock, proved their title by the major, who was 
understood by them to be my kinsman ; they dined with 
me, took their animals, which I returned at the major's 
request, and left Nashville for home. I confessed, how- 
ever, to my cousin, that the scarcity of forage in Nash- 
ville had its influence in making me liberal. 

The march next day was an exceedingly lively one ; 
the Rebel forces were still increasing, and fired upon us 
from every favorable position they could find. The ex- 
cellence of the turnpike enabled me to keep the wagons 
of my train close up. My non-combatants were by this 
time foot-sore and weary, but were placed at intervals in 
the column ; the weakest and most helpless were put in 
the wagons, while, with a heavy rear-guard and strong 
flanking parties, we were able to keep the enemy at such 
distance that they did us no great harm. 

As we approached Columbia, the}- pressed us with so 
much force that Roberts' brigade halted, and formed a 
line of battle to cover our crossing of Duck river ; they 
did not choose to attack him, so we crossed the river 
safely and camped. 

As we moved off the next morning, the Rebels from 
the south side cf the river commenced firing upon us. 
Anxious to get my column of wagons and crowd of people, 
who were badly demoralized by the attack, out of the 
range of the Rebel fire, I left General Morgan, with his 
brigade and Houghteling's battery, to deal with them, and 
prepared to meet trouble at Rutherford's creek, the cross- 


ins of which was about three miles ahead, and was oc- 
cupied by the enemy, with what force I did not know. 
My guides had described this place as one that could be 
so occupied by the Rebels as to give much trouble, and, 
when I had reached and examined it, I found they were 
not mistaken. 

The road passed through woods as it approached the 
crossing of the creek, and then descended abruptly to a 
bridge which the Rebels had neglected to destroy, and an 
embankment of considerable height extended from the 
north end of the bridge across the bottom, and the whole 
length of the embankment was easily commanded by the 
fire of the enemy at short range from woods on both 

When we discovered that the bridge was safe, we pre- 
pared to clear the woods on both sides of the road. I 
knew we had no time to lose, for I had heard that For- 
rest was near Fayetteville, at some distance to my right, 
and all signs proved that the Rebel forces around us, 
though not of a very dangerous class of troops, were 
steadily increasing in numbers. I determined, there- 
fore, to clear the woods on both sides of the bridge "on 
the run." Roberts, one of the most gallant of men, di- 
vided his brigade, charged into the woods, and cleared 
them at once, but still, shortly after Roberts had passed, 
the Rebels again got possession of the wood, attacked a 
portion of the train, stampeded some of the colored 
drivers, who left their teams, several of which ran off 
the embankment, turned the wagons over, and produced 
a great deal of confusion. 

Morgan had come up in the meantime, and he again 
cleared our flanks of the enemy ; order was restored, the 
-v\ -agons were righted up and we got in motion again. 
After marching a few miles, I was party to an incident 
that was important to me at the time, though I did not 
fully credit the information thus obtained and acted 
upon, until 1865, I found corroboration that I could not 


As I rode along the side of the public road, which was 
occupied by the marching column, I observed an appar- 
ently old man standing inside the yard of a house 
which was separated from the road by a common fence. 
He was, when I first saw him, gesticulating with vio- 
lence, and, as I came near enough to distinguish his 
words, he was saying the most abusive things to the pass- 
ing men, who seemed, for what appeared a good reason, 
to pay no attention to him. At first glance he seemed 
to be drunk, but, fearing that some of the men might 
lose patience and resent his conduct, I stopped and told 
him he was running a great risk, when he turned on me, 

and said he was "not afraid of me or all the Yankees 

in the world;" and then, lowering his voice, said: "A 
man left here last night to notify Forrest, who is at 
Fayetteville, to meet you at Hollow Tree Gap," and then, 
without waiting for an answer, he commenced again in 
a loud voice to denounce the Yankees, and wish them all 
in a place supposed to be too hot for comfort. Surprised 
at his conduct, as well as his language, I waited a mo- 
ment, and he repeated what he had told me, and then 
moved away, muttering as if he were still in a passion. 
"Hollow Tree Gap" is a dangerous gap in the hills 
between Franklin and Nashville, of the character of 
which I had some knowledge. Impressed by this infor- 
mation, I camped that night on the Harpeth, a few miles 
south of Franklin, in a beautiful beech grove. The 
Rebels attempted to drive in my pickets during the 
nio-ht, and made some show of strength the next morn- 
ing, but as their numbers seemed less than they had 
been, I supposed that the body of their forces had gone 
forward to the "gap" to await our coming. We reached 
Franklin about nine o'clock, and as usual in passing 
through our route found the streets crowded with men, 
having the equivocal appearance with which I had be- 
come so familiar. 

As my train and crowd of followers moved slowly, 
many of them footsore with their long march, and would 


be likely to fall behind, I determined to take se- 
curity for their safety. Major Scarret, my provost- 
marshal, took some fifteen or twenty of a group of re- 
spectable looking men prisoners, among them John 
Marshall, an old lawyer of the place. I then told the 
people that my teams and stragglers would be some 
time passing through the town, and in the meantime I 
would hold the men captured as hostages ; that I would 
cross the creek north of the town, put my artillery in 
position, and would shell the town if I heard a gun fire, 
and would hold the hostages responsible besides. I 
added that in the meantime the men captured should be 
treated respectfully, and released as soon as all my 
wagons and people came up without injury. There was 
some demur to this, but I told them their neighbors 
would not be harmed if they behaved themselves. 

My guns were put in position north of the creek. I 
waited, perhaps, an hour with my guests, who seemed 
a little apprehensive, but the wagons and followers had 
by that time all come up safely, and I parted with my 
prisoners, both parties pleased, and rode on to overtake 
my advance guard, which, without halting, had pushed 
forward to the "Gap," so as to be sure of its possession. 
I heard firing in the gap as I came forward, but it was 
so light that I was satisfied that there was only a 
small party opposing us. We made no halt but pressed 
on through into the open country, and then all felt that 
the march was practically ended. 

I then supposed that the old man on the roadside had 
trifled with me, and remained of that opinion until 1865, 
when on the cars between Mitchell, Indiana, and Louis- 
ville, Kentucky, I met a man who, on hearing my name, 
asked if I was the officer who marched from the 
Tennessee river to Nashville, in 1862. When told that 
I was, he said : "You came very nigh having trouble in 
getting to Nashville that time. I was one of the men 
that went to get Forrest to come and intercept you." I 
found tli at he went from the neighborhood where I had 


obtained my information in the curious manner already 
described. I told him that I had knowledge of his trip, 
but I did not gratify his curiosity by confiding to him 
the source of my information. On September 12th, im- 
mediately after we halted south of Nashville, I rode in 
to report my arrival, and found General George H. 
Thomas, with whom I then formed an acquaintance 
which afterwards ripened into a friendship that only 
terminated with his life. I will hereafter speak of that 
great soldier, patriot and true gentleman in such terms 
as I can best employ to express my estimate of his char- 
acter. He informed me of the march of General Buell 
into Kentucky to meet Bragg, who seemed to be moving 
as if he intended to reach and perhaps cross the Ohio 
river ; that he had written orders to push his own troops 
to join Buell, and that my division with that of General 
Negley, who would rank me, would occupy and hold 
Nashville until we were relieved by the return of the 
army from the campaign in Kentucky. 

We moved in position in Nashville on September 15, 
1862, and from that time until the arrival of the army 
under Rosecrans, early in November, we were cut off 
from all communication from the North. During all 
that time I had no letter from my family, nor did I see 
a paper published outside of Nashville. 

My time passed pleasantly, however. I met Governor 
Andrew Johnson, afterwards President of the United 
States ; Major Wm. B. Lewis, who was one of the audi- 
tors of the treasury under General Jackson's administra- 
tion, and his intimate friend; Francis B. Fogg, one of 
the historic lawyers of Tennessee; Allen A. Hall, the 
intimate friend and counselor of John Bell, and also oc- 
casionally met Parson Brownlow, and others who had 
borne a conspicuous part in the politics of the state, 
some of whom were known beyond the limits of that 
state. All of these men were interesting studies to me. 
All of those whose names I have mentioned were intense 


in their devotion to the Union of the states, but had no 
feeling of esteem for each other. 

Major Lewis was at that time upwards of eighty years 
of age, and lived in the past, when Jackson was the 
idol as well as the leader of the people of Tennessee. 
He was a "quartermaster" with Jackson during the 
"Creek war." He was a member of the general's house- 
hold while he was president, and was familiar with all 
of his opinions and prejudices, and I think shared them 
with almost as much intensity as they were entertained 
by General Jackson himself. I have copious notes of 
his conversations with me, and he surprised me by 
revelations that were entirely unexpected, and overthrew 
many of the opinions I had held of the character of 
public men of the period of General Jackson's leader- 

In 1844, the Democratic party accepted the nomina- 
tion of James K. Polk as the party candidate for presi- 
dent with enthusiasm greatly heightened by the popular 
belief that he was the intimate and confidential friend 
of General Jackson, and that Polk's nomination after the 
defeat of Mr. Van Buren was intended as a compliment 
to the general, and I remember that Polk was called the 
"Young Hickory" during the canvass, and that he was 
regarded in every sense as the representative of the great 
chieftain. But Major Lewis assured me that Jackson 
had no confidence in Polk, and regarded him as the 
secret friend of Calhoun and the Nullifers. He said, 
"General Jackson, while president, and Polk was 
speaker, believed, notwithstanding his profession of 
devotion to his ideas of government and of personal 
friendship, that Polk was the secret ally of his enemies, 
and that his nomination for the presidency was brought 
about by treachery to Van Buren aud the machinations 
of the Nullifiers." 

Major Lewis was familiar with the circumstances of 
the rencounter between General Jackson and Thomas H. 
and Jesse Benton, in which Jackson received the pistol 


shot which was extracted after he became president. 
Major Lewis stated, as his opinion, that the Bentons left 
Nashville from apprehension that Jackson would at some 
time renew the affair. 

Francis B. Fogg, of whom I have spoken, was one of 
the most interesting men I have ever met. He was old, 
but his mental faculties were unaffected by age ; he had 
been more than fifty years a lawyer, and had for a large 
portion of that time stood in the front rank of the emi- 
nent Nashville bar. He called upon me one afternoon 
from mere politeness, and when I told him that I was a 
lawyer and not a professional soldier, he expressed great 
satisfaction, and commenced to deplore the fact that the 
war had closed the courts and left him out of employ- 
ment. Anxious to interest him, I asked his opinion as 
to the power of the United States to create military com- 
missions in states where civil authorities had abdicated or 
ceased to execute their functions. I expected from him 
a denial of the right in question, but to my surprise he 
asserted the right and the duty of the United States to 
maintain order and to suppress disorder by military 
agencies, and supported his position by one of the ablest 
and most convincing arguments I have ever heard or 
read. He had studied the subject profoundly and stated 
his propositions with judicial accuracy, and his con- 
clusions were irresistible. This old lawyer had lost a 
promising son in the battle of Mill Spring, where he fell 
with General Zollicoffer, of whose personal staff he was 
a member. Mr. Fogg called several times upon me, 
and I always made it a point to start some legal ques- 
tion that I might listen to him. He was always pleas- 
ant, and never failed to be most instructive and inter- 

Major Lewis told me that General Jackson thought 
Mr. Fogg to be a good lawyer, and at one time thought 
of appointing him associate judge of the Supreme Court 
of the United States, and would have done so, but Jack- 
son suspected him of leaning towards Federalism. 


While in Nashville I saw much of Governor Johnson, 
and often heard him express his opinion of men and 
measures. On account of the peculiarities of Governor 
Johnson's character, it is difficult to describe him. He 
possessed great natural capacity, but his knowledge of 
the science of government was superficial. He was sin- 
cere and earnest in his opinions, but his prejudices were 
violent and often unjust. His personal dislikes were 
never concealed. Bailie Peyton said of him, that "he 
hated a gentleman by instinct." After listening to him 
one day, I said : "Governor, the anti-slavery men of the 
North oppose slavery because it is unjust, and we hope 
by abolishing it to make free citizens of those human 

chattels." He answered: "D n the negroes ; I am 

fighting these traitorous aristocrats, their masters!" 
His courage was of the highest order, and no man was 
more ready to take responsibilities. He passed through 
Louisville, in February, 1865, on his way to Washington 
to assume the vice-presidency, to which he had been 
elected. In a speech delivered there, he denounced the 
Kentucky Union men as insincere and treacherous ; ad- 
vised me to trust none of them, but to arrest a thousand 
of the leaders and send them out of the United States. 
Notwithstanding this, I was not surprised that, after his 
accession to the presidency, he quarreled with the most 
radical leaders of the Republican party. They assumed 
to dictate to him the policy to be pursued towards the 
people of the states lately in rebellion, and he, who was 
always impatient of advice, resented dictation from any 
quarter, and hence the breach was inevitable. 

In addition to my frequent meetings and conversations 
with the men whose names I have mentioned, I found 
other pleasant acquaintances in Nashville, and often had 
interesting adventures in or near the picket lines. 

The most important military affair in which I partici- 
pated was the surprise of the Rebel forces at La Vergne, 
a village about twelve miles from Nashville, in the di- 
rection of Murfreesboro. We were aware of the fact 


that the place was occupied by a considerable force of 
Rebel infantry and cavalry, and General Negley, who 
commanded at Nashville, determined to surprise them. 
The plan of operations was, that Colonel Miller, of the 
18th Indiana Infantry, should, with four regiments, leave 
Nashville at nine o'clock in the evening, and by a circuit- 
ous route reach the rear of the enemy at daybreak, while 
I, with Stoke's cavalry, about three hundred men, and a 
battalion of the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry under Major 
AVynkoop, and the 27th Illinois Infantry in covered 
wagons, should move at twelve o'clock at night on the 
direct road and attack the enemy as soon as I could reach 
them. It was expected that my attack would attract the 
attention of the enemy and aid Miller in concealing his 
movements. I moved promptly and marched slowly, 
quite willing that the enemy should know of my 
movements, while my long line of covered wagons made 
my command resemble a foraging party covered by 

It was barely daylight when we encountered the Rebel 
pickets and skirmished with them, waiting for Miller to 
reach the position he was to occupy. My infantry moved 
forward and charged the Rebel outpost, and captured a 
"Wiard" gun, and about that time we heard Miller's 
fire, and saw the Rebel cavalry, said to be about eight 
hundred strong, move off at full speed to the southwest. 
I had held Stokes and Wynkoop in hand for this, and 
ordered them to follow in pursuit. 

Under the influence of the excitement produced by the 
scene, I forgot for a moment the firing which was going 
on at the front, and in some way reached the top of a 
stack of clover near by, from which I saw all of a thou- 
sand horsemen, pursuers and pursued, at full speed for 
three or four miles. After the horsemen passed out of 
sight, we entered the village, where we captured about 
one hundred prisoners, including Brigadier-General 
Maury, of the Rebel army. Forrest was at Murfrees- 


boro, and we hoped he would move out and follow us on 
our return to Nashville. 

During our occupation of Nashville, I often rode with 
my escort outside the picket lines, where we had frequent 
skirmishes with the Rebel cavalry. Sometimes we would 
encounter a party who were too strong for us, and then 
there would be a race for the pickets, with whom my 
party would unite and repulse the enemy. Occasionally, 
we would capture a few prisoners and their horses, and, 
as my escort furnished their own horses, we always kept 
the best when captured, and turned the poor ones over 
to the quartermaster. 

On one occasion, I took with me my escort and a com- 
pany of Michigan infantry mounted, amounting on the 
whole to a hundred men, and went out on the Nolans- 
ville "pike." It was one of the peculiarities of Nash- 
ville that the main turnpikes were connected by rough 
and incomplete pikes. We went out some mile or more 
on the principal pike, beyond the picket line. Lieuten- 
ant Hayes was riding with me, and, when we turned to 
the left, in order to reach the Murfreesboro pike, I sent 
out Lieutenant Shaw as an advance guard, and soon 
heard firing in my front. 

I had inadvertently, while laughing at stories told by 
Hayes, proceeded to a greater distance than I had in- 
tended. Shaw came back and reported to me that the 
Rebels had a picket at the junction of the small pike 
with the Murfreesboro turnpike and that we were within 
sight of the lunatic asylum, six or eight miles from 
Nashville. I said to Shaw, "We'll wish we were in a 
lunatic asylum before we get back ! " I ordered him to 
"return, attack the pickets and drive them away." 

As soon as we reached the Murfreesboro turnpike, I 
sent Gilbert, in command of the Michigan infantry, in 
the direction of Nashville to see what was there, and 
ordered Shaw to proceed in the direction of the asylum 
and see what was there. Shaw reported to me that 


there was about a battalion on his front, while Gilbert re- 
ported that there was about one hundred and fifty men 
between us and our pickets on the Murfreesboro pike. 
I immediately determined to make "hot foot" for our 
pickets (one company of the 22d Illinois) and run the 
risk of encountering the men between us and Nashville. 
I said to Shaw, "You have carbines and revolvers, the 
other fellows have shot-guns, drive them, and when you 
come back we'll charge these fellows to our front." 

Pretty soon Shaw had his company in motion ; when 
he returned I put myself at the head of my escort, 
charged the enemy in the direction of Nashville, broke 
through them, and by that time the Rebel cavalry had 
come from the direction of the asylum, and we had a 
race for it. We rode through "Slip-up" at full speed, 
crossed the bridge over Brown's creek ; our pickets had 
heard the firing and came at double quick to our relief ; 
the enemy pursued us no farther ; they saw the infantry 
and retired. 

One incident which occurred on this trip is worth re- 
lating. While I was riding at full speed, with drawn 
saber in my hand, I heard a tremendous explosion, and 
saw that it was from a double-barreled shot-gun, and 
felt the powder in my face. I saw before me a buy, 
some twenty years old, who had evidently forgotten to 
put the shot in his gun. I raised myself in my stirrups, 
determined to take his head off, but he was so young 
and apparently so frightened that I passed the saber 
over his head and said to him, "You miserable rascal, 
you meant to murder me!" I heard that expression 
for many days afterwards from my escort. 



Diary kept in Nashville — Call from Mr. Trimble — Capture of company 
of the 22d Illinois — Arrival of Rosecrans at Nashville — Skirmish 
-with the enemy — Stuart's creek — General Rosecrans' erroneous re- 
port—First day's battle of Stone River. (1862-1863.) 

I kept a brief diary while in Nashville, which now 
reads rather racily. Some extracts from this will give 
a better idea of the state of things as matters appeared 
to me than any I can furnish from memory, I find in 
the entry of September 21st: "The owners of negroes 
give me no rest ; every one who calls on me is a prodigy 
of patriotism and devotion to the Union. He wants his 
negro, as he says, not for his value, but to gratify a 
longing mother, who ardently desires that her son shall 
return to her and to slavery. The kind-hearted owner 
only wishes to oblige her." 

We had heard nothing from the North for a month, 
and rumors reached us through Rebel sources like this : 
"Rumor reports that Buckner has taken Green river 
bridge, with 3,500 prisoners, after two days' resistance, 
and that Buell had crossed Green river in pursuit of 
Bragg. Another rumor is, that McClellan has been de- 
feated and killed by Jackson and Lee near Hagerstown, 
Maryland, with a Federal loss of 35,000 men. The ru- 
mor of Rosecrans' defeat by Price is revived." 

On September 26th, I wrote : "The General (Negley) 
does not feel easy, as he thinks it probable that Price is 
after us, and he has a rumor that Breckenridge has 
reached Murfreesboro with 15,000 men, and is repairing 
railroads south. This afternoon, General Negley rode 
up and informed me that our pickets on the Murfrees- 
boro 'pike' were attacked by a large force, and ordered 
me to send out a regiment of infantry. ... I rode 


out and found the attack a sham." . . . 0:i Octo- 
ber 3d, I made another entry, that seems now to have 
been prophetic of the prevailing views at present : "Had 
a visit from John Trimble, one of the three members of 
the Tennessee senate who opposed secession to the last. 
John Trimble, Jordan Stokes, and Mr. East, now secre- 
tary of the state, were three of the senators who stood 
out to the last. He professes to be a follower of Alex- 
ander Hamilton, and his ideas of 'consolidation and na- 
tionality' are as far from the true constitutional theory 
as secession is. How prone we are to run to extreme 
opinions at a time like this ! 

"We shall hereafter be afflicted with this very idea in 
our politics, and the states' rights doctrine, which is cor- 
rect, will be repudiated on account of its supposed con- 
nection with rebellion and federalism, which is danger- 
ous to popular liberty, will be approved. 

"Secession, which is a mere lawless, revolutionary 
idea, may be met by the logical method of resistance, force, 
while 'nationalism' is deceptive and treacherous, and 
by its silent, concealed effects, steals the rights of the 
people, and under cover of pretended reverence for order 
and peace, subverts constitutional government, and ends 
in despotism." 

On October 4th I wrote : "The guerrillas assailed our 
pickets last night, on the Franklin pike. In the saddle 
all day. I have spent the whole day in efforts to find 
the guerrillas, but without success." 

"October 10th. There is a good deal of mystery 
about Rebel movements. Some reports are that they are 
ordered to East Tennessee ; others that Forrest is at 
Murfreesboro in command of a force for the reduction * 
of Nashville. My opinion is, that they have not aban- 
doned all hope of wresting the city from us, though the 
affair at La Vergne has alarmed them. Last night head- 
quarters was in a panic. About eleven o'clock a man 
came into my room, and announced that a party of Rebel 
cavalry had come inside our pickets. I sprang out of 


bed, seized my clothes to commence dressing, and then 
asked: 'How many are there?' He answered: 'Two.' 
] dropped my clothes — humbugged by a frightened 

"Sunday, October 12th. Rode out on the lines, saw 
nothing, and came back at eleven o'clock, found an 
invitation to dine with Mr. Trimble — went down to his 
house and spent a delightful afternoon. Mr. Trimble is 
always interesting. He thinks John Bell an able man, 
but always lacked courage ; that Zollicoffer was nar- 
row-minded, but that his personal courage was of the 
highest character ; that disappointed ambition caused 
his political errors. He entertains contemptuous opin- 
ions of Governor Harris ; thinks him weak and timid, 
and that he was used as a tool by Southern leaders. 
He characterizes secession as a 'malady resembling mad- 
ness;' that the leaders of the Union people of Tennes- 
see were driven from their position by the 'audacity and 
mendacity' of the 'Knights of the Golden Circle,' of 
whom Henry S. Foote was leader and chief. From his 
accounts, the scenes witnessed in Nashville in the early 
days of the spring of 1861 were pitiable, all men cowered 
before the vagabond bullies of treason. Rumors are that 
Rosecrans has defeated Price, and that Buell has beaten 
Bragg. The Rebels last night burned the bridge over 
Stone river, ten miles from here on the Lebanon road. 
This looks as if they feared a movement east of Nash- 
ville to reach Bragg 's rear." 

The diary of October 15th gives an idea of the em- 
ployment of many days : "This morning took my es- 
cort, about twenty cavalry and three companies from the 
picket reserve, and went out on the Murfreesboro pike. 
About two miles out, my advance guard was fired upon 
by a party. The advance returned the fire. I rode for- 
ward and found about thirty 'Rebs' in a clump of wood 
behind a ravine, so that my cavalry could not reach 
them, and I ordered the infantry skirmishers to advance. 
When the enemy saw the 'blue jackets' coming, they 


fled. The infantry got a few shots at long range ; a good 
deal of noise ; no blood ; rode around the city in the 
afternoon ; in the evening read Grotius." 

"October 16th. . . . Refugees come in with 
rumors. The . impression seems to be gaining ground 
that the Rebels are concentrating a force on the Mur- 
freesboro road to attack Nashville. Some put their force 
at 15,000 men. My opinion is that they have not more 
than half that number, and that we will yet have a fight 
before this place. Mr. Strait, from Athens, came in 
to-day. He says that at the battle of Iuka, Price took 
nine pieces of our artillery. No news from Buell. The 
Rebels say his last battle with Bragg was a drawn 


"October 17th. The rumors to-day indicate a purpose 
on the part of the Rebels to attack us to-morrow." 

". . . October 18th. Rose early this morning in 
order to be ready for the enemy. The morning was 
cool ; a heavy fog concealed everything, so that it became 
a question of some importance as to how our pickets 
could be saved in case of an attack. I rode out on the 
line and made the best disposition of them I could. 
The Rebel forces were about two thousand men with two 
field pieces. After a short skirmish, they fell back to 
the lunatic asylum, about eight miles from the city. 
Refugees continue to come in from Wilson, Smith and 
De Kalb counties. They complain of the oppressions 
the people suffer from the Rebels in their counties. We 
had an affair of pickets on the Franklin pike this morn- 
ing. It did not amount to much." 

My diary of the 19th refers to rumors of Rebel move- 
ments, and on the 20th, I wrote, "The rumors of last 
night evaporated with the rising of the sun." I noticed 
the results of an expedition commanded by Colonel 
Miller, that he "routed the enemy and killed and cap- 
tured many." And then, "The news from Kentucky is 
not satisfactory. Buell seems to have fought a bloody bat- 
tle at Camp Dick Robinson, putting 20,000 Rebels hors du 


combat, and taking 12,000 prisoners. 'Secesh' rumors 
turn the table, and both lie."'' 

"October 21st. This morning was aroused from bed by 
a messenger who informed me that Company C, 22d Illi- 
nois, on picket on Murfreesboro pike, was captured and 
our line opened. I rode out and found the report to be 
true. Major Swanwick, Captain Gregory, Lieutenant 
Sennifee and thirty-three non-commissioned officers and 
privates were captured without firing a gun. The case 
is an extremely mortifying one to me. Major Swan- 
wick is one of my best officers — brave and active, and a 
personal friend. Captain Gregory is a superior man. 
He had his men ready for the reception of the enemy, 
and told them to fire, but Swanwick believed the party 
to be ours and overruled him. The Rebels, five times 
their number in that way, were allowed to 'get on them 
so that resistance was useless.' In the afternoon, I rode 
out to find some Rebels said to be on the Franklin pike. 
They were reported to be three hundred. We found, 
however, five. Some shots were exchanged, but nobody 
was hurt." 

On October 22d, it seems, from my diary, I finished 
reading "The Life and Speeches of Stephen A. Douglas. 
It will illustrate the possible mental state of men in a 
beleaguered city, surrounded by enemies, to state that I 
find in my diary several pages of criticism upon the 
public course of Mr. Douglas, from which I transcribe 
the following reflections: "Mr. Douglas involved him- 
self in hopeless embarrassment by accepting the South- 
ern idea of the extension of the constitution over ter- 
ritories, and of state equality, and by accepting the 
dogma of the political omnipotence of the supreme 
court. By these he conceded the utmost claims of one 
party without making that party his friends. He ad- 
mitted even that 'Popular Sovereignty' was only what 
the supreme court might decide it to be. 

"Thus Mr. Douglas fell ; he failed to read the signs of 
the times aright ; he did not comprehend the fact that 


the despotic party organization he had assisted to con- 
trol so long had passed into other hands, and that he 
was now to be torn to pieces by his own steeds." He 
was defeated at Charleston, and afterwards by the 
people. He then saw his error ; and when the traitors 
who had defeated him made their first demonstration 
against the government he no longer kept terms with 
them. He came back to the people of Illinois, who had 
always, in spite of his faults and mistakes, loved him, sick 
and broken down with his great labor, and then, as if 
he had warning of the near approach of death, he threw 
his weight into the scale on the side of the constitution 
and the Union. He made two speeches in Illinois of 
great eloquence and power, filled with fervid love of 
country and blazing with passionate attachment to 
our free constitutional system of government. These 
speeches were distributed over the northwest and 
aroused the country, but hardly had his voice ceased to 
reverberate in the hall of the representatives of the 
state than it ceased forever. This first and noblest son 
of Illinois, this child of the people, closed his wonderful 
and brief career, crushed by that aristocracy for which 
he had unhappily done so much. The people in the 
northwest, and especially in Illinois, hung upon his last 
words, forgave him all his errors, and also wept tears 
of unaffected sorrow at his untimely death. For many 
years I was his political foe, but I loved many friends 
less than him. 

"Thursday, October 23. Last night was called to 
headquarters to discuss with General Negley the plan 
of a reconnoissance in force towards La Vergne to settle 
the hundred rumors of a large Rebel force on that line. 
We talked the matter over, and determined that Colonel 
Miller should march out on the road to La Vergne by 
Antioch church and that I should go out on the Mur- 
freesboro pike. I moved at twelve o'clock, midnight, 
with a brigade of infantry, 10th, 22d and 42d Illinois, 
1st Tennessee cavalry and Houghteling's battery. I 


went out to the insane asylum with my whole force, 
pushed my advance three miles further and saw small 
parties of the enemy. The thirteen siege guns in 
position we had heard so much of vanished into thin 
air. My instructions were to bring in all the stock 
I could find ; I did so, and had my first actual ex- 
perience in foraging. Under this system the people 
all suffer, rich and poor ; of all methods of providing 
for an army this is the most wasteful." 

"October 25th. Morning cloudy and cold, commenced 
raining about four o'clock, and a little later snow com- 
menced falling which continued until about nine 

"October 26th. The ground is white with snow this 
morning — this premature touch of winter has produced 
much suffering in Nashville. I wrote to Governor 
Johnson offering to assist him in providing fuel for 
the poor. Many persons cut wood where they could 
find it most conveniently and the army teams hauled 
it for them. 

"October 29th. Lieutenant Shaw of my escort ob- 
tained leave to go out a day to skirmish with the 
guerrillas ; I thought no more of the matter until even- 
ing. He reported that he went out on the Nashville 
pike ; met a party of about seventy Rebels ; skirmished 
with them, and he took three prisoners with their 
horses and arms. On the next day (October 30th) , 
sent out my escort and Captain Parmelee's mounted 
men ; they went out on the Nolansville pike, from 
thence to Murfreesboro pike. I joined this party ; had 
a small skirmish near the asylum, killed three, wounded 
several, took six prisoners and as many horses, saddles 
and guns." 

I will make but few more extracts from this diary- 
kept at Nashville. We heard by indirect means rumors 
of the battle of Perryville and the retreat of Bragg from 

November 1st I wrote: "We have now been two 


months in the field ; have marched from Alabama to 
this city, and have remained here without communica- 
tion with the North ; we have lived upon the country, 
and have really desolated it ; the military situation 
grows more difficult everyday ; the country is exhausted ; 
the Rebel strength is increasing around us, and the sup- 
plies are more remote, and our marches to obtain them 
longer and more dangerous ; 'General Buell, the slow- 
paced,' is still in Kentucky; Bragg has had time to 
complete his winter arrangements for the supply of his 
army, and may, for anything we know to the contrary, 
pay us a visit." 

November 3d. ''Rumors thicken of two things im- 
portant to us, the one is that the Rebels are ad- 
vancing in large force ; and the other, of the march of 
General Rosecrans towards this city ; his arrival may 
happen to-morrow or Wednesday. This breaks the long 
blockade to which we have been subjected, and we hope 
for letters and papers from home." 

It will be noticed that after November 1st, and before 
the 3d, news had reached Nashville that Rosecrans had 
succeeded Buell in the command of the Army of the 
Cumberland, and was approaching Nashville. Our in- 
formation led us to expect that Nashville would be at- 
tacked by the enemy in force, before the arrival of the 
advancing army. 

November 5th I wrote : "Last night, after going to 
bed, heard occasional shots on the picket line ; later was 
awakened by a heavy firing on the Murfreesboro ro:id ; 
mounted and off — ordered the 22d Illinois to go out as a 
reserve. When I got to the lines, I found that two 
posts had been attacked, and several men wounded. I 
took direction of the line, and as I heard sounds indicat- 
ing the presence of artillery, ordered the pickets to re- 
tire behind some temporary works, some hundred yards 
to the rear, where they joined the reserve, and the 22d 
Illinois, which by this time had reached the ground. 
Within a few minutes the Rebels had commenced firing ; 


after a severe contest we drove them back ; it was very 
dark, and we suffered no injury of consequence. The 
enemy opened one piece of artillery upon us, but made 
no impression ; they also attacked the pickets at other 
points without success ; they suffered a bloody repulse 
at the Nolansville pike, at the hands of two companies 
of the 10th Illinois. About ten o'clock in the morning 
General Negley went out with three regiments of in- 
fantry, and some cavalry and artillery, and drove the 
Rebels as far as Brentwood. On his return he had a noisy 
artillery fight and some sharp skirmishing in which he 
suffered some loss. The feint, by which he was drawn 
out of our defensive line, was very nearly successful. 
The general was caught 'napping,' and for a few hours 
the city seemed to be in danger, for it appeared for a 
time that I would be compelled to abandon Nashville to 
save him. As it was, I reenforced him with Morgan's 
regiment of infantry, the 10th, and three pieces of ar- 
tillery. On the other side of the river, John Morgan, in 
an attempt to reach and destroy the railroad bridge over 
the Cumberland, rode over one company of the 16th Il- 
linois, but the company cut its way back, inflicting more 
loss on him than they sustained. Before reaching the 
bridge he encountered the remainder of the 16th, and was 
repulsed. He burned one house, and then run, my 
troops all behaving splendidly." 

On November 7th the troops composing the advance 
of the Army of the Cumberland began to arrive at Nash- 
ville ; I find that after visiting friends among the new 
arrivals, I wrote in my Journal ; "In camp, day pleas- 
ant, no work, no news." 

"November 14th. Letters from home and newspapers 
from Illinois have begun to reach camp." I had noth- 
ing definite from Illinois since leaving home on August 
26th, and it can well be imagined that the contents of 
the papers detailing the results of the election in Illinois, 
held on November 4th, astonished me. When I left 
home, although I felt very little interest in party poli- 


tics, I had supposed nothing better assured than the as- 
cendancy of the Republican party (to which I was then 
attached) in Illinois. The first paper I opened was a 
copy of the Illinois Journal, and to my astonishment I 
found that John T. Stuart had defeated Leonard Swett 
for congress ; Alexander Starne had beaten William 
Butler for treasurer, and that James C. Allen, whom 
I knew, a Democrat, had carried the state, defeating E. 
C. Ingersoll, a Republican. It was also reported in the 
paper that the Democrats had carried both branches of 
the legislature. I did not understand the significance of 
what appeared to be a great change in public opinion in 
Illinois, and have never been able to account for the 
Democratic victory of that year. 

Within a few days, the whole Army of the Cumberland 
reached Nashville, and operations were resumed with 
great activity. I remained in Nashville, still retaining 
my command, until the 10th of December, when the 
division with which I had marched from the Tennessee 
river was, for some reason and much to my dissatisfac- 
tion and regret, broken up, and I was assigned to the 
command of the division formerly commanded by Gen- 
eral Wm. Nelson, who was killed by General Jeff C. 
Davis, in the preceding September, in Louisville, Ken- 

On taking command of the division, I relieved General 
Wm. Sooy Smith, who has since won so much distinction 
as an engineer. The division was composed of three bri- 
gades ; the first was commanded by Brigadier-General 
Chas. Cruft ; the second by Colonel Wm. Gross, of the 
36th Indiana; and the third by Colonel Wm. B. Hazen, 
of the 41st Ohio. These officers retained command of 
these brigades, and served with me from that time until 
after the battle of Chickamauga, in 1863. Cruft and 
Gross were civilians, but they were brave and skillful 
officers ; Hazen belonged to the regular army, no one 
doubted his courage, he was skillful beyond a question, 
but he was vain and selfish ; it was difficult for those 


who associated with him constantly to do justice to his 
merits. The division was about 4,500 strong, many of 
the regiments were organized early in the war, and had 
done good service in West Virginia and Shiloh, and 
also in the campaign in Kentucky in the fall of 1862. 
My assignment to this command separated me from 
nearly all my acquaintances, and brought me in contact 
with many officers with whom I afterwards contracted 
the most sincere friendship. 

I have spoken of General Wm. S. Rosecrans, who was 
in command of the army, elsewhere, and will now only 
say of him that his gallantry and good conduct in the 
battles around Corinth, in October last, obtained for him 
the confidence of the president, and his consequent se- 
lection to succeed Buell, who was unfortunate, to say the 
least, in his operations in Kentucky. Rosecrans also 
possessed the confidence of the army he led to Nashville, 
and his actual preparations for an early advance to 
meet the Rebel army, which was by this time in motion 
to concentrate at Murfreesboro, had a fine effect upon the 
troops who had occupied Nashville. 

The army was termed the "14th Army Corps," and 
its divisions were called the "center" and the "right and 
left wings" of the corps. Thomas commanded the cen- 
ter, McCook the right, and Crittenden the left wing of 
the army. The divisions of the left wing were, the 1st, 
Wood's ; the 2d, my own ; and the 3d, Van Cleve's ; and 
Wood and Van Cleve and I ranked in the numerical order 
of our divisions. On the 10th of December, I assumed 
the command of my new division, and, when I reported 
to General Crittenden, and afterward to General Rose- 
crans, I learned that the purpose of the general-in-chief 
was to advance upon the enemy and bring him to battle 
at the earliest possible day. 

I devoted myself from that time forward to prepara- 
tion for the expected movement, and, with the aid of 
my brigade commanders, all of whom were soldiers of 
experience, my division was, on the 25th of December, 


the last day we spent in the camp near Nashville, in ex- 
cellent condition for service. On December 26, 1862, my 
division moved out on the Murfreesboro turnpike, in ad- 
vance of the left wing of the army. 

I was familiar with the country as far as La Vergne, 
and for that reason advanced with confidence. After a 
march of eight miles, we encountered the Rebel cavalry 
under Wheeler, who had a few pieces of light artillery. 
They contested several points on the road with a good 
deal of stubbornness, but in every case, after a short delay 
until troops could be brought up and formed, we drove 
them before us without much difficulty or loss. We 
halted and spent the night of the 26th of December at 
La Vergne, and the orders issued by General Crittenden 
that night, with reference to the march next day, had a 
most important influence upon my military future. 

I learned, after going into camp, that my position on 
the right of the advancing column was obtained for me 
by my misunderstanding of the orders under which I 
started in the morning. The order, as I understood it, 
was to move at eight o'clock in the morning, and in that 
sense I obeyed it, by putting the head of my column in 
motion as soon as the hour arrived. General Wood, who 
commanded the First Division, was entitled to the right, 
but he understood the same order to be, "Be ready to 
move at eight o'clock." The result was that when he 
was ready to move my column was in possession of the 
road, and kept it during the day. 

The order issued by General Crittenden at night di- 
rected me to move next morning after General Wood 
had passed me. The consequence was, that the next 
morning my command waited until that of Wood had 
passed, and then we moved forward, following his move- 
ments until the army reached Stewart's creek, some few 
miles from the town of Murfreesboro. 

As General Wood reached the creek, he was attracted 
by some elevated, open land, on the left of the turnpike, 
upon which was a large and apparently comfortable 


dwelling-house, and some outhouses, which made the 
place admirably suited for quarters. Forgetting his 
claim to the right of the line, he moved off to the left 
of the line of march to occupy the pleasant place, so 
that when my command came up we were compelled to 
move down Stewart's creek, and occupy some rocky, 
lowland, which had but one advantage, — that by cross- 
ing the creek to my front, we could reach the turn- 
pike easier than by returning to the bridge. We re- 
mained in camp at Stewart's creek one day, awaiting the 
movements of the troops to our right, who were also 
moving to meet the enemy, who, we were informed, 
were waiting at and near Murfreesboro, prepared to fight 
a battle upon ground selected by themselves. 

On Monday morning, we had orders to move, and I 
crossed the creek to my front, and reached the road with 
my column, when General Wood overtook me, and, as 
my superior, ordered me to move out of the road and 
allow his troops to precede me. This order I refused to 
obey, as General Crittenden, our corps commander was 
with the troops, and controlled the movements of the 
column. General Wood, however, brought up a brigade, 
and he took the left of the pike, and we marched pari- 
passu, as he said, until sundown, when we came in sight 
of the enemy in line of battle between us and Murfrees- 

Here occurred one of those incidents which, though 
in itself as it resulted is comparatively unimportant, be- 
longs to a class of events which affect the fate of armies. 
Wood and I halted our troops, and rode some distance 
to the front, to a point which we could see the enemy 
in strong force, evidently prepared to receive us. While 
observing the enemy's forces and position, we were sur- 
prised to receive through General Crittenden, from Gen- 
eral Rosecrans, an order, in substance, as follows : "Stan- 
ley reports from Triune that the people say that Bragg 
has abandoned Murfreesboro. You will therefore occupy 


the place with one division, and camp your others near 


Of course, General Wood and I knew the information 
which purported to come through General Stanley was 
erroneous. We, therefore, rode back, found General 
Crittenden, explained to him, and he communicated our 
report to General Rosecrans, who promptly withdrew 
the order. Now comes the strange part of the trans- 
action. General Crittenden was told the next day that I 
had informed him (Rosecrans) that the enemy had evacu- 
ated Murfreesboro. I called upon General Rosecrans the 
same day and told him that I had made no report to 
him on any subject whatever, and reminded him that 
the order itself purported to be based upon information 
which came through General Stanley. 

Notwithstanding all this, General Rosecrans, in his 
official report, attributes his order to information fur- 
nished him by me as commanding Crittenden's leading 
division. The fact that General Wood and I were actu- 
ally observing the enemy when we received the order, 
ou^ht to afford conclusive evidence that General Rose- 
crans was wholly mistaken in his facts. 

On December 29, 1862, the left wing of the army 
reached the theater of the subsequent battle of Mur- 
freesboro, or Stone River, as it is sometimes designated. 
On the 30th, the troops to our right moved up, and after 
some heavy skirmishing got into position. 

It was in the main quiet on our front, although the 
artillery on both sides was engaged at intervals during 
the forenoon. The left wing of the army, which was 
commanded by Crittenden, was composed of three di- 
visions which were commanded by Brigadier-General 
Thomas J. Wood, Horatio P. Van Cleve and myself. 
Van Cleve was on the extreme left, Wood in the center, 
and my division on the right. Wood's right and my 
left rested on the turnpike from Nashville to Murfrees- 
boro, and the railroad which connects those places, a 
short distance to the north, was within Wood's line. 


Hazen's brigade, with its left on the pike, had an open 
cotton field to its front, while the brigade commanded by 
Brigadier-General Chas. Cruft extended into the dense 
cedars to the right. Gross' brigade was held in re- 

The line of battle was extended to the right by Neg- 
ley's division of the 14th Corps ; on the center by Sheri- 
dan, Davis and Johnson's division of the right wing in 
succession. The right retired until our line of battle 
from left to right formed something like the fourth of a 
circle. Some open grounds were to our front, but on 
our right there was a dense mass of cedars in which 
troops could not operate, although the woods were tra- 
versed by several narrow, country roads. 

The battle of December 30th has been described so 
often in official reports and otherwise that I will only at- 
tempt to narrate such events as may be regarded as per- 
sonal to myself. 

About daylight, I heard heavy firing on our extreme 
right, obviously indicating that Johnson was vigorously 
attacked by the enemy. I at once rode to my own com- 
mand, and a short time after reaching it, I observed that 
our troops on the extreme right were being driven back, 
and that the commands of Davis and Sheridan and Neg- 
ley were being assaulted with great force, and that the 
attack was being extended from our right until after 
a time I saw a strong force advancing to attack my 

I have already stated that there was an open cotton 
field in front of Hazen's brigade, across which I could 
see the Rebel forces advancing in solid lines and moving 
in admirable order. It was not easy to witness that 
magnificent array of Americans without emotion. They 
came on grandly until within musket shot, and then, for 
a length of time, brief, it is true, but we took no note 
of time, they were thrown into confusion by our fire, 


and retired to reform and renew the attack, and were 
again repulsed. 

When I again turned my attention to other parts of 
the field, I found our right and center had been taken in 
flank and driven back through the cedars in disorder. 
Rousseau's division of Thomas' command attempted to 
enter the woods to our right, but were unable to form, 
and fell back in disorder, and the enemy were struggling 
to reach the turnpike in our rear and take our position 
in reverse. General Rosecrans, whose courage upon a 
battlefield was always magnificent, exposed himself at 
many points to rally his forces . A new line was formed 
at right angles to my line, and within a few minutes, 
Captain Mendenhall, chief of artillery of Crittenden's 
command, collected some sixty pieces of artillery on a 
knoll to my right rear, and with them literally drove 
the Rebels back into the woods, where they remained to 
avoid the consuming lire, and this closed the battle for 
the day. 

It is not my purpose to describe this battle in detail, 
but I think some of its minor incidents may be inter- 
esting. When absent for a time with the right of my 
command, Van Cleve and Wood were withdrawn from 
the left to support the right, the situation of which I 
have described. 

On my return, I ordered Hazen to move to the left to 
the railroad cut. 

This movement, which was made after Wood left the 
ground, subsequently led to a bitter controversy be- 
tween Generals Stanley and Hazen, and a court martial 
in which Wood was a witness. Wood testified truly 
that the right of his command rested on the turnpike, 
and that Hazen's left united with him on the pike. He 
did not know that after his division withdrew, Hazen 
moved to his left and covered the ground between the 
pike and the railroad cut, which greatly improved his 

Before a court martial in New York, I so testified, and 

Ml/tH flu 



in that way explained a discrepancy which otherwise 
seemed to the court insurmountable. In the battle, 
General Rosecrans exhibited the greatest personal 
bravery. Colonel Garesche was killed by a cannon shot 
at his side, and his blood and brains were scattered over 
Rosecrans. He never blanched, and kept his position. 
I made up my mind then, that if I was about to fight a 
battle for the dominion of the universe, I would give 
Rosecrans the command of as many men as he could 
see and who could see him. 

In the afternoon, my division was withdrawn from the 
position it held in the morning, and took its place in a 
new line of battle a few hundred yards to the rear. 

On December 31st, all was quiet along our front. We 
heard fighting away to our right and rear, for Wheeler 
with his cavalry had passed our right, captured our hos- 
pital and a wagon train. He failed to do much mischief. 
Stanley, with our cavalry, watched him closely, and 
made him let go of our line of communication. 



Battle of Stone River continued — Military eloquence — Cripple Creek — 
An acquaintance — Mrs. Morgan's dress — Invitation to breakfast — 
Skirmish with Rebel cavalry — General Garfield — Letter to Assistant 
Adjutant General — Political situation at the North — A prudent 

On January 1, 1863, early in the day, it was apparent 
that the enemy intended to assail our left, which had 
moved to the north side of Stone river. We had ob- 
served troops moving in strong force from the enemy's 
left to their right. About three o'clock in the afternoon 
Lieutenant John E. Shaw, of my escort, climbed a tree, 
which enabled him to overlook the movements of the 
Rebel forces. 

After closely observing them for a short time, he des- 
cended, and told me they were forming for an attack 
upon our troops on the north side of the river. We had 
five or six batteries on an elevated point south of the 
river, supported by a portion of my command, especially 
the 6th Kentucky Infantry. I rode rapidly to the sup- 
porting force and thrilled them with my eloquence. I 
said : "Now, 6th Kentucky, you have work to do ; stand 
up to them, and you may steal for six months !" This 
was military eloquence, for it was spoken by a com- 
mander who was present with his men. It was sur- 
passed only by the speech of Captain Peden, of the 36th 
Indiana, the day before when told by his first sergeant 
that "they are flanking us." "Flank you! — you 

cowardly , and mind your business!" It was in 

the midst of a desperate fight, but all of us laughed, and 
we won the fight. 

Napoleon, and some of our generals in the late civil 
war, indulged in lofty language, but I found in the battle 
of Stone river and on many other occasions, that the 


most impressive words were those spoken by an officer 
who was present with his men in the battle. In the at- 
tack on our left the "Rebs" fought as they usually did, 
with great gallantry, but our guns south of the river en- 
filaded their lines from their left. I never saw a greater 
number of men and horses killed than there was upon a 
few acres of ground covered by the Rebel advance, on 
the north side of Stone river. Wounds inflicted by 
musketry rarely disfigure, but artillery wounds are 
ghastly. I saw there men and horses killed — I cannot 
describe the scene. We perhaps ought, after their de- 
feat, to have followed the Rebels and driven them out of 
Murfreesboro, but we did not pursue them. They 
abandoned the town and fell back to the line of Tulla- 


A few days afterwards my division passed through 
Murfreesboro, and encamped east of town, on the farm 
of a man named Beard, who had relatives in Carlinville, 
Illinois. Mr. Beard's farm was fenced with cedar rails ; 
I did my best to save them, but I suppose that after my 
command left, the farm was stripped of fences. Soon after 
we entered Murfreesboro I was ordered to send one of 
my brigades to a place called "Cripple Creek." I sent 
Crufts' brigade to that place, and the troops found it al- 
together preferable to the open grounds east of Murfrees- 
boro. The main force of the Rebels was at Tullahoma, 
Manchester and McMinnville, but they had advanced 
posts at Shelby ville, Woodbury and other points to their 

In January, 1863, the Rebel position at Woodbury at- 
tracted the attention of the commander of the army, and 
I was ordered to dislodge them and drive them out of 
town. Cruft with his brigade was then, as I have before 
stated, at Cripple Creek, some eight miles from Mur- 
freesboro, on the route to Woodbury ; I therefore took 
with me the bulk of my division, Hazen's and Gross' 
brigades, leaving in camp sufficient guard and the men 
who were not in good condition, and moved to Cripple 


Creek and spent the night there. The next morning I 
moved with all my active force and crossed Stone river 
at Ready ville, and marched by the turnpike toward 

About a mile northwest of that place I encountered a 
force of a few hundred men who were behind a stone 
fence. I could easily judge of their numbers by the volume 
of their fire. They inflicted some loss upon me before I 
discovered the strength of their position. I then with- 
drew my main force, threw forward a line of skirmish- 
ers, and under the cover of a hill which concealed the 
movement, turned their right with two regiments. This 
movement dislodged them ; they broke and fled through 
the town. It was expected that Wilder, with his 
mounted men, would have reached the rear of the 
enemy before we made our attack, but he failed to do so. 

Colonel Hutchinson, of one of the Rebel cavalry 
regiments, and a few others were killed in this affair, 
but we captured no prisoners ; I could only pursue them 
with infantry. I passed through the little town of 
Woodbury, found no enemy, and as it was then rain- 
ing I determined to return to Readyville and recross the 

When I reached Readyville, where I met my wagon 
with supplies, I rode up to a large one story brick house, 
and when I called, a lady came to the door. I asked her 
if I might occupy one of her rooms for the night ; she 
answered me with tartness, "No." I then said to her, 
"It is raining, and I will be compelled to pitch my tent 
in your yard, and you will be sorry for me when you 
see me sitting out in the air." I also told her, "My 
wagon is up — I have some flour, good ham and some 
coffee, and you Southern ladies always have good cooks 
about your houses. Won't you let me occupy one of 
your rooms, let me furnish the flour, ham and coffee and 
then take supper with me ; I have not sat at a table with 
a lady for six months?" After saying this, as the 
phrase goes, "I saw that I had her." She said, "I 


know that you will come in anyhow whether I consent 
or not." I did go in, and had an excellent supper, at 
which she presided. 

In the course of our conversation I learned that she 
was the niece of the Rev. Henry Palmer, who was a 
member of the Constitutional Convention of 1847 (of 
which I had also been a member), and of the Rev. 
Frank Palmer, once of Jacksonville, and remotely of 
"kin" to me, according to Virginia and Kentucky rules 
for computing kinship. 

During the evening I learned that Hattie McMillen, 
daughter of the Rev. Edward McMillen, who had once 
visited my family in Illinois, lived two or three miles 
from Readyville. She was married in Illinois and 
settled in Tennessee. Her husband was a major in one 
of the Rebel regiments we had fought the day before. I 
took with me my escort of about fifty cavalry, and 
guided by the son of the lady at whose house I had 
spent the night, I rode to her residence, posting videttes 
to observe the surrounding country and prevent a sur- 
prise. I went into the house, and, to my surprise, she 
was so frightened that she did not know me. I told her 
my name, but she did not recover ; I then guessed the 
cause of her fright, her husband was concealed in the 
house, and both of them supposed we had come to 
capture him. I did my utmost to reassure her; I told 
her I was incapable of coming to visit her for the pur- 
pose of taking her husband ; I saw that notwithstand- 
ing my assuranee she felt relieved when I left the place. 
She afterwards with her sister dined with me at Cripple 
Creek, and "owned up" that her husband was in the 
house and heard all that I said to her. 

Perhaps I may as well tell the sequel to my acquaint- 
ance with the lady with whom I found myself to be akin 
at Readyville. She was the sister of Hon. Charles 
Ready, of Murfreesboro, whose daughter married John 
H. Morgan, the chief of so many raids upon the Union 


Mrs. Talley, whose name I may as well give here, 
had a daughter with whom I sang plantation melodies 
after my return from Woodbury, she was a pupil of the 
Woodbury schools. 

General Hazen, whose brigade was afterwards posted 
at Ready sville, refused to allow her to cross the lines 
without an examination of her trunk. My "cousin" 
said, "General, you know that my daughter, a little 
girl, don't like to have her trunks examined by men." 
I remembered that I had daughters at home ; I ordered 
Hazen to allow the young lady to pass to Woodbury 
without an examination of her trunks. Soon afterwards 
she passed through the lines without examination, and 
I next heard of her over in the Tennessee Valley, and 
she carried with her a silk dress for Mrs. Morgan. She 
cheated me of course, but when Hazen, who was then a 
bachelor, complained to me of my order which allowed 
the little girl to pass beyond the lines without a search 
of her trunk, I said to him, "That any information she 
could give Morgan would probably mislead him, and I 
was glad that Mrs. Morgan had got her silk dress !" 

In February of the same year, I received a telegram 
from Governor Yates asking me to return home as he 
had with me "business of importance." I came to 
Springfield after stopping over one train with my family 
at Carlinville. After reaching the city I met Governor 
Yates and Dr. Fithian of Danville, who was provost 
marshal of his congressional district, and read many 
letters which the governor had received which indicated 
great danger of an uprising of the "Knights of the 
Golden Circle," and probably other disloyal organiza- 
tions. The letters were written in January and Febru- 
ary, and by persons who were loyal to the government 
of the United States, and some of the writers advised 
the governor to raise four or five more regiments of cav- 
alry for "service in the state." 

I found the governor thoroughly alarmed on account 
of these letters, and he assigned to me the duty of going 


to Washington and consulting the president and secre- 
tary of war as to the propriety of raising a number of 
regiments for service in the State of Illinois. 

Mr. Lincoln, in response to the letter of the governor, 
handed him by me, answered with one of his jokes which 
cannot be repeated, and said : ''Who can we trust if we 
can't trust Illinois !" and referred me to the secretary of 
war. The president also asked me, "How the boys re- 
ceived his proclamation?" I told him that we thought 
he ought to have said to negroes : "Arise, Peter, slay and 
eat." He said : "You were all opposed to the proclama- 
tion when it was first issued, were you not?" I replied : 
"Yes." "Well, don't you see that on an average I am 
about right?" 

I called on the secretary of war (Mr. Stanton) as Mr. 
Lincoln had proposed, and after I told him my business 
was from Governor Yates, and that he asked authority 
to raise four regiments of cavalry for service in Illinois, 
he said : "You are to command these troops, are you 
not?" and when I replied, "No, I am not, and would re- 
fuse the command of troops raised for service in my own 
state and amongst my own people. I have a command 
of Illinois regiments which is entirely satisfactory to 
me." He then said: "That shows the d — d nonsense 
of the whole thing ; if you thought your own family and 
friends were in danger, you would be willing to com- 
mand troops raised to protect them." I reported to 
Governor Yates by letter, and returned to my command 
which was in Tennessee. 

When I reached Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on my re- 
turn, I heard a complaint from the closet of the car, 
when upon entering it, I found a man named Moore, who 
had lost a leg at the battle of "The Seven Pines," in 
Virginia. The bandage of his wounded limb had slipped 
and caused great pain. He had been discharged from 
the hospital in Philadelphia, and had belonged to the 
"Buck-tails," a Pennsylvania regiment in the civil war. 
I took him under my care until we reached Clay City, 


Illinois, where I delivered him to his sister, Mrs. Mc- 
Cauley ; then went on until I met the train going east, 
and passing through Louisville, Kentucky, went south 
where I rejoined my division. 

I soon afterward moved Gross' brigade to Cripple 
Creek, and Hazen's to Readyville. We remained in camp 
until about May 21st, and as I was "to the manor born," 
I improved my time by an occasional reconnoissance 
under orders from headquarters, and by rides around 
the country, where I met some persons who had once 
lived in Illinois, and the relatives of many who had re- 
moved to and still resided in this state. 

I met with but one adventure while visiting around 
the country that is worthy of narration. On Saturday, 
May 15th, I made a more than usually extended trip, 
visiting acquaintances in the neighborhood of the camp, 
and after spending an hour with one family who liber- 
ally supplied my escort of about twenty men, as well as 
myself, with the homely food left them, in exchange for 
tobacco and other things that were equally agreeable to 
them, I rode forward, perhaps a mile, and reached one 
of those magnificent springs which are to be found amid 
the "knobs" of Middle Tennessee. We adopted the 
usual precautions to prevent a surprise, and while the 
men watered and rested their horses, I went to a house 
a hundred or two feet distant, where I found a lady of 
some fifty years of age, who told me that she was a 
widow, and that two of her sons were members of a 
force which we knew was in the neighborhood, called 
the "3d Georgia Cavalry." She was a most agreeable 
woman, and after a half hour's conversation, when I 
was in the act of leaving, she followed me to the door, 
where she saw the men, who were by that time mounted 
and waiting for me. She invited me very urgently and 
kindly to return the next morning and breakfast with 
her. The house was only some three miles from 
our camp, and the promise of a good breakfast was so 
flattering I accepted and returned to camp. My invita- 


tion was repeated to several officers who called upon me 
during the evening, and we arranged to start the next 
morning after inspection ; and, without being influenced 
in the slightest degree by suspicion or distrust of the 
widow's intentions, I ordered part of my escort, Com- 
pany C, 7th Illinois Cavalry, of twenty-five men, and 
two companies of Tennessee cavalry, about sixty men, 
on duty with me, to report the next morning for the 
trip ; and at an early hour, with perhaps half a dozen 
officers, mostly young men, who joined me for the pleas- 
ure of it, we left the camp for our visit. We pushed 
forward at a good pace, and my advance guard reached 
the spring before me. Videttes were posted on promi- 
nent points, and, leaving my horse, I went in the direc- 
tion of the house, accompanied by a single orderly. I 
approached the house from the west, and the door at 
which I expected to enter was on the south. As I 
reached the gate opening into the yard, near the northwest 
corner of the house, my attention was attracted by the 
conduct of a negro man, who was just north of the house 
grinning, turning up the whites of his eyes and gesticu- 
lating with his arms in a most surprising manner. Sus- 
pecting something from his conduct, I met him and 
asked : "What is the matter?" He answered, speaking 
in a low tone : "Dey's been here arter you." "Who?" 
I said. "De Rebs," he replied. I then asked him : 
"How many?" He said : "Just about as many as you 
is." I then sent word to the officer in command to 
mount, and entered the house, and, without referring to 
what I had heard, spoke to the lady politely, excused 
myself, returned to my escort and started south, on the 
road the Rebels had gone, with the hope of overtaking 
them. We rode half a mile, and met a woman on horse- 
back who was an acquaintance of some of my men, and 
she told us that the enemy had taken a road in a south- 
westerly direction, and led to the turnpike from Mur- 
freesboro to Bradyville, some three-quarters of a mile 
distant, and at the western base of one of the knobs over 


which the pike passed towards Bradysvillc. We at once 
took a road which leads in a southeasterly direction, and 
reached the "pike" at the eastern base of the knob. We 
discovered the Rebel cavalry, in numbers perhaps about 
equal to ours, mounted in columns of fours and in a lane 
too narrow to admit of deployment. The sight startled 
me for a moment, but it occurred to me in a flash, that a 
brigadier-general in Virginia had, while on a trip some- 
thing like my own, been captured, with two or three 
horses, and that Mr. Lincoln had said, when speaking 
of the affair : "I can make another brigadier, but I hate 
to lose the horses !" Recollecting this, and aware that 
there was but one way to avoid the laugh of the whole 
army, I shouted, "Charge !" and we went up the hill on 
a gallop, charging upon the head of their column, and 
the whole Rebel column fired as we were riding upon 
them ; but, as we were in fours also, the volley did but 
little harm, only wounding three or four men, Sergeant 
Monk, who was just at my left, being one of them. 
They had no time to reload before we were upon them — 
the mere weight of our horses overturned horses and 
riders as we struck them and threw them into confusion. 
My own horse struck one of them broadside, and horse 
and rider fell, and my horse recovered with difficulty. 
They broke, and we overtook and captured some of them 
in the lane ; but, when they passed out of the lane, they 
scattered in the woods. We captured two officers and 
sixteen men and a number of horses, and sent them to 
headquarters. The officers, Captains Edwards and Wil- 
lis, were, of course, greatly mortified, and had no money. 
I handed them twenty dollars, to be repaid to any needy 
Union soldier they might meet, but I have never heard 
how they discharged their undertaking. 

The fate of one poor Rebel on that day was most sin- 
gular, as well as unfortunate ; being closely pursued by 
one of my escort, who frequently called upon him to 
halt, ho received a thrust by a saber which entered his 
lungs. Upon examination by Dr. Menzies, who was 


with us, it appeared that the air passed from the wounded 
lung, and did not escape through the wound, but in the 
skin. It penetrated the tissues and distended them in 
the most astonishing manner. I had him taken to the 
house of the widow, told her she was responsible for his 
situation, and required her to give him needed atten- 
tion. He lived but a day or two, and died from suf- 

One evening, while at Cripple Creek, I was strolling 
about the camp and heard, in the officers' tent of the 
110th Illinois, the sound of some old familiar hymns, 
such as I had heard in Illinois many years before. I 
stopped to listen, and when the singing ceased, a voice 
was lifted in prayer, which expressed the most patriotic 
sentiments. Having asked who was the leader, I was 
told it was George W. Lasater, a private in the regiment. 
The next morning, I issued an order, to be read at dress 
parade in the evening, relieving Lasater from "fatigue 
and guard duty." The following morning, a tall, 
bronzed man came to my tent, touched his hat to me, 
and requested that the order be rescinded. I told him 
that most soldiers were willing to be relieved from duty. 
He replied that it was a matter of conscience with him ; 
he had enlisted and taken the oath to perform his duties. 
Subsequently, he was chosen by the men to take their 
money to Illinois and distribute it among their families. 
I then told him that I would recommend to Governor 
Yates that he be appointed chaplain of the regiment, as 
he had been performing the duties of that position. He 
said he was a mere local preacher, and was not eligible 
to the office. I told him that being a Methodist, they 
would qualify him, as they would never allow an in- 
formality of that sort to interfere with his acceptance of 
an office. 

The sequel proved I was correct, for Bishop Ames 
took him to Delaware, where the general conference was 
in session, and sent him back with his commission. 
After the war, I met him at Marion, Williamson county, 


and complimented him upon his patriotism, and his wife 
told me with tears in her eyes that it was less dangerous 
for him to have gone into the army than to have remained 
at home, because of the divided sentiments of his neigh- 
bors. The next and last time we met, he was chaplain 
of a Garfield Club. I went to his pleasant home, and 
he told me the land was nominally his, but that I hav- 
ing suggested his chaplaincy, it belonged to me. I con- 
sidered that my suggestion had borne excellent fruit in 
the promotion of the interests of a good man. 

The army remained in and around Murfreesboro until 
June 24th, and though my advanced position and my 
rare visits to the headquarters separated me from the 
bulk of the army, and kept me in comparative ignorance 
of the situation and plans of General Rosecrans, still I 
discovered that the political situation in the North and 
intrigues at Washington had their influence upon the 
operations of the army. 

I knew from information that I thought reliable : 
that there was a desire among the more radical leaders 
to find some candidate for the presidency to supersede 
Mr. Lincoln, and that their attention was directed 
towards Rosecrans , who was then rated very high as a mili- 
tary man. My conversation at headquarters upon such 
subjects was chiefly with General Garfield, whose views 
I never attempted to penetrate, but I suspected him of 
being in the confidence of Governor Chase and Senator 
Wade and others, whom I supposed were opposed to Mr. 

Early after, I discovered that discussions of the char- 
acter I have indicated were frequent in the army. I 
expressed my own views so distinctly that I was not 
taken into the confidence of any one opposed to Mr. Lin- 
coln. I believed then, as I do now, that the professed 
eagerness of Chase and Wade and their confreres to crush 
the rebellion, and their opposition to Mr. Lincoln, based 
upon the supposed feeling of reluctance to the adoption 
of measures of severity towards the Rebels, were merely 


the result of their eagerness to take advantage of the pop- 
ular feeling in the North, and force themselves into the 
lead. Up to 1861, I had felt for Governor Chase the 
greatest respect and admiration, but had come to regard 
him as excessively ambitious, and to believe that this 
weakness made him altogether selfish and unsafe as a 
political adviser to the president or as a party leader. 
In 1861, in the peace conference, he had advocated a 
national convention as a means of settling the impend- 
ing difficulties between the North and South, and when 
asked by Colonel Doniphan, then a delegate to the con- 
ference from Missouri, "Suppose a national convention 
should assemble and should agree to divide the Union, 
what then?" and he answered, "I know of no authority 
superior to a national convention," I made up my mind 
that he was entirely willing to be president of the North- 
ern republic. He righted himself as chief justice, and 
in this place proved he possessed great judicial talent. 

The long delay in the movements of the army had 
early in the spring excited the anxieties of the people 
of the North, and when the fine weather of the latter 
part of April and early May came on, the army mani- 
fested some impatience. I had no share in the con- 
fidence of General Rosecrans, and was therefore sur- 
prised to receive, on June 9, 1863, a circular addressed 
to the corps and division commanders of the army, the 
substance of which will appear by my answer, which 
was as follows : 

"Headquarters 2d Div., 21st Army Corps, 

"Camp Cripple Creek, June 9, 1863. 
"Lieutenant-Colonel C. Goddard, Asst. Adj.\Gen., Dep. 
of Cumberland. 
"Colonel — I have the honor to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt, at 12 m. last night, of the confidential note, pro- 
pounding to me the following questions, viz : 

"1st. From the fullest information in your possession, 
do you think the enemy in front of us has been so ma- 


terially weakened by detachments of Johnston, or else- 
where, that this army could advance on him at this 
time, with strong, reasonable chances of fighting a great 
and successful battle? 

"2d. Do you think an advance of our army, at pres- 
ent, likely to prevent additional reenforcements being 
sent against General Grant by the enemy in our front? 

"3d. Do you think an immediate or early advance of 
our army advisable? 

"I must be allowed to state, at the outset, that my 
information of the present strength, position, probable 
purposes, and late movements of the enemy in our 
front, is very incomplete and unsatisfactory. It is con- 
fined to facts gleaned from my intercourse with the peo- 
ple in the vicinity of this place, Readyville, Woodbury, 
Brady ville, etc. ; the reports of citizens' scouts, whose 
excursions are limited to very short distances in the sup- 
posed direction of the enemy, and from conversations 
with prisoners taken by my command, travelers, refugees 
and deserters who have escaped to our lines, and such 
other sources of information as are open to every other 
officer of the army. 

"My opinion, formed from these scanty materials, can, 
I am aware, have very little value, but I very cheerfully 
proceed to express them. 

"I do not think the enemy in our front weakened ma- 
terially by detachments to Johnston ; the weight of the 
facts in my possession impresses me with the belief that 
General Bragg has sent from his army to Mississippi not 
far from 15,000 men, but I am reliably informed that 
troops have been withdrawn from garrisons, convalescent 
camps, etc., in Northern Alabama, Georgia and perhaps 
elsewhere, to replace them. 

"I estimate the actual deduction to be made from 
Bragg's strength, on account of troops sent to Missis- 
sippi, in numbers at 10,000 men ; in general effectiveness, 
something more. Notwithstanding this impression of 
the strength of the enemy, which assumed, by the way, 


his inferiority to us, I do not believe this army can ad- 
vance on the enemy with a reasonable chance of fight- 
ing a great and successful battle ; I do not believe he 
will fight a decisive battle under such circumstances. 
It is now of vital consequence to the enemy that Bragg 's 
army should be kept unbroken. 

"If Vicksburg falls into our hands, it will probably 
be required as the nucleus of all further operations in 
the "West and South. 

"He is in possession of one or more fortified places 
of considerable strength on his present line. His line 
of retreat is over a rough, almost mountainous country, 
traversed only by narrow roads, easily obstructed or de- 
fended ; every inarch brings him nearer to reenforce- 
ments. I think he would fall back slowly, watching 
closely, ready to take advantage of the accidents, ob- 
structing our advance, and attacking our lines of com- 

"We can take care of ourselves, but we cannot compel 
him to fight a battle upon equal terms. I do not think 
an advance of our army at present likely to prevent 
reenforcements being sent against Grant by the enemy 
on our front. This opinion is based upon the theory that 
Bragg has already contributed all the forces he is ex- 
pected to furnish to the Army of the Mississippi. 

"The foregoing answer to the second question must 
be understood with reference to the more general ex- 
pressions to be employed hereafter in replying to the 
third question of the series. 

"I have already referred to the incomplete character 
of my information with respect to the present condition 
of the enemy in our front. I allude to it again, to 
apologize for withholding a categorical answer to the 
question, 'Do you think an immediate or early advance 
of our army, without more complete information than 
I possess,' if by 'any advance' is meant a forward move- 
ment of the army with its trains, etc 


"But assuming, what is hardly admissible, that the 
general commanding is as ill informed as myself, I do 
advise that it be used, as far as possible, without in- 
volving it in a long march and needlessly extending its 
lines of communication, in giving employment to the 
forces of the enemy with his superior numbers of 
cavalry in our neighborhood. It may be that he 
meditates further aid to Johnston, and he may be in- 
duced to do so by our inactivity. 

"The Army of the Cumberland has probably readied 
its maximum efficiency ; what it will gain hereafter in 
drill and discipline by a longer continuance in camp 
will be lost by the growth and influence of habits of 
idleness and self-indulgence upon officers and men. 

"With great deference I submit that the enemy may, 
without risking engagement under circumstances dis- 
advantageous to us, be compelled to develop his strength 
and his purpose. The reasons which will induce Bragg 
to decline a decisive engagement with our army under 
present circumstances ought to prevent us from risking 
it. If Grant fails before Vicksburg, it would be unfor- 
tunate if this army is then found entangled in the inte- 
rior of Tennessee. 

Very respectfully your obedient servant, 

John M. Palmer, Major-General." 

I had before heard that the secretary of war was 
urging an advance of the army, and was not surprised 
on the 23d of June to receive orders to move in the gen- 
eral direction of Tullahoma, where Bragg was known to 
be, though his forces were at different points along his 
front, in observation. Crafts' and Gross' brigades were 
with me at Cripple Creek, and Hazen's at Readyville. 
Wo marched on the 24th, about nine o'clock, in a heavy 
rain, and in the afternoon with a battalion, 110th Illinois, 
consolidated, and my escort, 7th Illinois Cavalry ; we 
encountered a small Rebel force, and drove it before us 
nearly a mile. We went into camp that night ; it was 

battle: of cripple creek. ig3 

still raining and moved next morning (still raining) , 
and after a short march reached Gillie's Hill, a minature 
mountain, and as the roads were horrible and the rain 
continued, did not succeed in getting our artillery and 
baggage up until about noon on the 27th. 

I was at a place called "Hollow Springs," on the 
27th, and while there the scouts brought in as prisoner 
a well-known preacher, whose name I need not give, and 
of whom I had heard it reported that the year before 
at one of his meetings had prayed, "0, Lord! give us 
rain enough to help the crops, but not enough to raise 
the river for the Yankee gunboats to come up to rob us 
of our property and scatter our wives and children." 

When brought to me he handed me a copy of his 
oath of fidelity to the United States, but while I was 
examining it the officer having him in charge took from 
his pocket a certificate of his loyalty to the Southern 
Confederacy and a protection in due form ! As was 
sometimes said of others, "He carried his papers in 
both pockets, as lie did not know into whose hands he 
might fall." 

After we reached the top of Gillie's hill, we pushed 
on over the barrens, in which were spots underlaid with 
quicksands, the crusts of which would sometimes break 
and a wagon sink to the hubs in a moment. 

On July 1st, we moved out over horrible roads for a 
few miles, and under an expectation of an engagement 
formed line of battle, but the enemy retreated ; we pur- 
sued them to Elk river, near the foot of the Cumberland 
mountains, found the river full and rising, then fell 
back on the Hillsboro road, a short distance, and went 
into camp. 

We left Cripple Creek on the 24th of June with light 
rations for twelve days, but the constant rains had 
spoiled much of the bread and other supplies, and we 
were now, on the third day of July, substantially out of 
supplies, and the men were suffering from hunger. 
Observing their situation, I sent a regiment in advance, 


under charge of Captain Howland, quartermaster of the 
division, with instructions to select a spot for a camp and 
post guards so that I could march the men inside the 
guard lines before stacking arms. 

There is no more sagacious animal than an old 
soldier. They saw the regiment I had selected move 
off to the front and divined my object instantly, and by 
common consent determined to outwit me. 

I paid no attention to them until we overtook the 
regiment that was to form the camp, and observed, as I 
thought, that the ranks were thin. I then hurried for- 
ward, and had guards posted, and watched the regiments 
as they filed into the lines, and am quite sure that a full 
three-fourths of the men had broken ranks, probably in 
many cases by collusion with officers who were off 

Soon I heard shots in many directions, and within an 
hour men commenced coming to the guard lines loaded 
with the product of the raid. I had determined upon a 
"divide" with them, and ordered that when a man 
reached the lines he should be marched to my quarters 
with his plunder, and as they came with parts of cattle, 
hogs and sheep, and whatever else they had, it was piled 
up until there was more than a ton of meat, and I had 
a large number of hungry, angry men watching for the 


The conclusion of the affair was both ludicrous and 
pathetic, and demonstrates that absolute authority can- 
not afford to be laughed at or indulge in the luxury of 
pity. The first attack upon my authority was made by 
a very small man of the 6th Kentucky Infantry. He 
was a German, and was brought in sweating under the 
half of a hog. At my order he threw his load down on 
the pile, and I said to him: "Who gave you leave to 
break ranks, and go out and steal?" "You dit," he 
said. I replied: "You lying rascal, I never authorized 
you to steal." He said: "You dit." I saw the men 
standing around were enjoying the scene, and said : 


"When did I authorize you to steal?" He said: "At 
Stone River, you ride up and you say, 'Stand up to 
them, 6th Kentucky, and you may steal for six months ?' 
I could hear the crowd of men behind me laughing, but 
remembering the occasion, I told him to stand aside, and 
his evident disappointment added to the mirth of the 

The men were being steadily brought in, and finally 
the guard brought forward a fine looking young man of 
the 41st Ohio. He had the half of a calf he had found 
and killed. I ordered him to throw it down on the 
heap and he did so. He stood very respectfully for a 
few minutes, and then said : "General, arn't you going 
to let me have my meat?" I answered: "No; you 
break ranks, go out and rob the people, and then expect 
to have the result of your robbery !" To my surprise, 
the tears ran down his cheeks. I said: "You great 
overgrown booby, are you crying about a thing of this 
kind?" and he replied, "General, I have had nothing to 
eat since yesterday morning ; we had to march before 
the orderly distributed the rations." I sent for his 
orderly sergeant, who confirmed the statement. I gave 
him his veal and a cup of salt, but felt that my authority 
was subverted — I had been laughed out of the hog, 
and cried out of the calf. I summoned the brigade com- 
missaries and they divided the supplies to the satisfaction 
of all parties. For a long time afterwards I could oc- 
casionally hear the dialogue between the little Dutch- 
man and myself slyly repeated. 



Manchester — Governor of Tennessee — Union refugees — Cross the Ten- 
nessee river — Lookout mountain — Ringgold — Battle of Chicka- 
mauga — Colonel Robinson — Return from Chickamauga — Russell's 
battery — Fatal order. 

On July 8th, we returned to Manchester on the line of 
railroad from Tullahoma to McMinnville, where we re- 
mained for some three weeks refitting, for further opera- 

I remember nothing more pleasant in my camp ex- 
perience than the time spent at Manchester. I found 
there some acquaintances made before the war, and met 
relatives of friends residing in Macoupin, Montgomery 
and Bond counties in Illinois. The young men were 
mostly absent in either the Rebel or Union armies, while 
the men at home were chiefly for the Union. They were 
exceedingly friendly, and visited the camp in large 

The Confederate army had so exhausted the country 
that my hospitality was severely taxed. My rations of 
coffee and the usual army trimmings were very accept- 
able to the women, and the commissary whisky, of which 
the supply was abundant, was enjoyed by the men. 

We talked of politics and of Illinois, of which they 
had heard something, and the state lost nothing by my 
accounts of its fertility and prosperity. The election for 
governor and other state officers of Tennessee was near 
at hand, and my visitors requested me to remain and be 
a candidate for governor of Tennessee. In fact, a dele- 
gation from "Hubbard's Cove," which was a beautiful 
place at the base of the Cumberland mountains, followed 
me a day's ride to tender me the votes of Grundy county 
if I would stay and be a candidate for the office. I was 


then in motion for the Sequatchie valley, and was com- 
pelled to decline the honor. 

On August 5th, I moved under orders for Dunlap in 
the valley on the Sequatchie river. We made a short 
day's march, and camped for the night at a place called 
Villanow, and next morning a guide reported to me to 
conduct us to "Irving College" on Collins river. 

I proposed to my guide to take my escort and move 
across the mountains by way of Altamont, as being more 
direct, and leave my division to move up by the turn- 
pike, but he declined to guide me over that route for 
what seemed to be a very satisfactory reason. 

When I made the suggestion, he answered, "I sup- 
pose you know the mountain is full of guerrillas." I 
said, "Yes, but they claim to be Union guerrillas, don't 
they?" He answered with a smile, "Yes, they do ; but 
if a man with a good coat on his back tries to pass 
through there, they wouldn't care for its color. All 
they would hate would be to put a bullet hole through 
it to get it off of him." I did n't go by that route. 

We reached Irving College in the afternoon, and found 
one of the loveliest spots I ever saw. It is but a short 
distance from the Cumberland mountains, from which 
it is separated by the Collins river. 

A well-constructed turnpike leading from McMinns- 
ville over the mountains passes through the valley. 
The college building was a brick school room of no great 
extent, which was surrounded by wooden dormitories. 
I found there a lady, wife of the president of the insti- 
tution, who had some years before, as Miss Harriet 
Whitaker, been a teacher in the public schools at Carlin- 
ville, Illinois. She invited me to take supper with her, 
which I did. She had little, but it was well prepared. 
Just before we took our seats at the table, she knelt 
down in front of a fire-place, raised a short board in the 
floor, reached down a full arm's length and brought her 
silver spoons into view. I asked, "why she had placed 
them there?" She answered with a confused smile, "I 


heard you were coming, and did not want you to be 

Next morning, we resumed our march and ascended 
the Cumberland mountains. We had passed hills be- 
fore, but this was my first experience in mountain opera- 
tions. The roads were excellent, and by two o'clock in 
the afternoon, artillery and baggage had reached the top 
of the mountain, and then we marched for ten or twelve 
miles on a level road with houses and farms on both 
sides and no great distance apart. 

A number of Union refugees were with us, who took 
advantage of our march to return home. I witnessed 
many of the reunions of those men with their families, 
and found one dying man, who had been shot by the 
guerrillas, who was falling back before us. 

I was informed, on reliable authority, that in the 
bloody feuds between the Union men and the Rebels, 
that at least thirty men had been killed in the neighbor- 
hood of the point where we reached the top of the Cum- 
berland mountains. 

We spent one night on the mountain, and next day 
reached Dunlap, where the brigades of the division re- 
mained until the 30th of August. I marched with Ha- 
zen's brigade over Waldon's ridge, which equals the 
Cumberland mountain in height and width, and witli 
the brigade took possession at Poe' tavern, in the valley 
of the Tennessee river, some fifteen miles from Chatta- 
nooga. I remained with the brigade a day or two, re- 
connoitered the Tennessee river, and found the Rebels in 
full force on the east bank at the ferries, and then re- 
turned to Dunlap. The Sequatchie valley lies between 
the Cumberland mountains and Waldron's ridge, and at 
Dunlap does not exceed three miles in width. It is very 
fertile, and the Sequatchie, a small stream, traverses its 
whole length. 

The able-bodied men of the valley were nearly all in 
one or the other of the armies ; the men who remained 
at home, with a few notable exceptions, were loyal. The 


best evidence of the loyalty of the men of the valley was 
found in the language and conduct of the women. 

On the 31st of August, we commenced marching down 
the Sequatchie valley and camped on the Little Sequatchie. 
Cruft moved to Shellmound and crossed the Tennessee 
river on a ferryboat with Gross's brigade. I moved to the 
mouth of Battle creek ; rafts were constructed from the 
cedar logs of houses there, and with the mules swim- 
ming, and a rope stretched across the river, the brigade, 
its artillery and baggage, was crossed over, and we 
marched to Shellmound and joined Cruft, and then 
pushed forward rapidly, with the hope of saving the 
railroad bridge over Running "Water creek. We were 
too late, the Rebels had fired the bridge, and it was fall- 
ing when we reached. We then moved up Running 
Water creek to Coles' academy, and then crossed into 
the Lookout valley, where, employing ourselves in re- 
connoissances in the direction of the enemy, we remained 
until the 8th of September ; and, as Bragg vacated Chat- 
tanooga on the 8th, we moved forward in order to occupy 
that place, and then really entered upon the campaign 
which included the operations that led to and followed 
the battle of Chickamauga, and the ultimate total defeat 
of the Rebel army at Missionary ridge. 

The history of this memorable campaign has been 
written by so many, with all necessary fullness, and with 
such approximate accuracy, that I will attempt no more 
than to give an account of my own connection with the 
campaign, and make only such reference to the acts of 
others as is necessary in order to make myself under- 
stood. There are, too, minor matters of history that 
may be profitably stated, not on account of their own 
value, but of the relation they have to more important 

I will mention some of these matters, partly because 
they are personal to myself, and partly because they 
may possess of themselves some, though a subordinate, 


Now, to return to my story. After the 21st Corps, 
with the exception of Hazen's brigade, which was still 
above Chattanooga, reached Lookout valley, for the 
double purpose of observing Chattanooga and covering 
the rear and left flank of the 14th and the 20th Corps, 
which had commenced their march across the mountain 
ranges in the direction of Rome, Georgia, it was well un- 
derstood that the campaign was near a crisis. My own 
command was occupied in a reconnoissance in the direc- 
tion of Lookout mountain, which elevation, two or three 
thousand feet above the valley we occupied, was in pos- 
session of the enemy. 

On the 9th of September, information reached me 
from several sources that Bragg had evactuated Chatta- 
nooga, and I received orders to move — to occupy the 
city. My information led me to believe that Bragg did 
not intend to abandon Chattanooga. I guessed that he 
had fallen back for the concentration of his forces, or 
that he would throw his whole force upon the 21st Corps 
as soon as it cleared the point of Lookout mountain and 
was fairly committed to the Chattanooga valley. 

As will be seen, by reference to the maps, the point 
of Lookout mountain, a short distance below the town 
of Chattanooga, approaches the Tennessee river so closely 
as to admit of a very narrow passage between the river 
and the mountain ; a road then led across the Chatta- 
nooga creek, close to the bank of the river, in a north- 
east direction, to the town, while another road leads 
from the same point southeasterly, for a distance of 
probably two miles, to the village of Rossvillc, where it 
unites with a road leading from Chattanooga, via the 
G i]> in Mission ridge, to Ringgold. Also, after passing 
the Gap, another road branches, and leads to Lee and 
Gordon's mills, and there crosses the west branch of the 
Chickamauga, and from thence to Lafayette, Georgia. 

Being aware of the position of Rossville, with respect 
to the point of Lookout mountain and Chattanooga, as 
well as to the Gap and the roads before mentioned, I 


obtained permission from General Crittenden to march 
directly to Rossville, and lie ordered Van Cleve's di- 
vision to march to the same point. 

We were then about 12,000 strong in the Chattanooga 
valley, while Bragg' s army, of more than double our 
numbers, was within twenty miles of us, in a country 
with which he was familiar, and with good roads run- 
ning; from his front to ours, and at that time the re- 
mainder of our army was committed to a march across the 
mountains beyond supporting distance. During the 
night of September 9th, I received from the corps head- 
quarters an extract from an order from army head- 
quarters to pursue the enemy in the direction of Ring- 
gold, Georgia, and bring him into battle. The order 
seemed to be remarkable, for I knew from information 
collected in the neighborhood that on that day a Rebel 
force was at Lee and Gordon's mills, and that Bragg him- 
self was at Lafayette. 

On the morning of the 10th, and after clearing the 
Gap to my front of a slight Rebel force, I moved on, 
crossed the Chickamauga, and reached the hill which 
overlooked Pea Vine creek valley, and witnessed the 
most mortifying and humiliating scene that befell me 
during my military life. 

I had ridden, with my advance regiment, the 1st 
Kentucky Infantry, a regiment which took part in the 
campaign in West Virginia early in the war, and re- 
moved to the West. It had participated in the battle 
of Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh, and acquitted itself 
with great credit. When we reached the point I have 
mentioned, I could command a view of the valley for a 
great distance. 

The road from Cleveland to Lafayette crossed the east 
branch of the Chickamauga at Greyville and ran south on 
the east side of Pea Vine creek, along the valley for miles. 
The road was concealed from my observation by the small 
timber and brush along the creek, but from my position 
on the hill I could, by noticing the dust, determine that 


cavalry and infantry were passing across my line of 
march going south. It was easy to determine that the 
infantry force was small, but not so easy to determine 
the strength of the cavalry. To satisfy myself, I or- 
dered Major Norton, of the 42d Illinois, my senior aid, 
to ride with my escort, some forty men, to the front, to 
ascertain the facts. In the meantime, the troops had 
filed past me, and the head of the column had reached 
the skirt of timber near the creek. I saw Norton come 
at a gallop, pursued by a superior force of the enemy ; 
the troops in front were thrown into confusion. I rode 
forward, at full speed, and before I could reach the 
spot the Rebels, under the cloud of dust, captured two 
officers and fifty-six enlisted men, all from a veteran 
regiment. I followed with my escort, but found myself 
soon in the presence of a largely superior force. 

I have never suffered from disease or other cause the 
agony produced by this event. Not a gun was fired, 
but the Rebels, at full speed, rode up, and captured all 
these men with loaded muskets in their hands. 

The remainder of this regiment revenged the insult 
inflicted upon them in the battles of the 19th and 20th, 
which were fought but a few miles from the scene of 
their humiliaton, and I confess that I felt much as they 
did, and watched them with a glow of feeling, which 
is partially aroused now within me by this brief recital 
of their obstinate gallantry. The next morning, Sep- 
tember 11th, we resumed our march in the direction of 
Rin^ffold, and then drove the Rebel forces through one 
pass in the mountains, and destroyed the railroad for a 
few miles. 

During the evening, General Crittenden overtook us, 
and informed me that Rosecrans had discovered the real 
meaning of Bragg's movement, and had gone to join 
Generals Thomas and McCook, who, with the 14th and 
20th Corps were still in the mountains; Crittenden's 
purpose, upon this discovery, was to move in the direc- 
tion from which the other corps were expected, in order 


to unite the whole army before Bragg should advance 
upon us in force. On the 12th I moved with only my 
artillery and ambulances, until I reached Peavine valley, 
in order to cover our transportation, which Van Cleve 
with his division conducted by the direct road to Lee 
and Gordon's mill, where Wood, with two of his 
brigades, was already posted. 

Upon reaching the road leading up Peavine creek, 
citizens informed me that a heavy cavalry force had, dur- 
ing the night, passed in the direction of Lafayette ; the 
bridge was cut and fords blockaded. 

I reached a point at the junction of the Lee and 
Gordon and the Lafayette roads, and waited there for 
some time, to give Van Cleve time to pass ; I then moved 
up the creek and attacked the enemy, who were in com- 
paratively light force. I advanced still further up the 
valley, driving them before me for some distance, until 
the volume of fire satisfied me that we were in the 
presence of a heavy, probably superior force of infantry. 

As the concentration of the army and not a partial 
battle was the object, I withdrew to Lee and Gordon's, 
and then crossed to the west side of the Chickamauga, 
and camped near the point, to which we returned a few 
days afterwards, to engage in the battle of Chicka- 

Sunday, September 13th, was a busy day, for it was 
obvious that General Bragg was moving upon us in 
force and that a battle was impending. Reconnoissances 
were made to our front, and in the direction of Peavine 
valley to the east. On the 14th, I marched across Mis- 
sionary Ridge into Chattanooga valley ; on the 16th I 
returned, moved up the Chickamauga valley, passing 
Crawfish Springs, for several miles to Gowans, and 
watched the fords and bridges ; crossed the river on the 
17th, to feel for the enemy; encountered a party and 
drove them back over the hill. 

On the 18th, the enemy more bold, attacked one of my 
outposts, but were repulsed with some loss to them, and 


the heads of Thomas's column beginning to arrive, I gave 
place for some of this force, and moved down the river 
towards Crawfish Springs. 

In the afternoon, with one of my brigades, I relieved 
Barnes' brigade, who were defending a ford against an ob- 
stinate attempt of the enemy to cross. I then rode to the 
headquarters at Crawfish Springs, and learned there that 
Rebel troops from Virginia were hourly expected to ar- 
rive at Ringgold, and found that Bragg was moving 
north, on the east side of the river, to unite with the 
force from Virginia, and then to interpose his whole 
army between us and Chattanooga. 

It was now a race for a battlefield, and it remains to 
be seen by what slight circumstances the result of the 
race, as well as of the subsequent battle, was determined. 

It was no doubt the intention of Rosecrans that Crit- 
tenden's corps should take position to defend the cross- 
ing at Lee and Gordon's mills, and that the 14th and 20th 
Corps should proceed, by a road leading from Crawfish 
Springs, along the base of Missionary Ridge, and reacli 
the Chattanooga road to the north of Lee and Gordon's 
mills, and by a further movement to the left, confront 
the enemy, and fight a battle for the defense of Chatta- 
nooga ; but an incident brought the two armies into col- 
lision earlier than either intended. During the night of 
the 18th, I attempted to reach Lee and Gordon's mills, 
but the narrow pass at Crawfish Springs was so crowded 
with artillery and marching columns that I spent the 
whole night on horseback, and only reached my position 
about sunrise on the morning of the 19th. At that time 
Thomas had gained a considerable distance on our left, 
in the direction of Chattanooga, and early in the fore- 
noon Gross's brigade was sent north on the Chattanooga 
road to reconnoiter and learn something of the positions 
and movements of the other portions of the army. 

At half-past nine o'clock I received a note from Gen- 
eral Thomas, the important effect of which will appear 
from an article clipped from the Southern Confederacy, 


a newspaper published in Atlanta, Georgia, October 3d, 
which I copy : "It is said that General Bragg's plan of 
attack was designed to be the same as that of General 
Lee on Chickahominy, viz., a movement down the left 
bank of the Chickamauga, by a column which was to 
take the enemy in flank, and drive them down the 
river to the next ford or crossing below, when a second 
column was to cross over and unite with the first, in 
pushing the enemy still further down the river, until 
all the bridges and fords had been uncovered, and our 
entire army passed over. 

"This plan was frustrated, according to report, by a 
counter movement, which is explained in the following 
order of the Federal General Thomas. This order was 
found upon the person of Adjutant-General Muhleman, 
of General Palmer's staff, who subsequently fell into 
our hands : 

'Headquarters 14th Army Corps, 
'Near McDaniel's House, October 10, 1863, 0, a. m. 
'Major-General Palmer — The Rebels are reported 
in quite a heavy force between you and Alexander's 
mill. If you advance as soon as possible on them in 
front, while I attack them in flank, I think we can use 
them up. Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Geo. H. Thomas, Maj.-Gcn., Com'cT<7.' 

"This was Saturday morning ; the counter attack upon 
the front and flank of our flanking column was made 
with vigor soon after it crossed the river, and in accord- 
ance with the plan suggested by General Thomas, and 
if not entirely successful, it was sufficiently so to disar- 
range our plans and delay our movements." 

There is no doubt but that the plan of Bragg's at- 
tack was as stated in the newspaper article, but his ob- 
ject is not correctly indicated. The purpose for which 
the corps referred to was crossed over the Chickamauga 
was that it should catch our advance in movement, and 
while it was engaged the troops of his center and left 


should move on the east bank and cross over and turn 
our left. Longstreet's Virginia troops were to have 
moved directly on Chattanooga, by way of one of the 
roads leading from Ringgold. 

Rosecrans fully understood the purpose of Bragg. As 
I was moving north along the Chattanooga road he sug- 
gested to me to move east in eschelon by brigades, my 
right refused. I did so, and in less than a quarter of a 
mile my whole command struck the enemy at the same 
moment, and Thomas with Brannon struck them nearly 
the same time. The fight was extremely fierce from 
the beginning, but we drove them back for half a mile ; 
and as the enemy had disappeared from my front, I 
ordered Hazen, whose ammunition was exhausted, to go 
to the rear and fill his boxes. In the meantime Bragg, 
defeated in his plan, as before described, pushed his 
center and left across the creek to my right and attacked 
Van Cleve, who was forced to retire. 

Hearing the fire receding on our right, I rode in the 
direction of the road, and feeling the necessity of prompt 
action I rode up to Colonel Milton S. Robinson of the 
75th Indiana, who belonged to Reynolds' division, and 
who had served under my command on the Mississippi, 
and learning from him that his regiment had never been 
in battle, ordered him to "form" and charge the enemy. 
He obeyed, saying that he did not belong to my com- 
mand, but would obey my orders. He ordered a charge, 
and his new regiment, some eight hundred strong, led 
by Robinson and myself, rushed upon the enemy with 
shouts that made the woods ring, when they yielded, and 
were thrown back a quarter of a mile or more. The men 
we had driven before us were good soldiers, who were for 
the moment surprised by the rush of this large regiment. 
I told Robinson that they would return and that his 
raw troops could not withstand them, but advised him 
to keep up appearances as long as he could, and rode 
to the left to reach my own two brigades, which were by 
this time at a distance of perhaps a quarter of a mile. 


As I rode forward in a gallop I looked down a hollow to 
my right front and saw a Rebel line advancing up a hill 
in the direction of Cruft's brigade, which I could see, 
and at the same time observed that they had not noticed 
the approach of the enemy. I increased my speed and 
shouted as I reached the right of the line to call atten- 
tion to the coming Rebels, and they reached the plateau 
a moment afterwards. They charged us at once, and 
were received with a volley which did not check them. 
On they came, and then followed one of those noisy 
scenes that some times occur on a well-fought battlefield. 
As they pressed us our lines were pushed back, and 
there seemed imminent danger that my line would 
break, and then I knew demoralization would follow. 
The Rebel mounted officers were in front of their lines 
encouraging their men and using every effort to prevent 

I remember that I noticed one Rebel officer some dis- 
tance in advance of his command, calling them to come 
forward and firing at us. I drew a pistol from my 
holster and fired at him, with what success I never knew. 
We were pushed back until I saw General Tnrchin to my 
left with his brigade. He ordered a charge, and as he 
came up, my men rallied and joined in the movement. 
In an instant all was changed. The Rebels had by this 
time become disordered, and they were unable to with- 
stand our assault. They broke and we pursued them. 
We captured some prisoners. A few were brought to 
me. I ordered that their guns be broken, and told them 

to "go to the d 1 !" They pushed to the rear, glad to 

escape the melee. 

As soon as the excitement occasioned by this lively 
affair was over, I heard firing to my right rear, by which 
I knew the enemy were pushing our troops who were in 
that direction. I rode in the direction of our fire, pass- 
ing within a hundred yards of the right of the Rebel ad- 
vance — a few of whom saw and tired at me. I was on 


the wing, however, and passed them ; found that Rey- 
nolds of Thomas's corps had collected a few pieces of ar- 
tillery, and with a part of his infantry had checked the 
Rebel advance ; and after proceeding a little further, I 
met Colonel Robinson, whose regiment had charged the 
enemy so gallantly an hour before. He had about fifty 
men with him, and told me most mournfully that his 
entire regiment, with the exception of the few men with 
him, was destroyed. I knew from the composition of 
his regiment that the majority of them, all new men, 
had taken care of themselves, and I tried to comfort 
him with that assurance. He, however, said that he 
knew them better than I did, and that they were all 
brave men, and had either fallen or were then in the 
hands of the enemy. I laughing offered to bet him ten 
dollars that when he issued rations the next morning, he 
would not miss twenty-five men. He looked vexed at 
my offer. I rode off; but when we met again, he said I 
was "nearer right than he was." 

It had turned out as I told him it would after we had 
made the charge with his regiment, of which mention 
has been made. The Rebel forces that we had driven 
before us were good soldiers, and when they got over 
the idea that they were in the presence of an over- 
whelming force, they returned. They did so, and Rob- 
inson's raw men acted sensibly and got out of the 
way. Two months later, at Missionary Ridge, the 
same men would have been found hard to drive from a 

My connection with Robinson's regiment involved me 
in an amusing affair. In October, 1872, I went to An- 
derson, Indiana, where Colonel Robinson lived, to make 
a "Greeley speech," and when I reached the town, I 
heard that Colonel Robinson was a candidate for con- 
gress on the Grant ticket. He was opposed by a gentle- 
man whose name I have forgotten, and I was told that 
the opposition to Robinson were using against him with 
some effect a charge that he had exhibited cowardice at 


Chickamauga, and his conduct at the time referred to 
was mentioned in support of the charge. I addressed a 
large audience at the Fair Grounds, and discovered Col- 
onel Robinson present and apparently one of my most 
attentive listeners. After the conclusion of the address, 
Colonel Robinson went up to the town with me, and on 
the way informed me that arrangements had been made 
for me to speak to the people on the public square in the 
evening, and that a large number of soldiers who had 
served with me would be present. He then told me of 
the charge made against him, and reminded me of the 
circumstances already detailed, and asked me to do him 
"justice" in my evening address. Though I liked him 
very much, I bantered him by saying with gravity that, 
inasmuch as he was a candidate on the Grant ticket, it 
seemed that I could hardly afford to help him until after 
the election, but as I made him a kind of conditional 
promise to refer to the subject, he left me, obviously not 
well satisfied with the rather unsatisfactory assurance. 

Upon reaching the stand from which I was to address 
the people, I found Colonel Robinson on the platform 
awaiting my arrival. He sat and listened with great 
patience to a speech of an hour and a half, and as I in- 
tentionally acted as if about to close, he plucked me and 
reminded me of my promise. I therefore told the audi- 
ence that I had heard that Colonel Robinson was a can- 
didate for congress, and was anxious to beat a good 
Greeley man, his competitor, and that some of the sup- 
porters of our candidate had charged and claimed that 
they had proved the charge that Robinson had acted in a 
cowardly manner at Chickamauga. It was dark around 
me, but many voices responded that the charge had been 
made and proved, and as many or more voices denounced 
the charge as false, and added that the men who had made 
the charge were "liars. ' ' As soon as I could make myself 
heard, I asked if any of the men of the 75th Indiana 
had made or repeated the charge? This was answered 
by shouts of "Yes, yes;" and I then asked any one of 


the 75th Indiana who made the charge to come forward 
to the stand ; but, as I expected would be the case, no 
one responded. After waiting a few moments, I pro- 
ceeded to tell how promptly Robinson had put himself 
under my orders, and how gallantly he had led his 
large regiment of raw troops in his charge on the enemy, 
which I have described, and then told of my meeting 
with him when he was mourning the loss of his regi- 
ment, and of my offer to bet him "ten dollars" that, 
when he issued rations next morning, there would "not 
be twenty-five missing." 

This disposed of the charge of cowardice against Col- 
onel Robinson, and he was elected to congress. I have 
had some reason since that time, in my own case, to ob- 
serve that false charges of military misconduct are easily 
made, and that some soldiers who know the truth are 
mean enough to be silent when the charge is intended 
to subserve partisan purposes. 

After this affair, my division fell back to a point near 
the road, leading from Lee and Gordon's mills to Chat- 
tanooga, and the enemy made one more effort to reach 
our left, but they failed, and the day closed with the ad- 
vantage in our favor. 

Bragg's plan, as detailed in the article I have copied 
from the Atlanta newspaper, had failed ; our whole army 
had reached the field, and was strong on our left, which 
was the point of danger, though our corps organizations 
were broken up, and really the battle of the next day 
wss fought by divisions and brigades. 

After supper, I left my troops to go in search of some 
superior officer, to obtain information and orders for the 
next day. I found the headquarters of the army, and 
was informed that I could not see either General Rose- 
crans or General Crittenden, and returned to my com- 
mand without either information or orders. I had then 
been without sleep forty-eight hours. I gave orders to 
be called at daybreak, and remember no more until I 
was aroused in the morning. Taking a hasty breakfast, 


I started out to find the line to be occupied ; saw General 
Thomas, who told me that I was to report to him for the 
day. He pointed out to me the position to be occupied 
by Baird's division, of Thomas's 14th Corps. Johnson, 
of McCook's 21st Corps, moved and formed on Baird's 
right ; my own division, of Crittenden's 20th Corps, 
moved, came next ; then Reynolds, of the 14th Corps, 
on my right ; but the sun was up before our lines were 
formed, though we could distinctly hear the enemy at a 
short distance in the woods before us. Bragg claims 
that he ordered General Polk to attack us at daybreak. 
If he had done so, with the force and energy with which 
the Rebel attack was made at eight o'clock, the battle 
would not have lasted an hour ; we would have gone to 
Chattanooga on the run. But I have always believed, 
that, after the rough handling the Rebels had received 
on the 19th, we were as well prepared for battle on the 
morning of the 20th as they were. 

About eight o'clock, the Rebels made an attack, first 
striking Baird, then Johnson, then my own division, and 
with less force and vehemence the attack reached Rey- 
nolds, who was connected with my right, but his line 
receded to the rear, to conform to the situation of the 
ground and maintain his connection with Brannan, 
whose line was formed facing south by east. When the 
attack was made, we were ready for them, and men 
never fought with greater determination. The roads to 
our front were almost free from undergrowth, so that we 
could see the line of the enemy at a distance. As they 
came, they successively descended into a hollow, which 
was probably three hundred yards distant from my left, 
but approached the right within a hundred yards or less. 
When they got fairly into motion, they rushed forward 
in double-quick time, with the Rebel yell, that we had 
then heard too often to be startled by it. My men, be- 
hind hastily constructed defenses, waited in silence for 
orders to fire, and, when orders were given, a steady, 


deliberate volley was fired, which seemed to me to sweep 
the field to our front. 

Russell's battery, of four twenty-four pound howitzers, 
and Cushing's two twelve-pound and four Napoleons, 
and Standart's rifle gun, poured shell and grape into the 
advancing lines. The impulse of the charge was such 
that men reached within thirty yards of our lines before 
they fell. These assaults were repeated with an impet- 
uosity that threatened to overwhelm us, but I had such 
confidence in the officers and men of my division, that I 
at no time felt the slightest apprehension. 

The next operations of the day, that most threatened, 
were those directed against Baird's division on our ex- 
treme left. 

Once the attack from that quarter was so heavy that 
Gross's brigade, then in reserve, was sent to support 
the left, against a movement around our left flank, 
Gross was repulsed and the brigade thrown into dis- 
order, and while riding rapidly to rally it, my horse was 
struck and knocked down. I left him, and on foot took 
part in the effort to rally the regiments. We succeeded 
in this, and when practically reformed, we returned to 
the attack, and with a brigade which was sent to our 
support, the enemy were repulsed, and the left cleared 
of their presence. 

I returned, and found that my horse, which had been 
struck with a glancing bullet, was on his feet again. 
PYom this time, which must have been two o'clock in the 
afternoon, everything seemed safe ; the enemy had been 
repulsed at all points, and I fully anticipated that the 
day would close with victory to our arms. I have 
already said that the last operation of the left arm of 
the army, was the repulse of the enemy, which attempted 
to turn that flank, and that then everything seemed to 
promise the final repulse and defeat of Bragg's army, 
and a rapid pursuit of his retreating forces. 

I do not know with accuracy the time when I heard 
heavy firing to the right, and soon noticed by the sound, 


that our line was broken, and that the Rebels were 
pressing rapidly forward in pursuit of retreating troops. 

Feeling that everything depended upon successfully 
resisting this advance of the enemy, I withdrew Hazen's 
brigade from the line of battle, and ordered him to 
march to the support of the troops who were defending 
the line, and replaced it with Gross's brigade, which had 
already suffered heavily, but which would, I felt, be 
able to hold the position from which the enemy had 
been repeatedly repulsed. I watched Hazen's move- 
ments until I heard his fire and the shouts of his men, and 
then attention was again given to the situation of affairs 
on my front. 

Surely, no spectacle could be more pitiable than the 
one witnessed. The number of the dead was astound- 
ing. I looked down the hollow which I have described 
as approaching my right, and noticed that a great many 
apparently wounded men had crept into it to avoid the 
fire from our lines, and were unable to go farther. 
Surgeons seemed to be amongst them, while sharp- 
shooters were beyond them on the hill, picking off such 
of our men as came within their reach. Colonel King, 
the gallant commander of an Indiana regiment, was shot 
dead while standing near me, and others were killed and 

I did not spend much time in this way, however, for 
the firing still continued to recede, and soon it seemed 
as if our line was irretrievably broken. About this 
time, the commander of one of the divisions near my 
own, approached me and said that I was now the rank- 
ing officer on the field, and that I ought to order a re- 
treat of the divisions on the left to Chattanooga. He 
said the right and the center of the army were defeated, 
and no doubt Rosecrans and Thomas were killed, or in 
the hands of the enemy. At the moment the prospect 
did appear gloomy, and I was inclined to apprehend that 
matters were as bad as he supposed them to be. 

I told him, however, that if it was true the Rebels had 


defeated the right and center of the army, and had 
captured or killed Rosecrans, Thomas, McCook and 
Crittenden, that so far as I was concerned they might 
have every man of the four division they could take ; 
that we would cut our way to Chattanooga ; that "I had 
rather be killed, and be d — d, than be d — d by the 
country for leaving the battlefield under such circum- 
stances." Not long after this conversation, while look- 
ing towards the eastern slope of the mountain, where 
the fighting was still going on, I noticed the battle-flag, 
which I was soon able to make out as that of the reserve 
corps, commanded by General Gordon Granger. Soon, 
by the aid of my glass, I could see troops moving from 
the north, in the direction of the advancing enemy, and 
then I noticed the meeting of the reserve corps with the 
enemy, and in all my experience I have never witnessed 
such desperate hand to hand fighting. The sound of 
musketry was so incessant and rapid that it was a con- 
tinuous roar. No one can tell how long this lasted ; the 
advance of the enemy was checked, but the line of battle 
had become untenable. 

It was nearly sunset, when I observed that Reynolds' 
division was retiring from my right, moving off. I rode 
to the rear, in order to learn the meaning of the move- 
ment, and met Captain Kellogg, of General Thomas's 
staff, with orders to "retire from the field," beginning 
on the right, and then followed one of those scenes that 
most severely tests the qualities of officers and men, and 
where the difference between well-drilled troops and the 
undisciplined is most perceptible. 

I ordered Colonel Gross's brigade to retire first, but 
as I have already said, his troops had suffered heavily 
during the day, and on leaving the field they did not 
maintain their character for steadiness and good order. 
Cruft's troops left the field as if on parade. I sat upon 
my horse, some three hundred yards in the rear of our 
late position, and looking over, beheld the splendid or- 
der of Cruft's troops moving off the field. I saw the 


Rebels cross from our late defenses, and, to my regret, 
a Rebel battery approached within four hundred yards 
of where I sat on my horse, at the foot of a large dead pine 
tree. As Standart's battery passed a Rebel shot struck 
between the wheels of one of his gun-carriages. The 
axle was crushed by the shot, and the gun seemed to 
leap in the air and then fell to the ground, and as the 
Rebel fire seemed aimed at Cruft's flank, I expected 
that soon a shot would enfilade his line with terrible 
slaughter. While completely absorbed in the scene be- 
fore me, and in an agony of apprehension, in view of 
what I supposed to be the danger of Cruft's men from 
the battery, my horse sunk to the ground, and I fell 
at the foot of the tree I have mentioned. I was at 
once conscious that my hat had fallen off, and that my 
hair, mouth, eyes, and collar, were filled with some soft 
substance, but what it was I could not, for a moment, 
blinded as I was, even guess. 

I arose to my feet, cleared my eyes, and then found 
that a shot from the Rebel battery had struck the dead 
pine, a piece from the tree had probably fallen upon my 
horse, and prostrated him, and had, at the same time, 
covered me with the soft, rotten wood. I waited a short 
time to see Cruft enter the skirt of timber, called for a 
horse, and my pony, having been knocked down twice 
that dav, was again on his feet. I mounted him, and 
rode from the field, up the slope of Missionary ridge. 
Cruft halted at the top of the hill, and sent back skir- 
mishers to protect the men still coming from the field, 
and they checked the advance of the enemy, which was 
irresolute and feeble. Hundreds of men and officers, as 
they came up, with the instincts of good soldiers, fell 
into line on Cruft's right, and very soon there was a 
force that would have been dangerous to a pursuing 
enemy. As soon as all our men seemed to have come 
up, the disorganized men in the line, with Cruft, moved 
to the rear and down the west slope of the ridge, into 
Chattanooga valley, and from thence by the road to 


Rossville. I reached Rossville about nine o'clock at 
night, and there learned the cause, as well as the extent, 
of our disaster. My own loss was not heavy, in view 
of the severe fighting in which my division had partici- 
pated during the last two days, and I felt that my troops 
had behaved admirably, and were entitled to the great- 
est credit for their steadiness and courage. I knew that 
no part of the misfortunes of the day could be attribu- 
ted to my divisions, or those of Baird and Johnson, on 
my left, or of Reynolds on my right, and upon inquiry 
learned that our failure to hold the field against the 
enemy, was attributable to one of those accidents that 
defeat the counsels of the wisest and disappoint the ex- 
pectations of the brave. It was unfortunate that in the 
rapid movements of the army immediately preceding 
and on the first day of the battle of Chickamauga, the 
organization of the army corps was broken up. The 
first effect of this was the loss of the services of the two 
distinguished commanders of the 20th and 21st Corps — 
Generals McCook and Crittenden. 

Crittenden's corps, with which I was connected, was 
composed of three divisions commanded by myself, 
Brigadier-General Thomas L. Wood and Brigadier-Gen- 
eral H. Van Cleve, ranking respectively in the order I 
have named. In the actual formation of the line of 
battle on the 20th (as I have stated) Baird's division, 
14th Corps, held the extreme left, with the divisions of 
Johnson, of the 20th Corps, my own, of the 21st, Rey- 
nolds and Brannan, of the 14th, witli Woods, of the 21st 
Corps, on Brannan 's right. The result of this condition 
of things was that McCook and Crittenden were practi- 
cally left without commands, and Thomas in fact acted 
not as corps commander but as second in command of 
the army. 

During the day, as I have said, the battle was fought 
by divisions, and orders were given by General Rose- 
crans directly to division commanders instead of to the 
commanders of corps, who would have had the right by 


virtue of their rank to have modified them according 
to cirumstances with which they would have been 
familiar and to have superintended their execution. 

Our defeat at Chickamauga resulted from the fact 
that General Rosecrans, ignorant that Brannan's division 
separated the divisions of Reynolds and Wood, issued an 
order directly to General Wood directing him to "close up 
on Reynolds and support him." If this order had been 
sent through a corps commander it would have been his 
duty to know, and he would have known, that Wood could 
not "close up on Reynolds," without leaving his place 
in the line of battle and moving to the left the whole 
length of Brannan's division into a position where his 
division would be useless and the line of battle en- 

Rosecrans has claimed that Wood should have known 
that the consequences mentioned would certainly follow 
a literal obedience of the order, and ought himself to 
have assumed that the order was given in ignorance of 
actual conditions, and it was therefore his duty to have 
disobeyed his directions. The order was received by 
Wood, and he proceeded to obey it by withdrawing his 
division from the line of battle, which was at once per- 
ceived by the enemy, who passed the opening in the line, 
caught Wood in his movement, overwhelmed Brannan's 
right and Van Cleve's left, and changed the fortunes for 
the day. 



Retreat to Chattanooga— Rebel artillery— General Rosecrans— McCook 
and Crittenden relieved— Resigned— Letter giving reasons— Letter 
from Lincoln — Wounded— Assigned to command of 14th Army 

The army was defeated on the field of Chickamauga 
from causes which I have explained, but it was nowise 
demoralized. The soldiers knew that a false move had 
opened our lines to the enemy, and that until that 
unfortunate incident they were victorious at all points, 
for every assault upon our lines had been repulsed 
with great strength. They knew that the enemy was 
severely handled, and that Bragg's conduct on the 
20th of September satisfied the most timid that he had 
no disposition to encounter the Army of the Cumber- 
land again in the field. I remained in position the 
whole day, on the 21st, at Rossville, and about nine 
o'clock in the evening my division withdrew from its 
position and moved into Chattanooga, with as much 
steadiness and composure as it had passed that city 
nearly two weeks before, and we took our place in line 
formed for the defense of the city with a determination 
to hold it to the last. 

The ground was cleared and earthworks were com- 
menced, under the direction of the engineers, when late 
in the afternoon the Rebel army appeared on Mission 
Ridge to our front, and about the same time they took 
possession on Lookout Mountain, which at a distance 
of less than two miles overlooked the city. We pushed 
the preparations for the defense of the city rapidly, 
and Bragg caused his artillery to be placed along the 
"Ridge" to our front and on Lookout Mountain to 
our right, and there were probably a hundred guns of 
different caliber looking into our camps and threatening 


our annihilation. I will never forget the feeling of awe 
with which I contemplated this spectacle ; and as all 
parts of our camps seemed equally exposed to danger, I 
determined to take a position where I could watch the 
"grand opening." I confess I expected that from the 
commanding position of the Rebel artillery, hundreds of 
feet above us, and within what seemed to be easy range 
of all points in the city, our loss in killed and wounded 
would be heavy. With this impression on my mind, I 
seated myself with a few officers on one side of the 
earthworks on my line where I could observe all points 
on the Rebel line, and waited for what I imagined 
would be the coming storm. I did not wait long until 
the Rebel guns at all points along their line opened as if 
by a single command, and then in a few moments the 
roar of the cannon on the hills was repeated by the 
bursting of the shells high up in the air, and near to 
and upon the'earth around us. My first impression, pro- 
duced by the roar and apparent confusion, was, that the 
artillery had inflicted immense injury, but, after look- 
ing in every direction, I could not see a sign of harm. 
After the first volley, the fire from the hills was kept up 
slowly, but regularly, so that it was comparatively easy 
to watch its effect. For a half hour, perhaps, our at- 
tention was active, but as we saw no evidence of injury 
done by it, our apprehensions relaxed, so that I noticed 
many men, who at first seemed excited and alarmed, 
sound asleep. 

For myself, I lost all interest in the affair, so that I 
cannot tell how long the cannonade continued. I pre- 
sume that one of the reasons, and perhaps the principal 
one, why the artillery of the Rebels did us no harm was, 
that the artillerists from the elevation of their pieces 
could not depress them so as to aim them at any object, 
and whatever effect they accomplished was purely acci- 

This effort to dislodge us having failed so signally, 
the army felt secure in its possession of the city, and 


Bragg, who may have expected the scarcity of supplies 
would compel the army to evacuate Chattanooga, de- 
tached Longstreet, with the troops brought by him from 
Virginia, to seek Burnside in East Tennessee and defeat 
or drive him from the country. 

In the meantime, the loss of the battle of Chick a- 
mauga by our army was followed by false reports, 
which were published in the newspapers of the North, 
and produced great excitement throughout the country, 
and reports were made to the war department by the as- 
sistant secretary of war, Mr. Dana, who was on the bat- 
tlefied with Rosecrans, and left the field with the general, 
and was with him in Chattanooga hours before the 
struggle was over, and I have always believed that Gar- 
field took no pains to make the actual conduct of the 
officers and soldiers known to the president or the secre- 
tary of war. 

The newspapers were filled with the most false and 
extravagant reports of the battle, and of the conduct of 
the troops of different commands. I remember^one of 
the reports published in a Cincinnati paper was, that 
Crittenden's command broke and fled, etc., while the 
truth was, that Crittenden's corps, either from the acci- 
dents of the first day's separations or from the practice 
of Rosecrans, which was to issue orders directly to any 
officer of any rank whose services he needed, in disregard 
of all immediate officers, was broken up on both days of 
the battle, and Crittenden and McCook were left without 
a command. 

It would have been easy for Rosecrans to have over- 
come this difficulty by assigning to Crittenden and Mc- 
Cook the command of certain troops in the line of bat- 
tle, as Johnson's division of the 20th Corps and my own 
of the 21st Corps were assigned to Thomas. Baird, of 
the 14th Corps (Thomas) , was on the extreme left, and 
Johnson's and my own followed. If Crittenden's had 
been assigned to the command of Reynolds, Brennan's 
and Wood's divisions came next in the order of the 


formation of the line of battle, the fatal order to Wood to 
"close up on Reynolds and support him," would not have 
reached Wood, and the Rebels would have been defeated 
at Chickamauga ; or the order before spoken of had been 
sent to Crittenden, he would have withheld it or super- 
intended its execution. The result of the misrepresenta- 
tions and the clamor which followed the battle of Chicka- 
mauga led the war department to perpetrate acts of the 
most signal injustice to officers and men. 

Rosecrans was relieved from the command of the 
army, and the 20th and 21st Corps were broken up, and 
McCook and Crittenden ordered before a court of in- 
quiry. My division was attached to the 4th Corps, the 
command of which was given to General Gordon Granger. 
I disliked Granger, and submitted to that part of the 
arrangement only as a matter of duty, and I felt indig- 
nant that the 21st Corps, to which my division be- 
longed, should be broken up in the face of the enemy. 

Military men are often accused of egotism, and per- 
haps there may be some grounds for the accusation, but 
at the same time no man can successfully command sol- 
diers who does not maintain his full claim to respect. 
The spirit which prompts men to be jealous of the honor 
of the organization to which they are attached is one to 
be cultivated, within reasonable limits, and nothing 
more dishonors a commander in the estimation of his 
officers and soldiers than a belief that he is insensible to 
his own honor or theirs. 

I felt constrained by these considerations to emphasize 
my sense of the injustice of the order which relieved 
Crittenden, and blotted the 21st Corps out of existence, 
by tendering my resignation, which I did in the follow- 
ing letter, addressed to the adjutant-general : 

"Headquarters 2d Division 21st Army Corps, 

"Chattanooga, Tenn., October 8, 1863. 
"Sir — I respectfully tender the resignation of my com- 
mission as major-general of volunteers in the army of the 


United States. I am not indebted to the United States ; 
I have no public property in my possession ; there are no 
charges against me. I was last paid up to and including 
June & 30, 1863, by Major N. M. Knapp, paymaster. 

"I tender my resignation because the late order of the 
war department, which abolishes the 21st Army Corps, 
and orders its late commander, Major-General Critten- 
den, before a court of inquiry, implies, and will be un- 
derstood by the country as implying, the severest cen- 
sure upon the conduct of the officers and men lately 
composing the corps. 

"The order is, in its circumstances, without example 
in the military history of the country. No corps, be- 
fore this, has been deprived of its commander, and 
stricken out of existence within a few days after a great 
battle, in the midst of important military operations, and 
in the face of the enemy. By this sudden, decisive, 
sweeping order, the government has given to the mis- 
representations of the fugitives from the battlefield the 
weight of its own apparent indorsement, slander is digni- 
ned°into history, and henceforth refutation is impossible. 
"I did not enter the service of the country for this re- 
ward, nor can I by remaining in the army give effect 
and force to the imputation which the order implies 
upon the memory of the dead, and the character of my 
comrades who survived the battle of Chickamauga. 

"I respectfully urge that my resignation be at once 
accepted. I would not willingly separate myself from 
the Army of the Cumberland until it is again ready to 
assume the offensive, but I hope to receive notice of 
the acceptance of my resignation speedily, and that it 
will by that time be ready to move forward. 

"John M. Palmer, Maj.-Gen. Vols. 
"To the Adj. -Gen., U. S. A." 

There is no doubt but that the reports upon which the 
war department made the order, were the work of the 


men who left the battlefield early in the afternoon of the 
20th. When they left the field, the left, which I have 
already said was composed of the division of Baird, of 
the 14th Corps ; Johnson, of the 20th ; Palmer, of the 
21st, and Reynolds, of the 14th, with detached support 
from other divisions covering the extreme left, had been 
successful in repelling every assault upon their position, 
so that I was able to detach Hazen's brigade to assist in 
resisting the Rebel torrent which had penetrated the cen- 
ter and threatened to carry everything before it. It is 
true, Crittenden had gone with Rosecrans into Chatta- 
nooga, but as I have already stated, he had no command 
during the day, but that fact was known, or ought to 
have been known. It is due to General Rosecrans 
to say that he was no party to the injustice which I 
resented, and he, in his indorsement on my letter of 
resignation, attempted to secure for us justice. He in- 
formed me that he had forwarded my resignation to the 
ad j utant-general . 

I copy his indorsement in full, as it carries with it the 
refutation of one of the calumnies that is even now 
sometimes reproduced by careless historians : 

"Headquarters of Dep't of the Cumberland, 
"Chattanooga, October 9, 1863. 
"Respectfully forwarded, wholly disapproving the ac- 
ceptance of the resignation of this prudent, brave and 
valuable officer, which would be a serious injury to the 
service. I also disagree with him in his opinion that 
the consolidation of the corps implies a censure on the 
officers and men composing it. I doubt not the war de- 
partment will as promptly vindicate these officers and 
men, as I most certainly shall in my report of their mag- 
nificent fighting in the battle of Chickamauga. 

"W. S. Rosecrans, Major- General." 

Notwithstanding this indorsement by General Rose- 


crans, I was notified of the acceptance of my resigna- 
tion, and I prepared to quit the army. I have before 
me the original letter which I addressed to the adjutant- 
general. Its history is curious. In 1875, it was sent to 
General Grant, then president of the United States, by 
the secretary of war, Mr. Belknap. 

It was handed to me by the secretary of President 
Cleveland, Major Pruden, with the accompanying 

It was forwarded to the secretary of war with the in- 
dorsement made by General Rosecrans, which I have 
copied. General Halleck indorsed upon the letter: 

"Acceptance of this resignation is recommended. 

"H. W. Halleck, General in Chief. " 
"October 26, 1863." 

Mr. Stanton indorsed : ' 'Accepted, E . M . Stanton. ' ' 

"Accepted, to take effect December 1st." 

The indorsement of Mr. Stanton was erased upon the 
original letter. On October 28, 1863, I was notified of 
my assignment to the 14th Army Corps, and after a 
short leave of absence, I assumed the command of that 
corps. It seems, however, that as late as December 13, 
1863, the acceptance of my resignation was still an open 
question. I give a note of that date, addressed by the 
secretary of war to the president, and of his pencil 
memorandum by way of reply in facsimile: 

"War Department, 
"Washington City, December 12, 1863. 
Mr. President — Will you please to inform me 
whether General Palmer's resignation was accepted by 
your direction? 

"Yours truly, Edwin M. Stanton." 


/C^jJ,. uoJlor*-*/'c 

~ ' a J 

J>w, Isj. (as 

It was said, with what truth I do not know, however, 
but I have heard that it was thought at Washington 
that my complaint that the order was made upon "mis- 
representations made by fugitives from the battlefield," 
was intended to reflect upon certain official gentlemen, 
not directly connected with the army, but who happened 
to be present when the battle commenced, but left the 
field before its conclusion. 

The events have long since become a part of the history 
of the times, and while I confess the justice of the con- 
jecture as to my meaning, I will not mention the names 
of the men to whom I referred. 


About the opening of the campaign directed against 
Chattanooga, the Army of the Cumberland had a visita- 
tion of officials from Washington. The Army of the 
Potomac had suffered from the time of its organization 
from the interference of civilians, but the Army of the 
Cumberland had heretofore escaped the infliction, and 
I was satisfied that we had suffered from the misrepre- 
sentations of these officious meddlers. 

The politicians during the war were much more inter- 
ested in making presidents and the management of the 
politics of the country than they were in the success of 
our armies ; and as the reverse at Chattanooga put an 
end to the usefulness of Rosecrans as a prospective presi- 
dential candidate, they were no longer interested in the 
future of the Army of the Cumberland. 

They then turned their attention to some other direc- 
tion, or concluded that the prospect of finding a military 
rival for Mr. Lincoln was hopeless. After being notified 
that my resignation was accepted, I left Chattanooga, on 
the 14th day of October, by a steamboat which was plied 
between that place and Bridgeport, where I expected to 
take the railroad for Nashville. I was greatly surprised, 
on my arrival at Bridgeport, to be overtaken by a courier, 
with an order from the adjutant-general setting aside the 
acceptance of my resignation, with directions to resume 
my command at Chattanooga. 

In pursuing this narrative of the changes in the com- 
mand of the army, I have neglected to notice the opera- 
tions against the enemy. 

I have already stated, that on the 22d day of Septem- 
ber the enemy occupied Lookout Mountain, Missionary 
Ridge and the valley south and west of Chattanooga. 
They also pushed their skirmishers as near to our lines 
as was safe, and then, being in possession of the sur- 
rounding elevation, they put all their artillery in posi- 
tion and attempted to shell us out of Chattanooga. My 
own position faced Missionary Ridge, east of the town, 
and, fancying that the greater elevation of the Rebel 


batteries gave them greatly the advantage of us, I took 
my position on the earthwork to my front, prepared for 
the worst. Our whole army, on the occasion, watched 
the operations of the enemy with a lively interest. It 
was reported that some of the men, and, indeed, some 
officers, dug holes in the ground to find the means of 
protection against the dreaded fire of the Rebel artillery. 
We waited with great interest to witness the terrible ef- 
fects of the Rebel fire, but, as we waited and watched, 
and saw that no harm was being done, the interest 
flagged, and men went about their usual duties, and 
afterwards paid no attention to the artillery. I confess 
I was surprised that the fire did so little mischief. 

A few days after this occurred, I met with an accident 
that very nearly terminated my military career. 

It was one of the foggy mornings not uncommon in 
the Tennessee valley when I heard very sharp firing along 
my front, as if my line of pickets was engaged, and, 
when I reached the outer line of earthworks, I met them 
coming in, pursued by a superior Rebel force. I at once 
ordered a regiment to support my pickets ; and, with that 
reenforcement, we drove the Rebels back upon their own 
supporting force. I took part in this affair personally, 
and, after we had repulsed them, I came back over my 
own outer works, and saw that Colonel Sedgewick's 2d 
Kentucky had constructed an inner work, the parapet of 
which was so high that I could only see the top of the 
hats of the men. Angry at seeing the height of the 
parapet, I sprang up into an embrasure, turned my body 
sharply to the right to speak to Colonel Sedge wick, who 
stood by, and at the moment I was struck by one of the 
elongated missiles we all knew so well, to the right of 
the spine, which passed over my spine and plowed its 
way through my hip. 

I at first supposed that I had been struck with a stone or 
some other heavy substance, but, a moment after, I readily 
guessed, from the faces of those around me, that it was a 
"hit." It was the only occasion when I was benefited 


by being angry. If I had stood square to the front, the 
missile would have passed through my body ; as I stood, 
it was only a flesh wound. I suffered but little from 
this unfortunate wound, beyond being laughed at by my 
acquaintances. It justified me, however, in asking for 
and obtaining a short leave of absence ; and, when I re- 
turned, I found General George H. Thomas in command 
of the Army of the Cumberland, and I succeeded him 
in command of the 14th Army Corps. I confess this 
promotion gratified me, and the more so, as I felt that I 
owed it in a great measure to the good opinion of Gen- 
eral Thomas, under whose eyes I had fought at Chicka- 


The corps was composed of three divisions, the first 
commanded by Brigadier-General Richard W. Johnson, 
the second by Brigadier-General Jefferson C. Davis, and 
the third by Brigadier-General Absalom Baird. Each 
of the divisions consisted of three brigades, with the 
usual proportion of artillery; the whole amounting to 
about fourteen thousand men. The division command- 
ers all belonged to the regular army. General Johnson 
and General Baird were graduates of the military 
academy at West Point, and General Davis was ap- 
pointed from civil life for his services in the Mexican 
war. He was with Major Anderson at Fort Sumter. I 
think these officers were not pleased that a volunteer 
officer was appointed to the command of the corps, but 
we soon became excellent friends, and cooperated with 
the utmost good feeling. Johnson was a Kentuckian, 
and not over fond of the anti-slavery policy of the gov- 
ernment. He was, however, a patriotic man and was for 
the Union. Davis was an Indiana copperhead, as I 
often told him, but he was a soldier. He loved his 
country and honored its flag. One day on the Atlanta 
campaign I said to him, "Davis, your friends are attack- 
ing your pickets." He answered, "My friends will find 
they have a d — d hard job before them." He was one 
of the bravest of the brave. . 


Baird, who is now living, had belonged to the depart- 
ment of the adjutant-general before the war. He did 
not like my assignment to the corps, and I had much 
trouble with him ; so that one day I called upon General 
Thomas and asked him to relieve Baird, and give me a 
division commander "who will not criticise and quibble 
over my orders." Thomas said, "Well, general, wait 
until we have a battle, then if you want Baird relieved, 
I will do it." We entered upon the Atlanta campaign 
and fought several battles ; Thomas said to me one day, 
"How about relieving Baird?" I answered, "No, Baird 
is a fighter — he devils the Rebs more than he ever did 
me." General Baird is now retired, but I had no more 
gallant officer, and we became very warm friends. 
After my assignment to the 14th Army Corps I remained 
in Chattanooga devoting all my time to my duties. I 
may as well confess here, that when I resigned my com- 
mission in the army I was indignant at the manner in 
which Rosecrans was treated ; no braver man ever lived. 
I felt that Crittenden was badly treated ; my own division 
of his corps had fought at Chickamauga and repulsed 
the desperate charges of the enemy and held its ground. 
Wood was merely unfortunate ; he had attempted to 
obey an order which was dictated by ignorance of the 
situation. After the Rebel flood had passed through the 
place he had left open by his attempt to move to his left, 
he had done all that was possible to defend his position ; 
the order breaking up the 21st Corps was a cruel one. 
I therefore regarded the refusal of the war department 
to accept my resignation and the assignment to the com- 
mand of the 14th Corps as a vindication of the conduct 
of the 21st Corps on the battlefield of Chickamauga. 

About February 21, 1864, I was ordered by General 
Thomas to make a heavy reconnoissance upon Ringgold 
and Dalton, where General Joe Johnston's headquarters 
were. About that time, General Sherman was engaged 
in an enterprise against Meridian, Mississippi, and Gen- 
eral Thomas supposed that as the Rebels held interior 


lines and the railroad, Johnston would send some of his 
troops to reinforce the troops who were resisting Sher- 
man's advance. On February 22d, I marched from 
Chattanooga, and in the morning reached Ringgold, 
Georgia, where my troops encamped for the night. On 
the 23d, we marched to Tunnel Hill and engaged the 
enemy with my skirmishers, and after driving them be- 
fore us through the village of Tunnel Hill, I fell back to 

That evening I signaled General Thomas that if he 
would order the troops at Cleveland to move down the 
railroad, I would look into Dalton. 

I was notified on the 24th that Cruft's division and 
Long's cavalry would proceed down the road to my left, 
and would be in position on the morning of the 25th. 
On the morning of February 25th, I took Baird's divi- 
sion of about thirty-five hundred men and moved off to 
the left, across the mountain north of Buzzard Roost 
Gap, leaving Johnson and Davis to attack the gap. 

After crossing the spur of the mountain, I reached a 
valley which I descended to the right until we struck 
the enemy in force. In the meantime, Cruft's infantry 
were upon my left and Long's cavalry upon the extreme 
left. We drove the enemy back until we became satisfied 
that Johnston's men in Dalton were aroused. 

Johnston, who had detached Hardee's corps to assist 
the forces who were fighting Sherman, recalled it. Be- 
fore the reconnoissance ended, we captured some of the 
men who had been sent to Mississippi. 

In the meantime, General Thomas had come up, and 
as the object of the reconnoissance was accomplished, 
we fell back to Lee's house at a distance of about four 
miles and camped there that night. On the next day, 
we returned to Tunnel Hill in order to cover the with- 
drawal of Johnson's and Davis's divisions, which were 
still at Buzzard's Roost Gap, where they had had some 
lively work and suffered some loss. Joe Johnston, then 
in command of the Rebel forces in and around Dalton, 


was deceived by our reconnoissauce, and probably sup- 
posed that our demonstration was an advance of the 
whole army ; at all events he behaved with his usual 
caution. I posted Baird's division north of Tunnel Hill, 
and at night withdrew the divisions of Johnson and 
Davis without difficulty. Here occurred one of those 
vexatious circumstances which it was impossible to fore- 
see or prevent. It was intended to withdraw our troops 
after dark with the utmost silence and secrecy, but when 
they were moving off, I was astounded by the blaze of 
some of the wooden houses in Tunnel Hill, that lighted 
up the valley and surrounding hills and disclosed the 
whole movement. The burning of the houses at any 
time would have been an act of vandalism, but nothing 
then could have been more foolish. Johnston did not 
take advantage of the opportunity, so that nothing came 
of it, and our troops retired to their stations, where we 
remained until May 1, 1864, when the army commenced 
what is now known as the "Atlanta Campaign." 



Beginning of the Atlanta campaign — Johnston abandons Resaca — Move- 
ments of the 14th Army Corps — Assault on Kenesaw mountain — 
Enter Marietta — Battle of Peach Tree Creek — Correspondence — Re- 
lieved of command of the 14th Army Corps. 

The Union forces which commenced the Atlanta cam- 
paign were the Army of the Cumberland, commanded 
by Major-General George H. Thomas, the Army of the 
Ohio, by Major-General John M. Scofield, and the Army 
of the Tennessee, which came up on the right of the 
Army of the Cumberland, which was under the com- 
mand of Major-General James B. McPherson. The 
cavalry, except the escorts of the commanding officers, 
constituted a separate corps, and moved under the orders 
of the general-in-chief. 

The artillery was attached to the different divisions, 
and remained so until the close of the war. General 
William T. Sherman commanded the whole army ; I 
had command of the 14th Corps; General John A. 
Logan, the 15th ; General Frank P. Blair commanded 
the 17th Corps, which joined the army about the 
twentieth of June, and the 20th Corps was commanded 
by General Joseph Hooker. 

The Army of the Ohio was composed of a single corps, 
but I do not recollect its number. On May 5, 1864, the 
14th Corps left Ringgold, Georgia, where it was con- 
centrated and advanced to the heights which overlooked 
Tunnell Hill, and after a sharp skirmish drove the 
enemy into Buzzard Roost Gap. I recollect a remark- 
able circumstance which took place while we were on 
the heights. Lieutenant John E. Shaw, of my escort, 
saw the flash of a gun, and dropped; the solid shot 
struck a tree over him, but would have gone through 
him had he not seen the flash. We passed through 


Tunnell Hill and skirmished with the enemy in front of 
the gap for a day or two, and then moved south to Snake 
Creek Gap, and pressing through it we moved due east 
by the compass until we struck the Rebel forces. John- 
ston, aware that his rear was threatened, evacuated 
Dalton, on the 11th, and fell back to Resaca upon the 
Costanaula river. We fought here a fierce and bloody 
battle, in which Johnston's division took a distinguished 
part ; and when Johnston, the Rebel commander, aban- 
doned Resaca and the line of the Costanaula we pursued 
in the direction of Calhoun and Kingston. Davis, of 
the 14th Corps, had orders to proceed to our right and 
take and occupy Rome, which he did, after driving out 
the Rebel forces who occupied the place before him. 

Between Calhoun and Kingston, as I now remember 
it, we reached one of the most beautiful places which are 
found in that part of Georgia. The house was a 
frame building of large extent, surrounded with veran- 
das. Some of the Rebel rear guard took possession of 
the house and fired upon us. I called upon Captain 
Dilger — the "Leather Breeches" of the Army of the 
Cumberland — and directed him to put a few shells into 
it ; he did so, and soon the building was in flames. The 
men who rushed forward to sack the house brought out 
of it expensive books, bric-a-brac and choice wines 
which the owner had not removed to a place of safety ; 
nothing gave me greater pain than the destruction of 
this beautiful home. After marching a short distance, 
we reached one of the streams in that part of Georgia 
over which had been a railroad bridge, which the Rebels 
destroyed, but still held its site with much tenacity. It 
required an hour or more to drive them away, but 
when I returned to the north side of the creek our bridge 
party had the timbers ready for a new bridge. I 
marched afterwards not more than two miles, and be- 
fore my men had made their arrangements to go into 
camp, we heard the whistle of the engine, and twenty 
cars loaded with supplies were with us. I have been 


told that Jefferson Davis, who no doubt calculated all 
the chances, said at a dinner party given in Washington 
before the war, that history afforded no example of the 
success of the invasion of a country situated as the 
Southern States then were ; he spoke of the sparseness 
of the population of the Southern States ; the scarcity 
of the supplies for an army, and of the ease with which 
all supplies could be destroyed ; but he overlooked the 
railroads and their enormous capacity for transporta- 
tion. We guarded the railroad until the warehouses at 
Chattanooga were filled, and then only took care of 
those in the rear of the enemy. 

After the fall of Atlanta, the shell of the rebellion was 
broken, and then Sherman's army was able to live upon 
the country in its "march to the sea." The 14th 
Army Corps, which was the center of the army, moved 
along the railroads. It took part in the battle of Re- 
saca, and was ready for service at Kingston, Georgia. It 
moved to the left of Kingston, and was ready for battle 
when the enemy made some demonstration. 

After remaining in camp near Kingston for a day or 
two the corps crossed the river and passed Statesville, 
and took part in the movement to the left of the enemy's 
position. The corps appeared in front of Pine Mountain, 
where General Polk was killed by the gun of one of our 
batteries, and then moved to the left. It fought the bat- 
tle of Picket's Mill, after it had crossed the Etowah 
river, and afterwards advanced until it fronted Kenesaw 
mountain. This mountain covers the approaches to the 
town of Marietta, and delayed the army for several 

On the day after our arrival in front of this strong 
position, General Sherman ordered the 14th and 15th 
Corps to carry it by assault. The western front of this 
mountain was so steep that men could hardly ascend 
it with their accouterments. I ordered the assault, 
which was conducted by able, fighting officers, but soon 


discovered that it was impregnable, and I ordered my 
men to "lie down." 

I then rode to where General Logan was, and told him 
that the mountain could not be carried. He said that 
his "corps could go further than any live men." Gen- 
eral Sherman told me the next day that the "Army of 
Tennessee had gone more than a hundred yards further 
than my men had gone." I answered him by saying 
that I had "a hundred men more than I would have had 
if I had gone as far as Logan did ; that we had all failed, 
and that I had no man who was not as good as he was, 
except that his pay was less." There is no doubt, how- 
ever, that General Sherman thought General Thomas was 
partial to the 14th Corps, which he had so long com- 

The morning before the assault on Kenesaw (the troops 
included Harker's brigade, of the 4th Corps, and 
McCook's, of the 14th), I had, in company with 
"Johnny" White, an orderly who usually attended me, 
reconnoitered the Rebel position, until I had attracted 
their fire, and reported to General Sherman that this 
whole army could not carry the position of the Rebels. 
He repeated, that Joe Johnston must not consider any 
part of his line safe, and ordered the assault. 

I rode with the assaulting column until I met Colonel 
McCook and Colonel Harmon, the first desperately 
wounded, and the latter dead, with a bullet through his 
heart, and I knew then, as I had told General Sherman 
before, that the assault upon Kenesaw Mountain would 
not be successful. 

On June 27, 1864, Colonel Dilworth had succeeded to 
the command of the brigade, upon the death of Colonel 
Harmon, and had effected lodgment not more than sixty 
feet from the Rebel works, and on July 2d, the Rebels 
abandoned their works, as described by General Sher- 
man, who, in giving an account of the attack on Kene- 
saw, says : 

"An army, to be efficient, must not settle down to a 


simple mode of offense, but must be prepared to execute 
any plan that promises success. I w anted, therefore, 
for the moral effect, to make a successful assault against 
the enemy, behind his breastworks, and resolved to at- 
tempt it at that point where success would give the largest 
fruits of victory. The general point selected was the 
left center, because if I could thrust a strong head of 
column through that point, by pushing it boldly and 
rapidly two and one-half miles, it would reach the rail- 
road below Marietta, cut off the enemy's line and cen- 
ter from its line of retreat, and then, by turning on 
either part of it, could be overwhelmed and destroyed. 
Therefore, on June 24th, I ordered that an assault 
should be made at two points south of Kenesaw, on the 
27th, giving three days' notice for preparation and re- 
connoissance, one to be made near Little Kenesaw, by 
General McPherson's troops, and the other about a mile 
further south by General Thomas's troops. The hour 
was fixed, and all the details given in 'Field Orders No. 
28, of June 24th.' On June 27th, the two assaults were 
made at the time and in the manner prescribed, and 
both failed, costing us many valuable lives, among them 
those of General Harker and General McCook ; Colonel 
Rice and others badly wounded. 

"Our aggregate loss was about three thousand, while 
we inflicted comparatively little loss to the enemy, who 
lay behind his well-formed breastworks. Failure as it 
was, and for which I assumed the entire responsibility, I 
yet claim it produced good fruits, as it demonstrated to 
General Johnston that I would assault, and that boldly. 
It would not do to rest long under the influence of mis- 
take or failure, and, accordingly, General Schofield was 
working strongly on the enemy's left. . . . General 
McPhcrson commenced his movements on the night of 
July 2d, and the effect was instantaneous. The next 
morning Kenesaw was abandoned, and I saw our skir- 
mishers appear on the mountain top. General Thomas's 
whole line was there, moved forward to the railroad and 


turned south in pursuit of the enemy towards the Chat- 

On our advance to Marietta, finding the streets blocked 
by Hooker's corps, I determined to proceed to the right 
and find a road to the ferry on the Chattahoochee river. I 
went and found a road, with the corps, but, with a single 
orderly, I proceeded for a quarter of a mile or more from ' 
the road that led north and south, and met two Rebel 
soldiers with muskets in their hands. We drew our 
pistols and rode at full speed toward them, and ordered 
them to "throw down their guns." They did so, and I 
ordered White to "break their muskets and to send them 
to the rear." 

They were probably deserters, and had no particular 
objection to the rations of the Yankees. With the corps 
I proceeded on the road I had discovered to Smyrna sta- 
tion, where we met the enemy again, and succeeded in 
driving them across the Chattahoochee river. 

On July 18, 1864, I learned by an Atlanta newspaper 
that General Joseph E. Johnston had been relieved of 
the command of the Rebel armies of the West by Gen- 
eral John B. Hood. I had crossed Dilworth's brigade 
over Peach Tree Creek, which enters the Chattahoochee 
at no great distance below our position, and had found 
some difficulty in supporting him. I had collected bat- 
teries on the north side of the creek to cover Dilworth's 
crossing, but soon discovered that the shells fired by the 
batteries were altogether insufficient protection for his 
men. My troops were attacked soon after crossing Peach 
Tree Creek, and I found at least one-fourth of my shells 
either short of the Rebel lines or among our own troops. 
I spoke to Captain Barnet, who commanded one of our 
batteries, and he said it was "contract ammunition." 
Many of the shells burst at the mouth of the piece, and 
others exploded within thirty yards. I "damned" the 
contractor who had furnished the shells ; but Dilworth 
effected a lodgment on the south side of the creek, and 
proceeded to fortify his position. After Dilworth had 


crossed, I rode back and met Colonel McKay, quarter- 
master of the corps, and, after he had inquired the news, 
I told him that Joe Johnston had been relieved on that 
day by Hood. He answered : "General, you '11 have to 
fight ; I was acquainted with Hood at San Antonio, and 
I saw him bet two thousand dollars without a pair in his 
hand!" R. W. Johnson, in his "Reminiscences," says 
it was "one thousand" that McKay told me. At all 
events, I became satisfied that Hood was a desperate, 
adventurous man, and in the command of the army he 
would fight. 

It was near sundown when I met McKay, and I or- 
dered the troops to cross the creek, build bridges for the 
artillery, and fortify themselves. I do not say that Mc- 
Kay's suggestions inspired me with the conviction that 
Hood was a reckless man, but I concluded that the 
Rebel forces would be turned loose on my single bri- 

An amusing circumstance occurred during the night. 
It was not far from midnight, when a company was en- 
gaged in fatigue duty, building an artillery bridge across 
Peach Tree Creek, that I came along with but one or- 
derly, and heard the men who were at work discussing 
me. "There he is," said one, "asleep on his cot; you 
can hear him snore for a quarter of a mile." After 
some other conversation, equally complimentary, one of 
them said : "Old Abe will have to make another general 
after the next battle." Recollecting that listeners never 
heard anything good of themselves, I thought the time 
had come to speak, and said: "Hurrah, boys, you'll 
need these guns over the creek before noon to-morrow ! ' ' 
The next day the same company shouted for me as I 
rode along the lines. I told them they did not know all 
that I did. 

A few days before we crossed the Chattahoochee, and 
while skirmishing actively, I had seen men of this regi- 
ment as observant of the reports of the "firing line," to 
use a modern expression, as any of the officers could be. 


They were engaged in the ordinary morning avocations, 
their guns stacked as usual, but it was manifest that 
they were keenly alive to the situation. They would 
approach the stacks, stand a moment, notice the volume 
of the reports, and go back satisfied that our pickets 
were holding their own, and that their assistance was 
not necessary. I made up my mind that most of them 
were fitted to command regiments. 

The next day followed the battle of Peach Tree Creek. 
I heard on my right a noisy demonstration, which I 
knew was nothing more than a demonstration, and I 
rode at full speed to my left, and found that Hood had 
attacked that point, broken the lines of our forces and 
was repulsed by King's brigade which covered John- 
son's extreme left wing, which was in the air. The 
enemy were repulsed by Baird's division and Dilger's 
battery, which enfiladed the Rebel attack. I lost but 
few men. 

On July 21st, we steadily pressed forward along our 
whole line, developing the enemy in his intrenchments, 
extending from a point about a mile south of the Atlanta 
Railroad around the north side of the city to the Chat- 
tanooga Railroad. We continued our operations before 
Atlanta until August 4th, when I received an order 
from General Thomas to support General Schofield's 
corps (23d), and made one movement to the west of 
Atlanta, where General Baird captured the rifle-pits of 
the enemy and a good many prisoners. 

On August 4, 1864, I addressed the following note to 
General Thomas : 

"I have no orders to-day from any quarter. The or- 
ders of the day imply cooperation with General Schofield. 
General Schofield has shown me a copy. 

"John M. Palmer, Major-General.'''' 

On the same day, I addressed another note to General 
Thomas : 


"Major-General George H. Thomas, Army of the 
Cumberland — The orders seem to be intended to give 
General Schofield control over my troops. Shall I turn 

them over to him. 

"John M. Palmer, Major-General.'" 

On the same day, I received the following : 

"Headquarters Military Div. of the Miss., 
"In the Field near Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 4, 1861/.. 
"General Palmer — I was under the impression that 
General Schofield ranked you. I had not thought of the 
relative rank. Cooperate heartily and the same result 
will be obtained. I will see you this afternoon. I as- 
sure you that I have no disposition to qualify your true 
rank. (Signed,) W. T. Sherman, 

1 ' Major- General Commanding . ' ' 

After this letter, the following correspondence took 

place : 

"Headquarters 14th Army Corps, 

"August 4., 1864.. 

"Major-General Sherman — I am General Schofield's 

senior. We may cooperate, but I respectfully decline 

to report to or take orders from him. 


"John M. Palmer, Major-General." 

"Headquarters Army of Ohio, 
"Before Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 4., 3 p. m., I864. 
"Maj.-Gen. John M. Palmer, Commanding 14-th A. C. : 

"General — I have just received your communication 
of 11 a. m. to-day, and beg leave to correct your im- 
pression that you are my senior, which you give as your 
reason for refusing to obey my orders, and that of Gen- 
eral Sherman directing you to report to me. You are 
my junior for two reasons : First, because I have the 
senior commission ; and second, because I am, by the 
president's order, commander of a separate arm) 7 . I 


regret extremely that any misunderstanding exists on 
this subject. 

"Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"J. M. Schofield, Major-General Commanding. 

"Headquarters Military Div. op the Miss., 
"In Field near Atlanta, Ga., Aug. I, 1864-, 10:45 p. m. 
"General Palmer — From the statements made by 
yourself and General Schofield to-day, my decision is, 
that he ranks you as major-general, being of same date 
of commission by previous rank as brigadier-general. 
The movements for to-morrow are so important that the 
orders of the superior on that flank must be regarded as 
military orders, and not in the nature of cooperation. I 
did hope that there was no necessity of making the de- 
cision, but it is better for all parties interested that no 
question of rank should occur during active battle. The 
Sandtown road and railroad if possible must be gained 
to-morrow if it costs half your command. I regard the 
loss of time this afternoon as equal to the loss of two 
thousand men. (Signed,) W. T. Sherman, 

' 'Major- General Commanding . ' ' 

"Headquarters 14th A. C, Dpt. of the Cumberland, 
"In the Field, Aug. 4, 1864., 11:55 p. m. 

Major-General W. T. Sherman — Dispatch of 10:45 
of this p. m. this moment received. I am unable to 
acquiesce in the correctness of the decision that Major- 
General Schofield legally ranks me. I do not argue the 
question but repeat the facts. General Schofield was 
appointed brigadier-general on the 21st of November, 
1861, and I was appointed to the same on the 20th De- 
cember of the same year. 

"At the session of congress, 1862-3, General Schofield 
and myself were promoted to the rank of major-general 
of volunteers ; my appointment was confirmed by the 
senate and his expired by constitutional limitation, not 
having been confirmed by the senate ; his name there- 


fore does not appear in the list of major-generals in the 
Army Register of April 1, 1863. He was reappointed 
by the president and confirmed since the commencement 
of the present campaign. His commission must be a 
year in date junior to my own, though he is said to take 
rank from the 29th November, 1862. 

"The question of rank has arisen by accident, and I 
agree with you that it is better for the interest of all 
parties that it should be decided, but I cannot acquiesce 
in the correctness of the decision made. I respectfully 
ask, therefore, that some officer be designated to whom 
I may turn over the command of the 14th Army Corps. 

"I think I need not assure you that I am not influenced 
by any desire to command him, nor that if I deem it 
consistent with my self respect to waive the question 
or my views of our relative rank, I would obey his 
orders as cheerfully as I would those of any gentleman 
connected with the army. 

"I am very respectfully, 

"John M. Palmer, Major-General." 

"Headquarters Army op the Ohio, 

"Before Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 4, 186$.. 
Brig. -Gen. R. W. Johnson, Commanding llfih A. C. 

General — Major-General Schofield directs me to for- 
ward you the inclosed S. F. 0. No. 71 c. s. from these 
headquarters, for to-morrow's movements of the 14th 
and 23d Army Corps. The order is sent to you as the 
senior and commanding general of the 14th Army Corps, 
as Major-General Palmer still adheres to the views he 
expressed yesterday. 

"In order to prevent any delay Generals Baird and 
Morgan have been furnished with copies of the inclosed 
orders direct from these headquarters. 

"Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"J. A. Campbell, Major and A. A. G." 


"Headquarters Army of the Ohio, 

"9 : 20 p. M., August 4, 1861,.. 
"Major-General Sherman — I have your dispatch 
directing me to order certain movements by General 
Palmer's corps. I did not understand that the ques- 
tion of rank raised by General Palmer was settled. In 
his reply to my orders for to-day's movements and your 
order to report to me, he said, "I will not obey either 
General Sherman's or your's." The reason being his 
assumed seniority. In subsequent conversation he still 
maintained the same ground, and I did not understand 
him to yield or you to decide the question after you ar- 
rived, but to waive it with the remark that no such 
question could arise between such men, and that we 
could cooperate harmoniously. I feel confident that 
General Palmer understands the question as having been 
so waived. Please inform me if you gave General 
Palmer distinctly to understand that he is to obey my 
orders. Please have it understood before I send him 
orders for to-morrow. It is a very delicate and un- 
pleasant matter for me to correspond with him about. 

J. M. Schofield, Major-General." 

"Headquarters Mil. Div. of the Miss., 
1 In the Field near Atlanta, Ga., Aug, 4-, 186£. 
"General Thomas — Nothing was done on the right. 
General Palmer's troops seemed immovable, but I have 
ordered operations to be resumed in the morning and to 
be continued until we get possession of the Sandtown 
road . W . T . Sherman , Major-General Commanding . ' ' 

"Headquarters Mil. Div. of the Miss., 
"In the Field near Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 4-, 186 If.. 
General Schofield — That is very well as to your 
left. But I want to assume the offensive on the right, 
and wish you to order General Palmer to advance his 
left division till he reaches the Sandtown road, and its 
right supported by General Davis's division. General 


Johnson's division should reach the Sandtown road 
more to the right and close to the left on General Davis. 
The connection between you and General Howard is not 
important. Slash down the timber in the valley of 
Utoy, and a single battery with a regiment of skirmishers 
will hold a mile against the whole of Hood's army. I 
want all of your army and General Palmer's corps to 
turn the enemy's left, and the sooner it is done the 
better. I wish you to make written orders so that Gen- 
eral Palmer and Baird cannot mistake them. Their 
delay this afternoon was unpardonable. If the enemy 
ever gets a column through our lines, we will let go our 
breastworks and turn on his flanks, and therefore I 
don't care about our line being continuous and uni- 
form. If they sally it will be quick and by some defined 
road. W. T. Sherman, Major-General Commanding.'" 

"Headquarters Dep't op the Cumberland, 

"August 4., 1864.. 
"Major-General Sherman — I am surprised to receive 
such a report of the 14th Corps, for it has always been 
prompt in executing any work given to it heretofore. 
If General Palmer is an obstacle to its efficiency I would 
let him go. Geo. H. Thomas, Major-General.'''' 

"Headquarters Army of the Ohio, 
"Near Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 5, 7 : 25 a. m., IS64.. 
"Maj.-Gen. W. T. Sherman, Ow/cT^r Mil. Div. of the Miss. 
General — General Palmer has this moment informed 
me of your refusal to relieve him, and his final decision 
to go on the field and carry out my orders. He is now 
starting. I have been trying nearly all night to get 
things in working shape, but with very little progress. 
I hope now to get started. Johnson reached the Sand- 
town road last night and Morgan's skirmishers are on 
it this morning. He reports a strong resistance. I will 
do all in my power to press the attack. 


Davis is not here, and if lie were Johnson is his 
senior. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

J. M. Schofield, Major-General Commanding.''' 

"Headquarters of the Ohio, 
"Field, 11 a. m., August 5, 1864 . 
"Major-General Sherman — Palmer is developing 
his troops along the enemy's line, which is found to be 
very strong. As soon as Palmer gets two divisions in 
position, Johnson will make a rapid detour to the right 
and try to strike the enemy in the flank or a point of 
his line which is not held in force. Cox will take John- 
son's place as reserve on the right, and if Johnson fails, 
Cox will assault immediately. This movement is to be 
made at two o'clock. I think we are progressing pretty 
well, though slowly, and have captured about two hun- 
dred prisoners. General Howard asks me to inform 
you that his signal officer reports that a large column 
of cavalry is passing into Atlanta from the enemy's left, 
probably one brigade. 

"J. M. Schofield, Major-General.'" 

"Headquarters Army of the Ohio, 
"In the Field, Georgia, August 5, 1864. 
"Major-General J. M. Palmer, Com'g 14-th A. C. — 
Please permit me to assure you that I have not had the 
slightest apprehension as to your sincere intention to 
carry out General Sherman's orders. My request was 
based upon the information that General Baird had not 
been notified of the arrangement for the day, and my 
apprehension that you might not think to notify him. 
I simply desire to avoid misapprehension and conse- 
quent mistakes. 

"Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"J. M. Schofield, Major-General Commanding." 


"Headquarters Mil. Div. of the Miss., 
"In the Field near Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 5th. 

"General Thomas — Colonel Warner, one of my in- 
spector-generals, who was on the right all day, reports 
nothing; done or would be done. 

"Will General Johnson be any better than General 
Palmer? I would prefer to move a rock than to move 
that corps. On the defensive, it would be splendid ; 
but for offensive, it is of no use. It must have a head 
that will give it life and impulse. I was ashamed yes- 
terday and kept away on purpose to-day to see if orders 
would not move it, but if an enemy can be seen by a 
spy-glass, the whole corps is halted and intrenched for 
a siege. Unless it will attack, I must relieve it in or- 
ders and state the reason. I will call for official reports 
and act to-night. Is General Johnson capable of hand- 
ling the corps until we can have General Davis com- 
missioned and ordered to the command. 

"(Signed,) W. T. Sherman, Maj. -Gen. Comd'g." 

"Headquarters Dept. of the Cumberland, 

"August 5, 1864.. 
"Major-General Sherman — I am surprised to re- 
ceive such a report of the 14th Corps, for it has always 
been prompt in executing the work given to it hereto- 
fore. If General Palmer is an obstacle to its efficiency, 
I would let him go. I had the 4th and 20th Corps 
demonstrate strongly on the enemy's line from 12 m. 
until night. They found the intrenchments heavily 
manned. I will have the skirmishers feel forward again 
to-night to see if the enemy have left. The 4th and 
20th Corps now occupy the whole line held by the 23d, 
4th, 20th and 14th Corps before the movement on the 
right commenced, consequently they are in a single line, 
and it will be impossible to form an assaulting column. 
I send Whipple to the right to-day. He has just re- 
turned, and informs me that all that was done to-day 
on the right was done by Baird's division, which ad- 


vanced in obedience to Schofield's orders, but, not being 
supported either on the right or left, General Baird fell 
back to his former position after having driven the enemy 
from two lines of rifle-pits and capturing one hundred 
and sixty prisoners, losing about one hundred men 

"Geo. H. Thomas, Major-Gen. U. S. V. Comd'g.' n 

"Headquarters Military Div. of the Miss., 
"In the Field near Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 5, 1864-. 
"General Thomas — General Schofield telegraphs : 
I am compelled to acknowledge that I have totally failed 
to make any aggressive movement with the 14th Corps. 
The efforts yesterday and to-day on this flank have been 
worse than mere failures. I have ordered General 
Johnson to relieve General Haskell this evening, and 
propose to take my own troops to the right and try and 
recover what has been lost by two days' delay. The 
force may very likely be too small. From what I saw 
myself there was a manifest determination not to move 
towards the enemy. General Davis's division is a mile 
further west than when it started. I see no help for it 
but to lose the services of the corps and let General 
Schofield feel for the enemy eastward, whilst the 14th 
entrenches against a squad of cavalry that may be on the 
flank. Colonel Warner of my staff rode out half a mile 
in front of the extreme front and saw no sign of an 
enemy. I will have General Palmer report in the morn- 
ing, and if he wishes to go — it is best he should. 
"(Signed,) W. T. Sherman, Major-General Com , dg.' n 

"Headquarters 14th A. C, Dpt. of the Cumberland, 

"In the Field, Aug. 5, 1864 . 
"General — I am very greatly obliged to you for your 
expressions of kindness, but regret exceedingly that you 
decline to accede to my request to be relieved. I have 
joined General Schofield with a larger force than his 
own. I have seen much more service in the face of the 


enemy ; I hold a commission much older in fact, 
whatever may be the form, and this question of rank, 
raised not by me, is so decided that I lose all practical 
control over my corps, that too at a time of great prob- 
able difficulty. As you have declined to relieve me, I 
go of course to the field, and will do what I can to give 
success to the operations of the day, but I urge that you 
will reconsider your refusal to relieve me, and permit 
me at the close of the day to turn this command over to 
Brigadier-General Johnson, who is the senior brigadier- 
general in the corps. I am, very respectfully, 

"John M. Palmer, Major-General Commanding . 
"Major-General W. T. Sherman, Comd'g., etc. 

"Headquarters Military Div. op the Miss. 
"In the Field near Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 5, 1861,.. 

"General Palmer — I would like to have you come 
and see me as early in the morning as convenient. If 
you think of resigning, it is probably better it should be 
now, as I fear your intention lessens your interest in our 
operations. Should you agree with me in this, turn over 
the command to General Johnson, and then you can as- 
sign as a reason anything you prefer. I would suggest 
that you put it on the ground of a prior resolve as soon 
as the campaign was over, and it having settled down 
into a quasi siege, you request now to be relieved and to 
be permitted to go to Illinois, or if you prefer it, the 
reason that you considered your rank superior to Gen- 
eral Schofield's. 

"To be honest, I must say that the operations on that 
flank yesterday and to-day have not been satisfactory, 
yet I will not say there has been want of energy or 
skill, but events have not kept pace with my desires. 
"(Signed,) W. T. Sherman, Major-General Comd'g." 

• •( 


"Headquarters op the 14th Army Corps, 
"Department op the Cumberland, 10 : 05 p. m., 

"Before Atlanta, Ga., August 5, 1864-. 
'Gen. W. T. Sherman, Major-General Commanding — 
I confess my surprise at the contents of your telegraphic 
note this moment received. 

"Waiving any statement of what were my purposes 
and intentions in respect to quitting the service, I will 
frankly say that, if I were in your place at the head of 
an army, I would require of my subordinates the faith- 
ful and energetic performance of their respective duties, 
and, if my plans failed of execution, I would ascertain 
the cause and punish the delinquent rigorously, as no 
man is to be regarded when contrasted with the great 
cause of the country. 

"I am not surprised that you are dissatisfied with the 
operations of the army on this flank on yesterday and 
to-day, for I am also dissatisfied, and think much more 
ought to have been done, and readily confess myself in 
some measures responsible. 

"Still, I do earnestly protest against your inference of 
want of interest in our operations. On yesterday you 
were present, and I will not speak of what I said or did. 
To-day I exerted myself more, I think, than any officer 
on the field, to carry out General Schofield's orders, until 
the afternoon, near night, I found, aside from Baird's 
handsome operations in the forenoon, nothing would be 

"I am to blame, however, in this, that I have not done 
as you obviously intend doing in my case — held some 
one responsible for the failures. I think I could select 
the proper objects of responsibility more accurately than 
you have done in selecting me. I am so well convinced 
that this campaign has been lengthened out by the neg- 
ligence and inattention of officers, and will be hereafter 
lengthened and drawn out from the same cause, and I 
accept your intimation to me, not as offensive (though, 
I think unjust) , but as a sign of a purpose on your part 


in future to inquire into the causes of our almost daily 
failures to meet your avowed expectations, and, when 
the cause is discovered, to apply the correction. 

"If you will do this fairly, without favor or affection, 
I will venture my life that you will be astonished at the 

"I will accept your offer to relieve me, not upon the 
ground that your suspicion of a want of interest is well 
founded, nor that I am in any way, other than the man- 
ner already admitted, responsible to the country for this 
campaign ; every subordinate officer employed ought, 
upon the first intimation from you of a want of confi- 
dence, step out of the way promptly, and feel that he is 
serving the country in doing so. 

"Pardon this long letter. I will call upon you to- 
morrow morning, and present a formal application to be 
relieved. Respectfully, 

"John M. Palmer, Major-General." 

"Headquarters Department op the Cumberland, 

"Near Atlanta, Ga., August 6, 1861/.. 
"Special Field Orders, No. 215 (Extract). . . . 

"III. At his own request, Major-General J. M. Palmer 
is relieved from the command of the 14th Army Corps, 
on duty in the department of the Cumberland, and will 
proceed to Carlinville, Illinois, whence he will report 
by letter to the adjutant-general U. S. A., at Washing- 
ton, D. C. 

"The officers composing the general's personal staff 
are also relieved from duty, that they may accompany 


"The quartermaster's department will furnish the 
necessary transportation for the general, his staff and the 
authorized number of servants and horses. . . . 

"By command of Major-General Thomas. 

"Wm. D. Whipple, A. A. G." 

I had waived all question of rank with General Scho- 


field, and submitted to his order. General Sherman 
had said that cooperation was all that was necessary, and 
I knew enough to know that a supporting force must 
necessarily move under the orders of the force to be sup- 
ported. I had disclaimed all desire to command General 
Schofield's troops. We had by the aid of the 14th 
Army Corps accomplished all that was expected of us, 
and when the dispatch of 10 :45 was received, I replied 
that "I do not argue the question, but repeat the facts : ' 
General Schofield was appointed brigadier-general on 
November 21, 1861, and I was appointed to the same on 
December 20th of the same year. At the session of con- 
gress, 1862-3, General Schofield and myself were pro- 
moted to the rank of major-general of volunteers. My 
appointment was confirmed by the senate, and his ex- 
pired by constitutional limitation, not having been con- 
firmed by the senate. He was reappointed by the presi- 
dent, and confirmed since the present campaign. . . . 
The question of rank has arisen by accident, and I 
agree with you that it is better for all parties that it 
should be decided." I had been a major-general of vol- 
unteers ever since November 29, 1863, and even though 
General Schofield was confirmed at a later date, he could 
not take rank over those who were confirmed by the sen- 
ate. It was the idea of the regular army men that they 
ranked all volunteer officers. 

General W. D. Whipple says that I "kept my men at 

After General Sherman wrote to me that I could not 
"disregard the friendly advice of two such men as Gen- 
eral Thomas and myself," I wrote to General Sherman 
that, "pending active operations, I request that my ap- 
plication to be relieved be regarded as withdrawn," but 
when I received General Sherman's note suggesting ex- 
cuses for my resignation, I wrote the letter of 10 :45, 
August 5, 1864, which ended my connection with the 
Army of the Cumberland. 



Remained in Illinois until February— Letter to Mr. Lincoln — His re- 
ply — Entered again upon the practice of law — Tried for bringing 
a negro slave into the state — Visited Washington for Governor 
Oglesby — Result of my mission— Assigned to the command of the 
Department of Kentucky — Conversation with Mr. Lincoln — As- 
sumed command of the department — Address to the legislature of 
Kentucky — Correspondence — Orders. 

When relieved from the command of the 14th Army 
Corps, I returned to my home in Carlinville, Illinois. I 
had been indicted by the grand jury of Macoupin county 
for "bringing a negro slave, Martin Taylor," into the 
State of Missouri. The indictment, which was found 
at the December term, 1862, after many continuances, 
had been stricken from the docket, "with leave to re- 
instate," and soon after my return, I determined that 
it should be tried, and gave notice to the state's attorney 
of the Eighteenth Judicial District that I was within 
reach of the process of the Macoupin Circuit Court, and 
would be so until the next term of said court, and re- 
quested that he would order the indictment and the cause 
to be reinstated, that it might be made ready for trial 
at the next term. I gave him further notice that should 
he fail to do so, I would appear on the first day of that 
term and move that said indictment be reinstated and 
set for trial. This notice was given to the state's at- 
torney on September 12, 1864, and the indictment was 
reinstated and set for trial, December 17, 1864. It is 
curious now to notice the names of the jurors who were 
selected and sworn to try the case. They were : S. M. 
Brown, B. A. Holbrook, Win. H. Van Arsdale, C. W. 
Wayne, Wm. H. Richardson, Elmore Johnson, Wm. R. 
Parkman, Milton Moore, H. C. Anderson, Wm. S. Bond, 
W. G. Rice, and Daniel Barnes. Most of them are dead, 
as is the foreman of the grand jury, Mr. Isham C. 


Peebles, which "found" the bill. My brother lawyers 
all offered to aid me in my defense, but I told them 
that I would take liberties with the jury that no other 
lawyer could take, and I only asked the assistance of 
Samuel Pittman, Esq., who had been my partner before 
the war. 

In the statement of the case, I told the jury that 
whether Martin Taylor was a slave or not, I did not know, 
but that he did ; but, unfortunately, we had a statute 
that prohibited a negro from testifying against a white 
person. I told them that Martin Taylor was in town, 
was an honest man, and would tell the truth, and that 
such a law should be repealed. And I told the jury 
further, that I would submit a petition to them which 
was substantially as follows: "Whereas, we were im- 
paneled as a jury to try the case of the People of the 
State of Illinois against John M. Palmer, charged with 
bringing into the state a negro slave, by name, Martin 
Taylor, and we were told that said Taylor is in the town 
of Cariinville, is an honest man and worthy of belief, 
but that he is a negro, and is not allowed under the law 
to testify against a white person ; we therefore pray the 
general assembly to repeal the law which prohibits ne- 
groes from testifying against white persons." I proved 
in addition that I had come home from the army very 
sick, and that Taylor, with others, had brought me into 
the state. Five of the jury signed the petition, and the 
whole jury found me "not guilty." The judge, Hon. 
E. Y. Rice, who had studied law with me, instructed 
the jury that they must believe, beyond a reasonable 
doubt, not only that Martin Taylor was a slave, but that 
I had brought him into the state for the purpose of set- 
ting him free. 

Having very little professional business, early in Feb- 
ruary, I visited Washington by the direction of Governor 
Oglesby. His object was to get our quota of men un- 
der the pending draft reduced. It seems to have been 
the plan of the war department to require each state to 


furnish its proportion according to the population, for 
the military service, and Illinois had furnished eighteen 
thousand nien more than its quota. General James B. 
Fry was provost marshal at that time, and had charge 
of the "draft." I called upon him in Washington and 
announced my mission to be from the governor of Illi- 
nois, and entered upon a discussion of the subject of 
my visit. With the figures furnished me by the gov- 
ernor and the adjutant-general of Illinois (General Isham 
N. Haynie) , we made repeated calculations of the whole 
number of men furnished by all the states, of the num- 
ber of each of the states, and of the number furnished by 
Illinois, and after I had demonstrated by all known 
methods of calculation that Illinois had sent more men 
to the field than it ought to be charged with, and I had 
lost my temper at General Fry's obstinate adherence to 
his own estimates, and he had become excited, too, he 
said, "The president has reviewed these figures and di- 
rected the call for the men upon Illinois." I said, 
"General Fry, if you had told me that an hour ago, it 
would have saved you and me from some wear and tear 
of temper. I will speak to the president about the 

He wished me success, and I immediately went to the 
"White House" and saw Mr. Lincoln, explained to him 
that my errand was from Governor Oglesby to get our 
quota corrected, when he stopped me by saying, "Palmer, 
I can get more men easily in Illinois than some other 
places. I directed the quota of Illinois myself, and I 
must have the men, and neither you nor 'Dick' can 
make a fuss about it !" I said no more, for I knew he 
meant what he said. 

I then said to him, "Mr. Lincoln, I wrote you a letter 
last September, saying that 'I did not wish to be one of 
your unemployed generals,' and you answered me on a 
card, saying, 'When I want your resignation, I will tell 
you.' " He said, "I have a job for you now, the com- 
mand of the department of Kentucky." I replied, "I 


have commanded troops in the field during my military 
service, but I do'nt want to go to Kentucky and spend 
my time quarreling with the politicians." 

He said, "Go to Stanton and get your orders, and 
come back here at nine o'clock to-morrow, and I'll tell 
you who are our friends and what makes a change in 
that command necessary." 

When I returned in the morning, I saw several per- 
sons going in and out of his room, and became slightly 
impatient, but when the colored doorkeeper came and 
inquired for me, I entered the room and found him seated 
in an office chair engaged in being shaved. He said, 
"You are home-folks, and I must shave. I cannot do 
so before senators and representatives who call upon me ; 
but I thought I could do so before you." 

We then commenced to talk of the affairs of Ken- 
tucky. I repeated what I had said the evening before 
about my reluctance to go to Kentucky and quarrel with 
the politicians, and he said, "Go to Kentucky, keep your 
temper, do as you please, and I will sustain you." 

Then occurred an incident which affords a key to Mr. 
Lincoln's policy, and accounts for his successful conduct 
of the civil war. 

I was silent while the barber was shaving him about 
the neck, but after he was through with that particular 
part of his duties, I said : "Mr. Lincoln, if I had known at 
Chicago that this great rebellion was to occur, I would not 
have consented to go to a one-horse town like Springfield, 
and take a one-horse lawyer, and make him president." 
He pushed the barber from him, turned the chair, and 
said in an excited manner : "Neither would I, Palmer. 
If we had had a great man for the presidency, one who had 
an inflexible policy and stuck to it, this rebellion would 
have succeeded, and the Southern Confederacy would 
have been established. All that I have done is, that I 
have striven to do my duty to-day, with the hope that 
when to-morrow comes, I will be ready for it !'' 


This was the last time I saw Mr. Lincoln. He was 
assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14th fol- 
lowing. I saw his remains on May 3, 1865, when with 
Governor Bramlette and others, I attended his funeral, 
which occurred May 4, 1865, and the nation has erected 
a monument to his memory which still stands at the 
cemetery of Oak Ridge, at Springfield, Illinois. 

My orders, which created the Department of Ken- 
tucky, and assigned me to its command, were dated 
February 10th, but I did not assume the command of 
the department until the 18th day of the same month. 
On my arrival at Louisville, which was to be the head- 
quarters of the department, I proceeded to Frankfort 
where the legislature was in session. 

General Burbridge, who commanded the ''District of 
Kentucky," was a native of the state, and extremely 
unpopular, as any native and resident of the state would 
have been who had attempted to enforce martial law at 
his home. He was charged with cruelty and favoritism. 
He had a military prison at Lexington, in which were 
confined deserters from the Federal army, guerrillas and 
many others whose offenses consisted of speaking in op- 
position to the government of the United States. Soon 
after the assumption of the command of the department, 
I visited the prison in Lexington. The adjutant of the 
post called the list of the prisoners, and read the charges 
against them. I was particularly struck with the charges 
against one of them, whose name I have unfortunately 

His age was stated to be sixty-eight years, and his oc- 
cupation to be that of a farmer, and I ordered him to be 
produced. When he came before me I asked him his 
name and age, and if he knew what were the charges 
against him? He answered my questions as to his 
name and age, and said, in respect to the charges : "I 
am charged with cursing this d— d abolition govern- 
ment and your d — d abolition president." I said 
to him : "Do you find you have hurt them by cursing 


them?" lie answered with another oath. I said to 
him: "You can't stay here; you would spoil all the 
prisoners ; get your baggage, and get a ticket for your 
home from the adjutant." He was discharged and 
Governor Robinson afterwards told me that he had met 
my late prisoner on the street, and he said that "Palmer 
was a Kentuckian, and a d — d clever fellow." 

General Sherman had a prison for females at Louis- 
ville which cost me more trouble than any other matter 
in the department. "Dr. Mary Walker" had applied 
to me for an indorsement that she be placed on the staff 
of the regular army, with the rank of captain, and I had 
signed the indorsement, which was a recommendation. 
She presented this indorsement to Mr. Stanton, the 
secretary of war, and he indorsed on the application : 
"As General Palmer seems to be struck on Dr. Mary 
Walker, he is authorized to employ her as a contract 
surgeon." When she returned, I assigned her to be the 
"medical officer at the female prison." Soon after her 
assignment she reported to me that the female prisoners 
were allowing the officers and guards at the prison to 
take improper liberties with them. She made the report 
more than once, and finally said to me : "You are afraid 
of them," which I confessed to be true, but at the 
same time I determined to break up the prison and send 
the women to their homes. Soon after Dr. Walker made 
her last report I visited the prison and stated to the 
prisoners present that after my accession to the com- 
mand of the department, I had assigned to them a 
medical officer of their own sex, and had done every- 
thing possible for their comfort. Some of them an- 
swered : "That thing — " referring to Dr. Walker — "and 
she is kin to him, look at his hair!" I then said : 
"Ladies, I will break up this prison; get your things 
and your tickets from the adjutant, and go home; I 
will no longer be troubled with you;" and then most 
of them commenced crying, either for joy or vexa- 
tion. At all events the female prison was broken up. 


On February 18, 1865, I addressed the legislature and 
the citizeus of Frankfort, at the capitol, the substance of 
which address is as follows : 

"The reason I desire to address the members of the 
o-eneral assembly, and such of your citizens as have hon- 
ored me with their presence, is, that I wish to express 
and make fully understood the object of my coming 
among you. My life has been spent in the civil walks 
of life. I entered the army with great reluctance. 
Warfare was contrary to my habits and education, and 
was repugnant to all my tastes. I only entered the mil- 
itary service in obedience to the convictions of duty, and 
i because I believed that all the people of all the states 
were interested in the maintenance of the government. 
I did not enter the military service on account of any 
hatred towards our brethren of the far South, or of any 
peculiar love for the people of the North, but because I 
thought the interests of all, of South Carolina, Georgia, 
and the whole of the Southern States, as well as those of 
the Northern States, demanded that the destruction of 
the government should not be allowed. 

"In the course of affairs, I have been sent, by those 
having authority over me, to the State of Kentucky. I 
come feeling sensibly the difficulties and delicacy of the 
position. In the field, the duties of the commander, 
though onerous, and dangerous, are comparatively sim- 
ple — not so here. To the military duties are added 
those of a semi-civil character, rendering the position 
complex and most delicate. Your state is regarded by 
the government and myself as loyal, and her people en- 
titled to the enjoyment of all private and public rights 
and immunities of a loyal people. These rights are 
threatened and obstructed by those who are the enemies, 
not so much of government, in the abstract, as of the 
general good order and quiet of the people — desperadoes 
and marauders whose object is spoliation and plunder. 
It is to protect you against these men that I am here, 


and I hope and believe that I shall receive the hearty 
support of all your people in this work. 

"I cannot fail to observe from your public journals, 
the proceedings of your legislature, and conversations 
with your citizens, that you are divided into parties, 
and that deep feeling and some degree of bitterness ex- 
ists between the parties. This is not surprising. Un- 
der the circumstances as they exist, and the mighty is- 
sues which are involved, it would be most remarkable if 
it were not so. But whatever may be the differences as 
to collateral and incidental questions involved, there is 
one upon which there can be no difference — that of giv- 
ing protection to your people. 

"The people ought to have the right, and the Federal 
Government is pledged that they shall have the right, 
to speak without restraint, and act freely upon all sub- 
jects connected with the general welfare ; and surely I, 
a lover of law and order, will most cheerfully secure 
every man in the enjoyment of all his personal rights. 
I know I speak the sentiments of the federal administra- 
tion when I say that my views were known upon this 
subject when I was sent here, and it was to carry them 
into execution that I was sent. I hope you gentlemen 
of the legislature, coming as you do from all parts of 
the state, will aid me in carrying them out. 

"I will not make any pledges ; indeed, I should feel 
humiliated if I wore to make any pledge as to what par- 
ticular thing I will do or will not do. Suffice it to say, 
I come among you as a representative of the National 
Government, and I feel that almost all depends upon 
each and every one performing his own duties in his 
own sphere. Let the citizen, the soldier, the officer, civil 
or military, each attend to his own business, and all will 
work well. 

"I feel confident that we shall have no difficulty, that 
the state and federal authorities will act in perfect har- 
mony and concert in the discharge of the various duties 
before us. I thank you, most sincerely, for these mani- 


festations of your kindness, and the honor you have 

done me." . . , 

On February 24th, I reported to Mr. Stanton, the 
secretary of war, that I had assumed the command 
of the department on February 18, 1865, and that I 
had visited Frankfort and conferred with Governor 
Bramlette, and found him ready to cooperate with the 
military forces of the United States. I said, "It was 
easy to detect on the part of the governor a preference 
or desire to raise state forces, but he did not urge it, 
nor will he, as I think, persist in it if disagreeable to the 
military authorities of the general government. He is 
pressed by many men who desire to enter into such or- 
ganizations, and he feels the importance of giving pro- 
tection to the people. The Federal forces employed 
heretofore in the state have not been relied on for the 
latter object with absolute confidence, for they are fre- 
quently changed, the best regiments naturally going to 
the front, and the least efficient remaining here, so far 
as I can judge, to grow worse." I found on my arrival 
in Kentucky that General Stoneman was withdrawing 
the cavalry from the department, and I said, "The with- 
drawal of the cavalry under the order referred to, leav- 
ing as it does many points in the state without pro- 
tection, gives force to the feelings of the governor. 
. I think it highly important that this authority 
should be granted ; the troops are needed ; the men can 
be had, and, indeed, are eager to enter the service, es- 
pecially is this true of old soldiers who have been 
honorably discharged after three years service and are 
now unable to remain at their homes. They wish to 
defend their homes and kill the miscreants who have 
murdered many of their comrades since their return, 
and I sympathize with the feeling. Let me beg the 
attention of the war department to this point;" and I 
added, "the colored troops in the state, as they are in- 
fantry, will soon be sufficient for all guard or other 
local duty, and with the regiments proposed to be raised 


will, in my judgment, be sufficient to establish and 
maintain order in the department. 

Mr. Lincoln had mentioned Dr. Robert J. Brecken- 
ridge as a prominent Union man, and one to be con- 
sulted about Kentucky affairs. Unfortunately the son 
of Dr. Breckenridge, Colonel R. J. Breckenridge, was 
arrested at Keene, in Jessamine Co., in rebel uniform, 
and had possession of the following general order : "All 
officers and men now in Kentucky upon military service 
under authority other than that of the secretary of war 
are required to report to Colonel R. J. Breckenridge, 
whose orders they are commanded to obey. All who 
have authority from the secretary of war, prior to April 
4, 1864, or from these headquarters, whose time has 
expired, will report to their respective commands or to 
these headquarters. All who fail to obey this order 
promptly will at once be reported to the existing au- 
thorities in Kentucky as not recognized by the Con- 
federate government as prisoners of war if captured. 

By command of Major-General Breckenridge. 

J. Stoddard Johnson, A. A. 6r.' 

I was disposed to treat Colonel R. J. Breckenridge as 
a spy, but Mr. Lincoln telegraphed me to send him to 
Columbus, Ohio, as a prisoner of war. Still that cir- 
cumstance made it necessary that I should issue general 
order No. 4 : 

"Headquarters Dep't of Kentucky, 

"Louisville, Ky., Feb. 25, 1865. 
"Reliable evidence has reached these headquarters 
that emissaries of the Rebel government are engaged 
in recruiting for their exhausted armies in the State of 
Kentucky. Appeals are again made to the young men 
of the state to disregard their duty and risk their lives 
and honor in a wicked and desperate cause, while men 
who have deserted the Rebel service, and are now peace- 
ably at their homes, are required to rejoin their com- 


mands and again encounter the perils of treason under 
the threatened penalty of betrayal to the Federal au- 
thorities, who they are taught to believe will treat them 
as outlaws and guerrillas. To counteract these efforts 
to mislead the men who have in good faith deserted 
the Rebel service, all deserters from the Rebel armies 
now in this department will within thirty days after 
date report themselves to the provost marshal of the 
county in which they reside for registry, and all persons 
who may hereafter desert from the Rebel armies and 
come into this department will within five days after 
their arrival report themselves for the same purpose. 
The provost marshal will receive the report of all persons 
presenting themselves under this order and will register 
the names, age, residence and particular military organi- 
tions from which they have deserted. Such registry 
will be regarded by the military authorities of this de- 
partment as a distinct renunciation of all further con- 
nection with the Rebel government, and as entitling the 
registered person who demeans himself as a peaceable 
citizen to military protection. 

"Persons who refuse to present themselves for regis- 
try, as required by this order, will be understood as ad- 
hering to the Rebel government, and if captured will be 
treated as spies, guerrillas or otherwise according to the 
circumstances of the case." 

The congress of the United States, on March 3. 1865, 
had passed a law declaring that "the wives and children 
of colored men who have heretofore enlisted, or who may 
hereafter enlist in the military service of the United 
States, are free." 

On March 12, 1865, by order No. 10, 1 announced the 
passage of this law to the colored people of the depart- 
ment. I said in the order, "This act of justice to the 
soldiers, claims from them renewed efforts of courage, 
fortitude and discipline, to gain a good name to be 
shared by a free wife and children. To colored men not 
in the army, it offers an opportunity to earn freedom for 


themselves and their posterity. The rights secured to 
colored soldiers under this law will, if necessary, be 
enforced by the military authorities of this depart- 

The fact is, that the passage of this act, enfranchising 
the families of colored soldiers, called upon me for the 
decision of a great many most interesting questions. It 
must be remembered that there was no law in the State 
of Kentucky regulating the marriage of slaves, nor the 
relation of the parent and child. It may serve to illus- 
trate my dilemma when I relate an interview between 
Governor John L. Helm and myself. 

Governor Helm reported to me that two of his negro 
women, slaves, had married colored soldiers in camp at 
Elizabeth town, and they claimed to be free on account 
of the marriage. I said to him in reply, "You have no 
law in the State of Kentucky which recognizes the mar- 
riage of slaves. I am compelled by the act of congress 
to hold that colored soldiers may have wives and chil- 
dren. Marriages existed before laws were made, and 
children were the products of such marriages." Gov- 
ernor Helm told me that "both of these women had 
husbands." I told him that I had no court with juris- 
diction to try such cases, and that I was compelled to 
depend upon the mere fact that those persons recognized 
each other as husband and wife. The law was greatly 
abused by the colored people of Kentucky, and there is 
no reason to doubt that polygamous alliances were very 
often formed for the sake of freedom under this act of 

I had great trouble to prevent the oppression of the 
colored people who were often sold to the government as 
"substitutes," and the city of Louisville went into the 
business of buying substitutes in order to meet the 
"draft," and I was compelled to issue the following : 

"General Order No. 5. Officers charged with recruit- 
ing colored troops are informed that the use of force or 
menaces to compel the enlistment of colored men is 


both unlawful and disgraceful. Several cases of this 
kind have been reported to these headquarters, and are 
under investigation. The able-bodied men of the state 
are enrolled, and have the right to volunteer for the 
service of the country. In this respect, there is no dif- 
ference on account of color. No man can be forced into 
the service unless in pursuance of the law. Any viola- 
tion of the order or threat towards white or black men 
to compel them to enlist will be severely punished. No 
bounty-broker will be allowed to accompany any re- 
cruiting party or in any way intermeddle with other 

The city council made an appropriation for providing 
such substitutes, and at the same time were using the 
prisons and slave pens, which existed in the city for com- 
pelling colored men to enlist. I therefore issued an or- 
der which prohibited the confinement of any person in 
any other place than a jail recognized by the civil au- 
thorities, and also an order authorizing the "Rev. 
Thomas James (colored) to inquire into the case of all 
colored persons arrested and held in confinement by the 
civil or military authorities in this department." 

On May 15, 1885, I opened a correspodence with 
Geo. W. Johnston, judge of the police court, in which I 
said, "It has been reported to these headquarters that a 
number of colored men and women are confined in the 
workhouse for improper causes. I will send an officer 
this afternoon at two o'clock and investigate the nature 
of the charges. You will therefore instruct your keeper 
to admit the officer." 

There was a law of the State of Kentucky which 
forbade negro slaves to go at large and hire themselves 
out as free persons. 

The case of Jacob Hardin illustrates the condition of 
things in Kentucky. On June 3, 1865, I addressed to 
the keeper of the Louisville workhouse a letter, of which 
the following is a copy : 


"Headquarters Department op Kentucky, 

"Louisville, June 3, 1865. 
"To the Keeper of the Louisville Workhouse — 
Unless Jacob Hardin, a colored man, is detained in your 
custody for some other cause than the order of the city 
court of Louisville, that he be confined in the workhouse 
until his master shall give bail, and he will not be suf- 
fered to go at large and hire himself out as a 'free man,' 
you will at once release him from confinement ; Ser- 
geant Hirschberger will deliver the order, and see that 
it is complied with. 

"By command of Major-General Palmer. 

"(Signed,) J. Bates Dickson, A. A. Gr." 

In consequence of this, a letter was received from 
George W. Johnston, police judge, to which I dictated 
the following reply : 

"Headquarters Department of Kentucky, 

"Louisville, June 3, 1865. 
"George W. Johnston, Judge Louisville City Court: 

"Sir — Your letter of yesterday's date, addressed to 
Captain E. B. Harlan, assistant adjutant-general, in 
which you state that 'Jacob Hardin,' represented to the 
court to be a slave, was committed to the workhouse 
until his master should give bail, that he would not be 
suffered to go at large and hire himself out 'as a free 
man,' was this morning laid before me. 

"It is no part of the duty of the military authorities, 
under ordinary circumstances, to interfere with the ac- 
tion of the courts of the state, or to obstruct the opera- 
tions of the local laws, but it is their clear and positive 
duty to protect the people from forcible wrongs, whether 
inflicted under the forms of law or otherwise. 

"I beg to assure you that I do not question the integ- 
rity of the judge whose sentence is under consideration, 
though I express the opinion that it is without and un- 
supported by any existing law. 'When the reason of 


the law ceases, the law itself ceases,' is a rule founded in 
reason, and is recognized by all courts. 

"The particular law which must be referred to to sup- 
port this order was enacted by the legislature of Ken- 
tucky in support of slavery. According to the policy of 
the state, then recognized as correct, it was the duty and 
it was then in the power of masters to prevent their 
slaves from going at large and hiring themselves as free 
persons, while the slave himself had no interest in the 
question. This state of things has, however, ceased. 
During the last four years, from causes familiar to every 
one, masters were not, in a majority of cases, able to 
give protection to their slaves. It was not their duty 
then, even according to the theory of the law itself, to 
restrain them, and now, when the bonds of slavery are 
relaxed, if not totally broken, it is not in the power of 
masters to prevent slaves from going at large and hiring 
themselves as free men. 

"This highly penal law, which demands impossible 
acts from the owners of slaves, must, therefore, be held 
to have ceased to exist, as much as if repealed by legis- 
lative authority. There is, however, another thing to 
be said, which demonstrates the correctness of that con- 
clusion — masters have ceased to provide for or control 
those who are nominally their slaves. 

"According to the theory of the obsolete law, these 
were his duties ; he has neglected them, yet, by a strange 
perversion of justice, the slave is selected as the object 
of punishment. This man Hardin, now before me, has 
upon his limbs marks made by iron fetters, placed upon 
him only because his master has failed to obey this law. 

"Nor is this the only enormity presented by the case. 
Hardin is ordered to be kept in the workhouse, as you 
inform me, not for a period so fixed as to determine, not 
until he does some act, but until the master over whom 
he can have no influence or control, and who has, now 
that slaves are valueless, no interest in him, shall volun- 
tarily give bail, that he shall never again go at large or 


hire himself as a free man. Hardin himself is required 
to do nothing ; his confinement must be perpetual. 

"I forward you herewith my order made upon a con- 
sideration of the whole case. 

Very respectfully, 
"John M. Palmer, Major-GeneralComd' 'g ." 

As early as May 11, 1865, the mayor of the City of Louis- 
ville and a committee of the general council of that city, * 
complained to me of the presence and condition of the large 
number of colored people in the city, and expressed ap- 
prehensions of pestilence from their crowded state, and 
asked me to cooperate with them in ridding the city of 
the evil. I assured the mayor and the committee of my 
cooperation in any judicious scheme to promote the wel- 
fare and happiness of the people of the city. Before re- 
plying to the general facts and views here expressed, I 
said : "Allow me to correct the error contained in your 
statement 'That no arrangement was or has been made 
by the military authorities for the protection or the sup- 
port of the colored persons coming into the city.' 

"On the contrary, the wives and children of colored 
soldiers coming here, and those residing in the city have 
been fed by the government, and all who could be in- 
duced to do so have been transported to Camp Nelson, 
and there provided for at the national expense, and the 
military authorities are still willing to provide in the 
same way for all of that class. 

"But there are difficulties in the problem you present, 
which cannot be solved by the enforcement of the law s 
against vagrancy, or by restricting the right of the own- 
ers of the slaves, to allow them the small measure of 
freedom implied in permitting them to hire their own 
time, and go at large as free persons. These people and 
their ancestors for generation are, and have been, natives 
of the State of Kentucky, and have all as strong local 
attachments as other natives of the state. 

"Recent events, which need not be particularized, have 


disturbed, if not changed, their relations towards those 
who were their former masters. 

"What is now required is, that their relations to the 
state shall be defined with reference to existing, and not 
past, facts. When that is done, confidence between the 
races will be restored ; each will become again useful to 
the other, and order and prosperity will take the place 
of the confusion and vagrancy, which is now seen on 
every hand, to the alarm of all. As preliminary to this, 
and as preventive to vagrancy, these people must be 
allowed to migrate at their pleasure, and seek employ- 
ment where it may be found. Now, under the operation 
of laws, obsolete for all useful purposes, and alive only 
for evil, colored men and women in Kentucky who 
might and would find employment elsewhere, are for- 
bidden to cross the Ohio river, except upon almost im- 
possible conditions. 

"Capitalists, who own and operate the boats navigat- 
ing the river, which has already led some minds to inquire 
whether the ownership of large property is not a disquali- 
fication, rather than a proper qualification for the manly 
experience of the rights of citizenship, they, terrified by 
these grim shadows of the past, throw unjust and op- 
pressive difficulties in the way of the transit of even free 
persons, while those whose right to freedom is questioned 
by any one, upon grounds however slight, are denied 
the right of escaping from idleness and enforced vagrancy, 
to whom industry is possible and employment within 

"This difficulty, however, can be partially obviated by 
military authority. Deeply impressed with the dangers 
of the public health, which you so truly and forcibly de- 
pict, and anxious that the laboring poor of the city shall 
be saved the terrible consequence of the disastrous pesti- 
lence, of which you assure me that great fears are enter- 
tained, I have caused to be issued the General Order 32, 
from the headquarters of this department, a copy of 
which is herewith laid before you, and will, I hope, meet 


your approval. . . . Vagrancy as a crime is volun- 
tary idleness and profligacy. The only offense urged by 
you against them is poverty, . . . and when the 
difficulties which clog and embarrass the efforts of the 
whole race to earn homes and bread are removed, dis- 
crimination will be impossible, and the really guilty can 
be punished. Now, such is the uncertainty of the 
status of many, that even men seeking labor, dare not 
employ or harbor them. The wives and children of 
colored soldiers are told by some that the joint resolu- 
tion of congress, giving them freedom, is unconstitu- 
tional and void, and that when, in the language of an 
eminent politician, 'federal bayonets are withdrawn, 
the courts of the state will so declare, and all claimants 
of freedom under it will be adjudged slaves.' 

"Alarmed at this prospect, these helpless people 
abandoned their late masters, and flocked to this city 
for protection, and they shall have it so long as I com- 
mand this department. . . . Other classes of col- 
ored persons are also free, and their right to freedom is 
doubted, questioned, and denied. They fly, and none 
dare employ them, and because they cannot be employed, 
and live in enforced idleness, they are by many called 
'vagrants.' . . . American people, whether of Eu- 
ropean or African descent, have their rights under the 
constitution and the laws, and the military authorities 
of the United States will, in this department, claiming 
no power or authority to do otherwise, so far as possible, 
protect all, and will gladly cooperate with the authori- 
ties of the City of Louisville in every effort to promote 
the interests and preserve the health of all the inhabit- 
ants of the city. 

"I have the honor to be, etc., 
"John M. Palmer, Maj.-Gen. Comd'g the Dcpt." 

"General Order No. 32" provided for the issue of 
"passes" to colored persons upon the tender of the usual 
rates of transportation. 



Rumor of freedom amongst the negroes— Fourth of July, 1865 — "Golden 
chariot and 'hosses' of salvation' 7 — Judge George W. Johnston — 
Indictments against me— Letter to Hon. George Robertson — Elec- 
tion order of 1865 — Revisit the old home — Mr. Garrett — Letter to 
Mr. Dana — Letter to the president — Success of the conservatives — 
Letter to Judge Trumbull. 

The negroes in Kentucky believed that I had unlimited 
power, and one of those impalpable rumors reached the 
negro population that if they would come to Louisville 
on the Fourth of July, I would declare them to be free. 
The first I heard of such a rumor was from Mr. O'Ban- 
non, of Eminence, Kentucky, which was about sixty 
miles from Louisville. He called at my headquarters a 
few days before the Fourth, and after the courtesies of 
the occasion — for I had known him — he said to me : 
"What in the h — 11 do you mean by telling the negroes 
to come to Louisville on the Fourth of July and you 
will set them free?" I replied: "I never said such a 
thing in my life ;" and he then told me that "the whole 
negro population in his part of the state were in motion 
for Louisville, where they expected to be declared free 
by me." Between that time and the Fourth I was told 
that negroes from all the surrounding counties were mov- 
ing on to Louisville with the expectation that I would 
give them freedom. 

The advance of the negroes began to arrive on July 
3d, and a committee of them waited on me at my head- 
quarters to know "at what hour and at what place I 
would declare their freedom." I told the committee 
that "I had no authority to set them free," and tried 
to persuade them to go home quietly and wait, and they 
would be free after awhile anyhow. There was a circus 
at the time in Louisville, performing under the direction 
of a man named Noyes, with whom I had formed quite 


an acquaintance from frequent attendance upon his per- 
formances, and through Colonel Mark Mundy, Noyes 
had offered me his gilded chariot and the piebald horses 
to take myself and company to the fair grounds to hear 
Parsons, who had been an actor, and was now a Metho- 
dist preacher, read the "Declaration of Independence." 
The next morning, I took the gilded chariot and the 
piebald horses, with Parsons,' Colonel Mundy and Gen- 
eral Brisbane, for company, and reached the fair grounds 
about ten o'clock on the Fourth of July. Parsons, who 
was an excellent reader, and had a grand voice, read 
"the Declaration" in a manner which I have never heard 

Messengers from Louisville told me that the city was 
full of negroes who were waiting for me to set them 
free, and that which finally determined me to go back 
to the city was a message from Captain E. B. Harlan, 
my adjutant-general, that Mr. James Guthrie, Mr. Os- 
borne, Judge Ballard, and others who were my friends, 
had called upon him and said that I "must return in 
order to dispose of the negroes, of whom the city was 
full." I took the chariot and horses and returned to 
the city, and after stopping at headquarters long enough 
to consult Harlan, I noticed that there were fewer 
negroes in town than usual, and was told that nearly all 
of them had assembled in a grove south of the city, 
where I would find, as my informant said, "Twenty 
thousand negroes waiting for freedom ! " I proceeded 
south on Preston street, with the chariot and horses, and 
General James S. Brisbane who had accompanied me 
from the fair grounds, and after we had passed Tentli 
street, I saw outlying negroes run back to the crowd after 
discovering us and report that we were coming. After 
we reached the edge of the crowd, I heard one old negro 
man shout aloud and say, "Dar he comes in the golden 
chariot and de bosses of salvation ! ' ' which was caught 
up and repeated to the echo, and then a sense of the 


ridiculous nearly overcame me. When I reached the 
mass of colored people I was lifted over their heads and 
placed upon a platform erected for the occasion and 
surrounded by negroes whom "no man can number." 
When the tumult had partially subsided, I said, "My 
countrymen, you are substantially free!" They never 
heard the word "substantially." There went up a 
shout which could have been heard for a mile. Some 
were singing and shouting as if they were in a re- 
ligious meeting, and terms were applied to me that were 
only proper when used in reference to the Supreme 
Being ; while I thought of the president and secretary 
of war and doubted if they would sustain me ; but while 
I stood I determined to "drive the last nail in the 
coffin" of the "institution" even if it cost me the com- 
mand of the department. How long I stood on the 
platform I do not know, but when the noise had in a 
measure subsided, I said, "My countrymen, you are free, 
and while I command in this department the military 
forces of the United States will defend your right to 
freedom." Nothing like the scene I then witnessed 
will ever occur again in the United States, for human 
slavery has ceased to exist. 

Slavery practically ended in Kentucky on July 4, 
1865. I reported my conduct on that occasion to the 
president and the secretary of war, and as a consequence 
on the 25th of July the following order was issued : 

"War Department, Adjutant-General's Office, 

"Washington, July 25, 1865. 
"General Order No. 129. 

"To secure equal justice and the same personal liberty 
to the freedmen as to other citizens and inhabitants, all 
orders issued by post, district or other commanders, 
adopting any system of passes for them, or subjecting 
them to any restraints or punishments not imposed on 
other classes, are declared void. 

"Neither white nor black will be restrained from seek- 


ing employment elsewhere when they cannot obtain it 
at a just compensation at their homes and when not 
bound by voluntary agreement, nor will they be hin- 
dered from traveling from place to place on proper and 
legitimate business. 

By command of the secretary of war. 

E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant-General." 

And thus President Johnson kept the promise made 
to me by Mr. Lincoln: "Go to Kentucky, keep your 
temper, do as you please, and I will sustain you.' : 

At the election held the first Monday in August, 1865, 
Judge George W. Johnston, who had before that time 
held the office of city judge, and to whom I have referred 
as one of my correspondents, was elected circuit judge 
of the Jefferson county circuit court. 

Judge Johnston was a good lawyer and an ardent 
well-wisher of the Confederates, but I may as well say 
here, that I have never met an old lawyer who was not 
conservative in his opinions and devoted to the orderly 
administration of justice. 

At the November term of the circuit court which 
Judge Johnston held, he charged the grand jury, that 
though marshal law existed in Kentucky, my orders 
Nos. 32 and 49 were illegal, and therefore void, and 
afforded no justification for any one who acted in obedi- 
ence to those orders. He instructed the grand jury 
that slaves who escaped under my orders were still 
slaves, and might be recaptured by their masters when 

He mentioned instances where slaves had escaped un- 
der those orders, and without advising the grand jury 
to indict me, he clearly intimated that it was a proper 
subject for their investigation and consideration. 

The grand jury of Jefferson county at the November 
term of the circuit court found several indictments 
against me, but public curiosity will be satisfied by stat- 
ing the substance of No. 9,424, as it was numbered on 


the criminal docket of the court. The case was entitled 
"The Commonwealth of Kentucky vs. John M. Palmer." 
The indictment charged John M. Palmer, a free person, 
of the crime of aiding a slave to escape and in attempt 
to escape from her owner ; he, the said John M. Palmer, 
not having lawful nor in good faith a color of claim 
thereto committed in manner and form, as follows, to 
wit : ''That the said John M. Palmer, a free person in 
said county of Jefferson, on the 11th day of May, a. d. 
1865, with force and arms, feloniously did aid and assist 
a slave named Ellen, a female slave, in an attempt to 
make her escape from her owner, and said slave being 
then the property of L. R. Womack, by making and is- 
suing an order dated, 'Headquarters of Department of 
Kentucky, May 11, 1865, General Order No. 32,' and 
commanding, among other things, that the provost mar- 
shal of the post of Louisville, upon the application of 
any colored person who may report him or herself as un- 
able to find sufficient employment in the city of Louis- 
ville, to issue a 'pass' to said colored person, and for his or 
her family to go to any point they may wish, to engage 
in or in search of 'employment.' The said order made 
it the duty of all conductors and managers of railroads, 
steamboats and ferryboats to transfer the persons named 
in such passes, and in case of a refusal by any of them, 
they were ordered to be immediately arrested and sent 
out of the Department of Kentucky or punished as a 
military court might adjudge ; the said John M. Palmer, 
beins: at that time the commander of the Department of 
Kentucky, and a major-general in the service of the 
United States. And, in obedience to said order, the 
provost marshal of the post of Louisville did, on May 
14, 1865, in Jefferson county, Kentucky, issue a pass to 
Ellen, a female slave owned by L. R. Womack, to go 
and return from Jeffersonville, Indiana, and by means 
of said order and said 'pass,' said slave did attempt to 
escape and did escape from her owner, the said L. R. 
Womack, ' ' contrary to the statute. Writs of capias were 


issued on the indictment, and others, which were found 
against me for the same offense, to the sheriff of Jeffer- 
son county, and the sheriff, Mr. Ronalds, called on me 
at my headquarters and told me that he had the writs 
in his possession. I said to the sheriff, "I will appear 
in answer to the writs, or you may execute them if you 
think proper. I cannot command a department through 
the grates of a jail, and I have therefore issued an order 
to General Watkins, if you arrest me, to capture the jail 
and release me, and at the same time arrest you and 
such of the grand j ury as he can find , and put you and them 
in my place." I kept my promise to appear, and soon 
afterwards appeared in answer to the writs. When I 
offered bail, Judge Johnston told me my personal word 
was sufficient in place of bail. I appeared also at the 
December term of the court, after three-fourths of the 
states had ratified the Thirteenth Constitutional Amend- 
ment. The action of Alabama was reported, and the 
only question was whether the court would take "judicial 
notice" of that event or not. The commonwealth's at- 
torney and I agreed to submit the case upon a state- 
ment of facts. "It was agreed by the commonwealth's 
attorney that Order No. 32, named in the indictment, 
was issued by General Palmer by the authority of the 
war department, and that said order has been approved ; 
that at the time said order was issued, General Palmer 
was the commander of the Department of Kentucky, 
being assigned to that command by the president of 
the United States ; that General Palmer is a major-gen- 
eral of volunteers, and said attorney admits that when 
said order was issued, martial law existed in Kentucky. 
Major-General Palmer admits that he issued said order 
and that the order given to the slave mentioned in the 
indictment was given by the provost marshal of Louis- 
ville, and the indictment against Major-General Palmer 
has been returned by the grand jury since Kentucky was 
relieved of the operation of martial law, and that Major- 
General Palmer is still the commander of the Depart- 


ment of Kentucky. . . . It is agreed that the court 
may dispose of all the legal questions arising on the in- 
dictment, and the agreed facts upon a motion to quash 
the indictment and discharge General Palmer." 

The case went off upon a point not covered by the 
agreed state of facts, for Judge Johnston held that he 
would take judicial notice of the fact that the State of 
Alabama had adopted the thirteenth amendment, prohibit- 
ing slavery in the United States, which made the requisite 
number (three-fourths of the states) , and that with the 
prohibition of slavery in the United States, all the laws 
of the several states intended for its support fell with the 
institution, and that therefore the indictment should be 

It was nearly sundown when the court announced its 
opinion, and upon my discharge from the indictment, I 
left the court room and went to the head of the stairs 
overlooking the rotunda, and saw it crowded with ne- 
groes, who, attracted by their interest in the case, had 
come into the hall below to hear the final result. I an- 
nounced the end of the case, and said to them : "A Ken- 
tucky judge has declared you all to be free — thank him." 

They answered by shouts, and for a few minutes I 
could hear nothing more. I said to them : "Thank Judge 
Johnston. ' ' Hundreds of them followed me to my board- 
ing house, where I was compelled to address them 


I heard them during the afternoon and night singing, 
usinsr all kinds of musical instruments, even to the "jews 
harp," for a crowd serenaded me with that primitive 

They have in Kentucky a peculiar practice which au- 
thorizes the commonwealth's attorney to certify the in- 
dictment to the court of appeals, which corresponds with 
the supreme court in other states, and Mr. Dupuy, the 
commonwealth's attorney, who had treated me with 
great politeness during the argument, on motion "to 
quash," caused the indictment to be certified to the 


court of appeals to take its opinion as to its efficiency. 
Judge George Robertson, with whom I had some cor- 
respondence about a slave, in which he has said in re- 
turn for a compliment paid to him by me : "I would not 
think of asking your opinion upon any question of divine 
law, or of the law of nations, or of municipal or statute 
law, but martial law is the will of the commander of the 
army, interpreted by himself, and I thought it proper to 
ask your opinion of the existing condition of affairs in 
Kentucky, which is under martial law." 

He delivered the opinion of the court, and took ad- 
vantage of that occasion to come back at me. He said 
in the opinion : "As well might the defendant, Palmer, 
if he had stolen a horse, have said that the horse had died 
before the indictment, in order to escape punishment." 
I give my lettter to Judge Robertson, which was dated : 

"Headquarters of Department of Kentucky, 

"Louisville, July 25, 1865. 

"Hon. George Robertson, Sir — I have to acknowl- 
edge the receipt of yours of yesterday's date, and will as 
you request promptly and explicitly respond. 

"You state at some length the circumstances by which 
you acquired Jackson Jones and his family, and permit me 
to say they are creditable to your character for humanity. 
But I think it would complete the picture, if, after fifteen 
year's service from him, you would say to the whole family, 
father and children : "Go free !" He may be a liar and 
a thief, and the fact that he makes two dollars a day 
when he works for himself, justifies the hope that, if free, 
he might become truthful and honest. Slavery is an in- 
different school for morals. I do not think he can be 
compelled to leave the state. He is a native of Ken- 
tucky, and has perhaps, some of that attachment for his 
birth-place, which so distinguishes Kentuckians. 

"But few could be prevailed to emigrate, unless they 
could be induced to think they could be benefited by it. 
I presume your want of success in your efforts to induce 


Jones to leave is attributable to the fact that he has not 
been made to comprehend how a removal can benefit 
him. I can give him a 'pass' to leave the state, but can- 
not, and will not, compel him to go. If he is a bad 
man, I would not impose him upon any other com- 
munity ; if a good man, you could not well spare him. 

"And I will add, that you need apprehend no military 
interference with your rightful dominion over him. I 
surely will not hinder him from voluntarily submitting 
to any degree of dominion you may choose to assert, 
and you may do with the two boys anything the law 

"And, doubting of my ability to advise a judge of your 
standing and experience, I will say that while they are 
in your family you ought to compel them to submit to 
your rules. All children are benefited by being taught 
habits of submission to rightful authority. 

"I am, very respectfully, yours, 
"John M. Palmer, Major-General Commanding.'" 

It was in answer to this letter that I received the tart 
reply above mentioned. My attention was first called 
to the importance of the election in Kentucky by a com- 
munication from Governor Bramlette, which I answered 
July 15, 1865. I responded to the governor, and said: 
"I have the honor to receive your indorsement 'upon the 
letter to Mr. Miller, in reference to protecting the polls 
at the approaching election. I will most cheerfully afford 
all the aid within my power to the officers and voters of 
the state, in enforcing the election laws, and in the ar- 
rest of all persons who may disregard them. Pleas< 
furnish me copies of your proclamation, at as early a 
day as possible, as my order to my subordinates must 
refer to it as the measure of their duties." The gov- 
ernor having furnished me copies of the proclamation, I 
issued at once the following order, No. 51 : 


"Headquarters Department of Kentucky, 

"Louisville, Ky., July 26, 1865. 

"The near approach of an important election, to be 
held in all the counties of the state and military Depart- 
ment of Kentucky, renders it proper, in the judgment 
of the general commanding, to require all officers of the 
state, charged by law with the duty of conducting elec- 
tions, to give to the legal voters of the state the most 
complete protection. 

"Martial law prevails in the Department of Kentucky, 
and certain classes of persons are especially under mili- 
tary surveilance and control. These are : 

"1. The Rebel soldiers, whether paroled or not, and 
without regard to the fact that they have or have not 
taken any of the oaths prescribed by law, executive or 
military orders, or if registered under orders from the 
headquarters of the Department of Kentucky. 

"2. All guerrillas and others who, without belonging 
to the regular Rebel military organizations, have taken 
up arms against the government or people of Kentucky 
or any other state or territory. 

"3. All persons who by act of war, directly or indi- 
rectly, gave aid, comfort or encouragement to persons in 
rebellion. (This applies to all persons who have volun- 
tarily furnished any Rebel force or person with informa- 
tion, food, clothing, horses, arms or money, or have 
labored, concealed or otherwise aided or encouraged 

"4. All deserters from the military or naval service 
of the United States, who did not return from said service 
or report themselves to some provost marshal within 
sixty days, limited in the proclamation of the President 
of the United States, dated March 11, 1865, and all 
persons who deserted from the military or naval 
service of the United States after March 3, 1865, and 
all persons duly enrolled who departed the jurisdiction 
of the district in which they were enrolled, or went 
beyond the limits of the United States to avoid any draft. 


"All persons who were or have been, directly or indi- 
rectly, engaged in the civil service of the so-called Con- 
federate government, or the so-called Provisional gov- 
ernment of Kentucky, or who have in any way voluntarily 
submitted to either of the said pretended governments. 

"All such persons are disqualified from voting by the 
laws of the State of Kentucky, and the act of Congress 
of March 3, 1865. All persons of the classes aforesaid, 
are required to abstain from all interference with the 
election, and will, if they shall in any manner interfere 
therein by voting, or attempting to vote, or by appearing 
at the polls, be at once arrested, and held for military 
trial. Aid will be given to the civil authorities to en- 
force the law and preserve the peace. Any person who 
shall counsel, advise, or encourage any judge of any 
election, or any other person, to disregard or disobey 
the law as declared in the proclamation of the governor 
of the state, will be at once arrested. The peace of the 
country can be secured only by obedience to the law. 

"My impressions as to the result of the election in Ken- 
tucky were communicated to Hon. Charles A. Dana, who 
was at this time conducting the 'Republican' newspaper, 
published in Chicago, Illinois, and whom I had known 
as assistant secretary of war, operating with the west- 
ern army. I said to him : 

" 'My impressions as to the results are against the 
friends of the constitutional amendment ; they lack mu- 
tual confidence and organization, and are divided by the 
pretensions of individuals. 

" 'Rousseau, who is a candidate for the house in this 
district has more strength for the senate than anybody 
else. He is no politician, though of respectable abili- 
ties. Bramlette is at work for the same position, and 
each is running a separate machine. I hope, and believe, 
we will elect as follows : Yoeman, second district ; Rous- 
seau, fifth ; Green Clay Smith, sixth ; Randall, eighth ; 
McKee, ninth. We have a bare chance to elect Lowrey 
in the third, and General Fry in the seventh. We shall 


certainly be defeated in the first and fourth districts. I 
must also confess that it is not absolutely certain that 
we will elect more than one member (Randall) ; all the 
other districts are close. Our friends in many parts of 
the state talk confidently of carrying the legislature, but 
I see no such indications of unity and energy as frees 
me from painful doubts.' 

"By the way, Governor Bramlette's proclamation and 
my Order No. 51, which I send you, may do much good. 
If they keep illegal voters from the polls, much good 
may be done. Respectfully, 

"John M. Palmer." 

The governor's proclamation and my order did not 
keep illegal voters from the polls, and the conservatives 
succeeded in electing a majority of both branches of the 

Before the election, on Monday, August 1, 1865, I 
visited Bowling Green, Russellville, Elkton, and finally 
arrived at the place which I recollected in Christian 
county, and to which I had been brought when but lit- 
tle more than one year old. While in the neighborhood 
I dined with Mrs. Reuben Radford, when she insisted 
that I should permit the Rev. Mr. Sears, who was a 
Baptist preacher, to return to the State of Kentucky. 
He had been expelled from the state for sympathizing 
with the rebellion. He had preached a sermon in Clarks- 
ville, Tennessee, in which he had said that the "negroes 
were mere animals, and had no souls, and were properly 
slaves to the white people." Mrs. Radford did not be- 
lieve this statement to be true, but still insisted that 
Mr. Sears should be permitted to return. Although I 
desired to please Mrs. Radford, as an old friend, I did 
not permit Mr. Sears to return to the state. My visit to 
Mrs. Radford was one of great interest to me. While 
there, I went to the old home place, which my father 
had sold to Mr. Radford in 1830, and went to the house 
of Mr. Isaac Garrett to spend the night. I arrived at 


the house of Mr. Garrett in the afternoon, and told Mrs. 
Garrett my name, but she was so frightened at my uni- 
form and my escort, which consisted of ten cavalrymen, 
that she did not recognize me. I determined to leave 
the house, and soon afterwards was told that some one 
was running to overtake me. It was Mr. Garrett, and 
I went back with him. It was said of him that he was the 
most industrious man and the greatest tobacco raiser in 
Southern Kentucky ; that he laid awake on Sunday night 
after attending church meeting that he might get into his 
tobacco field soon after midnight on Monday morning. 

Mr. Garrett had only small children, and in order to 
have time, he used, during my boyhood, to ask me to 
walk with him and tell him what I had read in the news- 
papers, while he "wormed" and "suckered" the to- 
bacco. At the time of my visit, he repeated to me many 
incidents of my boyhood, told me of the extent of his 
possessions, and informed me that, though he was rais- 
ing but ten acres of corn, "he was not as poor as he 
seemed to be." He said that the "entire proceeds of 
his crops of tobacco, worth about fifty thousand dollars 
in gold, was in New York, and was subject to his order." 
He called me "John," told me that all his negroes had 
left him, except the "old, the foolish and the children." 
Before I left him, I proposed to get his pardon from the 
president. He declined, not comprehending why he 
needed pardon, and a conversation in effect as follows 
took place. I said, "You aided the rebellion by giving 
money to Woodard's guerrillas, did you not?" "Yes," 
he replied, "I gave them one thousand dollars, because 
they told me that you abolitionists from the North were 
coming down to take away our negroes, and I wanted to 
help resist you." I replied, "You are worth more than 
twenty thousand dollars, and you know that President 
Johnson has offered a pardon to those who will take the 
oath and are worth more than that amount." Still he 
insisted he had done nothing for which pardon was 
necessary. And so we parted, and, as I learned after- 


wards, the man who had his money in New York ten- 
dered him the amount in greenbacks instead of gold, 
which, with his other troubles, so preyed upon his mind 
that he died soon afterwards in the insane hospital at 
Hopkins ville. 

Before July 29th, it was reported to the president by 
a Mr. Price that "provost marshals issue 'free papers' to 
negroes indiscriminately." In a communication to thej 
president, I said, "I have already acknowledged your' 
dispatch of yesterday, containing a copy of a dispatch 
from Mr. Price, which states that 'provost marshal- 
issue free papers to negroes indiscriminately.' I refer 
you to my dispatch, in which I say, 'No free papers are 
issued by any officer in this department,' which, though 
literally true, does not quite meet the facts as they are. 
I forward you my General Orders Nos. 32 and 49." 
Under these orders, many passes have been issued by 
provost marshals and others to negroes who hold them, 
and I am told that in many cases they regard and act 
upon them as "free papers." The reasons for issuing 
Order No. 82 will be found upon the face of the order, 
but the reasons which influenced the mayor and his 
friends to apply to me do not. Large numbers of ne- 
groes were then in Louisville from the surrounding 
country, who had escaped from or had repudiated the 
authority of their masters. The mayor and others de- 
sired my approval of a plan they had arranged for the 
general enforcement of the laws against vagrancy, and 
the law which forbids slaves to go at large and hire 
themselves out as free persons. To have enforced these 
laws would have produced great misery and alarm 
amongst the blacks. To leave the negroes in the city 
would have alarmed the fears of the citizens, who were 
beforehand taught to think their presence would cause 
a pestilence. They sought to make me responsible for 
either consequence. To avoid both, I issued Order No. 
32. Under it over five thousand negroes have crossed 
the river at this place alone. 


Before the Fourth of July, an impression had got 
abroad amongst the negroes throughout the state that on 
that day they were all to be made free. Influenced by 
that belief, thousands of them left their masters' houses 
and came into our posts at different points in the state. 
Every nook and hiding-place, at such places as Louis- 
ville, Camp Nelson, Lexington, Frankfort, Bowling- 
green, Mumfordsville and other places, was filled with 
them. They were without work or means, and the 
greater the number and the more destitute they were, 
the more the people resisted employing them. I was 
compelled, from these causes, to issue General Order No. 
49, and the "free papers," referred to in the telegram of 
Mr. Price, are merely passes issued under those orders. 
I have been greatly embarrassed in respect to the colored 
people by the acts and declarations of politicians and 
press in the anti-administration interests. They have 
given the negroes extravagant ideas of the purposes of 
the government by announcing in their speeches and 
columns that it was the intention of the government to 
free them all, furnish them with food and clothing, 
and put them upon an equality with the whites. In- 
variably a conservative gathering in the neighborhood 
is followed by a stampede of negroes. 

"I think, and respectfully submit, that it is impos- 
sible under the existing state of facts here to recognize 
the laws of the state in reference to slaves and slavery. 

"At the beginning of the war Ken- 
tucky had about two hundred and 
thirty thousand slaves, say, . 230,000 

"Our reports show number of negro 

enlistments, . . . 28,818 

"Estimated number of women and 
children freed by resolution or act 
of congress of March 3, 1865, 72,045 — 100,863 

Balance, .... 129,137 

"One half of this residue are presumed to have be- 


longed to Rebels, and are therefore free. From this 
small number ought still to be taken a percentage for 
the thousands who have escaped from the state. For 
the sake of keeping the small number in subjection to 
masters, the whole race in the state are most cruelly 
oppressed and outraged under colors of laws which 
render freedom to a negro in Kentucky impossible. I 
have felt it my duty to give protection to this large free 
population as far as posssble, but in doing so I have on 
occasions been compelled to do acts which in effect 
greatly impair the tenure of the small number of per- 
sons who are still technically masters of slaves. Indeed, 
it must be admitted that many slaves left the state un- 
der orders Nos. 32 and 49, which are inclosed, and every 
decision I make in favor of a negro seems to start a host 
of individual cases which come within the same prin- 
ciple. In short, slavery has no actual existence in Ken- 
tucky, and if the constitutional amendment is defeated 
at the election, the whole active colored population will 
fly, unless I employ the troops to prevent it, and you 
have not and will not be likely to order that to be done. 

"To illustrate the effects of any fair rule upon the 
status of slavery in Kentucky, I will advert to the effect 
of one rule which I am compelled to recognize and ob- 
serve. By the laws of Kentucky, laws once when all 
were slaves just enough in their application, all negroes 
were presumed to be slaves ; a large majority are cer- 
tainly free. To presume slavery from color alone is con- 
trary to justice. To presume freedom without regard to 
color, and give protection accordingly, is to end slavery. 

"I am often called on to afford protection where there 
is no proof at hand, and am compelled to presume one 
way or another. 

"I submit these difficulties to meet some of the com- 
plaints which will probably reach you from the loyal 
■people of Kentucky. 

"I have the honor to be, etc., 

"John M. Palmer, Maj.-Gen. Corn'oVg." 


Judge Johnston decided on December 5, 1865, that 
the court would take judicial notice that the requisite 
number of states had assented to the Thirteenth Amend- 
ment to the Constitution of the United States, which de- 
cision was undoubtedly right. I, therefore, on the seventh 
day of the same month announced the adoption of the 
amendment and that slavery was ended in Kentucky. 

"Headquarters Department of Kentucky, 

" December 7, 1865. 

"Circular No. 6. 

"The general commanding announces that though the 
fact has not been officially announced, enough is known 
to warrant the statement that the amendment of the 
Constitution of the United States prohibiting slavery 
has been ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of 
the states, and is to all intents and purposes a part of 
said constitution. 

"Whatever doubts may have hitherto existed on the 
subject, slavery has now ceased to exist in Kentucky, 
and with it fall all the laws of the state heretofore in 
force intended for its support. 

"John M. Palmer, Maj-Gen. Com'd'g" 

On the 11th day of December, Mr. Allen, an influential 
member of the house of representatives from Brecken- 
ridge county, introduced in the house resolutions cover- 
ing several subjects, but one of the resolutions attacked 
me for issuing the order before mentioned. Its language 
was that : "Whereas, the people of Kentucky have been 
informed in a proclamation which issued from the head- 
quarters of General Palmer, commanding in the depart- 
ment of this commonwealth, that the requisite number 
of states having voted in favor of it, the amendment of 
the constitution of the United States has been adopted, 
and that slavery no longer exists in Kentucky. Against 
this amendment, and against this mutilation of the con- 
stitution of the United States, we, the members of the 


general assembly of the commonwealth of Kentucky, be- 
fore the people of the nation earnestly and solemnly pro- 
test. We protest against the proclamation of the gen- 
eral commanding, as a piece of presumption. Martial 
law having been removed from the state, all informa- 
tion of national interest should be communicated to the 
people of the state by the executive officer thereof, who 
no doubt at the proper time will give them information." 

Mr. Allen must have known that the amendment to 
the constitution took effect from and after its adoption 
by the requisite number of states, and that my "procla- 
mation" was directed to others, rather than to the legis- 
lature of the state. 

Mr. Buckner, of Clark county, introduced resolutions, 
one of which denounced my election orders as a "gross 
violation of the act of congress to prevent military inter- 
ference in elections," while Mr. Cochran, who volunteered 
to argue the motion against me to quash the indictment, 
called in question a communication written by me to the 
"Louisville Journal." This led to the following corres- 
pondence : 

"Frankfort, Ky., Feb. 15, 1866. 

"Sir — The undersigned committee appointed on be- 
half of the senate of Kentucky, for the purpose indicated 
by the resolutions, a copy of which is inclosed, respect- 
fully request you to acknowledge the receipt of the reso- 
lutions, and that you will at your earliest opportunity 
give the information called for in the resolutions. If 
such a state of things exists as referred to, it is time that 
the legislature should take some action for the remedy 
thereof. We hope, therefore that you will comply with 
the wish of the senate. Yours, most respectfully, 

"T. B. Cochran, 
"W. H. Grainger, 
"M. J. Cook. 
"To Major-General John M. Palmer, Louisville." 


I answered as follows : 

"Headquarters Department of Kentucky, 

"Louisville, Ky., Feb. 15, 1866. 
"Hon. T. B. Cochran, W. H. Grainger and M. J. 
Cook, Com. of the Senate of Kentucky: 
"Gentlemen — In accordance with the request contained 
in your note of the loth inst., addressed to me, I ac- 
knowledge the receipt of a copy of the preamble and 
resolution which you inform me were adopted by the 
senate of Kentucky, and by which 3'ou are appointed to 
respectfully demand certain information. I have read 
the paper adopted by the senate with great attention, 
and in view of its language, am compelled by a sense of 
what is due to the government of the United States, and 
myself and its military representative in this depart- 
ment, to decline all intercourse or communication with 
you as a committee of that body. 

"The Kentucky senate has its own duties to perform, 
and I have mine, and it must be left to the loyal and 
patriotic people of the state to decide whether a body 
which offensively declares its disbelief of the truth of the 
statements of a public officer, and then demands the evi- 
dence upon which those statements are made, intended 
to insult him, and excite popular prejudice against the 
government he represents, or were influenced by any 
purpose to promote the public good. 

"Accept my thanks for the courteous manner in which 
3^ou have discharged your duties, and allow me to assure 
you that it will afford me pleasure to lay before you as 
private gentlemen and citizens, the numerous letters and 
official reports which furnish material for all the state- 
ments contained in my letter published in the Lonisville 

"With great respect for each of you personally, I am, 
etc. John M. Palmer, Major-General.'''' 


"Headquarters of Dep't of Kentucky, 

"April 29, 1865. 
"Circular No. 3. 

"The functions of the civil courts in this department 
being to an extent suspended by martial law, makes it 
the duty of every officer to be scrupulously observant of 
public and individual rights, and to afford as far as 
possible complete protection to the people. The power 
of arrest will hereafter be sparingly exercised and di- 
rected against real offenders. 

"There is no longer in this department, hostile to the 
government, an organization which deserves to be char- 
acterized as military. The bands now prowling about 
through the country are simply guerrillas and robbers, 
and are to be treated as such. They will be allowed to 
surrender for trial. All the loyal people of this depart- 
ment are to be protected, without regard to color or 

"Complaint reaches these headquarters of the beating 
of men and women for claiming the benefit of the 'am- 
nesty oath,' and the acts of congress freeing the slaves 
of all persons who have been in rebellion against the 
government of the United States, or who have aided or 
given comfort to those in rebellion, and in the joint reso- 
lution freeing the wives and children of enlisted men and 
others, who have acquired rights under the laws, execu- 
tive proceedings, and orders referred to, are free, and 
whether free or not are to be protected from cruelty and 

"In all cases where the state of the country and the 
organizations and rules of the civil tribunals will permit 
them to enforce justice and punish crime, offenders 
against local laws will be handed over to them for 
trial. In no case, however, will any person, or court 
martial, be allowed to deprive any one of his, or her, 
liberty who is within the terms of any of the acts, 
resolutions, proclamations, or orders, above referred to, 
or to harass by proscription, or otherwise, those who 


may assist them in earning a support or maintaining 
their rights. 

"By command of Major-General John M. Palmer. 
"J. Bates Dickson, Captain and A. A. (?." 

Copy of letter to Judge Trumbull : 

"Headquarters of Dep't of Kentucky, 

"January ^, 1866. 
"Hon. L. Trumbull: My Dear Sir — I inclose you a 
copy of a petition which is being extensively circulated 
here for the signatures of the colored people of this city, 
and will be presented to the Kentucky legislature. I 
prepared the paper for them as a quiet, modest demand 
for the recognition of the essential rights of the freed 
people, seeking to avoid language which could be tortured 
to the purpose of prejudice and at the same time escape 
disgraceful imputation of servility. Still I have such 
moderate hopes that it may be favorably received by 
the legislature, that I have advised them to look to con- 
gress and prepare a petition for its consideration. You 
will perceive that the first point presented by the peti- 
tion is that of residence in the state, or citizenship, if 
that form of expression is preferred. 

"Chapter XV Revised Statutes of Kentucky, in all its 
provisions, limits citizenship to free white persons. The 
laws passed in pursuance of a requirement of the con- 
stitution compels, or it is intended to compel, all eman- 
cipated persons to leave the state, and Article 2, Chapter 
XCIII, Revised Statutes, Vol. 11, pages 306-7, declares 
that, 'Any free negro or mulatto who has since June 11, 
1850, migrated, or shall hereafter migrate, to this state 
with the intention of remaining here, shall be guilty of 
felony, and upon conviction shall be confined in the 
penitentiary for any period of time not exceeding five 
years.' The whole article is like this, in barbarity and 
injustice, and will in some parts of the state be rigor- 
ously enforced. I trust your bill, to which I have seen 


telegraphic references, repeals these and similar laws. 
I suggest that they may be defeated by an act of con- 
gress declaring all persons of African descent born in 
the United States, or in any of the territories, or in any 
place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, or 
in any of the territories, or in any place subject to the 
jurisdiction of the United States, to be citizens. 

"By the Constitution of the United States, congress 
has power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization, 
and this power is exclusive of that of the individual 
state (Kent's Com., Vol. 1, p. 424; 2 Wheaton's Rep. 
269) ; and it is also true, that congress has by law 
naturalized, or citizenized, certain people in gross (see 
act of March 3, 1843, with respect to Stockbridge In- 
dians, Stat, at Large, Vol. 5, p. 647) ; and instances of 
collective naturalization by the treaty-making power are 
numerous, as in the case of the acquisition of Louisiana, 
April 3, 1800, and purchase of Florida, 1819, treaty with 
Mexico, 1848, and by joint resolution of congress, as in 
the annexation of Texas, March 1, 1845. 

"If the freedmen are declared by law to be citizens, 
the legal consequences of citizenship follow, and defeat 
the injurious operation of the laws already referred to. I 
am aware that there are many jurists and publicists who 
entertain the opinion that the freed people of African 
descent are now, in point of law, citizens of the United 
States. This may be the correct view of the subject, 
but there is a formidable array of authorities on the 
other side, and it is certain that the courts, if the ques- 
tion is left in its present state of doubt, will hesitate, 
falter, and decide both ways for years to come. A few 
words of legislation will remove all doubt, and, what is 
more, will place the colored race in the class of free men, 
whose political and legal rights are so carefully secured 
and guarded by many provisions of the federal state 
constitutions. I attach great consequence to this idea, 
for most of the oppressive legislation of the state pro- 
ceeds upon the theory that the negroes are not members 


of the political society, and are not referred to or 
protected by the constitutional provisions. They are 
elaborations of the amiably expressed, but damnably 
conceived doctrine, that we find so often adopted by 
meetings of those political bastards who call themselves 
Democrats, that 'this is a white man's government' — 
which means that a thief may be a Christian, if he 
only steals a negro. 

"The second point presented by this petition, is that 
of protection. There can be no doubt that, under the 
general duty imposed upon the United States by the 
constitution to guarantee to each of the states a repub- 
lican form of government, congress may, and ought to, 
provide for the states which are subverted a temporary 
government, that ought to be adequate in its powers to 
the protection of the people in all their essential 
rights. Upon this ground, and this only, pro tempore 
governments have been organized in the states whose 
governments were subverted and overthrown by rebellion. 
These temporary governments possessed only such pow- 
ers as the United States conferred upon them, and 
these powers are deposited in the hands of its agents. 
I have always supposed a portion of the powers of such 
governments might as well, in point of law, have been 
deposited with the colored population, or a part of it, as 
with civil and military officers, or with that part of the 
white people selected by the government of the United 
States for the purpose. I need not argue this, nor any 
thing else, in support of the assertion that it is the duty 
of the United States under the constitution to organize, 
put in force, and maintain, in states where government 
is subverted by rebellion, an effective government, and 
that in doing so it must deposit the powers of these gov- 
ernments with agents of its own. This, I think, is 
the true theory in case of a partial subversion, or par- 
tial destruction of the state government. Such partial 
subversion, or partial destruction of the state govern- 


ment, is that it becomes incapable of fulfilling the ends 
for which governments are ordained, amongst men. 

"The people of Kentucky organized a system of gov- 
ernment for the white population of the state, which 
they supposed to be adequate to all their rights, which 
in terms excludes negroes from any part or participation 
in its benefits, and expressly refers the government of 
that whole race to another system, which is known as 
'slavery,' and thus slavery is made part of the govern- 
mental system of the state, comprehending and provid- 
ing for the African' and mixed races. Slavery, that part 
of the system intended for these classes, is subverted 
and overthrown, and the duty of the United States results, 
to provide for a temporary government for those left by 
this subversion without government. 

"It has discharged this duty so far through the agency 
of the military officers and the freedman's bureau, and 
it may and ought to continue to do so in some effective 
way until the state governments comprehend them 
within, and give them the protection of, their general 
political system. I think a law of congress declaring 
them to be citizens of the United States, would be a long 
step in the right direction. It seems to me that the 
states in excluding the negroes from their own system 
of government, disclaim the only ground of and decline 
jurisdiction over them, and necessarily, now that slavery, 
the only government provided for them, is subverted, 
refer this whole class of persons to the jurisdiction of 
the United States. The state governments do not govern 
and protect them as free men, and the states are for- 
bidden by the constitution of the United States to govern 
them as slaves. They have a natural right resulting 
from their relations to the government as subjects, or 
citizens, to demand the benefit of the government, and 
their interests, as I maintain, are protected by the con- 
stitutional guarantee. I think that the legimate, prac- 
tical consequences are : 


"1. That so much of the governmental system of 
Kentucky as relates to the African race is subverted. 

"2. That it is the duty of congress to organize gov- 
ernment which shall supply the subverted powers of the 
state government. 

"3. That the powers of the temporary government 
must be precisely in its scope limited to the government 
of the people, who are left without government by the 
subversion of slavery, but equal in its power to the ac- 
complishment of the object of government. 

"4. That this government thus organized must be 
temporarily limited in its duration to the period when 
the states shall by an appropriate action provide for this 
people a republican government. 

"5. That the government of the United States must 
judge for itself before it can be required to give way to 
the action of the states, whether the rights of the 
colored people are sufficiently secured and protected 
or not. 

"6. That it ought, before it abandons the government 
of these people to the states, secure for them beyond 
question 'equality before law.' 

"Respectfully, etc. 

"John M. Palmer." 

"Headquarters of Dep't of Kentucky. 

" February 19, 1866. 

"Adjutant-General U. S. Army : Sir — The atten- 
tion of the government is respectfully called to the fact 
that I have this day tendered my resignation as major- 
general of volunteers, to take effect on the first day of 
April, 1866, and requested to be at once relieved from 
the command of this department. 

"In connection with my resignation, I beg to call at- 
tention to the fact that there are now four suits pending 
against me in the civil courts held in Kentuck} T , for acts 
done in the course of my duty as commander in this de- 
partment, demanding an aggregate of damages to the 


amount of seventy thousand dollars. These suits are as 
follows : 

"1. Garrett Davis vs. John M. Palmer and the Ken- 
tucky Central R. R. Co. Bourbon Circuit Court. Pro- 
cess returnable first Monday in April, 1866. Damages, 

"2. Brutus J. Clay vs. John M. Palmer and the Ken- 
tucky R. R. Co. Bourbon Circuit Court. Process re- 
turnable first Monday in April, 1866. Damages, 

"These suits are instituted to recover the value of 
certain negro slaves who are alleged to have escaped 
and were transported by the railroad company by passes 
issued by the provost marshal of Paris, Kentucky, under 
General Orders Nos. 32 and 49, copies of which are here- 
with enclosed. 

"3. Jesse H. Hall vs. John M. Palmer et als. Har- 
rison Circuit Court, May 1, 1866. Suit for false impris- 
onment. It is not alleged that I had anything to do 
personally and had had no personal knowledge of this 
arrest, but Mr. Garrett Davis, counsel for plaintiff, 
seeks to charge me upon some idea that, as commander 
of the negro troops, I am responsible for all their acts. 
Damages, $10,000. 

"4. Calloway -vs. John M. Palmer — false imprisonment. 
The plaintiff was arrested in July, 1865, for expelling a 
colored woman from the cars. This arrest was to check 
the numerous outrages perpetrated at will upon the ne- 
groes in all parts of the state. The imprisonment was 
only nominal, and the party was brought before me and 
then discharged. 

"It will be seen that these suits cannot be disposed of 
at once, and that to defend them will involve the ex- 
penditure of much time. I have defended with success 
other suits brought against me here without expense to 
the government, having paid all needful costs from my 
own pocket, and given them my personal attention. 


"I have to request that the defense of these suits be 
undertaken by the government." 

I forwarded this letter to the adjutant-general with my 
resignation, which I requested might take effect on April 
1, 1866. The government took charge of the suits against 
me, and indemnified me against costs. 



The guerrillas — Killing of Marion — Capture of "Sue Mundy " — Mar-, 
gruder and Medkiff — Sentence of Davis and Berry — Mrs. Smith and 
Miss Bailey — Feeding the guerrillas. 

Kentucky was cursed at the time I assumed command 
of the department by the presence of "Sue Mundy" 
(Jerome Clark) , Marion, Magruder and Quantrell, who 
finally came into the state, and others. 

Much was expected of me in the suppression of the 
guerrillas. The Louisville Journal said: "The guer- 
rillas, we apprehend, have had their day in Kentucky, 
a long and a stormy one to be sure, even without Con- 
federate cooperation. General Palmer, we are confident, 
will soon clear our state of the bloody and spoil-laden 
wretches who seem likely to have Confederate co-opera- 
tion of the most effective kind." 

General Burbridge, who had preceded me in command 
of the district of Kentucky, before it was made a de- 
partment, had attempted to terrify the guerrillas by 
hangins: their friends. He was in the habit of selecting 
four, by lot from his military prison, and having taken 
them near to the scene of the outrage, hang them. I 
chose to pursue a different course, and made war upon 
the guerrillas personally. For example, the guerrilla 
Marion having sent me notice that he had captured Dr. 
Montgomery Miller, assistant surgeon of one of the In- 
diana regiments, and would hang him unless Medkiff or 
Magruder, who were both in the military prison, should 
be discharged. I issued an order dated April 11, 1865, 
that "neither Medkiff nor Magruder will be discharged, 
but will be tried, and if found guilty of acts contrary to 
the rules of civilized warfare, will be punished accord- 
ingly ; and upon reliable information that Dr. Miller has 
been injured, both will be executed at once. The above 


notice is given at the request of Marion that an answer 
be returned through the newspapers." 

I notified Mr. Lindsay, adjutant-general of the state, 
that "Captain Terrell is acting under orders from these 
headquarters, and that he belongs to the police force of 
this department." When I got this notice from Marion, 
I determined that he should be captured or killed. I 
immediately proceeded by rail to Eminence, Kentucky, 
and found Terrell there, having sent him word to meet 
me. Terrell had killed an officer of his regiment (Con- 
federate) when serving in Virginia, and his followers 
were not much better than Marion. From Eminence, I 
telegraphed to the adjutant-general of the department, 
ordering Major Wilson, late of the 4th Kentucky, to pro- 
ceed, with one company of the 30th Wisconsin, on the 
Bardstown j)ike, in order to create a diversion in Ter- 
rell's favor, and to help him in case it was necessary. 
A few days afterwards, General Harlan reported that 
Terrell was "in front of my headquarters with Marion." 
I went to the front, and found that Terrell had killed 
Marion, had loaded his body on the Bardstown railroad 
and brought him in. He had rescued Dr. Miller from 
his peril. Terrell was an exceedingly dangerous man ; 
I never let him enter my quarters without keeping a re- 
volver at hand. 

Afterwards, Porter, who was the successor of Quan- 
trell, came into my headquarters, and proposed terms of 
surrender. I told him that the guerrillas must surren- 
der for trial ; that I would see them, and if my terms 
were not satisfactory, I would not detain them, but they 
should have twenty-four hours of grace to return to the 
place from whence they came, but that I would keep up 
the war on them. 

In the meantime, an affair had occurred near Bards- 
town, which I characterized as an "infamous outrage," 
and in consequence of which I issued "Special Order 
No. 64," in which I said : "Satisfactory evidence having 
been furnished the general commanding that an in- 


famous outrage was committed on the person of a lady 
living near Bardstown by certain scoundrels who pro- 
fess to be Rebel soldiers, notice is given to all concerned, 
that no guerrilla, or Rebel soldier, who now is or lias 
been in Nelson county within ten days past, will be al- 
lowed to surrender himself , otherwise than for trial, until 
the perpetrators of this crime are arrested ; they are 
guerrillas, and are known to the people of that county, 
aud a reward of five hundred dollars is offered to any 
person who shall arrest or kill either of the men engaged 
in the commission of this outrage." 

Edwards, in his noted "Guerrillas," in describing this 
affair, says: "In the meantime, a horrible outrage had 
been committed. A most respectable woman, a Mrs. 
Clark, had been outraged under circumstances of peculiar 
atrocity. Riding an unfrequented road to a neighboring 
town in quest of medicine, or medical attendance for an 
ailing neighbor, she was overpowered by two ruffians and 
monstrously abused. Some who both hated and feared 
the remnant of Quantrell's little band accused them of 
the atrocious act. General Palmer, in a moment of un- 
reasonable indignation unusual for him, joined in the 
outcry without investigation, and declared bitterly that, 
until the savages who did the deed were brought to him, 
living or dead, the Missouri guerrillas should take their 
chances as outlaws and be hunted accordingly. Equally 
with the indignation of the Federal general, was the indig- 
nation of the Missourians. Frank James, especially, was 
furious. Before Palmer even knew of the outrage, James 
had taken William Hulse with him, and had struck and 
followed rapidly the trail of the scoundrels. On the 
Chaplain river, above Chaplaintown, and after a sleep- 
less hunt for two days and nights, the guerrillas came 
upon their prey. One was a Kentuckian named Broth- 
ers, and the other a nondescript called 'Texas ;' his proper 
name was probably Jonathan Billingboy. 

"These two desperadoes had been joined by a third, 
who, while he was in no manner connected with the out- 


rage, would, probably, in a fight, make common cause 
with his companions. 'There are three,' said Hulse, 
when the trail had ended at a house, and when a further 
reconnoissance revealed the fact that none of them had 
left it. 'Yes,' replied James, 'there are three. If there 
were six, it would not matter.' They dismounted and 
tied their horses in some timber back from the dwelling, 
and then gained it unobserved. Those whom they 
sought were at dinner, armed, but indifferent. 

"Throwing back the door of the dining-room uncere- 
moniously, the two guerrillas strode in, wrathful and 
accusing. Frank James, always one among the coolest 
and deadliest among the fighters known to the border, 
called out in a singularly placid, yet penetrating, voice : 
'Keep your seats, all of you ; keep your hands up ; keep 
your eyes to the front.' 

"Two sat stone still, scarcely breathing, hardly lift- 
ing or letting fall an eyelid. Brothers, desperate even 
in an extremity such as this, snatched swiftly for his 
pistol. Frank James blew his brains out across the 
table. The other two did not move. Hulse covered 
both, but did not fire. He did not know the man called 
Texas, and he would not kill an innocent man. Tex:is, 
however, was not one of the party, nor had he been with 
Brothers since the outrage. When this was ascertained, 
Frank James spoke to Hulse : 'Our work is but half 
done; let us go and finish it.' It was twenty miles to 
Alexander Sayer's house, and these two men rode the 
distance rapidly. 

"They desired to find as soon as might be the trail of 
the second scoundrel, no matter how cold or indistinct. 
Others of his comrades had been ahead of him, as 
swiftly as he had ridden, and Texas had shared the fate of 
Brothers. Captured by John Ross, Henry Porter and 
Allen Parmer, he had so vociferously defended himself, 
and so eloquently pleaded his own innocence, that these 
three intrepid men — unable through the very excess of 
those soldierly qualities which had made them desperately 


brave, to understand how it was possible to commit such a 
crime — listened rather favorably to his protestations, and 
permitted him to retain his pistols, and ride leisurely along 
with them to the house of Benedict Pashe. Mr. Pashe 
would establish his innocence beyond all controversy. Mr. 
Pashe knew of his immediate whereabouts the day Broth- 
ers did his devil's work, and Mr. Pashe would make his 
alibi impervious to assault. Mr. Pashe never had an op- 
portunity to say to the plausible story 'yea' or 'nay.' 
While yet distant from his house a mile or more, Texas 
broke away from his accommodating captors, and fled like 
an Arab. Better mounted than either Ross or Parmer, 
Texas soon outstripped them, untouched by the bullets 
sent after him, and would have escaped altogether if 
the speed of the start had been joined to the bottom of 
Parmer's horse. A gallop of a mile, however, told the 
story of the chase. Texas was a thorough cavalryman, 
though a born robber. He knew by the laboring breast 
of his steed, the reeling stride, the foam of an unnatural 
perspiration, the uncertain way the feet took hold of the 
ringing turnpike, the almost human agony the faithful 
animal manifested over its own failing powers, that the 
end was nigh at hand. He looked back once, as he 
crowned the crest of a sudden hill, and saw Parmer, fixed 
as fate in the saddle, and as immovable, gaining upon 
him hand over hand. There was one resource left, com- 
mon alike to the ant or the elephant — he could fight. 
He halted his blown horse, and turned about. Parmer 
came right on, a pistol in his right hand, and the reins 
well gathered up in his left. At fifty paces he fired at 
Texas and missed him. Texas stood fast, his face wear- 
ing a hunted look, and his eyes wolfish. At thirty 
paces the two fired simultaneously, Parmer missing 
again, but Texas wounding his horse severely, if not 
fatally. Parmer lessened the distance by a spur stroke, 
and fired the third time at Texas, barely ten feet away. 
This time he did not miss. Game to the last, Texas, 
even as he reeled in the saddle, gripped his own horse 


with his knees, steadied himself for a moment or two, 
and fired twice at Parmer before he fell. He had been 
hurt, however, too badly to be accurate. Another bullet 
in the breast finished him. As he lived, so had he died, 
a bad, stoical, unrepentant man. The bodies of both 
Texas and Brothers were carried by the Federals into 
Bardstown, and identified by Mrs. Clark as the bodies 
of her assailants. Justice was satisfied, and Palmer was 

". . . Henry Porter gathered hurriedly together 
the remnant of Quantrell's torn, scarred and decimated 
guerrilla band, just eighteen in all, and surrendered 
them at Samuel's Depot, Nelson county, July 25, 1865." 

I limited my order to Nelson county, in order that the 
innocent might not be punished, but I determined that 
the guilty men should be captured or killed, and the 
guerrillas did the work, as has been stated by Edwards, 
for me. 

One evening in March, 1865, a gentleman from Eliza- 
bethtown called upon me at the Louisville Hotel, and 
told me that "Sue Mundy" (Jerome Clark), Magruder 
and Medkiff were concealed in a barn about ten miles 
from Bradenburg ; that Magruder had been wounded in 
some one of his numerous fights. I immediately made 
arrangements to capture them. I sent a company of 
Wisconsin infantry on the night boat to Brandenburg, to 
go from that place and surround the barn, capture the 
guerrillas and bring them to Louisville. When the 
company reached the barn, the guerrillas made a des- 
perate defense. It is not true that they surrendered as 
prisoners of war. The Louisville Journal said, "We re- 
joice at the capture of the cut-throats, and freely say 
that the planning of the expedition reflects credit upon 
the officers connected with it." 

They were all brought to Louisville, tried, and sen- 
tenced to be hanged. The case of Magruder drew upon 
my feelings heavily. Mundy (or Clark) and Medkiff 
cost me no effort to order their execution. Magruder's 


mother visited nie at my headquarters, and besought the 
life of her son. I was compelled in answer to her im- 
portunities to get the record of the proceedings before the 
military commission, and read to her the testimony of 
witnesses, which showed that a young man who had 
belonged to the 15th Kentucky had served three years, 
and was honorably discharged, and had been shot by 
Magruder under aggravated circumstances. The father 
of the young soldier had been taken sick and died. The 
mother withheld all knowledge of his illness from the 
son until his death, when she telegraphed for him to re- 
turn and attend his father's funeral, which he did, and 
meant to return to Louisville in the evening by train 
from Nashville. 

Unfortunately, Magruder had heard of his arrival in 
town, Nicholasville, went to the house, took him a short 
distance from home, and shot him to death for no other 
offense than that he had served in the Union army. I 
told Magruder's mother that if human justice meant 
anything, her son must die. I was afterwards visited 
by Governor Bramlette and General Walter C. Whit- 
taker, who sought to interpose to save the life of Ma- 
gruder, and recommended the commutation of his sen- 
tence ; but I told him that I had refused to grant a com- 
mutation to his mother, and that the agony was over. 
Magruder was executed, his remains taken to his home, 
and I was told that more than a thousand persons at- 
tended his funeral. 

The case of Jim Davis was a most remarkable one. 
He was the son of a widow in Jessamine county. He 
had gone to Lawrenceburg, in Anderson county, with 
his associates, taken three negroes out of jail, where 
they had been confined for "going at large and hiring 
themselves out as free persons," and held them under 
the ice in the Kentucky river until they were drowned. 
He had been concerned in other murders, was tried by 
a military commission, and sentenced to death. 


I addressed the following letter to the adjutant-general 
U. S. A. : 

"Sir — I have the honor to forward to your office, 
for the information of the president, abstracts of the 
record of the military commission convened in this de- 
partment for the trial of Samuel O. Berry, citizen, and 
the order approving the findings, and for his execution 
on the second day of March prox. Since the abrogation 
of martial law, it may well be doubted whether a de- 
partment commander has the authority to order the exe- 
cution of this sentence. I have the honor to request the 
order and direction of the president in the premises. 


"John M. Palmer. 

"Louisville, Ky., February 15, 1866.''' 

I had, on February 2, 1866, reported to the adjutant- 
general of United States Army the papers in the case of 
Jim Davis, and called the attention of the secretary of 
war and that of the president to his case. "Davis is 
beyond question one of the worst men which the troubles 
in this state have brought into notice, as will be seen 
by the inspection of the record of his case now in the 
bureau of military justice ; was tried before an able and 
impartial military commission, and sentenced to death, 
but, upon the application of friends, was respited in- 
definitely by the order of the president. ' ' "The evidence 
in the case of 'One-armed Berry,' a notorious guerrilla 
now on trial here, connects him with many crimes, in- 
cluding murder. Davis has been many months in prison 
here, and is so still. I have the honor to request that 
some final order be made respecting him, and if his sen- 
tence be commuted to imprisonment, that he be confined 
in some other state. I think the courts here will dis- 
charge all military prisoners, even those confined in the 
penitentiary of the state under sentence, as soon as the 
writ of habeas corpus be restored.' 1 


I had approved the sentence of Samuel 0. Berry by 
an order dated February 28, 1866, which directed his 
execution on the following Friday. On Monday preced- 
ing the Friday on which he was to be executed, two la- 
dies called upon me, and introduced themselves as Mrs. 
Smith and Miss Bailey, and requested to see Berry. I 
said to them: "Ladies, are you relatives of his?" 
They said they "were not." I answered : "I have a rule 
which I cannot violate ; that no one can see prisoners, 
who are under sentence of death, other than their rela- 
tives or clergymen." One of them said: "You make 
no difference on account of sex, do you?" And I asked : 
"Are you religious teachers?" They answered : "We 
are Spiritualists." I said to them: "Ladies, you will 
not tell the poor fellow that he will not be hanged on 
Friday, will you?" They said they would not. 

In the ["afternoon of the same day, they came to my 
headquarters, and told me they "had seen Berry's 
mother with a rainbow about her head, and that she had 
told them, and they told him, that he would not die on 
Friday." I replied: "Ladies, if anything in human 
affairs is certain, Berry will be hanged on Friday. I 
think you have treated me badly." On the Wednesday 
afterwards they returned and asked to see Berry. I re- 
fused them, and they went away. 

Soon afterwards one of the guards of the prison came 
with a written request from Berry that he might be al- 
lowed to see Mrs. Smith and Miss Bailey. It seemed 
to me hard that he should not see them once more, and 
I consented. The ladies again called upon me, after 
seeing Berry, and told me again that he would not die. 

On February 21, 1866, an order was issued from the 
adjutant-general's office commuting the sentence of 
Harvey Welles, alias Wm. Henry, alias Jim Davis, to 
ten years' confinement at hard labor in the penitentiary 
at Albany, New York. 

Davis was a worse man than Berry ; I felt that he had 
owed the commutation of his sentence to the interfer- 


ence of influential friends, and was indignant that they 
should have arrested the sentence of death, for I felt 
that he deserved it. In consequence of the direction of 
the president the war department issued the following 
order : 

"General Court-Martial Order No. 21. Subject to the 
approval of President of the United States, the sentence 
of death in the case of Harvey Wells, alias Wra. Henry 
(who was convicted under the name of Jim Davis) , as 
promulgated in General Court-Martial Order No. 51, 
War Department, Adjutant-General's Office, Washing- 
ton, D. C, February 21, 1866, is commuted to ten years' 
confinement at hard labor in the penitentiary at Albany, 
New York." 

When I received the order commuting the sentence of 
Davis, I issued the following order : 

"General Court-Martial Order No. 19, February 28, 
1866, from these headquarters, is hereby revoked. 
Subject to the approval of the President of the United 
States, the sentence of death in the case of Samuel 0. 
Berry, as promulgated in General Court-Martial Order 
No. 11, February 10, 1866, from these headquarters, is 
commuted to ten years' confinement at hard labor in the 
penitentiary at Albany, New York. By command of 

"General John M. Palmer, 

"E. B. Harlan, Captain and A. A. G." 

And I sent by the same guard both prisoners to the 
Clinton prison, at Albany, New York. I had not the 
slightest purpose of saving Berry until I received the 
order commuting the sentence of Davis. I felt that both 
of them deserved death. The spiritualist ladies, Mrs. 
Smith and Miss Bailey, called upon me after I had com- 
muted the sentence of Berry, and were kind enough to 
say to me that "the spirits knew much more than I did,', 
and the spiritualistic circles about Louisville were greatly 
confirmed by the incident I have before mentioned. 


Another incident, which occurred in Kentucky, may 
illustrate the swaggering ways of the guerrillas, and 
the dread which the people felt for them. It was re- 
ported to me that a man living on the Bardstown road 
was feeding guerrillas, and I instructed Captain George 
Green, chief of my defective force, to arrest him the first 
time he came into the city. 

He was arrested and brought before me. I said to 
him : "Doctor," for he was a physician, "I understand 
that you have been harboring and feeding guerrillas." 
He replied : "Yes, I fed Captain Marion, as he called 
himself, and four or five of his men, on the Fourth of 
July." I said: "Well, you have confessed the charge, 
and I will order you to the military prison." He said : 
"General, let me tell you the circumstances: I live on 
the big road, and have a lawn in front of my house, and 
on the Fourth of July, 'Captain Marion' opened my front 
gate, rode up to the house, and said : 'We want dinner.' 
I said to him : 'My wife and I are the only persons at 
home ; the servants have all gone to a Fourth of July, 
and my wife is not in the habit of cooking, and I hope 
you will excuse me.' Captain Marion said, 'We want 
dinner, and we want it quick,' with an oath. I said, 
'Gentlemen, light, and come in, we will do the best we 
can for you.' They then asked, 'Can you feed our 
horses?' I answered, 'If you will take your horses 
around to the stable, there is plenty of corn and fod- 
der, you are welcome to do so.' His reply was, 'Bring 
the corn and fodder around here, take off the bridles, 
and feed them on the grass.' I did so. My wife when 
she has a mind to be so is a good cook, and got dinner 
for them in a hurry ; I dont think she would have done 
it for you. When the gentlemen sat down to dinner 
Captain Marion said, 'Have you anything to drink?' 
and I said, 'Well, my wife has a few bottles of native 
wine that she made herself, but she is stingy of it.' He 
said, 'Bring me a bottle of it,' and struck off the neck 
of it with a bowie knife. Then said, 'It's pretty good, 


let's have two or three bottles of it.' After they had 
dined the captain said, 'Have you any cigars, bring 
them along.' And I said, 'Gentlemen, I have a few in 
a box.' He approved them, and said, 'Boys lets take 
three or four of them,' and they did so. When they 
mounted their horses on going away the captain said, 
'If you tell the Yankees that you have seen us we 
will come back and burn your house.' " The doctor's 
manner was so sincere that I believed every word he 
said, and told him that I would have fed the guerrillas 
myself under similar circumstances. The doctor did 
not go to prison. 

I tendered my resignation as major-general of volun- 
teers on February 19, 1866, and asked to be relieved 
from the command of the Department of Kentucky on 
April 1, 1866. When relieved of the command of the 
department, I returned to my home at Carlinville, Illi- 
nois, and soon afterwards formed a partnership with 
Mr. Milton Hay, of Springfield, in the practice of law. 
When I retired from the army I found that Dr. Ben- 
jamin F. Stevenson, who resided in Springfield at the 
time, was engaged in the preparation of a ritual for an 
organization which he proposed to call the "Grand 
Army of the Republic," to be composed of soldiers of 
the civil war. The plan of such an organization met 
with favor from all the military people of the city, and 
it at once became popular. It seems that Dr. Steven- 
son, in conjunction with Chaplain William J. Rutledge, 
had conceived the plan of organizing the honorably dis- 
charged soldiers into a society, and as both had be- 
longed to the 14th Illinois Infantry, Dr. Stevenson as 
surgeon and Mr. Rutledge as chaplain, I was consulted 
about the ritual and approved it. 

On July 1, 1866, while engaged in a trial in the Cir- 
cuit Court of the United States I was peremptorily or- 
dered to Washington by Mr. Stanton, secretary of war. 
Upon arriving at Washington, I was ordered to pro- 
ceed to Raleigh, North Carolina, to preside at a court 

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martial for the trial of the officers of the Freedinan's 

I spent the Fourth of July at Richmond, Virginia, 
and witnessed the rejoicing of the late slaves over their 
emancipation. I took the cars next morning and ar- 
rived at Raleigh the same evening, where I organized 
the court and proceeded to business. 

On the 12th of July, during my absence from home, I 
was elected commander of the new organization, and was 
informed of my election while at Raleigh by a letter 
from Governor Oglesby, who was connected with the or- 

I was much disappointed over the non-acceptance of 
my resignation by the secretary of war, but Mr. Stanton 
informed me that he had kept me, an officer of rank, for 
court martial purposes, but if I would go to Nashville, 
Tennessee, he would accept my resignation on the first 
of September. 

While in Washington, upon my return, I called upon 
General Grant, who was in command of the army, and 
he offered to recommend me for an appointment in the 
regular army as brigadier-general, which I declined, 
telling him that I would rather be a police magistrate 
of the town in which I lived than a brigadier general in 
time of peace ; but I told him that I would give him ten 
thousand dollars for his first year's salary as president 
of the United States. He also declined my offer, the 
salary was then twenty-five thousand dollars a year. 
On my return to Illinois, I resumed the practice of law 
with Mr. Hay, and in April, 1867, removed my family 
to Springfield, where I have resided ever since. 

In November, 1868, I was elected governor of Illinois, 
which dissolved my partnership with Mr. Hay. Our 
partnership was a most agreeable and profitable one. 
He was a great lawyer and an honest man ; Ins logical 
power was unsurpassed by any one with whom I have 
ever been associated. We tried many causes of great 



Inaugural address — Condition of the times— Charge in situation of 
North and South — Democratic party — Railway corporations — Gov- 
ernor Oglesby— Public schools— Incorporation laws— Vetoes— Local 
taxation — Lake-front bill and veto. 

I am now about to enter upon a period of my life 
which is so near to the present time that I will not be 
able, with a just regard for the feelings of some who are 
living, or to the memory of the dead, to write with the 
same freedom that I have felt in the narration of the 
events less known, or that occurred before and at a more 
distant point of time. 

I had been elected to the office of governor of the State 
of Illinois at the preceding state election, by a majority 
so large that I could not doubt but that I had the per- 
sonal confidence and respect of the people of the state. 
I had lived in Illinois since my boyhood and watched its 
advance in population, in wealth and intelligence ; still, 
it was not the Illinois I had known from 1831, until I left 
the state with my regiment, in 1861. From 1831, until the 
time I have mentioned, the people were poor, but con- 
tented ; and, though property was of small value in the 
currency which was supplied by local banks of this and 
other states, the people of Illinois were practically without 
money. I remember that when I left home for the army 
I had in the bank at Carlinville, where I lived, nearly 
three hundred dollars in gold ; it was worth some one 
hundred and twenty, and rose to two hundred and forty, 
as compared with the bills of the banks and the govern- 
ment issues, which were called "greenbacks." 

I had left home in May, 1861, with about seventy-five 
dollars of the bills of the banks organized under the state 
laws. I had ordered a uniform at Jacksonville, after I 
took command of my regiment, at a cost of some forty 


dollars ; in a night, the bills became so depreciated that 
they were not worth the price of the uniform. At the 
time of my leaving home for the army, the Rebels were 
exhibiting great activity, and, in the minds of many 
thoughtful men, the Southern Confederacy was already 
established and the Union dissolved. I did not myself 
feel the greatest confidence in the ultimate success of our 
intended efforts to suppress the rebellion. The indiffer- 
ence of many and hostility of some of my acquaintances 
made me apprehensive that, before the struggle would 
end, even Illinois might be the theater of civil conflict. 
But, now that the war was over, all its just objects were 
accomplished, and the Rebels had submitted to the Union 
army and slavery was abolished, it seemed to me that 
the country should henceforth be governed by the prin- 
ciples of the federal and state constitutions, and that the 
rules of orderly and good government should again pre- 
vail. I have no doubt but that, in point of sentiment, 
the feeling in that direction was general ; but, as a mat- 
ter of fact, there was then no organized public opinion 
capable of demanding the return to constitutional gov- 
ernment, or a return to the habits of economy and hon- 
esty which, up to the beginning of the civil war, charac- 
terized the American peojxle. 

There was at the same time a complete change in po- 
litical, social and financial power between the two sec- 
tions of the Union. Before the war, the "South" dom- 
inated the government, and its social ideas influenced all 
sections of the Union. Its condition was now changed ; 
its power was overthrown ; its people were humbled by 
defeat, and were humiliated by poverty ; its political 
ideas were odious, while the North had in turn become 
prosperous and arrogant. The people of the Northern 
states, feeling that they were in possession of the Federal 
government, feared nothing for themselves and regard- 
less of the facts of history, that "precedents of despot- 
ism become public law and in progress of time are turned 
against the authors." 


When I speak of the eagerness of the people to employ- 
despotic measures against the people of the subjugated 
states, I, of course, refer to the dominant element of the 
Republican party ; the Democratic party, which then 
represented only a minority in the Northern states, was 
disorganized, and had neither the resolution nor the force 
to resist the obvious tendency of the radical Republican 
party policy. 

As I have elsewhere stated, the Democratic party was 
placed in a false political position by the fatal mistake 
of Douglas, in his attempt to repeal the Missouri Com- 
promise. He mistook the state of public sentiment in 
both sections of the Union. 

The feeling of hostility to slavery in the free states, 
which had been so long repressed, upon the repeal of the 
compromise of 1820, burst forth with a vehemence that 
astounded the country, while the pro-slavery sentiment 
which then controlled the politics of the South, blind to 
the future, became more exacting and defiant. The 
Northern Democracy suddenly found itself between two 
determined forces, and vainly attempted to find some 
common- ground of compromise. 

Mr. Douglas attempted to interpose between the ex- 
asperated parties the specious theory of popular sov- 
ereignty, as applied to the territories. Popular sov- 
ereignty, as interpreted by Mr. Douglas, proposed that 
the people who settled the new territories, should at 
some time settle the question of the entrance of slavery, 
for themselves, but, in the meantime, it conceded the 
right of citizens of all the states to remove into the new 
territories, and carry with them their property and hold 
slaves, if slavery was lawful in the states of their former 
residence. He claimed, that notwithstanding the immi- 
grants to the territories from slave states had the right 
to remove to the territories with their slaves, and hold 
them there as slaves, and the settlers would have no 
constitutional right to prohibit slavery, still they might 
in effect repel slavery by "unfriendly legislation." The 


theory of Mr. Douglas was no doubt unsound in prin- 
ciple and incapable of practical application. It was de- 
nounced by the radical parties of both sections, and the 
election of Mr. Lincoln in 1860, left the Democratic 
party in the North without rallying principle, and com- 
pletely helpless. To add to the difficulties of the Demo- 
cratic situation, it was the misfortune of the party, that 
in the presidential canvass of 1S68, it had, in violation 
of its traditional principles, committed itself to the plan 
of discharging the national debt in legal tender treasury 
notes, to be issued by the treasury of the United States 
for that purpose. It proposed to impose taxes upon the 
bonds issued by the United States, either to borrow 
money for the purposes of war, or to fund the issues of 
depreciated legal tender notes. This measure, which was 
a violation alike of the public faith and of sound financial 
policy, had, in the public judgment, something of the 
appearance of repudiation. 

Under those circumstances I saw but little prospect of 
support in any effort I might make in the direction of 
recovering for the state its former dignified relation to 
the government of the Union, but at the same time I 
was so well convinced, both by reasonings that seemed 
to be unanswerable, as well as by the experience of all 
ages, that unless the principle that the states are sov- 
ereign within their sphere, and that their rightful pow- 
ers are original and inherent and their exercise is in no 
sense dependent upon the consent of the federal govern- 
ment — I determined to assert these propositions in my 
inaugural address. 

The subject of the proper government of railway cor- 
porations at the time occupied a large share of public at- 
tention. The projectors of railways had in many in- 
stances taken advantage of the eagerness of the inhabit- 
ants of many of the counties, cities and towns of the 
state, to obtain the facilities which they expected from 
the construction of railways, and had obtained large 
local subscriptions to their capital stock which in some 


cases was wasted, or lost by bad and reckless manage- 
ment, and donations were made by municipal bodies 
directly to such corporations, in aid of the construction 
of their roads, until there was, in fact, but few import- 
ant points in the state not touched by railroads which 
connected them with the important markets of the 
country ; and many other roads were contemplated, which 
projectors really intended to construct at the expense of 
the localities interested, and their disregard of the claims 
of the local bodies, and by some device deprive them of 
all interest in the railroads, which were in fact built with 
the money they had furnished. 

The railway corporations had obtained liberal charters 
from the legislatures, which included, among other 
powers, that of fixing the rates to be charged for 
their service as carriers. They claimed that in that and 
in some other important respects, their powers were ab- 
solute and uncontrollable by any or all the departments 
of the state government; and in support of that claim, 
they insisted that all the provisions of their charter were 
contracts with the state, and then, relying upon the cele- 
brated Dartmouth College case, they could not be impaired 
by state action. 

I determined that I would in my inaugural insist upon 
the right of the state to regulate and control such cor- 
porations, and in that way bring to the attention of the 
legislature, and the people, my own opinions upon the 
power of the states with respect to corporations created 
by their own authority, and also repeat and vindicate 
the theory of the inherent, independent and indestruct- 
ible nature of the powers of the states. 

I assumed the duties of the office of governor of Illi- 
nois on January 11, 1869, and delivered my inaugural 
address in the presence of both houses of the general as- 
sembly in the hall of the house of representatives. It 
was to me a source of peculiar pleasure that the oath of 
office was administered to me by Hon. Sidney Breese, 


then chief justice of the supreme court of the state, and 
for whom I have already expressed such regard. 

In my inaugural, it was but natural that I should re- 
fer in complimentary terms to my retiring predecessor, 
Governor Oglesby. 

Our friendship, which commenced in 1858, had been 
intimate and close, and his message, which had been 
transmitted to the legislature at the beginning of the 
session, covered the whole ground of executive duty. 

I said: "I cannot better discharge my duty to the 
people than by urging upon your attention the informa- 
tion and the measures recommended by the experienced 
and patriotic statesman who now retires from the execu- 
tive office which he has filled with such advantage and 
credit to the state." I also alluded with satisfaction 
to the large reduction and the prospect of an early ex- 
tinguishment of the state debt, and said : "The greater 
part of which was contracted many years ago, and for 
objects that totally failed of advantage, is now nearly ex- 
tinguished. It is to the lasting honor of our people that 
they have not permitted their integrity or good faith to 
be doubted, and now that the debt is almost discharged, 
we may profit by the experience of the past, and avoid 
impossible burdens upon those who will succeed us." 

"It cannot be too often repeated that the proper policy 
of states, as well as individuals, is best expressed in the 
maxim, 'pay as you go.' Loans or other methods of an- 
ticipating the public revenues are deceptive, and in 
practice burdensome and oppressive. By this means, 
the actual expenses of the government are successfully 
concealed from the people, and their consent obtained 
to enterprises of such doubtful propriety that they would 
have been promptly rejected by them, if they had been 
submitted with a proposition to raise at once by taxation 
the money needed to insure their success." 

I alluded, in terms of the highest approbation, to our 
system of public schools and to our benevolent estab- 
lishments, and, aware of the possibility of their man- 


agement, I urged upon the legislature the duty of sub- 
jecting them to the strictest and most searching in- 
vestigation. I alluded to the jealousy of the framers of 
the constitution of 1847, of corporations, and mentioned 
the fact that special legislation was then regarded as 
anti-republican and dangerous to the liberties of the 
people, and said: "It would be an interesting and in- 
structive employment to investigate the extent and 
variety of the objects for which incorporations have 
been created by special laws, and of the powers conferred 
upon them. It is enough, for illustration, to say that to 
meet the demands of this interest, many of them are 
exempted from the operations of the general laws of the 
state, those, too, most useful and necessary. Others 
are protected by special statutes bristling with pen- 
alties. . . . As it is at present, citizens engaged in 
the ordinary pursuits of business are sometimes startled 
to find themselves in competition with corporations 
possessed of large capital, who are relieved by one class 
of laws from burdens which they must bear, and aided 
by legislation from which they can derive no bene- 
fit." . . . "It certainly will not be regarded by the 
general assembly of the State of Illinois unreasonable 
to claim for every citizen of the state equality before 
the law. To secure this, it is, in my judgment, of great 
importance, that the general incorporation laws now in 
force can be revised and others enacted at an early day, 
not only that the policy of the state may be carefully set- 
tled with respect to the objects for which corporations 
will be permitted, but the powers of all of each class 
may be well defined and equal. And such general acts 
should repeal everything in any special law contrary to 
this provision." 

In speaking of the railroad corporations, I said: "It 
cannot have escaped the attention of the general assem- 
bly, that the people expect that more than ordinary at- 
tention will be given at the present session to the ad- 
justment of many questions which grow out of the rela- 


tious of railroads to the business of the people of the 
state," and added what I then and now believe to be 
true : "It is not certain that all real grievances of this 
kind may not be amply redressed by the proper applica- 
tion and enforcement of existing laws." I then asserted 
that the right of the railroad corporations to carry pas- 
sengers and freight was incidental to their right to con- 
struct and operate their roads, but I added : "Fixed tolls 
are permitted, not to authorize unreasonable rates to be 
demanded, but that reasonable charges may be con- 
veniently ascertained and collected, while the whole 
matter must, in the nature of things, be subject to the 
final control of the state." 

But that part of the inaugural address which excited 
most comment, and from many of my political friends 
most censure, was that "one of the most unhappy results 
of the great conflict through which the nation has just 
passed, is the confusion produced in the public mind, 
as to the relative powers and duties of the national and 
state governments. 

During the war for the overthrow of the most ex- 
tensive and completely organized rebellion which is 
known to history, the powers of the national govern- 
ment, and the people who adhered to it, were tested to 
the utmost. It was natural and proper that under the 
stress of the contest the people, in view of the para- 
mount interests involved, should disregard what were in 
comparison mere forms, and demand of the national 
government the exercise of every power which could be 
employed for the attainment of the objects of the strug- 
gle. Now that the war is ended, and all proper objects 
attained, the public welfare demands a recurrence to the 
true principles that underlie our system of government, 
and one of the best established and most distinctly 
recognized of these is, that the federal government is 
one of enumerated and limited powers. It is one of the 
enumerated powers of the federal government to regu- 
late commerce amongst the several states, . . . and 


from this grant of power an attempt is made to infer 
that of creating corporations, with the power to enter 
any of the states, take private property for public uses, 
and prosecute corporate enterprises, regardless of state 

The correctness of this inference is not admitted, but 
if it was conceded to be just, in view of the embarrass- 
ments it would create, the power ought not to be exer- 
cised. Such corporations would embarrass the opera- 
tion of those already created by the states. They would 
be exempted from taxation by state authority ; in short, 
the state would have no power by taxation or otherwise 
to retard, impede, burden, or in any manner control the 
operations of such incorporations . It is essential to the use- 
fulness of the state governments that their just authority 
should be respected by that of the nation. Perhaps the 
expression which gave most offense to the radical lead- 
ers of the Republican party was that I said : "Already 
the authority of the states is, in a measure, paralyzed 
by a growing conviction that all their powers are in 
some sense derivative and subordinate, and not original 
and independent. 

"The state governments are a part of the American 
system of government ; they fill a well-defined place, 
and their full authority must be respected by the federal 
government, if it is expected that their laws will be 
obeyed." It was no part of my purpose, in the use of 
the language quoted from my inaugural address, to an- 
tagonize my party friends. I used the language of John 
Marshall, who had done more to give practical effect to 
the federal constitution than any, or all other persons, 
and I had spent more than five years of my life in as- 
serting and maintaining that the national constitution, 
and the laws made in pursuance thereof, were the su- 
preme law of the land, anything in the constitution or 
the laws of any one of the states to the contrary not- 
withstanding. I felt then, as I do now, that the civil 
war had not altered the constitution or enlarged the 


powers of the government created by the constitution, 
except to the extent of its express amendments. 

It ought to be taken into the account, that, from Feb- 
ruary 18, 1865, until about May 1, 18G6, I had com- 
manded the Department of Kentucky, under martial 
law, when the authority to the military commander was 
practically absolute. I know that I exercised the power 
with which I was intrusted with the single purpose of sup- 
pressing the crimes which attended and followed the civil 
war, and establishing peace and order in the department 
which was under my command ; still, under the anoma- 
lous circumstances which surrounded me, I was compelled 
to do many arbitrary things dictated by the necessities 
of the situation. 

I was, therefore, eager to re-establish and maintain 
orderly, constitutional government in Illinois, as well as 
elsewhere ; and I reassert, with emphasis, the principles 
which I regarded as essential to the maintenance of 
popular rights. It was then, as now, my belief that the 
powers of the states are original, and I intended to op- 
pose a belief, then much more prevalent than it is at 
present, that all political power ultimately resides in the 
government of the United States. 

My language excited some criticism, but, having 
taken my ground, I ignored what was said, with indif- 

I have elsewhere observed that the legislature, under 
the constitution of 1847, had gradually encroached upon 
the other departments of the government, until it had 
become the supreme power in the state. 

Under the constitution of 1818, the veto was lodged 
with the governor and the judges of the supreme court 
as a council of revision, but a majority of the members 
elected to the two houses respectively could pass a bill, 
notwithstanding the objections of the council. 

The constitution of 1848 gave to the governor alone 
all the powers of the council of revision, but it provided 
that a majority of the members elected to the senate and 


house of representatives could pass a bill, notwithstand- 
ing the objections of the governor. 

In my inaugural address, I referred to special legis- 
lation as one of the evils of the times ; I said : "It was 
the expectation of the framers of the constitution that 
liberal laws would be adopted by the general assembly 
of the state under which incorporation for all useful ob- 
jects could be formed — with uniform, adequate, well-reg- 
ulated powers ; and it was reasonable to suppose that 
the general assembly, in digesting a system, would be 
careful to impose such proper and reasonable limitation 
upon corporations as would effectually secure the rights 
of the people. 

"It has been impossible to sufficiently attend to these 
special considerations in the thousands of special laws 
with which our session volumes are enlarged beyond all 
former precedents." 

The session of 1869 went beyond all of its predeces- 
sors in the matter of special legislation. Three ponder- 
ous volumes of twenty-eight hundred pages were neces- 
sary for the publication of its special laws, while a book 
of but four hundred and eighty pages contains all that 
can be called general legislation. Acting upon my own 
views of the duty of the legislature to observe the rules 
prescribed by the constitution, I was compelled, during 
the session, to return to the house, in which bills orig- 
inated, a large number of bills which were violations of 
some of its plainest provisions. One of the first bills 
to which I refused my assent was "An act to authorize 
the city of Bloomington to issue its bonds and levy a tax 
for the purpose of paying for the grounds purchased in 
said city by the Chicago and Alton Railroad Company 
for its machine shops." It appeared that, some time 
before the passage of the bill, Judge Davis and some 
other citizens of Bloomington had promised that, if the 
railroad company would buy the necessary land and 
locate the shops in Bloomington, the city should repay 
the cost of the land to the company, with ten per cent 


interest. The bill required an issue of the bonds of the 
city and the taxation of the people to pay the sura of 
$50,000, which was the alleged cost of the lands bought 
by the railroad company for its own purposes, with the 
interest thereon. I refused to approve the measure upon 
the ground that the legislature had no constitutional 
power to compel the people of Bloomington to submit to 
a tax to raise money for these, which I held to be purely 
for private purposes. 

The bill was passed, notwithstanding my objections, 
and was followed by other bills of like character, amongst 
others, "An act to legalize the issuing of bonds by the 
city of Kankakee to aid the "Douglas Linen Company," 
"an act authorizing the city of Canton to subscribe to 
the stock of a hotel company," "an act to authorize the 
city of Shelbyville to raise money by a special tax to 
invest in the bonds of the SheuVyville Coal Company." 
Other bills of a like character were passed, from which 
I was compelled to withhold my approval. 

One of the bills passed by that legislature was en- 
titled "an act to amend the charter of the town of Gol- 
conda," one of the sections of which imposed a penalty 
of one dollar per day upon each person bound to labor 
upon the streets of the town, and made the neglect or 
refusal to pay the fine a misdemeanor, and subjected the 
defendant to an indictment, and upon conviction to a 
fine of not less than ten dollars and imprisonment in 
the county jail for not more than thirty days. I said 
in my veto message that "the bill is contrary to the 
principle of humanity and justice, and makes no distinc- 
tion between poverty and inability to pay and willful 
disregard to duty." 

Perhaps my message of April 14, 1869, returning a 
number of bills to the senate, with my objections, will 
afford the best proof of the recklessness of the legis- 
lature . 

"Senate bill No. 652," "an act in relation to the 
Hamilton, Lacon and Eastern R. R. Co. and the local 


taxes thereon in the counties of Livingstone, Lasalle and 
Marshall." I said in my message, "This bill provides 
that all the property, real and personal, belonging to 
the corporations named in the title shall be taxed in the 
same proportion as other property in the counties, towns, 
cities, townships and districts through which said road 
may pass, and all taxes so levied, except state taxes, 
shall be paid by the said railroad company on the entire 
line of road direct to the counties, cities, towns and town- 
ships which shall have subscribed to the capital stock of 
said company in proportion to the amount they may 
have severally subscribed." I said, "It is not com- 
petent, in my opinion, for the general assembly to 
apply local taxes levied by the authority of counties 
and other municipal corporations upon property within 
their corporate limits to the use of other counties and 
corporations. No principle is plainer and better settled 
than that taxes cannot be levied upon the property of 
one local corporation for the benefit of another." In 
reference to "Senate bill No. 485," "an act to make 
township 17, range 10 west, to subscribe to the capital 
stock of the Peoria, Pekin and Jacksonville Railroad 
Co.," I said, "The object of this bill is to authorize the 
inhabitants of a congressional township, in a county not 
under township organization, to subscribe to the capital 
stock of the corporation named in the title of this bill. 
This township has no municipal organization, no official 
machinery by which it can do the act proposed. By 
itself it has no powers and owes no duties of a municipal 
character, and with respect to public enterprises like 
this, its inhabitants are mere private persons and cannot 
be compelled to take stock in a railroad company ; can- 
not be separated from the county, make contracts, or be 
subjected to taxation, nor can the majority bind the 
minority, or charge their property for railroad pur- 
poses." Senate bill No. 479, "A bill for an act to in- 
corporate the Peninsula Real Estate and Loan Com- 
pany." I said, in my veto message, "This corporation 


is created to buy and sell lands and speculate gen- 

"Senate bill No. 219, an act to amend an act entitled 
an act relating to county and city debts and provide for 
the payment thereof by taxation in such counties and 
cities, approved February 13, 1865." This bill is of so 
much importance, being one of a class having for their 
ultimate object to fix upon the state the responsibility 
of providing for the payment of local debts, that it de- 
serves the attentive reconsideration of the general as- 
sembly. I return it that the responsibility of such a 
radical change in the relation of the state to the in- 
debtedness of counties and cities, may be assumed by the 
representatives of the people, if in their judgment such a 
change should be made. 

"Senate bill No. 391, an act to incorporate the Fair- 
field Real Estate and Land Company." This bill in- 
corporates an association for dealing in lands. "Senate 
bill No. 162, an act to amend an act entitled an act to 
incorporate the Cairo and St. Louis Railroad Company, 
approved February 16, 1865." "Section three of this bill 
proposes to authorize subscriptions by the trustees of 
schools in townships, in counties not under township 
organizations, to the capital stock of the company. For 
the reasons given for declining to sign Senate bill No. 
285, I withhold my signature from this." . . Senate 
bill No. 261, "an act to incorporate the Hilton Mining 
and Manufacturing Company." "The powers conferred 
upon the corporation created by this bill are enormous." 

Acts were laid before me for the incorporation of the 
towns of Bethalto and of Venice, in Madison county, and 
of the city of Aledo, in Mercer county. These bills ex- 
empted certain farm lands within the limits of the cor- 
porations from taxation for municipal purposes, which 
was in violation of the state constitution. It would be 
tedious even to give the titles of the many bills from 
which I was compelled to withhold my approval. Some 
of them, like the House bill No. 161, authorized parts of 


municipal townships to subscribe to the capital stock of 
a railway company. I quote from my veto message : 
"By the provisions of the first section of the second of 
said bills, the east half of the town of Fair Ridge, and 
west half of the town of Grand Rapids ... all that 
portion of the town of Rutland, lying in township thirty- 
five, north, range east of third principal meridian ; all 
that portion of the town of Lena, described as follows : 
the east half of township thirty-five north range, five 
east ... all that portion of the town of Aurora 
lying west of the east channel of Fox river ; all that por- 
tion of the town of Batavia lying east of the east chan- 
nel of Fox river, were authorized to subscribe to the 
capital stock of a railroad company ; such districts had 
no municipal organization, and were parts of author- 
ized and original townships." 

Of necessity, I disapproved all such bills, although 
some of them were passed notwithstanding objections. 
There were, however, two measures of far more import- 
ance than any of those to which I have referred ; the 
first of these originated in the house, and was entitled, 
"An act in relation to a portion of the submerged lands, 
and Lake Park grounds lying adjacent to the shore of 
Lake Michigan, on the eastern frontage of Chicago;" 
the other originated in the senate, and was entitled, 
"An act to fund and provide for paying the railroad 
debts of counties, townships, cities and towns." 

It may be said with truth, that after these measures 
appeared, they influenced, if they did not control, all 
the legislation of the session. The first of these meas- 
ures offered to confer upon the common council of the 
city of Chicago, three-fourths of the aldermen elect con- 
curring, full power and authoritiy to sell all the right, 
title and interest of the State of Illinois, in and to so 
much of fractional section fifteen in township 39 N. of 
range 14 E. of third principal meridian, in the city of 
Chicago, as is situated east of Michigan avenue, and 
north of Park Row, and south of the south line of Mon- 


roe street, and west of a Hue running parallel with and 
four hundred feet east of the west line of Michigan 
avenue, being a strip of land about three hundred and 
ten feet in width, and that contains about thirty-two 
acres, and to apply the proceeds of any sale that may 
be made of said land to the purchase and improvement 
of parks in each of the three divisions of that city, in 
proportions to be ascertained by means provided by the 
bill. The bill also offers to confirm the right of the 
Illinois Central Railroad Company, under the grant 
from the state in its charter, and under and by virtue of 
its appropriation, occupancy, use and control, and the 
riparian ownership incident to such grant, appropria- 
tion, occupancy, use and control, in and to the lands 
submerged, or otherwise lying east of the said line run- 
ning parallel with and four hundred feet east of the west 
line of Michigan avenue, in fractional sections ten and 
fifteen, township and range aforesaid ; and further offers 
to the Illinois Central Railroad Company, all the right and 
title of the State of Illinois in and to the submerged 
lands constituting the bed of Lake Michigan, and lying 
east of the tracks and breakwater of said company, for 
the distance of one mile, and between the south line of 
the south pier in Chicago harbor extended eastwardly, 
and a line extended eastwardly from the south line of 
lot twenty -one, south of, and near the round-house and 
machine shops of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, 
in fee forever, upon condition that the fee of the prop- 
erty thus granted shall be held by said company in per- 
petuity, and the further condition that all gross receipts 
from the use, profits, leases or otherwise of said lands, or 
the improvements thereon, shall form a part of the gross 
proceeds, receipts and income of the Illinois Central Rail- 
road Company, upon which said company shall forever 
pay into the state treasury, semi-annually, the per centum 
provided for in its charter, and upon the further pro- 
vision that nothing in the bill contained shall authorize 
obstructions to Chicago harbor or impair the public right 


of navigation, nor exempt the Illinois Central Railroad 
Company, its lessees or assigns, from any act of the 
general assembly which may hereafter be passed regu- 
lating the rates of wharfage and dockage to be charged 
in said harbor. 

The tract offered to the Illinois Central Railroad 
Company extends along the shore of the lake for a dis- 
tance of nine thousand five hundred and eighty feet, and 
contains a superficial area of about one thousand and 
fifty acres. In addition to the provisions of the bill al- 
ready stated, it offers all the right and title of the State 
of Illinois in and to the lands submerged or otherwise 
lying north of the south line of Monroe street, and south 
of the line of Randolph street, and between the east line 
of Michigan avenue and the track and roadway of the 
Illinois Central Railroad Company, and constituting 
parts of fractional sections ten and fifteen, before men- 
tioned, in fee to the Illinois Central Railroad Company, 
the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company 
and the Michigan Central Railroad Company, their suc- 
cessors and assigns, for the erection thereon of a passen- 
ger depot, and for such other purposes as the business of 
said companies may require, with the proviso that upon 
all the gross receipts of the Illinois Central Railroad 
Company from the leases of its interests of said grounds 
or improvements thereon or other uses of the same, the 
per centum provided for in the charter of said company 
shall be forever paid in conformity with the requirements 
of said charter ; and it is further provided, that in con- 
sideration of the grant to the Illinois Central, Chicago, 
Burlington and Quincy, and Michigan Central Railroad 
Companies of the land aforesaid, the said companies are 
required to pay to the city of Chicago the sum of eight 
thousand dollars, to be paid in quarterly installments as 
stated in the bill. 

This tract fronts on Michigan avenue for about the 
distance of thirteen hundred and thirty-two feet, and 


runs back to the track or roadway of the Illinois Cen- 
tral Railroad Company three hundred and ten feet. 

The bill, it will be observed, offers to the grantees of 
each of the parcels of property it describes a fee-simple 
title, and by implication asserts for the state a capacity 
to confer upon each of its proposed grantees the absolute 
ownership of the property. 

The message then gave a history of the title of the 
State of Illinois to the lands granted to the railroads by 
the bill. It referred to the several acts of congress 
which granted certain of the public lands of the State of 
Illinois, in aid of the construction of a canal to unite the 
waters of the Illinois river with those of Lake Michigan, 
so that, by the approval of the president of the United 
States, fractional section fifteen, township thirty-nine, 
north of range fourteen, east of the third principal 
meridian, became the property of the State of Illinois for 
the purposes specified in the acts of congress dividing 
"the lands into lots, streets and alleys," and, on July 
20, 1836, filed a plat of the same as required by the act 
providing for recording of town plats. 

. . . The history of the tract of land described as 
a part of fractional section in township thirty-nine north 
range fourteen east is brief : The site of Fort Dear- 
born — it was separated from the bulk of the public lands 
of the United States by being reserved for military pur- 
poses. . . . Under the authority of the United 
States, it was laid out into blocks, lots, streets and pub- 
lic grounds as Fort Dearborn addition to the city of Chi- 
cago, and a map or plat of the addition was prepared, 
certified, and acknowledged and recorded in the recorder's 
office in Cook county on June 7, 1839, according to the 
laws of the state. 

On this map, the lands described as from Randolph 
street to the center of Madison street is delineated as an 
entire tract, and upon the map of the addition as re- 
corded is written, "Public ground, forever to remain free 
of buildings." 


"From the foregoing account, it will be seen by the 
acts of the United States, the proprietor of the south- 
west fractional quarter of section ten, and of the State 
of Illinois, which was in the same legal sense, the pro- 
prietor of fractional section fifteen, all of the lands de- 
scribed in the first and fourth sections of this bill, ex- 
tending from Randolph street, along lake shore to Park 
Row, were dedicated to public uses forever. . . . 
The State of Illinois and the United States, not as sov- 
ereign governments, but as the mere proprietors of lands 
to promote their own interests, in the sale of those lands, 
offered to the public, with their blocks and lots, the ad- 
vantages of streets and avenues, and by such offers they 
are bound forever. 

"But the effects of these acts of dedication by the State 
of Illinois and the United States, are different in respect 
to the subsequent power of either government over the 
dedicated property. 

"The State of Illinois, after it parted with its beneficial 
proprietary title to the land dedicated to public uses, re- 
tained all its political authority over it, with the power 
to control and dispose of it, if necessary, for proper 
uses. ... In this case, the United States, for a 
valuable consideration realized, in the form of an en- 
hanced price for the adjacent and abutting lands, di- 
vested itself of the title to the tract marked 'public 
grounds,' by a complete and irrevocable act of aliena- 
tion, and from that moment the dedicated lands became 
devoted to public uses, and like all other public property 
of the state, including that of section fifteen, dedicated 
by the canal commissioners, became subject to the para- 
mount authority of the State of Illinois, to control the 
property, or dispose of it, subject to the obligations of 
good faith and justice, that it shall not be devoted to a 
use substantially different from that to which it was dedi- 
cated. . . . The power of the general assembly as 
thus stated, in view of the fact that the town of Chicago, 
since these dedications were made, has become a great 


and flourishing city, filled to overflowing with a busy, 
industrious population, which, if gathered into these 
now straitened and confined public grounds, would per- 
haps cover every available foot within their boundaries, 
and that the commerce of thousands of miles of tributary 
country which centers there, is now clamoring foi- the 
whole lake front, from Randolph to Twelfth street, for 
its own useful, but unsightly purposes, may well be ex- 
ercised to authorize the sale of these public grounds for 
their value for commercial and business uses, and the 
appropriation of the money realized from such sales to 
the purchase and improvement of larger and more con- 
venient public grounds. . . . And the general assembly 
clearly appreciate the duty with respect to the property 
described in the first section of the bill, but in respect to 
that mentioned in the fourth section, one essential con- 
dition of the judicious and proper disposition of that 
portion of the public grounds which lie between the 
south line of Randolph street is, by the provisions of 
this bill, disregarded. The State of Illinois, in the ad- 
ministration of this trust, is bound by every considera- 
tion to exercise the utmost prudence and good faith ; and 
the obligations of prudence and good faith require that 
this property shall not be sold for less than its full 
market value. 

"By the provisions of the fourth section of the bill, the 
land described as lying north of the south line of Mon- 
roe street, and south of the south line of Randolph 
street, and between the east line of Michigan avenue, 
and the track and roadway of the Illinois Central Rail- 
road Company, is offered to the Illinois Central Railroad 
Company and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Rail- 
road Company in fee, and in consideration of such grant, 
the companies above named are required to pay to the 
city of Chicago the sum of eight hundred thousand dol- 
lars, payable in four equal installments, at three, six, 
nine and twelve months, from and after the passage of 
the act, to be applied to the park fund of the city ; but 


the sixth section of the bill authorizes the common coun- 
cil of the city to quitclaim and release to the railroad 
companies already mentioned, any and all claim and in- 
terest which the city may have in and upon said lands 
by virtue of improvements or otherwise, and in case the 
said common council shall refuse, for the space of four 
months, to quit and release the claims of the city to said 
lands, then the railroad companies are discharged from 
all obligation to pay the balance remaining to the city. 
I postpone the inquiry as to the true value of this prop- 
erty to consider this most extraordinary provision. 

"By the fourth section of the bill, the railroad compa- 
nies are absolutely and unconditionally invested with 
what is asserted in the bill to be a fee-simple title to all 
this property, to be paid for in quarterly installments of 
.two hundred thousand dollars, the second of which 
falls due six months after the passage of the bill ; 
but it is provided in the bill that if the common council 
shall not, within four months of the passage of the bill 
(and before the second installment falls due) , quitclaim 
and release all the title and interest of the city and to 
the property, then the said companies shall be discharged 
from all obligations to pay the balance then unpaid to 
said city. 

"By the bill the railroad company acquires a fee-simple 
title to the property. If the common council of the 
city, influenced by any motive whatever, shall decline 
for the space of four months to release and quitclaim the 
interests of the city, the said railroad companies are re- 
leased from the payment of three-fourths (six hundred 
thousand dollars) the consideration, and yet remain, 
without any further payment of the price stipulated, the 
owners in fee-simple of this valuable property forever. 
. As has been said, in reply to this, that if the 
authorities of the city of Chicago declined to release the 
title and interest of the city in the property, that title 
and interest will still remain in the city ; but if this bill 
effects what the State of Illinois professed by its language 


to be able to do, and which, upon incontrovertible prin- 
ciples it can do, invest the Illinois Central Railroad, and 
other companies, with the title to the property in fee, 
what benefit will the public use to which the land is dedi- 
cated, derive from the continued retention by the city of 
its barren and profitless claims? There can be no well- 
founded doubt but that this bill, if it becomes a law, 
will vest in the railroad companies perfect title to all the 
property described in the fourth section thereof, and I 
am well satisfied that this bill, on account of the pro- 
visions of the fifth and sixth sections already mentioned, 
ousht not to become a law. 

"As I have before said, it is an essential condition of any 
proper disposition of this property that its full value shall 
be realized, and be applied to the acquisition of other pub- 
lic grounds. I am assured by the highest authorities upon 
the subject of the value of real estate in the city of Chi- 
cago, that the property described in the fourth section of 
this bill, and offered by the terms of that section to the 
Illinois Central Railroad Company, the Chicago, Burling- 
ton and Quincy Railroad Company, and the Michigan 
Central Railroad Company in fee, the sum of eight hun- 
dred thousand dollars ($800,000) , has a market value of 
two million six hundred thousand dollars ($2,600,000) . 
"I have before me a communication from the board 
of public works of the city of Chicago, of date March 
2, 1869, addressed to the Hon. John B. Rice, mayor of 
the city, in which the following language occurs : 

" 'The value of the tract of land in question, that be- 
tween Randolph and Monroe streets, and between Michi- 
gan avenue and the Illinois Central Railroad, the board 
estimates at $2,600,000, as will be seen by the appended 
letter of several of the most prominent real estate deal- 
ers. This estimate is coincided with by them.' 

" . . . If the railroad companies named in the fourth 
and following sections of this bill require this property 
for the purpose of their business, under the circum- 
stances that it is no longer useful for the purposes of its 


original dedication, they ought to be permitted to take 
it upon the single condition of paying its fair market 
value. Such a proposition, coupled with the provision 
for the application of the proceeds to a use substantially 
the same as that contemplated in the original dedica- 
tion, will meet my approval. . . . The Illinois Cen- 
tral Railroad Company, under an arrangement with the 
common council of the city of Chicago, acquired by the 
right to lay down, construct, and maintain, within the 
limits of the city, and along the margin of Lake Michi- 
gan, within and adjacent to the same, a railroad, with 
one or more tracks. 

"By the ordinance of the city which conferred this 
privilege upon the Illinois Central Railroad Company, 
it was required to enter the city at or near the intersec- 
tion of its south boundary with Lake Michigan, and 
following the shore on or near the margin of the lake 
northerly to the southern bounds of the open space, 
known as Lake Park, in front of canal section fifteen, to 
such grounds as said company may acquire between 
Randolph street and the Chicago river. And the said 
company was further authorized to enter upon and use 
in perpetuity for its said line of road, and any other 
works necessary to protect the same from the lake, a 
width of three hundred feet from the southern boundary 
of said public grounds near Twelfth street to the north- 
ern line of Randolph street, the inner or west side of the 
grounds to be used by said company to be not less than 
four hundred feet east from the west line of Michigan 
avenue and parallel thereto ; and other privileges were 
conceded the Illinois Central Railroad Company by this 
ordinance that need not be particularly stated. . . 
That which is described in the last clause of the third 
section of this bill as 'the submerged lands constituting 
the bed of Lake Michigan/ and by that description 
granted, in fee, to the Illinois Central Railroad Com- 
pany, is indeed a part of the navigable waters of the 
lake. As I have stated, the superficial area of the tract 


embraced in the descriptive words of the section, is about 
one thousand and fifty acres, covered by the waters of 
the hike to an average depth of sixteen feet, but in fact 
varying from ten to twenty-four feet. 

"This tract is not 'land' in any technical sense, and 
has never been so treated by the United States or the 
State of Illinois. Like the soil beneath all navigable 
waters of the state, it belongs to the state as the sovereign, 
and does not pass by technical grant, but by law. 

"This being the character of the interest of the state in 
the bed of navigable waters, the land is held subservient 
to the public right of navigation, and any guarantee of 
the state must take subject to all such servitudes, and 
every use of the property must be consistent with, or if 
not subordinate to, public rights. 

"The importance of this property, in view of the uses 
to which it may and indeed must be devoted, cannot be 
easily estimated or overrated. Extending along the lake 
shore from the Chicago river for a distance of nearly two 
miles, and for a distance of one mile from the shore, it 
covers the great business center of the city. . . 
Upon the authority of a distinguished engineer, there 
is nothing in the condition of what are known as sub- 
merged lands, described in the first section of the bill, 
to oppose a serious difficulty to the construction of a 
harbor, and it is capable of being made to afford seventy 
thousand lineal feet of dock front, each foot of the front 
to have three hundred feet in depth, including land and 
water ; and it is probable that such property as this, with 
improvements that may be made at a cost of not exceed- 
ing two hundred dollars per front foot, including the ex- 
pense of a substantial sea wall, would, at an early day, 
equal in value the best of that description of property 
in Chicago, which has already reached one thousand 
dollars a front foot ; and much of it that has already 
reached that point is still advancing in market value. 

"There are, I repeat, at this time no means in exist- 
ence by which the value of this property can be fixed. 


while its commercial importance is equally difficult of 

". . . If these views are correct, then it becomes 
the more urgent duty of the general assembly to couple 
with any grant that is made to any parties, such restric- 
tions as will, as far as human foresight and prudence 
can, protect the rights of the state and relieve the com- 
merce that must pass through that channel from vexa- 
tious and oppressive burdens. 

"This bill does not sufficiently secure these objects. It 
does not require the Illinois Central Railroad to do any 
act or thing with respect to the improvement of these 
navigable waters ; but, worse than this, it deprives the 
State of Illinois hereafter insisting upon such improve- 

" . . . There should be a distinct provision in any 
bill granting this property to the Illinois Central Rail- 
road Company, that the property itself, and all the im- 
provements to be made thereon, should be subject to 
state and municipal taxation. 

". . . The public property proposed to be disposed 
of by this bill is of great value, and for myself I merely 
adopt and apply for my government the rules that I 
think would influence me if my duties with respect to 
this property were personal and not official : 

"1. That as the objects originally contemplated in the 
dedication of the property in sections ten and fifteen to 
public uses, in view of the altered condition of things, 
are no longer attainable by its specific use, it may and 
probably ought to be sold and the proceeds applied to ac- 
complish more effectually the purposes and objects to 
which it was dedicated. 

"2. That in any alienation of the property by the state 
or under its authority, its full and fair market value 
should be required to be paid by the purchaser. 

"3. That no 'rights' of the Illinois Central Railroad 
Company should be confirmed until fully defined and 


"4. That no grant shall be made of the submerged 
lands constituting the bed of Lake Michigan, which does 
not couple with the grant the condition that the work 
of improvement shall be commenced within reasonable 
time and prosecuted witli good faith so as to meet the 
fair demands of business. 

"5. That the right be reserved to the state, for the re- 
lief of commerce, to limit the net profits to be derived 
from any such works. 

"6. That the state shall be entitled to receive seven per 
cent of the gross receipts from the property granted and 
from all improvements thereon. 

"7. That the property shall be in all respects subject 
to taxation. 

"For want of essential provisions, and such details as 
would give them effect, I return this bill to the house of 
representatives without my approval." 

The legislature of 1871 had passed an act to author- 
ize the city of Quincy to create the indebtedness referred 
to in the twenty-fourth section of the schedule of the 
constitution, to provide for the payment thereof and 
validating acts of said city relating thereto, which au- 
thorize the city of Quincy to subscribe five hundred 
thousand dollars ($500,000) to the capital stock of the 
Quincy, Missouri, Pacific Railroad Company, which 
was a Missouri corporation, and the railroad was alto- 
gether in the State of Missouri, "for which I was com- 
pelled to withhold my approval. I said in my message, 
"the legal effect of the portion of the bill thus quoted is 
to authorize the city council of the city to raise by tax- 
ation on the property within that city five hundred 
thousand dollars ($500,000) to be paid over to an in- 
corporation created by the State of Missouri, to be ex- 
pended in the construction of a railroad in that state." 

"It seems to me that such a law is without a well-con- 
sidered precedent, unsound in principle and in conflict 
with the constitution of the State of Illinois. Taxes are 


charges or burdens imposed by the legislative power of 
a state, and in respect to taxation the powers of the gen- 
eral assembly are -subject only to the restriction con- 
tained in the constitution and to the fundamental rule 
that underlies all republican governments, that they 
shall be imposed only for public purposes, and though 
the lines that divide public purposes, for which taxes may 
be rightfully imposed from those of a private character 
for which taxation is forbidden, are often so indistinct 
or doubtful that the judicial department has generally 
felt bound to accept the decision of the legislature ; yet 
it is not necessary nor is it the duty of the governor, 
while in the exercise of his functions as an integral part 
of the legislative department of the state, under the 
constitution, to yield his own convictions upon the 
point of the true nature of a proposed tax to the views 
of the general assembly, as declared in a bill submitted 
to him for his approval. To him that question, as well 
as all others relating to the expediency or policy of any 
proposed law, is open ; and if he for any reason does 
not approve the bill he is forbidden to sign the same, but 
must return it to the house in which it originated with 
his objections. 

"The purpose for which it is proposed to impose this 
burden upon the inhabitants of Quincy is not public, 
when tested by the constitution of the State of Illinois 
or by the rules by which the true character of a tax is 
determined. Taxes for any general public purpose may 
be imposed by law upon the people of the whole state, 
but it is not within the power of the general assembly 
to impose the whole burden of a public duty upon any 
one — nor, indeed, upon any number — of its local sub- 

"If, then, it could be supposed to be the duty of the 
state to aid in the construction of public works within 
the limits of the State of Missouri, authorized by that 
state and carried on by its agencies, it would be necessary, 
under the constitution, that such aid should be afforded 


from the general treasury, upon terms to bo arranged 
and adjusted by the authorities of the respective states ; 
but under the provisions of this bill the people of one 
of the cities of this state are to be compelled to raise 
money by taxation, to be used by the agents of the State 
of Missouri in aid of a public work in that state. This 
burden is to be imposed upon the inhabitants of the city 
of Quincy by the general assembly of Illinois, without 
any provision for their rights or interests. 

"But it is necessary, in order to render an imposition 
upon one of the cities of the state a legal tax, not only 
that it should be for a public purpose, but it must be for 
a public corporate purpose. The objects and purposes 
for which 'municipal corporations' are created are so 
well understood, that no more precise statement of them 
is necessary than is implied in the very name that is em- 
ployed in the constitution to designate them ; and no 
taxes can be imposed exclusively upon property within 
their limits, except for purposes strictly local and cor- 
porate. The inhabitants of cities, considered as mem- 
bers of the state, or of the counties and townships in which 
such cities are situated, can only be taxed with and like 
other inhabitants of the state, or of the county, or of 
the township of which the city is a part, and for objects 
to which all other inhabitants of the same districts are 
bound to contribute ; but taxes can be imposed upon the 
inhabitants of cities, as such, for objects that concern 
the city alone ; and it is not one of the corporate duties 
of the city of Quincy to raise money by taxation to be 
paid to agencies created by the State of Missouri, to be 
employed in the construction of highways or railways in 
that state. 

"The construction of a railway in the State of Missouri 
is a duty external to the city of Quincy, and is not one 
of the purposes for which it was created, and it follows 
from this that the general assembly cannot compel the 
inhabitants of a city, or any of them, to contribute to 
such an enterprise. . . . The only answers that can be 


made to these objections, with even the semblance of 
plausibility, are : 

"First. That, under the twenty-fourth section of the 
schedule of the constitution, the power is reserved to the 
general assembly 'to authorize the city of Quincy to 
create any indebtedness for railroad or municipal pur- 
poses for which the people of said city shall have voted, 
and to which they shall have given by such vote their 
assent prior to December 13, 1869,' which power is de- 
fined, in the proviso to the section, to be 'an authority 
in the general assembly, under the present constitution, 
to authorize the city to contract the debts referred to as 
completely as the legislature could have done so under 
the constitution of 1848.' But the whole extent of the 
exception made by the twenty-fourth section of the 
schedule is, that the general assembly shall have power, 
with respect to the authorization of the debt, that was 
possessed by the general assembly under the old consti- 
tution. The exception operated, no doubt, to remove the 
particular debts beyond the effect of the provisions of the 
constitution that prohibit municipal corporations from 
taking stock in railroad incorporations, and that limit 
their power to contract debts, . . . but it does not 
extend beyond that point ; and cannot be relied upon to 
support a law that imposes a tax upon the people of 
Quincy that no legislature could or can pass ; nor will 
it justify a disregard of those provisions of the constitu- 
tion which prescribe the methods to be pursued by the 
general assembly in the matter of laws." 

The bill was passed, notwithstanding my objections, 
and I learned, in 1888, that they had completed the pay- 
ment of the debt. 

Before January 13, 1872, the legislature had passed 
a bill for "An act to regulate the manner of applying 
for reprieves, commutations and pardons," from which I 
was compelled to withhold my approval. 

In my message, I said : ". . . It will, no doubt, be 
admitted that it would be a fatal objection to any meas- 


ure intended to regulate the manner of applying for re- 
prieves, commutations and pardons, that its operations 
would be to restrict the power of the governor in the de- 
termination of questions confided to his discretion by 
the constitution, or that its effect would be to deprive 
persons of the power to make application to the gov- 
ernor. An act of the general assembly that prohibited 
all applications to the governor by persons convicted of 
crimes for a reprieve, commutation or pardon, would be 
palpably unconstitutional, and laws that imposed impos- 
sible conditions upon applicants would be equally objec- 
tionable ; and such, it appears to me, would be the effect 
of this bill if it becomes a law. The first section of the 
bill requires that every application to the governor of 
the state for a reprieve, commutation or pardon shall be 
by a petition in writing, and the second section directs 
that notice of such application be given to the state's 
attorney of the city or county where the offense was 
committed, at least three weeks before such application 
to the governor ; and it is made the duty of the state's 
attorney to give such notice to the parties interested in 
prosecuting said party committed. . . . The peni- 
tentiaries and jails are but miniature representations of 
the entire world, as they contain persons of advanced 
age and almost childish youth, and every grade of char- 
acter, shading away from the most intelligent, as well 
as the most hardened and atrocious, to mental feebleness 
that is scarcely capable of forming a criminal intention ; 
and the inmates of the penal institutions of the state are 
drawn from every station of life, and the conditions that 
surrounded them before conviction attended them there, 
and greatly influence the possibilities of pardon. 

"It is a fact that will be abundantly shown by an ex- 
amination of the files of the executive office, that to ap- 
plications made to the governor for the commutations of 
the sentence or the pardon of the most notorious crimi- 
nals that have ever been convicted of crimes, will be 
found the names of judges, senators, representatives and 


other eminent persons residing in this and other states. 
And applications of this class are pressed upon the 
governor, notwithstanding the person whose pardon is 
almost demanded by an array of powerful names, was 
defended on the trial that resulted in his conviction by 
the ablest counsel, and every means necessary to the 
the proper vindication of his alleged innocence was 
within easy reach. Persons of this class will be able 
without difficulty, to comply with any mere formal 
method of applying for pardon that may be prescribed 
by the general assembly. But many of the inmates of 
the penitentiary are obscure and poor, and ignorant and 
helpless, and their crimes have sprung from impulse, 
provocation, temptation, poverty, ignorance or inexperi- 
ence ; and in others the feeble and irresolute have been 
deliberately seduced to crime by artful and hardened of- 
fenders, who, when they themselves have been pursued, 
have surrendered their tools and victims as a means of 
providing their own escape. It is often the interest of 
parties who have for their own purposes secured the con- 
viction of the persons of the character described to em- 
harass every means the governor may employ to ascer- 
tain the facts of the case, and in many other cases, any- 
thing that tends to obstruct the way to the attention of 
the governor, is a real and often unsurmountable diffi- 
culty. It must be remembered that the offenses of many 
persons confined in the penitentiary are intimately re- 
lated to poverty, destitution and ignorance, and it must 
not be forgotten that the provision made by our laws for 
securing a fair and intelligent trial for the helpless, fee- 
ble poor, does no great credit to our judicial methods. 
Many of the class of convicts under consideration are 
without property and friends in this state, and others, al- 
most totally ignorant of the language in which the trial 
was conducted. To require of such persons the observ- 
ance of the form prescribed by the act, before the gov- 
ernor is allowed to consider the question of a pardon, 
would be to cut them off from all hope. 


". . . . the final, though essential act is that the 
state's attorney of the city or county where the offense is 
committed shall find the persons interested to oppose the 
application for pardon, and give them the notice pre- 
scribed by the bill. The theory of the bill is, that in 
every case of conviction and sentence for crime, there may 
be some persons interested in the prosecution of the of- 
fenders, but the fact is, that many convictions are had 
for offenses that affect no particular person, or so affect 
whole communities that it would be impossible for the 
state's attorneys to elect the persons who more than 
others could be said to be interested in the prosecution. 
In other cases, the offenses are against the property of 
corporationss such as railroad companies, banking and 
insurance companies, and the bills fail to indicate who, 
under such circumstances, the state's attorney shall 
notify as 'persons interested in the prosecution of said 
parties convicted.' ... It seems to me there are 
cases where public justice demands that the governor 
upon his own motion shall investigate and pardon of- 
fenders ; and perhaps after all that has been said upon 
the subject, the only security that can be found against 
abuses of the pardoning power is publicity, and the 
watchful criticism of the press and people." 



Mercantile Protective Company — Constitutional convention, 1S70 — De- 
tectives — Mobs— Bribes— Fees— Railroads— Eminent domain— Par- 
Jons — Talk to colored people of the seventh anniversary of eman- 
cipation — Address on the re-interment of Governor Bissell. 

The other bill, which was entitled "An act to fund 
and provide for paying the railroad debts, etc.," was in- 
tended to invite all the municipal organizations of the 
state to contract debts for the construction of railroads. 
It was declared to be unconstitutional by the supreme 
court, and its contents are therefore immaterial. It 
was passed, notwithstanding my veto, as was the "lake 
front" bill. 

There is still, however, another measure which I was 
compelled to veto, entitled, "An act to incorporate the 
'Mercantile Protective Company of Chicago.' I quote 
from my message : "I do not approve and sign this 
bill, because, in my opinion, the corporation proposed 
to be created to insure the safety of property against the 
depredations of 'thieves, robbers and burglars,' with 
the power to organize and uniform a force of watchmen, 
that 'all state, county and city officers shall be bound 
to respect,' ought not to be created. It is a reproach 
to the institutions of the country that the laws do not 
afford protection to the property of all the citizens, and 
if the laws are so imperfect or so inefficiently adminis- 
tered that the man who pays taxes to carry on his gov- 
ernment and pay its officers, is then compelled to resort to 
private corporations and their bands of organized watch- 
men for the safety of his property, 'we have fallen upon 
evil times.' This bill is contrary to public policy, for the 
reason that it affords another means for citizens to 
escape the discharge of the plainest and most imperative 


"The laws are sufficient for the protection of prop- 
erty, but the prevailing evil of the times is, that orderly, 
law-abiding citizens refuse to select good, honest and 
efficient officers ; they refuse to attend municipal or other 
elections for the choice of officers upon whose integrity 
and vigilance they must depend for safety against 
thieves, robbers and burglars, and permit the laws en- 
acted for their protection to remain unexecuted, and de- 
pend upon private organizations for security. 

"Every man will find safety in the laws (if they are 
enforced) and ought to depend upon them. They will 
be enforced if every citizen will do his duty. 
Believing that the principle of this bill is erroneous, 
that no encouragement should be offered to citizens of 
the state to neglect their duties, and that all private 
police organizations are corrupting in their tendencies 
and dangerous to every interest, I cannot approve this 

I particularly opposed monopolies, and vetoed a bill 
creating the "Massac Manufacturing Company." I 
said in my message : "House Bill No. 1414, being a 
bill for an act to incorporate the Massac Manufacturing 
Company, is herewith returned with my objections to 
the same. This bill contravenes in many of its pro- 
visions principles that I have been taught to believe to 
be of the greatest importance and value, and I will con- 
tent myself with enumerating them briefly, and referring 
to so much and to such provisions of the bill as will il- 
lustrate my meaning : 

"1. In every just and wise system of government, 
perpetuities are abhorred. It is now too late to eradicate 
them, for our volumes of statutes abound in acts of in- 
corporations that confer large powers that are of un- 
limited duration ; but I have found none that go quite as 
far as this in respects hereafter to be alluded to. This 
corporation is conceded 'perpetual existence and succes- 
sion,' and is upon that ground objectionable to me. 

"2. But it creates and confers upon the corporation 


such power as no government ought to confer upon any- 
body of men, and these powers, like the corporation 
itself, are to exist perpetually. 

"I ask attention to an extract from the bill: 'The 
capital stock of said corporation shall be one hundred 
thousand dollars. The capital stock of said company 
may be increased to any amount not exceeding one mil- 
lion dollars.' The object and business of said corpora- 
tion shall be the manufacturing of iron and all other met- 
als and combinations of metals now discovered or used, 
or which may hereafter be discovered ; and in order to 
transact the said business, the said corporation shall 
have power to make iron rails for railroads and to re- 
roll iron rails ; to mine for coal and iron, and other ore, 
to manufacture iron castings of every size and descrip- 
tion, and to carry on the foundry business in all its va- 
rious branches ; to manufacture plows, wagons and all 
other agricultural implements ; to establish and main- 
tain spoke, hub and felloe factories, and any other thing 
or machinery for working in wood and that the said 
corporation may determine to invest in ; to erect mills 
and machine-shops, and all other buildings that may be 
necessary to carry on their business ; to manufacture 
all kinds of machinery of every description, of what- 
ever nature ; and also to purchase any patent inventions 
of any kind, and to manufacture and sell the article, 
machine or other thing so patented (and the patent 
therefor purchased by the company) , and to hold, sell 
and convey any patent or patents of inventions pur- 
chased by said corporation in exchange for any prop- 
erty, real or personal, which property thus obtained may 
be held for the use and benefit of said corporation, or 
may be sold and conveyed as its by-laws may direct ; 
and said company is authorized to own, occupy and oper- 
ate one or more saw and planing-mills, for the sawing, 
dressing and cutting timber into boards for building 
purposes ; and may manufacture doors, sash, blinds, 
brackets, mouldings, frames or any other article manu- 


factured from lumber ; and may make shingles, and 
may use and employ any kind of machinery in and about 
their business, propelled by steam ; and they are fur- 
ther authorized to purchase or hold land, or other es- 
state, for the purpose of cutting therefrom timber and 
saw-logs, and sell said land and real estate ; and they are 
further authorized to establish one or more agencies for 
the sale of products of their mills or manufactories." 

It is thus seen, by the terms of this bill, this incorpo- 
ration is authorized to engage in almost every species 
of mechanical and manufacturing business ; may com- 
pete with everyone, and, if it means anything, may 
overthrow all the industry of its neighborhood, for 
while the humble mechanic engaged in the manufacture 
of plows or other of the simplest agricultural imple- 
ments must risk everything, the owners of the vast 
franchises created venture nothing but the capital stock 
invested, and if they successfully practice the devices 
sometimes employed that will be rather nominal than 


I said in regard to the "House Bill 213," a bill for 
an act to incorporate the Logan County Agricultural and 
Driving Park Association, and "House Bill 945," a bill 
for an act to incorporate the Massac County Agricultural 
and Fair Association : "I decline to sign these bills for 
reasons that are common to both. ... 3. The 
power to appoint police officers that are when appointed 
to have authority, without warrant or judicial order, to 
arrest citizens for acts done on their grounds, or within 
certain distances around them, in violation of their by- 
laws or the laws of the state, or to adopt by-laws — and 
in the case of one of them — resolutions imposing penal- 
ties that they are authorized to recover and appropriate 
to their own use. If these corporations were as nearly 
public as their names import, I would most earnestly 
insist that they should not be intrusted to pass laws un- 
der the name of by-laws — to the extent proposed by 
these bills — and that they should not have the power of 


appointing police officers with authority to arrest citi- 
zens without warrant. . . . Public and private 
rights are still too precious to be placed under the con- 
trol of private persons." 

My purpose in quoting from my messages, disapprov- 
ing these bills, is to show the recklessness of the legis- 
lature of 1869, and of the extreme care I was compelled 
to exercise. 

In the meantime, the Constitutional Convention of 
1870 enlarged the powers of the governor, so as to 
make his veto of the bill equivalent to two-thirds of 
both branches of the general assembly. 

On January 4, 1871, the legislature of the state again 
assembled, and it was my duty, under the constitution, 
to transmit to that body a message in writing. I did 
so. In that message I congratulated the general assem- 
bly upon the prosperity of the state, and that the 
laws for the preservation of peace and order have been 
in almost every instance faithfully executed. 

I said: "Amongst the exceptions to the general en- 
forcement of the laws of the state are several instances 
of outrages committed by mobs. On February 21, 1870, 
one Harrison Reed, who was charged with murder com- 
mitted in Madison county, was taken from the custody 
of an officer, who was conveying him to jail, and 


"On April 20, 1870, one Hank Leonard was forcibly 
taken from the jail of Marion county, and put to death 
under circumstances of peculiar atrocity. On April 16, 
1870, one Joseph C. Ramsey, while in the custody of an 
officer of Putnam county, who was conveying him to the 
county jail, was seized by a mob and hanged. 

"These cases were officially reported to me, and other 
instances of lawless violence have occurred in the state, 
in regard to which I have no official information. . . . 
The case of Reed is especially humiliating. He had es- 
caped from the state, and was arrested under the order of 
the governor of the State of Missouri, in consequence of a 


requisition made by me, and was murdered while in the 
custody of an officer of this state, who could not, or would 
not, protect him. 

"When the facts were fully investigated by me, I of- 
fered a reward of one thousand dollars for the apprehen- 
sion and conviction of the offenders in each of these 
cases, but no arrests have been reported to me. 

". . . In the cases mentioned, my powers are ex- t 
hausted, and the violators of the law are unpunished." 
I spoke of the new constitution, and said: "On July 
2, 1870, the people of the state expressed their approval 
of the constitution adopted by the convention assembled 
in this city, on December 13, 1869. This instrument, 
that was prepared with so much care by the intelligent, 
patriotic men who composed the convention, and that 
was adopted by the freemen of the state with a singular 
degree of unanimity, introduces many most salutary re- 
forms in the organic law. The constitution of 1848 was 
well suited to the times, and was adopted by the people, 
under circumstances of difficulty and embarrassment 
that we cannot now fully understand. 

"At that time, the state was overwhelmed by a debt, 
improvidently contracted, and that had wholly failed of 
benefit to the people ; property had but a nominal value ; 
the resources of the state were undeveloped, and but 
little understood, and immigration had almost ceased. 

"The constitution was the expression of the determi- 
nation of the people to meet every obligation, and to 
practice the most rigid economy until the claims of the 
public creditors were placed in a condition that would 
satisfy them. The purpose intended was accomplished, 
and the constitution of 1868 will be remembered as an 
example of courageous integrity to the enduring honor 
of the State of Illinois. . . . The public judgment 
is, that the constitution now in force is admirably framed 
to correct abuses that had grown up under the former 
system of government, and that, if its provisions are 
respected, it will secure to the state an efficient, econom- 


ical administration of its affairs, and fully protect every 
public and private right. But, as well founded as these 
expectations are, it will ever remain true, that a self- 
executing constitution has not been devised by human 
skill, and, if such an instrument could be created, it 
would be without value, for it is of the essence of a free 
government that it exists, and is preserved by the in- 
telligent assent and the active, vigilant, organized will of - 
a free people." 

"The forms of popular government may escape sub- 
version, but it will practically perish when the people 
are unable to confide in the integrity and wisdom of 
those whom they are compelled to entrust the execution 
of its powers, and, hence, the officer who justly forfeits 
the confidence of the people is as dangerous to the wel- 
fare of the state as if he had treacherously assailed its 
existence. . . . Indeed, all the laws of the state, in 
respect to elections, demand careful examination, with 
a view of such improvements as will render them a more 
complete protectioa to the purity of elections. . . . 
I am free to confess that no complete reform, with re- 
spect to this subject, can be expected, until public senti- 
ment shall concur with legal enactments, and make 
those who offer and those who receive bribes alike in- 
famous, . . . and provide that the use of corrupt 
means to secure an election, whenever discovered, shall 
work a forfeiture of the office, and also incapacitate both 
parties from voting or holding office thereafter in this 
state. I alluded to the apportionment for members of 
the legislature as provided in the thirteenth section of 
the schedule of the constitution. I said, in regard to 
the compensation of public officers that, 'I think it is 
proper to say that in my judgment every public of- 
ficer should be paid a fixed salary, and that the whole 
system of compensation by fees, to be collected from 
parties, or counties, or from the state, ought to be at 
once abolished. ... In addition to penalties to be 
imposed upon officers guilty of violations of such laws, 


I repeat the recommendation, that hereafter no fees or 
costs be taxed or allowed for the services of any public 
officer, but that whatever sum or sums it may be thought 
judicious to require to be paid by persons for the ser- 
vices of public officers, shall be deemed a tax, and be 
paid under suitable regulations into the proper treasury ; 
the fees of clerks and sheriffs heretofore charged against 
litigants can, by a proper classification, be commuted to 
a fixed sum, and paid into the county treasury, upon 
certificate of the clerk. A form of special tax, to be 
levied upon administrations and other matters within 
jurisdiction of the county court may be devised, while 
the tax imposed upon suits in the supreme court, may 
be paid into the state treasury.' " 

I referred in my message to the expenses of the gen- 
eral assembly, and said: "Unless great attention is 
given to the matter of the expenses of the legislature, 
the members will at the close of the session be surprised 
at the aggregate amount. The amended constitution 
provides that 'no money shall be drawn from the 
treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made 
by law, and that no money shall be diverted from an ap- 
propriation made for any purpose, or taken from any 
fund whatever, either by joint or separate resolution.' 
It will therefore be necessary for the general assembly to 
provide by law, for the necessary expenses of the ses- 
sion. . . ." 

With respect to special legislation, I said: "The ag- 
gregate number of bills introduced in both branches of 
the general assembly was two thousand, two hundred 
and seventy-eight. Of these upwards of fifteen hundred 
became laws ; and those that are special and local alone, 
are bound into three ponderous volumes that contain 
two thousand, eight hundred and forty-three printed 
pages. It is doubtful if any such mass of crude and 
dangerous legislation was ever inflicted upon any people." 

In regard to municipal legislation, I said, speaking of 
the statute then in force: "Many of its provisions are 


vague, and others unconstitutional, and the whole law 
is in my judgment wanting in that symmetry and com- 
pleteness which is essential to the usefulness of a statute 
that is to be the constitution of every municipal body in 
the state." 

With reference to railroad corporations, it was said in 
the message : "Every railway corporation organized or 
doing business in this state, under the laws or authority 
thereof, must maintain an office in this state for the 
transaction of its business. . . . The usefulness of 
railways and the extent of their beneficial influence upon 
the well being and prosperity of the country, are not de- 
nied. . . . But the duty and the power of the state 
to interfere for the effectual control of railway corpora- 
tions is disputed. Those who deny the necessity for 
state interference insist that all the evils of excessive 
tariffs and unjust discrimination for rates for transpor- 
tation, will be ultimately corrected by the competitions 
of different lines of railways, in their efforts to control 
the business. Competition is far more expensive than 
direct methods of legal control. The grossest oppressions 
that burden the people grow out of the fierce and ex- 
hausting railway competition at important points where 
their interests come in conflict ; and one of the strongest 
reasons for the interference of the legislature to control 
the management of railway lines is, that the burdens of 
the useless competition of different lines is thrown upon 
intermediate points where competition is impossible. 
Deprive railroad corporations of the power to impose dis- 
cretionary rates upon their traffic, and the business com- 
munity would suffer far less from the selfish contests of 
competing lines, that in their effect unsettle values, to 
the confusion of business and the disappointment of the 
most prudent commercial calculations. 

"... But the difficulties that occur to my 
mind, do not relate to the power of the state to enact 
and enforce proper laws, but they grow out of the com- 
plex nature of the subject. There are conflicting inter- 


ests to be reconciled and adjusted, and nothing within 
the sphere of governmental action requires more deli- 
cacy of management than what is termed railway prob- 
lems. . . . My apology for the extended discussion 
of this question is, that the people of the state in the 
adoption of the amended constitution have imposed upon 
the general assembly duties of the highest importance, 
and doubts as to the power of the state to control rail- 
ways have had and will have effect to produce timidity, 
hesitation and feebleness in its councils. 

"To maintain the usefulness of the state governments, 
it must be established that their powers are in no sense 
subordinate or dependent, but that, under our political 
system, the grasp of the states upon their own proper 
functions is as firm and uncontrollable as that of the 
government of the United States ; that each are essential 
parts of our admirable political system, and their orbits 
in that system being defined, they are each supreme 
and alike indestructible." 

With references to warehouses, I said, "that ware- 
housemen are like carriers, engaged in the public em- 
ployment, . . . and the magnitude of the task will 
be assumed by the state in attempting to subject rail- 
ways and warehouses, and the individuals and corpora- 
tions that own, operate and manage them, to that degree 
of legal regulation and control that is demanded by the 
public interests, rendering it necessary to create a board of 
commissioners, to whom the duty of enforctng such laws 
as may be enacted for that purpose may be confided, and 
the commissioners should be clothed with all the need- 
ful power, when the occasion demands, to compel sub- 
mission to the authority of the state." 

"I referred to the subject of 'eminent domain,' which 
involves the right of the state to take private property 
for pubic uses. . . . After adverting to the judiciary 
and criminal justice, of which I said, 'the employment 
of detectives, in aid of the enforcement of the laws, is 


painfully suggestive of a rapid approach to social and 
political helplessness, where the people, without confi- 
dence in the laws of the land or in the agents appointed 
to execute and enforce them, surround themselves with 
spies and eagerly await the coming of a master, who, by 
his own vigor, will give protection to their persons and 
property . ' 

"The recognized existence of a class of persons, self- 
appointed, who take no oaths and give no bonds to se- 
cure their fidelity to the laws, or to indemnify parties 
they may injure, whose authority to pursue, watch and 
arrest seems undefined, and whose jurisdiction is with- 
out boundary, is an anomaly in a land of law. If 
necessary, they should be licensed or commissioned and 
subjected to control ; if useless and mischievous, as I 
think they are, they should be repressed." 

I spoke of the subject of pardons, as intimately re- 
lated to the administration of criminal justice, and said : 
"Criminals of one class are able to employ the influence 
of persons of the highest stations, while those of another 
will rely upon the powerful intercession of a wife or 
mother, or the almost irresistible agency of homeless, 
ill-clad children, whose wretched condition is an appeal 
that can hardly be resisted, except in cases of the worst 
of men. 

"In cases like these, compassion will sometimes con- 
fuse or overcome the judgment, and others present them- 
selves where justice and public policy alike dictate par- 
dons." . . . I gave a list of the names of the persons 
pardoned by me, and stated that the number of pardons 
granted from January 11, 1S69, to January 11, 1870, is : 

"From penitentiary, .... 108 

From Bridewell (Chicago) , . . 1 

From reform school, ... 2 

From county jails, ... 7 

Total, 118 


"Number of pardons from January 1, 1870, to Janu- 
ary 1, 1871 : 

"From penitentiary, .... 60 
From Bridewell (Chicago) , . . 1 

From county jails, .... 5 

Total, .... 66 

"It is due to candor that I should say that in some in- 
stances, I have granted pardons on account of a con- 
viction that the provision made by law for the defense 
of the poor and friendless, charged with the commission 
of crimes, is not equal to the civilization of which we 

In my notice of the state finances, I said : "The report 
of the auditor shows that the whole state debt, outstand- 
ing, on November 30, 1879, was $4,890,937.30, and there 
is in the state treasury, applicable to the payment of the 
public debt, $3,082,104.22 ; the balance of the state debt, 
over and above the sum named, is therefore $1,808,833.08 ; 
this comparatively small balance will be provided for 
without any additional taxation. ... I commend 
the suggestion of the treasurer, as to the payment of! 
the state debt in coin, to your favorable consideration. 

". . . The report of the auditor suggests that diffi- 
culties have arisen in the practical execution of 'An act 
to fund and provide for paying the railroad debts of coun- 
ties, townships, cities and towns.' . . . The whole 
law, its principles and details, are, in my judgment, vio- 
lative of the just theories of taxation and the constitu- 
tion of the state, and has been, in practice, a 'delusion 
and a snare' to the people. The proper course to be 
pursued is to repeal the law at once. 

"It has been settled that one of the most difficult 
achievements is a satisfactory revenue system. 
It is provided for in the eleventh article of the constitu- 
tion, that every person and corporation shall pay a tax 


in proportion to his, her or its property, which is, in 
substance, but the just rule of equality of taxation. 

"The third section j^ermits the exemption of property 
used for certain purposes from taxation, but the exemp- 
tion must be made by general law. . . . The ex- 
emption of property from taxation is against common 
right and of doubtful policy. ... To enumerate all 
the laws made void by the provisions of the constitution, 
is unnecessary, but it is proper to observe that they de- 
feat all laws exempting the property of any district from 
taxation, all laws appropriating the taxes of districts to 
uses of persons or corporations, all laws that impose taxes 
upon the inhabitants of municipal corporations for cor- 
porate purposes, and, also, all laws that authorize or re- 
quire persons appointed by the general assembly to levy 
or impose taxes for municipal purposes." 

With respect to public education, I paid a just com- 
pliment to the teachers of the public schools, and further 
remarked : "The duty of the general assembly is defined 
in the clear and precise language of the first section of 
the eighth article of the constitution to be, to 'provide 
a thorough and efficient system of free schools, whereby 
all the children of this state may receive a good, common 
school education.' The duty is imperative, and extends 
to all the children of the state, without distinction of 
race or color. . . . Happily for the future peace and 
welfare of the country, odious discriminations on account 
of color have been blotted out of our political system, and 
the anti-republican prejudices that have heretofore been 
sufficient to defeat the demands of a portion of the peo- 
ple for equality of political and legal rights, have passed 
away witli the system of slavery, and none now deny the 
duty of the state to provide for the education of all." 

On the seventh anniversary of the preliminary eman- 
cipation proclamation, I addressed the colored people of 
the city of Springfield, at a celebration, as follows : 

"My country-men and country-women — I came here 
to-day without any expectation of speaking to you. I 


saw, in reading the morning paper, that Mr. Herndon 
and Mr. Cullorn were to make speeches to you, and I 
came to hear them, and to determine something of your 
numbers, and to note the progress you have made in the 
direction of improvement, in intelligence and in the ac- 
quisition of the qualities that constitute good fathers, 
good mothers and good citizens ; and I feel warranted, 
by your appearance and conduct to-day, in saying that 
your progress has been such as more than satisfies the 
hopes and predictions of your most sanguine friends. 

"To fully realize what you have gained, it must be re- 
membered that only seven years ago to-day was inaugu- 
rated the plan of your emancipation. 

"When, on September 22, 1862, Mr. Lincoln issued 
his warning proclamation, threatening emancipation, he 
only intended by that menace to startle that portion of 
our people who were in rebellion into submission to the 
authority of the government. 

"Many thought that proclamation unwise and dan- 
gerous, and others denounced it as revolutionary and 
even wicked. He only declared that he would declare the 
freedom of your race in certain states and parts of states, 
if, before January 1, 1863, the people in the districts in- 
dicated did not lay down their arms. The great resolve 
of the president of that day, who is the quiet sleeper 
near us now, as much as it meant as an utterance of his 
fixed determination, only prepared the way for coming 
events, and when, on the ever-to-be-remembercd first 
day of January, 1863, Mr. Lincoln ordered the free- 
dom of more than two millions of bondmen and bond- 
women, the lines of the Rebels against the government 
were so advanced that the actual situation of the great 
body of the slaves was in fact unchanged. It required 
many painful marches, many bloody battles, that cost 
many thousands of precious lives, to give full effect to the 
resolve of the American people that slavery should en- 
dure no longer ; and it was only when the flag of the re- 
bellion, which was also that of slavery, went down on 


the north bank of the Appomattox, that the principle 
was firmly established, and freedom was made the corner- 
stone of the restored republic. Nor, indeed, did the 
overthrow of the rebellion entirely destroy slavery, for 
Mr. Lincoln's proclamation only applied in terms to 
what were called the insurrectionary states, and to Ken- 
tucky and Delaware, both of which were nominally loyal 
to the Union, still asserted the right to hold men and 
women in bondage ; and I had, as military commander 
of Kentucky, the rare good fortune, as late as July 4, 
1865, acting in the name of the national government, to 
loose the last shackle of the last slave, and to drive the 
last nail in the coffin of the monster that had lorded it over 
all so long, and had filled the land with gloom and sad- 
ness and mourning. A little more than four years has 
passed since slavery ceased, and your race was born 
from chattelhood to man and womanhood. Nor can it 
be said that until long after the proclamation of Mr. 
Lincoln was issued, did men realize the fact that you 
were free, or that you were to be made free at once and 
without preparation. 

"I can speak for myself, and candidly confess that 
though I had hated slavery from my earliest childhood, 
and had regarded it always as the sum of all villianies, 
as dishonoring God and degrading to man, I had taught 
myself, and years ago when I argued here in Springfield 
for the colonization cause, attempted to teach others that 
your race was not prepared for freedom. I, like thous- 
ands of others, felt and spoke of a period of preparation — 
of probation, by which you were to be made free slowly 
and gradually ; that you were to pass by almost in- 
sensible degrees from slavery to freedom — from darkness 
through dawn, to the perfect day of liberty. We were 
as earnest and yet as wise as the good mother who did 
not intend that the son of her love should approach the 
water until he had first learned to swim ! 

"We did not then know, as we do now, that slavery 
and freedom are so positive ; that they cannot occupy the 


same ground ; that every man and every woman must 
be altogether free, or all a slave, and that the only way 
of preparing men for freedom is to make them free . Nor 
were you prepared to assert your claim to liberty with 
confident boldness. Your old men had dreamed dreams, 
and your young men had seen visions of the coming day, 
but you did not realize that it had come. You had been 
for centuries in the grasp of a system as blighting as 
death — a system which had received the commendation 
of statesmen and moralists, and had the approval of the 
God of some systems of religion, if those who claimed to 
teach in His name are to be believed. In the slave 
states you had no homes, no wives, no husbands, no 
children you could call your own, and the faintest trace 
of African lineage was the badge of slavery, disgrace and 
humiliation ; and here in Illinois you were more than 
aliens, for they might become citizens, but you were 
gravely defined by lawyers to be only perpetual inhabit- 
ants and strangers. It is perhaps true all had felt that 
eager longing for liberty, that inextinguishable desire 
for freedom that God has implanted ineradicably in the 
very nature of all things that He has endowed with life. 
But with most of your race this desire was only awakened 
to be quickly repressed by the conviction that the white 
race were so much your superiors, so unlike yourselves, 
that liberty was unattainable ; indeed, false religion, and 
fraud, and falsehood in all forms were so combined with 
power that you were held inclined to doubt whether with 
a good conscience you could desire freedom, and you 
knew that if you attempted to grasp it every hand would 
be against you. And though we were the blind instru- 
ments of your emancipation, we did not make you free. 
It is true, and must be confessed, that so little did the 
great body of the anti-slavery men understand the signs 
of the times, that the event of emancipation burst upon 
us with stunning suddenness. Many of us had fought 
battles, and faced death in support of the government, 
and of our convictions, but when the great consumma- 


tion was reached, we knew that the Ruler of nations 
had only led us on, and that as He in the beginning 
had said, 'Let there be light, and there was light,' so 
His voice had proclaimed, let there be liberty through- 
out all the land, and the shackles fell from every limb, 
and the great fact of freedom on this continent was estab- 
lished forever. 

"And to do those who oppose your emancipation jus- 
tice, they were only a little more blind than we were. 
Some of them loved slavery, it is true, but the great 
body of them, who in the North resisted emancipation, 
only dreaded freedom. But, now you are free, we re- 
joice, and all acquiesce, and with freedom to you comes 
new, and grave, and most solemn responsibilities. 

"While you were slaves, you did not own, and did 
not dare to claim your own husbands, your own wives, 
or your own children. But now all these are yours. 
Before, you were all for the slave-market and the auction- 
block. Then, if the slave-mother clasped her child to 
her breast, or leaned over its scanty bed in sickness, 
and agonized and prayed that it might live, she knew 
that it was not her own, but that the master, at the dic- 
tates of necessity, caprice or the most unholy avarice, 
might tear it from her arms and hide it from her sight 
forever. No law forbade it, and holy men vouched 
scripture for the deed. But your children have been given 
to you a second time, and how solemn are the responsi- 
bilities this double gift imposes upon you ! And as you 
love your race, your children and yourselves, you dare 
not disregard them ; you must rear your children well, 
and to do this you must gather them about you, and 
you must have homes. The family is the foundation of 
society, and homes are essential to the existence of an 
intelligent, virtuous, well ordered family. I repeat, you 
must have homes, where you can shelter those you 
love, and where you may teach your children to love 
the father's house — homes, forever humble, but your 
own homes, that you may improve and adorn them. I 


know that when you were led out of captivity, unlike 
the chosen people of the Most High, you were not per- 
mitted to enrich yourselves with the spoils of your mas- 
ters, but you came forth naked and destitute. 

"But you are free, and inhabit a country which may 
not, like the promised land of the Jews, flow with the 
typical 'milk and honey,' but which ought to satisfy all 
the desires of an industrious, frugal people, where labor 
is abundant and its rewards are sure. You can work. 
The problem which puzzled our Southern friends so long 
has been solved : 'The nigger will work.' And work to 
do, and pay for it, is enough for any of us. 

"You are in possession now of all any useful man re- 
quires, the right to labor, and to enjoy what you produce. 
Go forth, then, and get homes, for a homeless race can- 
not progress in civilization or refinement. Educate your 
children. Instill into their minds virtuous principles. 
The facilities for education are all around you ; schools 
are provided. Avail yourselves of them, and in a few 
years your slavery will only be remembered as a dream, 
and will be mentioned to illustrate the extent that one 
race, amid the blaze of Christianity, civilization, and re- 
finement, can practice oppression and wrong, and the 
patience with which another can endure them. Nor can 
any of the rights that belong to other citizens be much 
longer withheld from you. Intelligence and property 
will command respect. The story told of one of your 
own race illustrates this. He was asked : 'What church 
do you belong to?' 'None — I quit 'em. Year before 
last, I belonged to the church, and gave them ten dol- 
lars, and den they called me "Brudder" Smith. Last 
year I did n't make so much money, and could give only 
five dollars, and den dey called me "Mr." Smith. This 
year my wife was sick, and I could n't give any thing, 
and den they called me "dat ole nigger" — and I 
quit 'em.' Remember that in proportion to your suc- 
cess you will be respected — and, then, you must vote. 
I do n't know if suffrage was only conferred that men 


might take part in prescribing rules for the government 
of the country, but that it would be best that only the 
wisest, if we knew how to select them, should enjoy or 
exercise the right. But that is not the ground upon 
which I insist that you and every other citizen shall 
have the right to vote. Suffrage is the most powerful 
and most valuable weapon of defense. Officers rule over 
you now that you did not select. They tax your labor 
and defy you. What difference does it make to the gov- 
ernor whether he protects the colored citizens or not, or 
to the member of congress, or of the state legislature, 
who, by their votes, bind your person to duties or mort- 
gage your property for the payment of burdensome 
taxes, or to the police officer who huddles you into jail 
or knocks you down for some imaginary offense against 
his own dignities ? Whether you approve their conduct 
or not, you cannot vote. But concede to the colored 
citizen the right to vote, and suddenly all is changed. 
The governor, the member of congress and of the legis- 
lature suddenly discover your value. They become 
polite to your person and thoughtful of your interests, 
for they will want your good will and your vote. The 
police officer becomes deferential — he anxiously inquires 
as to your health and that of the lady, your wife, or 
after the prosperity of your interesting children. And 
why this extraordinary courtesy? His master, the 
mayor, wants your vote ; and the country needs and must 
have your vote for yourself. Hereafter the inquiry will 
not be, what is the color of the voter, but what are his 

"The body of your people in this country are poor 
and are homeless and landless, and must for years be 
laborers, and these interests will unite them with the 
white men whose mission is toil. Heretofore, the class 
of white men called laborers have exhibited less sym- 
pathy for you than have others ; but the antagonism 
which prejudice has occasioned will soon disappear, for 
they must at no distant day discover that they and you 


are burdened by the same taxes and are alike oppressed 
by misgovernment ; that you and they are the victims 
of the grasping demands of the same landlord ; that you 
hunger alike, and that you and your children suffer and 
die from the same diseases that bring desolation and sor- 
row to them. 

"From the necessities of the case, the colored men of 
the United States must ally themselves with the workers 
of the country; nor can they, unless they are unwise, 
reject the powerful support your numbers will furnish 
them. You will naturally unite with those whose in- 
terests are likeyour's, to resist every encroachment upon 
the rights and liberties of the people, whether they are 
threatened by organized wealth, which seems to riot in 
uncontrollable license, or from the corruptions of those 
in power. You maybe ignorant, but it rests with you to 
determine how long you will remain so. And ignorance 
of many things does not always incapacitate men to form 
intelligent opinions with respect to others. 

"I think the best statement of the office and value of 
suffrage I have ever heard was given to me by a man of 
your race, who had spent the whole of his life upon a 
rice plantation on the shores of the Atlantic in North 
Carolina. After examining him as a witness before 
a court martial, as much for amusement as anything 
else, I said to him, 'Sam, if you had the right to vote, 
how would you vote?' He answered me by saying, 'I 
would vote according to my "intrust' 1 if I knowed what 
that was ;' and, let me tell you, that is exactly the reason 
why a vote is valuable. That you may protect the 
precious interests that belong to you as husbands and 
fathers and laborers and citizens, you will vote accord- 
ing to your interests ; and it will be to your interest to 
restore the government to its ancient simplicity and 
cheapness ; to relieve the labor of the country from its 
burdens ; to give perfect protection to persons and prop- 
erty ; to resist extravagancies and the qualities that have 
the sanction of bad laws. 


"And I repeat, you will vote, and will soon vote. The 
fifteenth amendment will, I believe, be adopted — not in 
time to secure the recognition of your right to vote at 
the next election, but you will vote at the next presi- 
dential election. All parties are committed to it. We 
have crossed the river, and will never go back. And if 
the fifteenth amendment is rejected, you will still vote, 
for I am well satisfied that the constitution as it is and 
that of the State of Illinois, when interpreted by states- 
men in the light of the great revolution in your condi- 
tion and in that of the whole country and according to 
the spirit of the age in which we live, establish your 
right to vote. 

"In my judgment you are citizens with all the capaci- 
ties that belong to others. I believe that you have the 
right to vote, and are now eligible to office ; and if any 
colored citizen was recommended to me by the people 
who are interested, as the most suitable person to fill 
any office that comes within my limit or my power of ap- 
pointment, I should not doubt his eligibility, and would 
not hesitate in acceding to their wishes. 

"We are now all citizens; the great contest is over, 
and we must unite and put forth all of our efforts to ad- 
vance the prosperity of this great and free republic, and 
to promote the happiness of all of its people." 

The following oration was delivered at Oak Ridge 
Cemetery, May 31, 1871 : 

"Citizens — We have been invited to-day to aid in 
dedicating this structure to be a memorial of a man that 
the people of this state honor and revere ; and we have 
visited the quiet spot where he slept all that time has left 
of William H. Bissell, the soldier, the statesman and pa- 
triot, and have lovingly borne his remains to this place, 
and have deposited them here, no more to be disturbed, that 
this beautiful work may hereafter perpetuate his name 
and honor his memory. This solitary monument is to 


stand in this city of the dead, a voiceless yet impressive 
witness that a great man has fallen, but he is not for- 
gotten by his countrymen — while the inscriptions cut 
into solid marble testify at once to the brevity and no- 
bility of his shining and useful life. 

"You have done your work, but there remains to me, 
as successor to his office and his public duties, the diffi- 
cult task of speaking of his life and his acts, in such fit 
and appropriate terms as will not offend against taste, 
nor do an injustice to the memory of the dead, but will 
afford profitable lessons for the guidance of the living. 

"Fellow-citizens — I bespeak your charitable indulgence 
while I attempt the proper performance of my responsi- 
ble and delicate duties. You do not expect me to under- 
take a recital of such facts in the life history of Governor 
Bissell as are common to us all, for as much as you re- 
vere the memory of his life and cherish his fame, they 
will not interest you. He was born, he lived, he died ; 
and he shares this brief biography of our race with the 
almost infinite millions who in the centuries past were 
born, lived and have vanished — of all of these, this much 
is all that is or need to be known. Many of these for- 
gotten ones strutted their brief hour upon 'life's busy 
stage,' and were the noble and great of their day; but 
now their names and their deeds are lost forever. 

"It may well humble the lofty and the proud to 
realize that within a few years their names will only be 
known to the students of the vanishing past, and none 
will care to know when their lives began or when they 

"Indeed, the dates of human deaths and births are of 
no importance, for birth and death signify but changes 
in form of being ; the one is but the incarnation, the 
other the release of a soul ; they are alike inevitable, and 
in themselves furnish no special lesson for the benefit of 
mankind. It is true that the circumstances that sur- 
round an early childhood, and follow it in its growth, 
until it develops into mature life, are of vast consequence. 


No mortal mind can fathom and no words explain 
the extent to which lives are impressed and influenced 
by the conditions that attend childhood. It will only be 
fully known when we stand in the presence of the In- 
finite, to what extent our example or our neglect has 
taught the feet of innocent childhood to stray ; and it is 
also true that incidents of death sometimes impressively 
demonstrate the complete growth of the most elevated 
qualities. 'The end of the righteous is peace.' The 
true man at the close of a well-spent life may look into 
the abyss that lies before him with confidence that he will 
awake in a new sphere filled with labors and duties ; 
into a life that has its relations and obligations. He 
must resign 'this pleasing, anxious being,' but he will 
enter into another possessed of larger powers. 

"It is material, therefore, to a proper understanding 
of the life of Governor Bissell, that you should be in- 
formed that he was of 'humble parentage.' These words 
we have inherited from our mother country, together 
with many of its admirable as well as absurd forms of 
thought and expression, and are used to signify that his 
parents were simple, honest, God-fearing people. If 
they had been wealthy and influential, I would no doubt 
have employed the only admissible republican substitute 
for nobility by declaring them to have been 'highly re- 
spectable,' even though they neither 'feared God nor 
regarded man.' 

"During his childhood, he had before him the parental 
examples of industry and frugality and of the honest 
painstaking discharge of daily duties. His life com- 
menced, and his boyhood was surrounded by, such influ- 
ences and no other ; and none that knew him well will 
doubt that they were the foundations of the rules of a 
life singularly brilliant and successful, and that would, 
under favorable conditions of physical health and con- 
stitutional vigor, have become eminently distinguished. 
Young men of the present day are slow to comprehend 
the difficulties that forty years ago embarrassed those 


who were eager to obtain the advantages of thorough 
literary culture. Even in some of the states that are 
now overflowing with wealth and population, schools 
and higher institutions of learning were comparatively 
rare. They were roads, but not royal roads, and Gov- 
ernor Bissell was able by these agencies to acquire a re- 
spectable, though, I think, not a thorough academical 
education. I do not refer to the circumstances of the 
childhood and youth of Governor Bissell to find corrobo- 
ration for the popular belief that enforced industry and 
self-denial in early life are unfavorable to high intel- 
lectual or moral development, for, contrary to the gen- 
eral view, I am persuaded that the stern lessons of pov- 
erty in the modified and softened forms in which it pre- 
sents itself in our country, are more useful and im- 
pressive than any that can be imparted in the schools. 

The unfortunate young man, possessed of generous 
traits, relieved from ill-judged and enervating support, 
is permitted to acquire and cultivate the master quality 
of manhood, self-reliant helpfulness — a hopeful and en- 
during confidence in his own capacity to do. This lies 
at the foundation of all true success in life, and is learned 
only in the field of actual struggle. And the boy who is 
compelled to face obstacles and overcome them will enter 
manhood with a courage to which all things are possible ; 
and though he may in the great battle of life suffer re- 
verses and occasional defeats, he will win the victory 
at last. 

Governor Bissell came to Illinois in his early man- 
hood, a physician, and engaged in the practice of his 
profession. I have never thought it to be singular that 
a man of his active and ambitious qualities, but acute 
and inquisitive mind, should have been at first fascinated 
by the study of the laws of life and health, of disease 
and death. How marvelous it is that we live and move 
and think and love and fear and hate ! 

"How wonderful it is that we thrill with abundant, 
joyous health ! that we tremble and cower at the touch 


of slight disease, and how astounding that death is on 
every hand around us, above, beneath, that he conceals 
himself in the waters and floats upon the breeze — he 
touches and we are no more. Those who knew the 
quality and texture of Bissell's mind will readily under- 
stand the earnestness with which he would labor to 
master these mysteries, and that after having learned 
that they were all concealed from mortal view, that they 
are as unfathomable as Nature herself, he would turn 
his attention to other fields of effort. He was elected 
to the legislature, and was engaged in public employ- 
ment with slight interruptions for the remainder of his 
life. He turned his attention to the profession of law, 
and soon attained a high rank in his new calling. On 
the breaking out of the war with Mexico, he was chosen 
the commander of a regiment, and during his term of 
service, he evinced the possession of high military qual- 
ities. Soon after the close of the war, he was elected to 
a seat in the national congress, and was afterwards 
chosen to be governor of the state, the tenth in the or- 
der of service, and died on March 18, 1860, before the 
expiration of his constitutional term, at the age of forty- 
eight years. 

"How brief this life, and how few are the leading 
events to which I have referred ! and yet I have already 
declared in your hearing that such a life is to be regarded 
as successful. 

"Biography is history, and the history of the world is 
usually written as if there was nothing worthy to be 
chronicled but the rise and fall of the empires, the be- 
ginning and end of dynasties, and the marches and bat- 
tles of armies ; and yet these, of all others, are the facts 
least worthy to be remembered. Man, under God, is the 
universe, and information that his governmental forms, 
at different periods, have justified one or some other 
designation, furnishes no clue by which the actual con- 
dition of peoples may be ascertained. 

"Emperors and kings have been sometimes the guard- 


ians of liberty and popular forms of government, on the 
other hand, have often been administered by the despotic 
and cruel. Armies are but imperfect types of the civiliza- 
tion of their period, and great battles won in the name 
of despotism have often proved to be the triumph of 
human freedom. 

"The events that constitute the staple of history are 
valueless until subjected to philosophical analysis, and 
are considered in all their relations and influences ; and, 
when this is wisely done, the age to which they are to 
be referred stands out before us like a picture, in which 
every object preserves its proper proportions. And so it 
is in the leading facts in the life history of eminent men. 
We may be told that Washington was the commander-in- 
chief of the American armies during the war of the 
revolution, and that he was afterwards president of the 
United States ; but these are the most unimportant cir- 
cumstances of his grand and sublime life. We are to 
be instructed and profited by a history of his minor, 
inner life, by a knowledge of all those admirable quali- 
ties that existed, and, when so happily combined, con- 
stituted the man who was 'first in war, first in peace, 
and first in the hearts of his countrymen.' And those of 
us who stand here near the city of Springfield, which was 
his cherished home when he lived — and in this solemn 
city which is his home now that he is dead — and within 
sight of that towering column erected to point to the 
pilgrims of liberty who may inquire for the tomb of the 
noble martyr where he sleeps, do not, when we speak of 
Lincoln, say he was once a member of congress, or that 
he was twice elected to the highest place in the gift of 
the American people, for we know that these events were 
but the result of the qualities that marked him the cen- 
tral figure in the sublimest events of history ; but we 
speak of his modesty, his truthfulness, his fidelity to the 
right, his industry, his wonderful wealth of firmness 
and courage, his broad capacity, that were so suddenly 


developed by the responsibilities of his great place that 
they seemed to us like the inspirations of Deity ; his 
patriotism and the golden chain of personal excellencies 
that cannot be described and that bound all these into 
a compact and harmonious whole, so lofty and so great 
that it astonished us who knew him best and imagined 
we knew all that was to be learned of his character. 
Men are to be studied and described by their qualities, 
their capacities and their trials. In the true portraiture 
of their history, events in their lives are only appealed 
to as witnesses — acts are but the objective types or re- 
sults of inner forces. 

"I have already mentioned that Governor Bissell 
abandoned his early profession for that of law ; for this 
field of labor he possessed many natural qualifications. 
He was a clear and accurate thinker, and was an honest 
thinker, if I may be allowed to use a term that more 
properly belongs to the domain of morals, to illustrate 
mere intellectual processes. Notwithstanding the rigor 
and exactness of all true forms of logical reasoning, 
every one has observed that some minds are so radically 
oblique, that they cannot perceive or accept, but will 
always, though unconsciously, resist the most accurate 
deductions of reason. 

"Such persons are affected by what may be very fairly 
termed intellectual color-blindness. The mental eye is 
incapable of perceiving some of the rays of light that 
contribute to the true color of truth, and they therefore 
labor on, all unconscious of their existence. His mind, 
at a glance, took into view all the shades of truth, and 
accepted logical results as if they were the decrees of 
fate. He cherished for the law the most profound re- 
spect, and, like the sages whose wisdom has made the 
profession illustrious, he esteemed the law to be 'the 
science of practical justice,' and held that its professors 
are bound by the most solemn obligation to maintain 
and enforce it. In his view, the law is a shield to the 
helpless and a defense to the innocent.. 


"Some who are now present will remember when Bis- 
sell was the representative of public justice, and when 
the ablest of the profession esteemed it an honor to be 
selected to defend the poor. His antagonists felt as- 
sured that the claims of the law would be maintained, 
but that justice and right would never be disregarded. 
Some of his professional rivals live to-day to cherish his 
memory ; but others, ah ! how many of them, are alike 
gone to appear before the tribunal of the Infinite Judge ! 

"As a politician, he was earnest and sincere. The 
ostensible grounds of political controversy in the earlier 
years of the public life of Governor Bissell are but of 
little real importance. 

"The great conflict that created the Democratic and 
Whig parties was over. As early as the year 1840, the 
Whig party, upon issues that are not easily explained, 
carried the presidential election, and nearly all of the 
states, but it perished in the very hour of its triumph, and 
in 1844 the Democratic party, under the leadership of Mr. 
Polk, captured, and carried into the citadel, with shouts 
of triumph, the 'wooden horse,' filled with its deadliest 

"The inauguration of Mr. Polk was followed by a 
war with Mexico, and the results of the war forced upon 
the country the necessity of considering some of the 
aspects of the even then dreaded slavery question . 

"Governor Bissell, who had borne an honorable part 
in the war, was elected by the people of his district to 
represent them in the house of representatives in the 
federal congress, and early distinguished himself upon 
that theater for clearness of views, and for his calm, 
though courageous, utterances. He entertained the 
opinion that slavery when established or maintained 
within any of the states by their own authority, equally 
firm in the expression of the belief that it did not exist 
and could not be established by federal authorities in any 
of the territories acquired from Mexico. 

"The discussions in congress on this and kindred top- 


ics were attended by the usual explosions of passion 
and feeling. Amid all the scenes of these turbulent ses- 
sions of congress, Governor Bissell bore himself with 
that quiet calmness that had characterized him on the 
field of Buena Vista. He was courteous to all ; he was 
dignified and deferential, but in spite of all this, he be- 
came involved in an affair that no one who undertakes 
to do justice to his memory can pass over in silence. 

"For decorous words, calmly and courteously spoken 
though in debate, he was challenged by Mr. Jefferson 
Davis, then a member of congress from Mississippi, but 
afterwards notorious as the chief of the brief and ill- 
starred Southern Confederacy, to fight a duel, and he 
coolly and decisively accepted the challenge. Before 
discussing the questions of morality and propriety that 
are to be considered in determining upon the conduct of 
Bissell upon this occasion, I may be permitted to say 
that his acceptance of this challenge was with a delib- 
erate intention to fight. He proposed no unusual 
weapons or terms ; he indulged in no useless words. In 
this respect, his conduct was characteristic of his life. 

"Whether his acceptance of the challenge was justi- 
fiable or not, depends upon all the attending circum- 
stances. Personal self-defense is a right recognized alike 
by divine and human laws, and that defense is most per- 
fect that not only repels, but anticipates and prevents 

"The war of sections that afterwards summoned mil- 
lions to the field, had even then commenced, and the chal- 
lenge of Mr. Davis was addressed, not only to William 
Bissell, but to his state and the whole North. Northern 
public men, then and afterwards, under the mistaken 
belief that the Northern people demanded that they 
should not repel insult by the punishment of the ag- 
gressor, submitted to contumely and outrage to an ex- 
tent that even now cannot be remembered without a 
blush of indignation. It seemed, then, to be demanded 
of public men that they should speak freely and assert 


the right to freedom of speech, but that they should not 
employ the only mode possible for its defense. I admit 
that the principles of Christianity condemn all forms of 
violence not employed within the strictest limits of self- 
defense, but I have often felt that the right to employ 
force in the vindication of other rights is as sacred and 
as necessary as that of personal self-protection. 

"At that time it was the purpose of the Southern pub- 
lic men to subjugate the whole continent to slavery ; and 
personal menaces and insults towards members of con- 
gress from the North and West were the means resorted 
to, to give effect to their plans. They trusted in the 
efficacy of intimidation, and the challenge to Governor 
Bissell was an experiment in that direction, and history 
has already testified as to the measure of its success. In 
my judgment, under the circumstances that then ex- 
isted, the acceptance of this challenge was simply the 
discharge of a necessary duty to the state. There was no 
middle ground. Insults must have been borne or re- 
sented. Intimidation must have been submitted to or 
repelled, and no man ought now to hesitate to decide as 
to what was the proper line of duty. But I have con- 
sumed too much time upon this interesting episode in the 
life of the distinguished man whose remains are to be 
to-day forever shut out from mortal view. 

"Before the close of his congressional term, he was 
smitten by that mysterious disease that pursued him 
without relenting until the close of his life. In the year 
of 1856 he was elected by the people to be the governor 
of Illinois, but even before that event which afforded him 
gratifying proof of the affection and confidence of his 
fellow-citizens, it was manifest to his friends that his 
active career was ended. He brought to the administra- 
tion of the state the resources of a clear and still vigor- 
ous mind and an earnest purpose to advance the public 
weal, but his stealthy foe did not release his grasp, and 
on March 18, 1860, quietly removed him from earth. 

"I have thus briefly spoken of the dead, but not fully ; 


have presented points in his history and character that 
are worthy of study and imitation — and now we leave 
these poor remains to rest here in peace until the great 
day when he and ourselves shall rise and stand together 
before the throne of the Eternal. 

"Gentlemen, you who were charged by the state with 
the duty of designing this monument, have acquitted 
yourselves well. Governor Bissell was the official asso- 
ciate of some of you and the friend of all — your's has 
been a melancholy duty, but on your part one of love. 
Accept the thanks of the people of the state through me 
for your fidelity to your sacred trust." 



The Chicago fire — Correspondence with Mayor Mason and the Presi- 
dent — Messages to the general assembly. 

I first heard of the great fire in Chicago at Auburn, in 
Sangamon county. I had gone to Carlinville on busi- 
ness, and was on my return to Springfield. After I had 
heard something of the extent of the tire, I telegraphed 
to General E. B. Harlan, my private secretary, to meet 
me at the train, prepared to go to Chicago. He did so, 
and I authorized him to draw on me for $5,000, to be 
taken from the contingent fund of $10,000 which was 
subject to the control of the governor, to be expended by 
him for contingent expenses. I instructed General 
Harlan to report to the mayor of Chicago. He did so ; 
reached Chicago at 10 o'clock p. m., and without delay 
reported to the office of the mayor, but was told that he 
had gone to his home. He again visited the office of 
the mayor the next morning and met him, and upon in- 
formation obtained there as to the public necessities, 
drew upon me for $5,000 to be applied to the relief of 
the sufferers. At about one o'clock on the same day 
(October 9th) , I telegraphed to the mayor the following 
dispatch : 

"To Colonel R. B. Mason, Mayor of Chicago—Shall 
I send food for your people? Answer; tell me what I 
can do. John M. Palmer." 

At two-forty o'clock I received from the mayor the 
following answer : 

"Chicago, October 9, 1871. 
"To John M. Palmer — We want bread, cheese and 
cooked provisions ; also tents for the houseless. 

"R. B. Mason, Mayor." 


I at once caused two thousand hand-bills to be printed 
and circulated throughout Springfield, calling for contri- 
butions, and from purchases made by me and from con- 
tributions made by the people, I was able by eight 
o'clock to telegraph the mayor : 

"Springfield, October 9, 1871. 
"R. B. Mason, Mayor of Chicago — Three carloads leave 
here at ten o'clock; others follow to-morrow. Do you 
need potatoes, flour, etc., or can you buy better there if 
money is sent. John M. Palmer. 

5 1 

On the morning of October 10th, finding that tele- 
graphic communication with Chicago was suspended, 
and having no report from my secretary, I drew the 
sum of $2,000 from the treasury of the state as part of 
the contingent fund, and forwarded it to Mayor Mason 
by Rev. F. H. Wines, secretary of the board of public 
charities. At twenty minutes past one o'clock of the 
same day, I received the following dispatch from Gen- 
eral A. Stager : 

"Chicago, October 10, 1871. 

"To Governor Palmer: Sir — The fire spent its fury 
in all directions yesterday afternoon after completely de- 
molishing all the business part of the city on the soutli 
side north of Harrison street. Everything gone on the 
north side from the river and lake to Lincoln Park ; gas 
and water stopped. Great consternation and anxiety ex- 
ists on account of the presence of roughs and thieves, 
who are plundering in all directions. Two incendiaries 
shot last night while in the act of firing buildings in the 
south side of the city. Strong southerly wind has pre- 
vailed since Saturday night; at times blows a gale. A 
little rain fell last night. The mayor is now organizing 
a patrol ; the poor and houseless are suffering." 

I knew that General Stager was connected officially 


with the telegraph lines and would receive my dispatch. 
I immediately answered him : 

"Chicago, III., October 10, 1871. 
"General A. Stager : Sir — Please inform the mayor 
that if the presence of organized forces is necessary for 
the preservation of property and order, I will at once 
send two or three well-organized companies into Chi- 
cago. Thanks for your dispatch. 

"John M. Palmer." 

At half-past four o'clock, he replied : 

"October 10, 1871. 


'To Governor Palmer : Sir — The mayor requests me 
to say to the governor to send men immediately by special 
train to report directly to the mayor, at No. 365 Michigan 
avenue. Anson Stager.' 

1 5 

On the receipt of the last dispatch from General 
Stager, I directed the adjutant-general, Colonel Dilger, 
to issue the telegraphic orders to officers of organized 
militia that are appended to this report, marked 1, 2, 3, 4. 

I at once prepared and issued the call for a special 
session of the general assembly to meet on October 13th, 
and telegraphed the call to members of both houses, 
and also addressed a letter to the mayor of Chicago in 
the following words . 

"State op Illinois, Executive Dep't. 
"Springfield, October 10, 1871. 
"Colonel E. B. Mason : Dear sir — Colonel H. Dilger, 
adjutant-general, will leave here this evening with one 
company of militia and one thousand muskets. He will 
also, after reporting to you, organize for the preservation 
of order in your city. Colonel Dilger is an old soldier, 
has served under my eye on the field, and will preserve 


order at all hazards. He has orders to enforce law, and 
has muskets enough to do it effectually. 

"Respectfully, John M. Palmer." 

The adjutant-general left Springfield at nine o'clock 
p. m., and reached Chicago at four o'clock on the morn- 
ing of Wednesday, October 11th, with about two hun- 
dred well-armed men and two hundred and fifty muskets, 
and had one thousand additional muskets with ammuni- 
tion , boxed , to be sent after him . Immediately and as early 
as six o'clock, he called upon the mayor, and at his re- 
quest within a few minutes afterwards reported to Lieu- 
tenant-General Sheridan ; and as other troops had in the 
meantime arrived, at eight o'clock he had three hundred 
and fifteen men on duty, and by four o'clock in the after- 
noon, he had five hundred and sixteen men well organ- 
ized under the command of skillful and prudent officers 
and one battery of four guns, ready to enforce the laws 
or suppress disorder, and he could, within a few hours, 
have easily increased his force to two thousand men, if 
necessary. During October 10, 1871, 1 continued to exert 
myself to procure supplies for the destitute, and ad- 
dressed to the mayor the following additional dispatch : 

"Springfield, October 10, 1871. 
"To E. B. Mason, Mayor of Chicago — Two car loads of 
bread, crackers, cheese and cooked meats left here for 
your sufferers last night ; two car loads of potatoes and 
one of bread and meat, cooked, will leave here this 
morning. John M. Palmer. 

? ? 

On the 11th of October, anxious for a class that are 
forgotten in time of excitement and confusion, I ad- 
dressed to the Hon. Elmer Baldwin, chairman of the 
board of state charities, the following dispatch : 

"Springfield, October 11, 1871. 
"Hon. Elmer Baldwin, Chairman of Board of Public 
Charities — Had you not better go to Chicago and see that 


the ordinary objects of charity are not forgotten? Mr. 
"Wines is there. Report the results of your visit. 

"John M. Palmer." 

At ten o'clock in the forenoon of the same day, I re- 
ceived from the adjutant-general the following dispatch : 

"Chicago, October 11, 1871. 
"To Governor John M. Palmer — The rumors re- 
ceived yesterday were exaggerated. The mayor did not 
know about the dispatches for troops ; referred me to 
General Sheridan, who desired me to march the men 
through town for the moral effect ; he has seven hundred 
United States troops here. I am waiting for your orders 
at Chicago and Alton depot. No more arms needed. 

"H. Dilger." 

I was delighted with the information furnished me, 
and at once addressed to Lieutenant-General Sheridan 
the following dispatch : 

"Springfield, Illinois, October 11, 1871. 
"Lieutenant-General P. H. Sheridan, Chicago, 
Illinois — Please inform me of the number of troops or- 
dered into Chicago by you on account of the fire and 
that are now on duty in the city? Thanks for your 
promptness. John M. Palmer." 

I felt proud of the people who had suffered so much 
and had behaved so nobly, and, anxious to relieve them 
from the presence of even citizen soldiery, I ordered the 
one thousand muskets that were still in the depot at this 
place (Springfield) to be returned to the arsenal, and 
telegraphed General Dilger the following order : 

"Springfield, October 11, 1871. 
"To Colonel H. Dilger, Chicago, Illinois — If your 
services are not required, return as soon as you can. 

"John M. Palmer." 


I think it proper at this point that I should say that I 
do not believe that the least necessity for the employment 
of military forces in Chicago existed. During the night 
of the 8th of October and all of the 9th, while the fire 
still threatened to destroy the city, on the day and night 
of the 10th, while the streets were filled with the hun- 
gry and the homeless, the police, supported by a single 
battalion of state militia, who had tendered their serv- 
ices to the chief of the city police on the 9th of October, 
preserved order and enforced the law. 

The only dangers that have threatened the tranquillity 
of Chicago were the fears of a part of its inhabitants, 
coupled with a distrust of the authorities provided by 
law. Some time during the afternoon of the 11th day 
of October, I received the following dispatch from Col- 
onel Dilger : 

Chicago, October 11, 1871. 

"To Governor Palmer — The city council and Gen- 
eral Sheridan desire me to say that your presence here 
would have a very good effect. The city is, so far, 
quiet. I take charge of the north side, with our Spring- 
field boys ; they behave very well. 

"Dilger, Adjutant-General.'" 

At nine o'clock on the same day, I received from 
Lieutenant-General Sheridan the following answer to my 
dispatch to him : 

"Headquarters Mil. Div. op Mo., Oct. 11, 1871. 
"Governor John M. Palmer, Springfield, Illinois — 
Seven companies of the United States troops are here, 
or coming, and a regiment is being organized for twenty 
days' service, from the old soldiers of the city, which I 
think will be ample. Shall keep your volunteers for a 
day or so. Thanks for them. P. H. Sheridan." 

Before receiving General Sheridan's answer, I had de- 
termined to go in person to Chicago, and accordingly 


took the first train, and reached there about eleven 
o'clock in the forenoon of the 12th, and called upon the 
mayor. At my interview with him, he assured me that 
the city was quiet, and being anxious about the position, 
as well as the comforts of the troops then in the city 
under my orders, I called upon Lieutenant-General Sher- 
idan, and in his presence received the report of the ad- 
jutant-general and of Mayor Beardsley, of Rock Island, 
in whose judgment I had great confidence, and he con- 
curred with their statement that quiet and order pre- 
vailed throughout the city, and I left with the expecta- 
tion that the militia would at once return to their homes, 
and that the regular troops then in the city would be 
withdrawn when convenient. 

Under these impressions, I left Chicago at nine o'clock 
p. m. of the 12th, to meet the general assembly , which 
was expected to assemble on the 13th at noon. 

The general assembly convened on the 13th, but ad- 
journed to meet again on the 15th, to legislate for Chi- 
cago. In the meantime, most of the members visited 
Chicago, and saw for themselves the extent of the rav- 
ages of the fire. 

On October 16, 1871, I transmitted my message to the 
general assembly, in which I attempted to describe the 
great conflagration, but confess the poverty of the at- 
tempt. I said that "on the 8th day of the present month, 
a fire broke out in the city of Chicago, which in a few 
hours destroyed a large portion of the city. It is use- 
less to attempt to describe the awful and saddening 
spectacle of the most wealthy and populous portion of 
our great city. The destroyer came suddenly, and un- 
der circumstances at once calculated to impress us with 
a sense of our littleness. 

"Chicago is situated on a great lake, it is intersected 
by a river. It was provided with all the means of pro- 
tection against fire that are the products of the united 
efforts of advanced science and skill of modern civiliza- 
tion, yet in the presence of the destructive element men 


were powerless, and it pursued its course until noth- 
ing was left for it to destroy. In the course of this re- 
markable conflagration, which has already taken its 
place in history with the greatest calamities that have 
afflicted mankind, the flames, with unexampled fury, 
swept over the eastern part of the devoted city, de- 
stroyed many lives, consumed churches, hospitals, 
schools, dwellings, warehouses, stores, bridges and 
structures of every kind. Everything perished at their 
touch, and whole wards of the city were left without a 
house or an inhabitant. 

"No reliable estimate of the number of lives lost can 
as yet be made, but the amount of property destroyed 
is estimated at three hundred million dollars. In view 
of the circumstances, I felt it to be my duty to convene 
a session of the general assembly, and accordingly, on 
October 10th, I issued the proclamation which I have 
had the honor to lay before you. . . . The first 
question to be decided by the general assembly, after a 
careful review of the situation, is, what can be done for 
the relief of the people, and for discharging the duties 
of the state? 

"In finding an answer to this question, there are 
some difficulties and causes of embarrassment that are 
yet to be stated, and these are, that the court-house, 
jail and public offices and records of Cook county are 
destroyed. The tax-books are consumed, so that the 
collection of unpaid taxes cannot without great difficulty 
be enforced. The courts are powerless. The utmost 
confusion as to the titles of land must soon prevail. All 
the offices and most of the records of the city of Chi- 
cago are lost ; still the question, what can be done by 
the state? presses for an answer, and all the wisdom, ex- 
perience and patience of the general assembly is invoked 
to furnish a full, complete and satisfactory response. 

"The general political proposition, that that govern- 
ment is to be regarded as the best that interferes with 
the people the least, will remain forever true, and ex- 


perience has conclusively shown that intelligent men 
and women are, under all ordinary circumstances, more 
capable of providing for their own wants, managing their 
own affairs, and regulating their own conduct, than 
any government can be, however organized or admin- 

"It seems to me, then, that the people of Chicago and 
Cook county who have suffered losses require nothing 
from the state but to be left free to employ their unexam- 
pled and unbroken energies to the great work of rebuild- 
ing their homes. They need no loans or gifts from the 
United States or the State of Illinois, and unless I 
greatly mistake them, they will ask no more than that 
the state shall assume the discharge of its own proper 
duties and relieve them from burdens that from their 
peculiar situation were always heavy, but have been 
cheerfully borne, so that they may be left to apply all 
their resources to their own great task. 

"It is primarily the duty of the state to provide for 
the poor, the blind, the insane, and all other helpless 
classes, and for the enforcement of its laws everywhere 
within its limits. It is also its duty to provide for the 
construction of highways, building bridges and the sup- 
port of schools. The State of Illinois has always recog- 
nized the obligations of these duties, and for the more 
convenient performance of many of them, counties, town- 
ships, cities, towns and other organizations have been 
established by law. They are but parts of the machin- 
ery employed in carrying on the affairs of the state, and 
the authority and duty of each are confined to certain 
well-defined territorial as well as legal boundaries, that 
may be modified or destroyed as the exigencies of the 
public may demand ; and whenever from any cause any 
one of these agencies becomes unequal to the discharge 
of the duties assigned to them, or the public duties im- 
posed upon them becomes too burdensome or oppres- 
sive on the people embraced within their limits, it is the 


duty of the state to provide other means for their per- 

"It is a fact that requires no proof, that the county 
of Cook and the city of Chicago, two of the most im- 
portant of the classes of the public agencies to which 
they respectively belong, are, from causes that are well 
understood, unable to continue the full discharge of all 
the duties that were imposed upon them. From an in- 
evitable accident, their resources are diminished and 
their local burdens are vastly increased, so that they are 
no longer available to the state as governmental agencies 
for all the purposes for which they are created, and it 
follows from that fact, that to the extent that the re- 
quirements of such duties are in excess of the legal re- 
sources of the county and city, such duties must be as- 
sumed by the state, and the general assembly must de- 
vise other methods for their performance. 

"It is a remarkable illustration of the difficulty of pro- 
viding for every possible contingency by constitutional 
regulations, that certain of the provisions of the consti- 
tution of 1870 that were intended to restrict the powers 
of municipal corporations and were resisted upon that 
ground, will be found to operate to relieve the county 
of Cook and the city of Chicago of what would otherwise 
be intolerable burdens. 

"Every part of the constitution abounds with proof, 
that its framers regarded the municipal organizations 
of the state as mere administrative agencies, and that 
they intended to deprive them of all emergent or dis- 
cretionary authority, except within very narrow limits. 

"By the twelfth section of the ninth article of the 
constitution, it is provided that 'no county, city, town- 
ship, school district or other municipal corporation shall 
be allowed to become indebted in any manner or for any 
purpose to an amount including existing indebtedness 
in the aggregate exceeding five per centum of the tax- 
able property therein, to be ascertained by the last as- 
sessment for state and county taxes. . . .' And by 


the eighth section of the same article, county authorities 
are prohibited from assessing taxes the aggregate of 
which shall exceed seventy-five cents on the hundred 
dollars valuation. Then, whatever power to raise money 
for necessary public purposes the state has denied its 
local municipal organizations, it has reserved to itself to 
be exercised by the general assembly. 

"The financial resources of municipal and local or- 
ganizations are necessarily limited to their powers to con- 
tract debts and to impose taxes. When these powers 
have been exerted to the utmost legal or possible limit, 
and are inadequate to the complete performance of their 
duties to the state, they must be relieved of such duties 
altogether, for the accepted construction of the constitu- 
tion forbids the general assembly to pay, or to assume 
the pay, or to become responsible for the debts or liabili- 
ties of, or in any manner give, loan or extend its credit 
to or in aid of any public or other corporation or indi- 
vidual whatever. (Section 20, Article 10, State Consti- 

"This provision of the constitution was adopted for 
reasons well understood, and but few will doubt its pol- 
icy or wisdom, and no one will, I apprehend, be willing 
to relax its stringency or narrow its interpretations by 
constructions however ingenious or plausible. 

"It has been proposed to give immediate aid to the 
city of Chicago by discharging the lien of the city upon 
the Illinois and Michigan canal, authorized to be created 
by the act approved February 16, 1865, and it is claimed 
that, if the state should now refund to the city the 
amount of money secured upon the revenues of the 
canal, with the interest thereon, which would be, in 
round numbers, about three million dollars, the city 
would be enabled to rebuild its bridges and public struc- 
tures, remove the obstructions from and repair its streets, 
pay the expenses of its government and other expenses 


of its own organizations, and discharge its general duties 
to the state. 

"I am not prepared to express an opinion upon the 
question, whether even that sum of money would be 
sufficient to supply all the essential wants of the city, 
but my impressions incline me to admit that it would ; 
and I am prepared to say that while under ordinar}^ 
circumstances, influenced alone by my views of the 
proper policy to be pursued by the state, I would not 
advise the acceptance of the option secured to the state 
in the fifth section of the act of 1865, to refund to the 
city the sum of two million and a half of dollars, with 
interest thereon, under present circumstances, if the 
money can be raised by any satisfactory means for the 
purpose, it seems to me proper that it should be done. 

"The county of Cook alone has heretofore contained 
nearly one-sixth of the taxable property of the state, and 
a proportion of this, which falls very little short of the 
whole, was situated in the city of Chicago. Now, nearly 
one-half of the productive property of the city is de- 
stroyed and its present resources are crippled, but the 
day is not distant when its walls will be rebuilt, its 
wealth and population not only restored, but increased, 
and, instead of requiring aid from the treasury of the 
state, it will be again its chief resource ; and money now 
appropriated to meet its necessities will be 'bread cast 
upon the waters,' to be gathered again after not many 
days." . . . After a long discussion of the methods 
of raising money for the relief of Chicago and Cook 
county, the message concluded by saying: "Invoking 
your sympathies for that portion of our people who have 
suffered such unexampled losses, I can only express my 
most earnest desire to co-operate with you in any proper 
plan that may be devised for their relief." 

On October 19, 1871, the general assembly passed a 
bill appropriating the sum of two million, nine hundred 
and fifty-five thousand, three hundred and forty dollars 
($2,945,340.00) , with interest thereon until paid, which 


was approved by the governor on the 20th day of the 
same month. 

The bill created a fund to be known as the "Canal 
Redemption Fund," and made a further provision, "that 
not less than one-fifth, nor more than one-third, of the 
money so appropriated shall be applied to reconstruct 
the bridges and public buildings and structures upon the 
original site, as already provided by the common coun- 
cil, and the remainder thereof to be applied to the pay- 
ment of the interest on the bonded debt of such city 
and the maintenance of the fire and police departments 
thereof." It was passed with the emergency clause, 
and took effect from and after its passage. 

The legislature met in formal session on November 15, 
1871, when I transmitted to that body a message, in 
writing, containing certain suggestions, and announced 
the appointment of Gustavus Koerner, of St. Clair 
county; Richard P. Morgan, Jr., of McLean county; 
and David S. Hammond, of Cook county, as railroad 
and warehouse commissioners, and said: "In my selec- 
tion of these gentlemen, I was influenced by a desire to 
combine in the board the requisite experience drawn 
from different pursuits and from different portions of the 
state." I added, "I have also the honor to submit to the 
general assembly, and through that department to the 
people of the state, a series of papers, that present the 
leading facts of transactions that are without example 
in the history of this or any other of the states." 

On October 11, 1871, Lieutenant-General Philip H. 
Sheridan, of the United States Army, whose headquar- 
ters as commander of the Military Division of Missouri 
were in Chicago, under authority that he claims was con- 
ferred upon him by the proclamation of the mayor of 
the city, ordered several companies of the regular army 
of the United States into Chicago, and as lieutenant- 
general issued to Frank T. Sherman, a private citizen of 
this state, the following order : 


"Hdqrs. of the Mil. Div. op the Missouri, 

"Chicago, Illinois, Oct. 11, 1871. 
"General F. T. Sherman: Dear Sir — With the ap- 
probation of the major of this city, Lieutenant-General 
Sheridan directs that you organize a regiment of infantry, 
to consist of one (1) first and (1) second lieutenants, and 
sixty (60) enlisted men, to serve as guards for the pro- 
tection of the remaining portion of the city of Chicago, 
for the period of twenty days. 

"Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"James B. Fry, Asst. Adj't-Gen." 

This regiment was partly composed of companies of 
the state militia, ordered by Lieutenant-General Sheri- 
dan, or some of his subordinates, to report to him, or 
them, and recruits enlisted under their authority. An 
extract from the order of Lieutenant-General Sheridan 
mustering these troops out, will show its organization : 

"Hdqrs. of Mil. Div. of the Mo., Oct. &£, 1871, No. 5. 
"The 1st Regiment of Chicago Volunteers, raised with 
the approbation of the mayor, and in pursuance of or- 
ders dated October 11, '71, from these headquarters, is 
hereby honorably mustered out of service, and dis- 


The discharge includes some eighteen organizations, 
and many organizations were composed of the militia. 
The oath taken by these troops was as follows : 

"We, the undersigned, do severally swear that we 
will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States 
of America, and we will honestly and faithfully obey the 
orders of the officers appointed over us, and that we will 
use our best efforts for the protection of property and 
preservation of order in the city of Chicago, for the pe- 
riod of twenty days." 

Supported by this force, Lieutenant-General Sheridan 
proceeded to establish military rule throughout the city. 


His guards were established, and his sentinels posted on 
the public streets, with orders from him, or some of his 
subordinates, to arrest citizens who might, in the judg- 
ment of such guards and sentinels, be suspicious persons, 
and to fire upon and wound any person who should re- 
fuse to obey their commands. And one citizen of the 
city, who was quietly passing along one of the streets, 
was ordered by a sentinel to halt, and upon his refusal 
to obey, was shot and mortally wounded. It was not 
thought by Mayor Mason or Lieutenant-General Sheridan 
to be necessary or proper to consult with or even inform 
me of their purpose to transfer the duty of protecting the 
lives and property of the people of Chicago, of the sub- 
stantial government of the city, to the military forces of 
the United States, although I was in telegraphic com- 
munication with the mayor, as will appear by several 
dispatches, which will be hereafter mentioned, nor did 
either of them when we met on October 12th, and dis- 
cussed the affairs of the city at some length, inform me 
that they had determined that the government of the 
state was no longer equal to its duties, or that the mayor 
had determined, as he had elsewhere said, to avail him- 
self "of the strong arm of the military power of the 
United States." 

Whether they supposed that to be a matter about 
which neither I nor the legislature, which was convened 
to meet here on the next day to legislate for Chicago, 
had the least concern, or that the assent of the legis- 
lature and the governor might be safely presumed, I 
am not prepared to say, but they left me to make the 
discovery as others did, so that I received no informa- 
tion of the existence of the proclamation of the mayor, 
or of Lieutenant-General Sheridan, of his powers under 
it, until October 17th, and only heard of the regi. 
ment raised under the orders of Lieutenant-General 
Sheridan at a later day, and from an application by a 
person who claimed to command one of its companies 
to be supplied with arms. 


It may be imagined that the information of these ex- 
traordinary acts of the mayor and the lieutenant-general 
filled me with surprise, for I was conscious that I had 
put forth every effort and employed all my official power 
to aid the people of Chicago and preserve the peace and 
tranquillity. On Monday, October 9th, at noon, when I 
understood the fire still to be raging (and anticipating 
the probable necessity of official action that could best 
be done at the capitol) , I had dispatched General Har- 
lan, my secretary (in whose energy and prudence I have 
the highest confidence) , to Chicago, with instructions to 
report to the mayor and inform him that all the re- 
sources of the state that were subject to my legal 
control were at his service for the j)rotection of the 

It is not to be denied that if I had been jealous of my 
authority or eager to find occasion for controversy, there 
was enough in the dispatches of Colonel Dilger and 
Lieutenant-General Sheridan to arouse my suspicions, 
but it did not occur to me until October 17th, when I 
received the first distinct knowledge of the mayor's 
proclamation and Lieutenant-General Sheridan's con- 
struction of his powers — that he claimed the right as 
military officer of the United States to command the 
militia sent by me to the city, and the authority to en- 
force a military police therein. 

. . . On October 17th, I first heard of the exist- 
ence of the mayor's proclamation, and on the 19th, I 
addressed him the following dispatch : 

"Springfield, III., October 19, 1871. 
"Hon. R. B. Mason, Chicago, Illinois — What addi- 
tion to your police force is necessary to enable you to 
dispense with the United States troops? 

"John M. Palmer." 

To which I received the following answer : 


"Hon. John M. Palmer — I do not think any addi- 
tional force will be necessary after the lapse of ten or 
fifteen days. R. B. Mason." 

On October 20th, I addressed the mayor the follow- 
ing letter : 

"State op Illinois, Executive Dep't. 
"Springfield, October 20, 1871. 

"Hon. R. B. Mason, Mayor of Chicago : Sir — The gen- 
eral assembly has now by ample appropriations provided 
for the support of a police force in Chicago that will be 
adequate to the protection of persons and property in 
the city, and I trust that no time will be lost in making 
all needful preparations for relieving the military force 
now on duty under the orders of Lieutenant-General 
Sheridan. It excited the greatest surprise, and has oc- 
casioned me the profoundest mortification that you failed 
to inform me, as you could easily have done by tele- 
graph or through my private secretary, who reached Chi- 
cago on October 9th, of the necessity, in your judgment, 
for the employment of military forces for the protection 
of the city, and it has pained me quite as deeply that 
you should have thought it proper without consulta- 
tion with me by telegraph or otherwise to have prac- 
tically abdicated your functions as mayor. 

"Happily, there is no necessity, either real or im- 
aginary, for the longer continuance of this anomalous 
state of things. 

"The United States troops are now there in violation 
of law. Every act of the officers and soldiers of the 
United States army that operates to restrain or control 
the people is illegal, and their presence in the city (ex- 
cept for purposes of the United States) ought to be no 
longer continued. 

"It is due to you that I should confess that under 
the trying circumstances that surrounded you on the oc- 
casion of the late disaster, it was natural that you should 
be inclined to accept aid from any quarter to enable you 


to afford protection to persons and property in your city, 
but I regret that it did not occur to you that your own 
powers under the laws were adequate to meet the emer- 
gencies, and that you were entitled upon notice to me to 
the support of the whole power of the state. From in- 
formation that I have not been afforded an opportunity 
to acquire officially, I have learned that Lieu tenant- 
General Sheridan has rendered valuable services, for 
which he deserves the thanks of the people of Illinois ; 
but it would have been more satisfactory to them if he 
as a citizen, had given you the assistance of his eminent 
abilities to organize the people to act in conjunction 
with the civil officers for their own protection. That 
course would have been far preferable to that of con- 
centrating a part of the army of the United States in 
Chicago, and the assumption by him of the substantial 
military control of the city. I hope you will at once in- 
form Lieutenant-General Sheridan of your readiness to 
resume the complete government of the cit} r . 

"I have the honor to be, very respectfully, sir, 
"Your obdt. servant, John M. Palmer." 

In answer to this letter, I received the following : 

"Mayor's Office, City of Chicago, Oct. 21, 1871. 

"To His Excellency, John M. Palmer — Your letter 
of the 18th inst. (20th true date) has been received. 
Had your excellency, when in Chicago on the 11th and 
12th of this month, informed me or Lieutenant-Gen- 
eral Sheridan of your disapprobation of the course that 
I had thought proper to pursue in having on the (10th 
or 11th is the true date) solicited his aid in preserving 
the peace and order in the city, and protecting the lives 
and property of its inhabitants, satisfactory reasons 
could have been given to your excellency for so doing, 
many of which it would be unwise to make public. 

"In the performance of my official duties, I believed 
that the emergency required me to take the step that I 


did. I do not believe, when the lives and property of 
the people, the peace and good order of a large city, are 
in danger, that it is the time to stop and consider any 
question of policy, but if the United States, by the strong 
arm of its military, can give the instantly-required pro- 
tection to life, property and order, it is the duty of those 
in power to avail themselves of such assistance. 

"Before the receipt of your communication, I had al- 
ready, upon consultation with other city officers, decided 
to dispense with military aid in a day or two, and I am 
happy to inform your excellency that on Monday, the 
23d inst., your excellency will be relieved of all anxiety 
on account of the military in protecting the lives and 
property of this people. 

"Very respectfully, R. B. Mason, Mayor." 

On October 22d, I first heard of the death of Thomas 
W. Grosvenor, and determined that the affair should be 
investigated, and on Monday, October 23d, in company 
with Colonel H. Dilger, the adjutant-general, I visited 
Chicago to ascertain the facts. 

I found the facts of the case to be very much as re- 
ported. Theodore N. Treat was a student at the Chi- 
cago University, and when the students were called out 
by Colonel Francis T. Sherman, to constitute a part of 
the regiment he was authorized to raise under the order 
issued by General Sheridan, Mr. Treat was included as 
a member of Company L, of the University Cadets. He 
was posted as a sentinel about three miles from the line 
of fire, and when Colonel Grosvenor was challenged 
by the sentinel, he disregarded the challenge, was fired 
upon by Treat, and mortally wounded, and died a few 
hours afterwards. 

In an official letter to the attorney-general, and the 
state's attorney of Cook county, I advised that the facts 
be laid before the grand jury, with a view to an in. 
dictment against the parties contributing to the death 


of Colonel Grosvenor. I said in my letter to the attorney- 
general : 

"It seems to be certain, however, that immediately 
after the order or orders already mentioned were issued, 
Mr. Sherman assumed the military rank of colonel of 
the 1st Regiment of Chicago Volunteers, issued his 
own orders to several officers of the organized militia of 
the state, calling them and the members of their re- 
spective commands into service for the term of twenty 
days, and he also demanded, or accepted when tendered, 
the services of the students attending the Chicago Uni- 
versity, who were in possession of arms furnished by this 
state. He organized the troops thus raised with others 
enlisted specially, required them to take an oath of en- 
listment of which you will be furnished a copy, and 
gave to the organization that included the students of 
the university the designation of 'Company L, First 
Regiment of Chicago Volunteers,' and thus Theodore N. 
Treat became a member of said company and regiment, 
and subject, as he supposed, to the orders of Lieutenant- 
General Sheridan and of Frank T. Sherman and of 
others appointed to command him. ... It does 
not in my judgment admit of question, that if the orders 
of Lieutenant-General Sheridan authorizing troops to be 
raised, organized and employed in the city of Chicago, 
under the command of officers appointed by himself, 
can be supported upon any grounds afforded by the con- 
stitution or the law, and that Theodore N. Treat was a 
private soldier in any such lawful military organization, 
and that when he inflicted the wounds that occasioned 
the death of Thomas W. Grosvenor he was acting in 
pursuance of the legal orders of his proper military 
superiors, he as well as his superiors are guiltless of 
any legal offense. 

". . . Nor can it be material in this aspect of the 
case whether his power to raise, organize and employ 
troops under the circumstances is one that pertains to 
his office as lieutenant-general, or that it resulted from 


the proclamation of the mayor, for if his power is estab- 
lished by any mode, all the legal consequences before 
adverted to follow, and the killing of a citizen by armed 
men acting under his authority must be regarded as the 
necessary price of public safety. 

"But if the orders of Lieutenant-General Sheridan 
are without constitutional or legal warrant, they are 
utterly void and afford no protection to any person for 
acts done in obedience to them. . . . No one will 
pretend that the power to raise, organize and employ 
troops, or to call the organized militia of the state into 
service, pertains to the office of lieutenant-general in the 
army of the United States. Nor will it be easy to find 
defenders for the opinion, if it should be expressed, that 
the mayor of a city can either exercise or impart such 
power to another. . . . They assumed to suspend 
the operation of the constitution and laws of the state, 
and substitute in their stead the law of military force, 
to be defined and applied by themselves. They, by their 
lawless acts attacked and insulted the dignity and au- 
thority of the state, and have, by their dangerous ex- 
ample, weakened public confidence in the constitution 
and the laws, and in their attempts to enforce unsurped 
and lawless authority, they have sacrificed the life of a 
peaceable citizen. ... I have to request that you, 
in conjunction with the state's attorney of the seventh 
judicial circuit, will bring all the facts before the grand 
jury of Cook county, in order that all persons concerned 
in unlawful killing of Thomas W. Grosvenor may be 
brought to speedy trial." 

The grand jury of Cook county, under the lead of its 
foreman, Hon. C. B. Far well, refused to find a bill of 
indictment against any of the parties, and even paid a 
compliment to General Sheridan for his conduct. 

In order to the completion of the history of the opera- 
tions after the "Chicago fire," it is now necessary to 
mention another phase of the affair. In my message, 


dated on December 9, 1871, I submitted to the general 
assembly the following papers : 

1. A copy of a slip from the Chicago Journal of No- 
vember 2, 1871. 

2. Letter from the governor of Illinois to the presi- 
dent of the United States, dated November 3, 1871. 

3. Answer to the president, dated November 9, 1871. 
Copies of papers transmitted by the president with his 
letter of November 9, 1871. 

I. Proclamation of R. B. Mason, mayor of Chicago, 
of date, October 11, 1871. 

II. Order issued by General Sheridan, dated October 
11, 1871. 

III. Telegraphic dispatch from Lieutenant-General 
Sheridan to the adjutant-general United States army, 
dated October 11, 1871. 

IV. Telegraphic dispatch from Lieutenant-General 
Sheridan to the adjutant-general of the United States 
army, dated October 12, 1871. 

V. Note from R. B. Mason, mayor of Chicago, to 
Lieutenant-General Sheridan, dated October 22, 1871. 

VI. Note from Lieutenant-General Sheridan to R. B. 
Mason, mayor, dated October 23, 1871. 

VII. Note from R. B. Mason, mayor, to Lieutenant- 
General Sheridan, dated October 23, 1871. 

VIII. Order of Lieutenant-General Sheridan, dated 
October 21, 1871. 

IX. Order of Lieutenant-General Sheridan, dated Oc- 
tober 24, 1871. 

X. Report of Lieutenant-General Sheridan to the 
adjutant-general United States army, dated October 
25, 1871, with the indorsement of General W. T. Sher- 
man thereon. 

XI. Communication of Messrs. Wirt, Dexter and others 
to Lieutenant-General Sheridan, dated October 28, 1871. 

XII. Communication of Lieutenant-General Sheridan 
to the adjutant-general United States army, dated 
October 29, 1871. 


XIII. Telegraphic communication from General W. 
T. Sherman to Lieutenant-General Sherman, dated 
October 31, 1871. 

XIV. Military orders. 

XV. Letter from the governor of Illinois to the presi- 
dent of the United States, dated November 20, 1871. 

XVI. Letter from the president of the United States 
to the governor of Illinois, dated November 25, 1871. 

We give the contents of the slip from the Chicago 

"It is telegraphed from Springfield that Governor 
Palmer is decidedly opposed to United States troops 
being stationed at or near Chicago, and will oppose any 
such interference of his right as commander-in-chief of the 
military of Illinois. We do not believe when the gov- 
ernor knows the circumstances he will do any such 

"The officers of the relief society, together with a 
large number of our most prominent citizens, signed an 
application to General Sheridan to station some of the 
troops under his command at or near Chicago, to be 
used in case of emergency. The large supplies the 
relief society will have in store during the winter were 
not deemed safe, besides threatened strikes in some 
quarters indicated that laborers willing to work might 
not be allowed to do so. General Sheridan referred the 
appeal of our citizens, with his favorable judgment, to 
the secretary of war, who immediately ordered four 
companies of the 8th United States Infantry from New 
York to Chicago, and they will arrive to-morrow morn- 
ing, subject to the call of the authorities should the 
necessity unhappily arise for their use. Only this and 
nothing more. That the government has the same 
right to establish a military post near Chicago that it 
has near St. Louis and New York and other cities, the 
most sensitive head of the militia of a state cannot 
question. That the authorities can call upon the gov- 
ernment to assist in preventing a threatened outbreak or 


in putting one down has been often demonstrated, and 
the people of Chicago have a right to the security which 
the presence of these troops affords them, no one with a 
grain of sense will pretend to question." — Chicago Even- 
ing Journal, November 2, 1871. 

"No. 2. Executive Deparment, 

"Springfield, November 3, 1871. 
"His Excellency U. S. Grant, President of the U. S. 

11 Sir — I have the honor to inclose you a printed slip 
cut from the 'Chicago Journal,' a highly respectable 
paper published in Chicago, and respectfully ask your 
attention to its contents. 

"My apology for troubling your excellency with a 
paper of the character of that inclosed is that it is 
stated therein that four companies of the 8th United 
States Infantry have been ordered from New York to 
Chicago and will arrive there to-morrow (to-day) sub- 
ject to the call of the authorities, and that the reasons 
for ordering troops to Chicago are, that the large supplies 
the relief society will have in store during the winter 
were not deemed safe, besides threatened strikes in some 
quarters indicated that laborers willing to work might 
not be allowed to do so, and that an application stating 
these facts was signed by the officers of the relief society 
and other citizens, presented to General Sheridan, and 
by him approved, and referred to the secretary of war. 

"In addition to this, rumors in the form of telegraphic 
dispatches from Washington and Chicago have reached 
me that troops were ordered to Chicago for purposes 
connected with the safety of property and the preserva- 
tion of order in the city, but no information of the exist- 
ence of the dangers alluded to have reached me from 
any quarters whatever. 

"I cheerfully concede that it is for the president to 
designate the stations of the troops composing the army, 
and that he is under no obligations founded upon the 
constitution or the laws, or upon the rules of official 


courtesy, to communicate his orders or the reasons that 
influenced him in making them to the governors of any 
of the states, unless the orders in question or the presence 
of the troops are intended in some way to affect or in- 
fluence the internal affairs of the particular state to 
which the troops are sent. 

"In the latter case, it will readily occur to you that 
the governor of the state, whose duty it is to enforce 
the laws, is deeply concerned for the troops, and the or- 
ders under which they are to act may operate to dimin- 
ish or greatly increase the difficulties of his official posi- 
tion. I am happy in the consciousness that the au- 
thorities of the State of Illinois are abundantly able to 
protect every interest of the people that depends upon 
its internal peace and good order, and am unwilling to 
"believe that the president of the United States, act- 
ing upon information of a contrary character communi- 
cated by private citizens to an officer of the army, has 
ordered any portion of the army into this state to be 
subject to a call of the authorities either to protect the 
store houses of the relief committee or to interfere with 
the possible, though not probable, strikes of laborers. 

"I therefore deem it due to the importance of the sub- 
ject frankly to inquire of your excellency whether the 
troops ordered to Chicago are intended or instructed to 
obey the call of any authorities of the State of Illinois 
or the city of Chicago, or in any way whatever to assume 
the protection either of property or the preservation of 
order in that city. 

"I have the honor to be, with great respect, 

"John M. Palmer." 

To which letter there was the following answer : 

"Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C. 

"November 9, 1871. 
"His Exceellency, John M. Palmer, Gocemor of Illi- 
nois: Sir — I am in receipt of your letter of the third 


inst., inquiring the nature of the orders, etc., under 
which four companies of United States troops have been 
ordered to the city of Chicago, and asserting your 
ability as executive officer of the state to furnish all the 
protection asked in the appeal of the citizens of Chicago 
for these troops. 

"In reply, I enclose you a copy of the appeal, of Gen- 
eral Sheridan's remarks thereon, of the orders given in 
sending the troops, and of all the correspondence between 
General Sheridan and the authorities here since the 
great fire which laid so much of the wealth of Chicago 

in ashes. 

"I will only add further that no thought here even 
contemplated distrust of the state authorities of the 
State of Illinois, or lack of ability on their part to do all 
that was necessary, or expected of them for the main- 
tenance of the law and order within the limits of the 


"The only thing thought of was how to benefit a peo- 
ple stricken with a calamity greater than had ever 
before befallen a community of the same number in this 

"The aid was of a like nature with that given in any 
emergency requiring immediate action. 

"No reflections were contemplated or thought of affect- 
in^ the integrity or ability of any state officer or city 
official within the limits of the State of Illinois to per- 
form his whole duty. 

"I have the honor to be, with great respect, your 
obedient servant, U. S. Grant.' ' 


"The preservation of the peace and good order of the 
city is hereby intrusted to Lieutenant-General P. H. 
Sheridan, United States Army. 

"The police will act in conjunction with the lieuten- 
ant-general in the preservation of the peace and quiet 
of the city, and the superintendent of the police will 
consult with him to that end. The intent hereof being 


to preserve the peace of the city without interfering with 
a function of the city government. 

"Given under nay hand, this 11th day of October, 
1871 . "R. B. Mason, Mayor. ' ' 

No. 4 copied elsewhere. 


"Chicago, Ills., Oct. 11, 1871. 

"General E. G. Townsend, Adjutant-General — There 
was some excitement here yesterday and last evening, 
but it is now quieting down. Some of the troops from 
Leavenworth and Omaha are coming in. I have taken 
the necessary steps to meet the conditions of affairs here. 
"P. H. Sheridan, Lievtenant-General. 

» > 


"Chicago, Ills., Oct. IS, 1871. 
"General E. D. Townsend, Adjutant-General — As 
there may be some trouble there when the banks have to 
settle with their depositors, and to keep down excite- 
ment, I have deemed it best to ask General Halleck for 
four (4) companies of infantry which he has notified me 
he has in readiness at Louisville. 

"P. H. Sheridan, Lieutenant-General." 

"Chicago, Ills., Oct. M, 1871. 

"Lieutenant-General P. H. Sheridan, U. S. A. — 
Permit me to tender you the thanks of the city of Chi- 
cago and its whole people for the very efficient aid which 
you have rendered in protecting the lives and property 
of the citizens, and in the preservation of the general 
peace and good order of the community. 

"I would like your opinion as to whether there is any 
longer a necessity for the continued aid of the military 
in that behalf. R. B. Mason, Mayor:' 



"Headquarters Military Div. op the Missouri, 

"Chicago, Ills., Oct. 23, 187 1. 

"Hon. R. B. Mason, Mayor — Sir, I have the honor to 
acknowledge the receipt of your kind note of the date of 
yesterday, and in reply beg leave to report a good con- 
dition of affairs in the city. If your honor deems it 
best, I will disband the volunteer organizations of mili- 
tary on duty since the fire, and will send the troops of 
the regular army to their homes, and will consider my- 
self relieved from the responsibility of your proclamation 
of the 11 tli instant. 

"With my sincere thanks for your kindness and courtesy 
in my intercourse with me, P. H. Sheridan. 

"Mayor's Office, Chicago, Oct. 23, 1871. 

"Lieutenant-General P. H. Sheridan, U. S. A. — 
Upon consultation with the board of police commission- 
ers, I am satisfied that the continuance of the efficient 
aid in the preservation of the order in this city which 
has been rendered by the forces under your command, 
in pursuance of my proclamation, is no longer required. 

"I will therefore fix the hour of 6 p. m. of this day as 
the hour at which the aid requested, shall cease. . . . 
"I am, etc., R. B. Mason, Mayor." 

No. VIII has been described, and No. IX is the order 
for the regular troops to return to their stations, but No. 
X is a communication from General Sheridan to the ad- 
jutant-general of the United States army. It is dated 
Chicago, October 25th, and is as follows : 

"The disorganized condition of affairs in this city, 
produced by and immediately following the late fire, in- 
duced the city authorities to ask for assistance from the 
military forces, as shown by the mayor's proclamation 
of October 11, 1871. (Copy herewith marked 'A.') 

"To protect the public interests entrusted to me by 
the mayor's proclamation, I called to this city Companies 
A and K of the 9th Infantry, from Omaha ; Companies 


A, H and K of the 5th Infantry, from Fort Leavenworth ; 
Company I of the 6th Infantry, from Fort Scott, and ac- 
cepted the kind offer of Major-General Halleck to send 
to me Companies F, H and K of the 4th, and Company 
E of the 16th Infantry, from Kentucky. 

"I also, with the approbation of the mayor, called 
into service of the city of Chicago a regiment of volun- 
teers for twenty days. (A copy of this call inclosed here- 
with marked 'B.') These troops, both regulars and 
volunteers, were actively engaged during their service 
here, in protecting the treasure in the burnt district, 
guarding the unburnt district from disorders and dangers 
by further fires, and in protecting the store-houses, 
depots and sub-depots of supplies established for the re- 
lief of the sufferers from the fire. 

"These duties were terminated on the 23d inst., as 
shown by letters herewith, marked C, D, E ; and on the 
24th inst., the regulars started to their respective sta- 
tions, and the volunteers were discharged, as shown by 
Special Orders No. 76 and General Orders No. 5, from 
these headquarters. 

"Very respectfully, P. H. Sheridan." 

This paper was indorsed as follows: "Respectfully 
submitted to the secretary of war." 

"The extraordinary circumstances attending the great 
fire in Chicago made it eminently proper that General 
Sheridan should exercise the influence, authority and 
power he did, on the universal appeal of a ruined 
and distressed people, backed by their civil agents, who 
were powerless for good. The very moment that the 
civil authorities felt able to resume their functions, Gen- 
eral Sheridan ceased to exercise authority, and the United 
States troops returned to their stations. 

"General Sheridan's course is fully approved. 

"W. T. Sherman, General. 

"Seen by the secretary of war. 

"Joseph Potts, C. C. W.D." 




"Chicago Relief and Aid Society, Oct. 28, 1871. 
"Lieutenant-General P. H. Sheridan : General — The 
undersigned respectfully and urgently request that you 
will cause four companies of United States infantry to 
be stationed at or near this city until it shall appear that 
there is no danger of attack by disorderly persons upon 
the depots of the Relief and Aid Society, or other riotous 
proceedings for which the recent appalling calamity may 
have paved the way. We believe that the presence of a 
small military force in this vicinity would at the same 
time deter any evil disposed persons from organizing a 
breach of the peace, and reassure the public mind to an 
extraordinary degree. 

We are, general, your obt. servts., 
'Wirt Dexter, Chmn. Exec. Com. Ref. and A. So. 
'Joseph Medill, Editor Tribune. 
; W. F. Coolbaugh, Prest. of the Union Nat. Bk. 
'H. K. Eames, Prest. Commercial National Bank. 
"F. Irving Pearce, Prest. of Michigan Nat. Bank. 
"C. H. Beckwith & Sons, 140 Michigan avenue. 
"J. W. Preston, Prest. of Chi. Board of Trade. 
"Charles Randolph, Sec. of Chi. Board of Trade. 
"E. Hengerland, Illinois River Elevator. 
"Horace White, Chicago Tribune. 
"Charles L. Wilson, Chicago Journal." 

"Hdqs. Mil. Div. of the Mo., Chi., Oct. 29,1871. 
"Brigadier-General E. D. Townsend, Adjt.-Gen. — Al- 
most before the great conflagration in this city had ex- 
hausted itself, I saw the necessity for having a few com- 
paniesof regular troops here for the preservation of the 
public peace and the protection of property and treas- v 
ure. Their services were invaluable, but as soon as the 
excitement subsided, the old city government desired to 
again take charge, and of course I sent the troops home, 
although it had been my intention to keep four compa- 
nies here during the winter. 

"The result has been, that the troops were no sooner 


gone than the turbulent spirit commenced to manifest 
itself, and seems to be increasing. I have, therefore, 
been solicited by Mr. Joseph Medill, the incoming new 
mayor, and other prominent citizens, to again bring to 
the city for the winter four companies of infantry. 

"I am satisfied of the necessity of their presence here, 
and ask the authority of the secretary of war to bring 
them. Please answer by telegram. 

"Your obt. servant, P. H. Sheridan, Lieut-Gen .' '' 


"Hdqrs. of the Army, Washington, Oct. 31, 1871. 
"General P. H. Sheridan, Chicago — Four companies 
of the 8th Infantry are ordered to Chicago to act as 
police under your letter of the 29th inst. 

"W. T. Sherman, General.' 1 

"General George C. Mead, Philadelphia — Order 
four companies of 8th Infantry with field officer to 
Chicago to report to General Sheridan in person. 

"W. T. Sherman, General." 

The order, "Special Order No. 63," is omitted — and 
I here copy my letter of November 20th to the president 
of the United States : 

**Svr — I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of 
your letter of the 9th of November, in reply to mine of 
the third of the same month, also copies of papers for 
warded to me by your direction. 

"I have read your excellency's letter and examined 
the papers received with great attention, and while I am 
not insensible of the kindness which prompts you to dis- 
claim all distrust of the authorities of the State of Illi- 
nois, or of their ability to do all that may be necessary 
or expected of them for the maintenance of law and 
order within the limits of the state, I have been unable 
to find anything in them to justify the extraordinary 


measure of ordering four companies of United States 
troops into this state to report to Lieutenant-General 
Sheridan to act as police under his orders. 

"It seems to me to be very well settled, as a principle of 
American public law, that the duty of protecting persons 
and property and the preservation of public order and 
peace against the efforts of disorderly persons, or from 
local internal disturbance, is the peculiar and exclusive 
duty of the states with which the government of the United 
States has no concern, and in which it cannot interfere ex- 
cept upon the application of the legislature or the executive 
of the state, as contemplated by the fourth section of 
the fourth article of the constitution, and any attempt 
by the officers of the United States to employ any part 
of the military forces, as proposed by the gentlemen who 
made the application, for four companies of infantry to 
be stationed at or near Chicago for an indefinite period, 
and approved by Lieutenant-General Philip H. Sheridan 
in his letter to the adjutant-general of the 29th of 
October, and by General W. T. Sherman by his tele- 
graphic communication to Lieutenant-General Sheridan 
of October 31, 1871, must be improper because violative 
of the constitution and the laws. I am not at all forget- 
ful that your excellency says that 'what was done in 
respect to ordering the troops to Chicago was upon the 
ground of emergency to aid a people who had suffered 
greatly ;' but in this view it seems to me that the gen- 
eral commanding the army overlooked the fact that the 
disastrous fire at Chicago did not relieve the State of 
Illinois from any of its duties, nor transfer any of them 
to the government of the United States. 

"Emergencies that demand extraordinary efforts often 
occur in the history of governments, but I do not re- 
member another instance in our history when it was 
held that an event that created a sudden demand upon 
the powers and resources of a state operated to transfer 
any portion of the duties of the state to the United 
States . 


"The great fire at Chicago ceased on the 9th of 
October, and the executive of the State of Illinois, 
under the belief that the disaster created an 'emergency,' 
provided for by the constitution of the state, convened 
the general assembly to meet in session on the thirteenth 
day of that month to make legal provisions to meet all 
the requirements of the occasion, and on the 19th day 
of October that department appropriated from the 
treasury an adequate sum to maintain a sufficient police 
force for the protection of every interest of the people. 
The emergency was thus provided for by the proper 
department of the proper government. The state en- 
larged and strengthened its own agencies for the en- 
forcement of its own laws to meet the requirements 
of the new situation. The same calamity deprived the 
United States of its custom house, its post-office, its 
court room and records, and threw upon that govern- 
ment the duty of adopting measures to supply the loss ; 
but it has not occurred to the authorities of the state 
that the losses of the United States or the interruption 
of its business has so far changed the relation of the 
federal and state system as to cast any portion of pro- 
viding for any of the wants of the United States upon 
the State of Illinois, and they are as little able to under- 
stand how it is that events that cannot operate to enlarge 
the powers of the government of the state should operate 
to confer upon a lieutenant-general of the army the au- 
thority to interfere in matters of purely state concern, 
or to authorize the general commanding the army to 
recognize and approve the lieutenant-general, and or- 
der four companies of the United States troops to report 
to him to discharge the mere duties of police. 

"I do not, of course, propose to discuss with your 
excellency the question of the relative rights and powers 
of the United States and of the states under the consti- 
tution, for I will not anticipate the possibility of a dif- 
ference of opinion upon the point that the duties of the 
executive officers of the two systems are defined so ac- 


curately and are kept so distinct by written constitutions 
and laws that there is no possibility of a conflict between 
them . 

"The duty of the president is to see that the laws of 
the United States are enforced, and that of the governor 
of Illinois is confined to the enforcement of the laws of 
the state. Neither obstructs the other, nor aids nor in- 
terferes with his duties. The governor of the state de- 
rives none of his powers from the United States, nor are 
his duties subject in any respect to the consent or dis- 
cretion of the president, who can, in no wise, enlarge, 
abridge or interrupt them by either assuming them him- 
self or by entrusting them to others. 

"As these opinions seem to me to be incontrovertible, 
I cannot doubt that the orders of the United States 
troops to act as police or to otherwise interfere in the 
affairs or duties of the state or any of its officers were 
made without reflection, and that the troops will be at 
once withdrawn from this state, or that the orders from 
their government will be so modified as to prohibit their 
employment as police or in any other way interfere with 
any of the duties or functions of any of the officers 
created under the laws of this state. 

"The State of Illinois cannot accept their aid or per- 
mit their interference in its affairs without a sacrifice of 
the confidence of its citizens, nor without giving coun- 
tenance to a dangerous example. 

"Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"John M. Palmer." 

General Grant replied on November 25th, as follows : 

11 Sir — I have received your letter of the 20th inst., 
and have referred it to the secretary of war, with di- 
rections to inform General Sheridan that if the troops 
under his command have received any orders which in 
any way conflict with the provisions of the constitution 


or the laws of the State of Illinois, he is instructed to 
rescind them. 

"Very respectfully yours, U. S. Grant. 

"To His Excellency, John M. Palmer, Governor of 
Illinois, Springfield, Illinois.'''' 

My expectation of future exemption from military in- 
terference was based upon the belief that the authorities 
of the state had already done enough for the main- 
tenance of law and for the protection of all the interests 
of the people of Chicago to merit their full confidence, 
and that the local officers were then so alive to their 
duties and so confident in the support of a powerful 
state that no room would be left for external interven- 
tion. Everything, indeed, had been done for the aid of 
the people of Chicago that was possible, and if all were 
not secure, it was because the resources of civil govern- 
ment were not equal to their necessities. 

General Grant, General Sherman and General Sheri- 
dan are dead, and I forbear to criticise their acts. I 
content myself with furnishing the documents and papers 
which give a history of the Chicago fire and of the con- 
troversies which it originated. 



Meeting of the legislature in 1874 — End of my term of office — Provision 
for education — Defense of grand juries — Mobs — Newspapers — 
Change of venue — Challenge to jurors — Pardons — Change in crimi- 
nal law suggested — The poor — Suggestion of an officer to represent 
poor prisoners — The railroads. 

On January 8, 1873, the general assembly of the State 
of Illinois convened in its biennial session. On the 
tenth day of the same month the two houses, in pursu- 
ance of the constitution, met and canvassed the votes 
cast at the preceding election for state officers, and found 
that Richard J. Oglesby had received for the office of 
governor 237,774 : Gustavus Koerner, 197,094 ; and B. 
G. Wright, 2,185 votes. 

Governor Oglesby was on January 13, 1873, duly in- 
augurated, and upon that event my connection with the 
office of governor ended. By the constitution of the 
state it is made the duty of the governor, at the com- 
mencement of each session, and at the close of his term 
of office, to give to the general assembly information by 
message of the condition of the state, and also to 
recommend such measures as he shall deem expedient. 
This constitutional duty I had discharged on the day of 
the opening of the session, by a message in writing. In 
the message I alluded to the prosperity and growth of 
the state, I said : 

"In all the material elements essential to its future 
growth and prosperity, the State of Illinois has nothing 
more to desire. Nor can it be asserted that the people 
of the state have been unmindful of their social duties, 
for public provision for the education of all the children of 
the state is already made, and will hereafter keep pace 
with advancing public wants, while institutions intended 
for the purposes of advanced education and higher 


culture are increasing in number, and are widening 
their field of usefulness, and though our general system 
for the poor and permanently helpless classes is not 
complete, nor yet entirely satisfactory in its methods 
or results, the people of the state have cheerfully sub- 
mitted to all taxes imposed upon them for that class of 
objects, and have gone beyond their representatives in 
demanding that nothing required by the most enlightened 
humanity for the relief or maintenance of objects of pub- 
lic charity shall be left undone." 

I then added, that which I repeat now with the ut- 
most satisfaction : "That notwithstanding my extensive 
intercourse with the people of this state during my of- 
ficial term, I have never heard from any person a mur- 
mur against any tax actually levied or proposed for the 
benefit of the afflicted or helpless. . . ." 

I also in this message referred to the prevalence of 
mobs, and enumerated instances of such outrages. I said : 
"That in every instance of outrage by mobs, I had offered 
a reward of one thousand dollars from the contingent 
fund for the apprehension and conviction of the perpe- 
trators of such murders. I denounced the leaders of 
mobs, and characterized them as cowards, who, to indulge 
private and personal resentments, organize and direct 
the passions of the people to the commission of crimes." 

Then, as now, the administration of the criminal laws 
of the state commanded a large share of public attention. 
The newspapers, especially those published in Chicago, 
complained of the failure of public justice, and there 
were public meetings which adopted resolutions con- 
demning the alleged increase of crime in the cities of the 
state, and especially in Chicago. 

After the great fire in Chicago there was less of crime 
than there had been before. I therefore said : "That con- 
sidering the extraordinary circumstances of the almost 
total destruction of the city within little more than a 
year past, and the great influx of population from every 
quarter the laws are enforced, and order is as well 


maintained in Chicago as in other great cities of the 
country." I also said: "It is true some startling ex- 
amples of fraud in commercial circles have occurred in 
Chicago that are in their influence, more disastrous to 
the morals, the business and the character of the people 
of the state than is the aggregate effect of many minor 
offenses." I added, "that the commercial frauds to 
which I alluded, seem to be characteristic of the period." 

There was at that time an extensive belief that crimes 
of a homicidal character were increasing in frequency, 
and in the eagerness of many, propositions were made 
to reform the criminal laws of the state. 

One class of reformers proposed the abolition of grand 
juries, and that state's attorneys should by information 
accuse of crimes and misdemeanors. 

In the second place, it was proposed to take from 
persons charged with crime the right to a change of 
venue; thirdly, it was proposed to disallow challenge to 
jurors to persons charged with crime, upon the ground 
of an opinion formed from information obtained from 
printed publications, or, as it was urged by some, that 
no challenge should be allowed if the proposed juror 
would swear that he would try the case fairly, notwith- 
standing any opinions he had formed. 

Another proposition was made to make death the pen- 
alty in all cases of conviction for murder ; and then fol- 
lowed the proposition to deprive the governor of the power 
to pardon offenders after conviction. I said in my mes- 
sage that "to those who have such confidence in mere 
legislation that they assume every abuse may be cor- 
rected and every evil repressed by laws ; and to that 
other class, ignorant of the origin, history and reasons 
of the institutions, rules and methods of procedure pro- 
posed to be abrogated or changed, and who welcome 
every change in the existing laws as an improvement, 
all the alterations proposed will be acceptable, but others 
will remember that the grand jury, 'one of the "insti- 
tutions" of our free-spirited fathers, and most of the 


formal and carefully-guarded rules of criminal procedure 
that are now the subject of complaint were devised to 
protect the lives and liberties of the people against the 
aggressions and encroachments of power,' and others, 
like that of confiding the measure of punishment for 
murder to the jury, are the results of the observations 
of men of the most profound knowledge and the largest 
experience in the administration of criminal law. 

"They are parts of a judicious and well-settled system, 
not perfect, but that combines greater advantages for 
the prompt administration of justice, with the proper 
guards for the rights of the citizens, than any that ex- 
ists in any country, or under any form of government." 

• • • 

"In view of the necessity that has always been ad- 
mitted to exist for careful regulations for the protection 
of individuals, it is painful to witness the mistaken zeal 
that prompts a portion of the public press and influential 
public bodies to urge fundamental changes, simply that 
citizens may be made more defenseless when pursued by 
the authorities of the law upon accusations of crime. 

"Every change in the criminal laws that deprives 
parties accused of the means for obtaining an impartial 
trial, or that proposes to substitute discretion of a judge 
or of a state's attorney for fixed and well-defined rules of 
law or settled modes of procedure, is a sacrifice of the 
safety of the citizen. Happily, except on occasions 
when the public mind is excited by appeals to popular 
fears or prejudice, the passions of the American people 
are not cruel, but who is prepared to sa} r that when a citi- 
zen may be put on his trial upon a charge that involves 
his life, in the midst of a community filled with prejudice 
against him, without the power to demand of right the 
removal of his trial to an impartial vicinage, with no 
right of continuance to await a better state of public 
sentiment or to obtain evidence, no challenge to his tri- 
ers upon the ground of opinions formed against him — 
death, the inevitable consequence of conviction, and the 


governor without the power, even the clearest facts, to 
avert the bloody sentence, the vindictive prejudice of 
some community may not demand a victim. 

"The 'institution' of grand and petit juries is an es- 
sential part of the judicial system of a free state. The- 
orists, who can demonstrate that the rule of a single 
wise man is better than that of the multitude, and law 
reformers who would substitute the discretion of a state's 
attorney or a judge for the deliberations of a grand jury 
or fixed rules of procedure, alike forget that no method 
of election has yet been devised that will insure the 
choice of the wisest for rulers, state's attorneys or judges, 
nor do they attach enough importance to the fact that 
in a republic no system of laws can be devised that, 
without endangering the public liberties, will be effect- 
ive for the prevention and punishment of crimes, unless 
the laws provide for the participation of the people in 
their administration, and that neither public nor private 
rights can be secured when they are in any important 
senses subject to the discretion of any ruler or magis- 
trate. . . . It is at once the vice and weakness of 
Avealthy and prosperous communities that a majority 
of those who should be the most capable and useful citi- 
zens, from purely selfish reasons, prefer to delegate the 
discharge of their most important public duties to others, 
and experience has demonstrated that whether the mer- 
cenaries, who undertake the protection of the public in- 
terests, or who by the indifference of the people are al- 
lowed to seize control of public affairs, are the hired 
soldiers of a standing army or the traders in offices, who 
cajole, neglect and plunder the people. The result is 
the same — the degradation of the laws, contempt for 
public justice, in the end, all the securities for life and 
liberty are destroyed." 

I further said : "I have no doubt of the right of the 
state to put persons to death who, by their own delib- 
erate, criminal acts, make that course necessary for the 
public safety, nor do I question the existence of the right 


to inflict the death penalty as a punishment for crime, 
but I am quite as decided in the conviction that that 
mode of punishment has but little influence to deter 
from the commission of crime, and that on the other 
hand, it is a worn-out vestige of barbarism that hardens 
and depraves the people. Deliberate homicide by public 
authority has much greater influence to weaken respect 
for human life than the commission of murder by law- 
less persons, and it is remarkable that the ecclesiastical 
bodies, and that portion of the so-called religious and 
secular press that demand the more frequent infliction 
of death by judicial sentence, concede the whole point in 
dispute when, impressed with the horrible and deprav- 
ing influence of public executions, they insist upon ex- 
cluding those from the spectacle who are to be impressed 
by the example. ... It may also be true that mon- 
sters of crime may sometimes be found whose extermina- 
tion is demanded, not to vindicate the authority of the 
law, but the dignity of human nature. It would not, 
therefore, be judicious for the state to renounce the 
power to inflict death as a punishment for crime, but 
the propriety of the exercise of the power in any instance 
can best be determined by a jury drawn from the body 
of the people." I said: "The executive authority to 
grant pardons, reprieves and commutations is made by 
the constitution absolute, and to be exercised by him at 
his discretion, and, like all discretionary powers confided 
to public officers, is extremely liable to abuse. And yet 
I refused to approve a bill which created a board of 
pardons, believing then, as I do now, that where the 
constitution of the state confides a power to a particular 
officer, he ought to exercise it without dividing his re- 
sponsibility. I believe the present board of pardons is 
extra-constitutional, and that the present governor ap- 
proved the bill which created it in order to relieve him- 
self from his constitutional responsibilities." 

In my message, I said: "I have exercised the par- 
doning power in proportion to the whole number of con- 


victions in the state more spariugly than any of niy pre- 
decessors, and I am satisfied that I have done so in im- 
proper cases. But I have had the satisfaction of releas- 
ing persons from the penitentiary after they had furnished 
me with the most unquestionable proof of their inno- 
cence of the alleged crime of which the jury had found 
them guilty. I have by pardons shortened terms of im- 
prisonment that were certified to me by the judges and 
juries imposing them to be excessive, and I have, in 
more than one instance, interfered for the relief of the 
poor and ignorant who were the victims of the arts of 
designing persons. . . . We know that the blind- 
ness of legal justice is but a fable, and that though the 
laws in their letter and spirit are just, humane and equal, 
as a practical fact the wealthy and influential do disre- 
gard them with a measure of impunity not permitted to 
the poor and friendless. 

"We know, too, that the jails, into which those who 
are accused of the commission of crime and are unable 
to furnish bail are crowded, are moral pest-houses, where 
vice is taught to the most innocent and the guilty made 
more depraved. We know that instances are not want- 
ing in which jailers or their subordinates alone, in con- 
junction with some of a class of professional men who 
'dishonor law and disgrace the courts,' who tolerate their 
presence, have defrauded friendless prisoners of all their 
possessions, and have then delivered them over to a cer- 
tain conviction. ... I have pardoned some of this 
class of unfortunates upon the ground that if the state 
cannot protect them, it ought to make them the repara- 
tion of forgiveness." I repeat, that I further said: 
"No subject is more worthy of attention of the repre- 
sentatives of an enlightened Christian people than the 
imperfect progress made by the laws of the state for the 
protection of the poor, the ignorant, the inexperienced 
and the friendless in the criminal courts. The evil is 
most apparent in the cities and populous counties of the 
state. Each year the population of the state is increased 


by emigrants from all the nations of Europe and from every 
state of the Union, -who are of every grade of character 
and of every degree of intelligence. Of the thousands who 
come into the state, many are ignorant of our language 
and our laws, and many are upon their arrival poor and 
often ill, dispirited and inexperienced. 

"In the cities the missionaries of vice are ever active, 
and its temples are always open, and from their doors 
none are ever driven away ; to these the inexperienced 
and unwary are tempted, or from want of employment 
the irresolute are impelled to the commission of crime, 
or often they are made the dupes and instruments of 
those with whom crime is a trade, or being strangers and 
friendless they are readily suspected, and when arrested 
they are unable to find bail, and are committed to jail, 
and if indicted the judge, however humane and con- 
siderate, is compelled to entrust their defense to some 
lawyer without standing or experience in his profession, 
and conviction follows, for there is no one to demand 
justice or implore mercy. 

"It is time that the practice of delivering the living 
bodies of poor prisoners to legal students for professional 
instructions was abandoned, and I insist that provision 
should be made by law for the election or appointment 
in the large cities and populous counties of the state, of 
suitable persons whose duty it should be to visit the 
places where persons are confined upon criminal charges, 
confer with and advise poor prisoners, protect them from 
oppression and extortion, attend examinations, investi- 
gate charges against them, advise with injured parties 
and the courts and state's attorneys with a view of the 
dismissal of the prosecutions, when the ends of justice 
would by that course be promoted, or with reference to 
the proper measure of punishment in cases where the 
punishment is discretionary with the judge, or in proper 
cases alone, or in conjunction witli the counsel assigned 
by the court to manage their defense. A proposition to 


provide for the appointment of an officer to watch the 
administration of the laws, from the standpoint of those 
who are accused of the crime, is novel, but everyone 
familiar with the administration of the criminal laws of 
the state is fully aware of the fact that a truthful state- 
ment of all wrongs inflicted upon persons charged with 
offenses, would prove that many crimes have been com- 
mitted in the name of the law." It seemed to me then, 
and I have always held, that an officer should be ap- 
pointed and paid, from the public treasury, whose duty 
it should be to visit the jails or other places where people 
charged with the commission of crimes are confined, and 
confer with such persons, and such conference should be 
private, and the officer appointed to visit and confer with 
prisoners should not be permitted to disclose information 
derived from their admission or explanation. 

"At the same time as a quasi judicial officer, he should 
have the right to advise the judges and state's attorneys 
on the point of the guilt of poor prisoners, and as to 
the measure of their punishment. 

"The legal theory is, that the judges are the counsels 
of prisoners, but they are obliged to act through others. 
It would complete our system of judicial justice that the 
judges and state's attorneys could be provided with an 
officer whose duty it should be to investigate charges 
against poor prisoners, and make such recommendations 
as might appear to them to be proper." I added : "An 
important exception to the general disposition to obey 
the laws, which prevails throughout the state, is found 
in the refusal of common carriers of passengers and 
freight by railways to obey the constitutional and legal 
enactments provided for the regulation of their import- 
ant interests, and the people of the state aware of the re- 
fusal of this class of persons to obey the law, and of the 
mischiefs their contempt of the authority of the state 
produces, look to the general assembly, and make fur- 
ther and efficient efforts to provide a remedy. 

"The report of the railroad and warehouse commis- 


sioners is now in the hands of the printer, and will be 
laid down before the general assembly as early as possi- 
ble, will contain full information as to the pretensions of 
the railway managers, and of the efforts made by the 
commissioners of the authority of the state over them. 
Successful resistance to the constitution and laws of the 
state subverts them. It can make no difference whether 
such resistance is made by physical means too powerful 
to be overcome, or by combination of financial interests 
that merely treat the laws with contempt and refuse to 
obey them. The effects of successful physical resistance 
are immediate and easily perceived, while those pro- 
duced by persistent and contemptuous disobedience are 
remote and may not at once appear, but they silently sap 
and weaken the foundations of public order, and in the 
end destroy. The issue made with the state by the dis- 
tinct refusal of the managers of railways to obey the 
laws enacted by the general assembly for the correction 
of abuses and to prevent unjust discriminations and ex- 
tortions is one of power. It is not pretended that in 
the enactment of the laws disobeyed the general assembly 
transcended the authority vested in the legislature by 
the terms of the constitution. It is made the duty of 
the general assembly from time to time to pass laws 
establishing reasonable maximum rates and charges for 
the transportation of passengers and freights on the 
different railroads of the state, and to pass laws to cor- 
rect abuses, and to prevent unjust discriminations and 
extortions in the rates of freight and passenger tariffs on 
the different railroads in the state ; and by another pro- 
vision of the constitution railroads heretofore con- 
structed, or that may hereafter be constructed, in this 
state are declared to be public highways and free to all 
persons for the transportation of their person and prop- 
erty thereon as may be prescribed by law. . . . But 
it seems to me that the real causes of the manifold 
abuses, extortions and oppressions to which the people 
are subjected are to be found in the fact that railroad 


property has passed under control of combinations of 
financial adventurers who are in nowise interested in 
the proper management of the road. 

"This condition of the management of railroads may 
be accounted for by referring it in part to the great in- 
crease of the speculative wealth of the country, the 
tendency everywhere in every business to organization, 
and the circumstance so unfortunate for the people, that 
the general assembly did not in the enactment of the 
general and special laws authorizing the creation of 
railroad corporations, expressly reserve such sufficient 
power to regulate and control their internal manage- 
ment as would ensure the protection of the interests of 
the body of the public. 

" ... The State of Illinois contains within its 
limits more than six thousand miles of railroad, they 
penetrate almost every county. And the railroads of 
this state, by their legal connections and the identity of 
their interest and purposes with those of other states, 
have become a part of a system that it is said embraces 
sixty thousand miles of railroads in the United States, 
and which is being extended to limits that do not admit 
of easy definition. The railroad and carrying interests 
control a larger amount of capital than any other in the 
United States, and by means of their capital and their 
intimate relation with all other business pursuits, ex- 
tending as railroads do to all parts of the country, 
they exercise a greater measure of influence than was 
ever before in the hands of individuals. The iron rail, 
the steam engine and the telegraph, all now in substantial 
co-operation, already control the commerce of the con- 
tinent and to a large extent influence the value of every 
product of industry and the profits of every business 

"They build up favored cities and depress their rival ; 
they have diminished the value of the great rivers and 
highways of commerce and the shipping of the lakes, 
and that engaged in coast wise trades, embarrassed by 


obstacles that the engine upon the iron rail defies, with 
the new agencies maintain but a feeble and struggling 
competition. From the superiority of this new method 
of transportation, in speed, in safety and in power, all 
other modes are rendered comparatively useless, and the 
country is brought to face the fact that in this age of 
remarkable commercial and intellectual activity the only 
available lines of intercourse and trade on the continent 
are under the control of private individuals, who assert 
for themselves the power and the right to impose 
burdens upon the intercourse and commerce of the 
country to an extent to which they acknowledge no 
definite limit, nor in the exercise of the discretion they 
claim as to the amount they may impose do they admit 
themselves to be bound by any rule of equality; but 
they maintain their right to discriminate between differ- 
ent points of their own lines between different individ- 
uals engaged in the same business at the same points, 
and to increase and to reduce their rates at pleasure, 
until to the ordinary hazards of business is added the 
uncertain fluctuations dependent upon the management 
of railways. In my judgment, the existing laws in- 
tended to regulate the duties and define the obligations 
of common carriers by railway will not accomplish the 
object desired, for the reason, amongst others, that they 
are to a certain extent based upon widespread miscon- 
ception of the true relation of that class of public 
agents to the people, and as a consequence of that mis- 
conception the regulation for the government of the 
owners and managers of the railway lines are that they 
are confused and weakened by assuming that the owner- 
ship and management of railway lines and the receipt, 
and transportation, and delivery of passengers and 
freights for hire, which constitutes the business of a 
common carrier are so inseparable, that they are neces- 
sarily parts of the same general business, while in the 
nature of things and from the force of practices that 
now extensively prevail on many lines of railway, they 


are certainly different pursuits, and regulations intended 
for the government of one have no fitness or proper appli- 
cation for the other. . . . It was with a view to break 
up the monopoly of the use of their own railroad lines by 
common carriers, and if possible to separate the owner- 
ship of railroad property from the prosecution of that 
business, that the constitutional convention adopted the 
tenth, the twelfth and the fourteenth sections of the 
eleventh article of the constitution. Before the adop- 
tion of the constitution of 1870, the public mind had 
become so affected with the impression that railways 
could only be useful to the public as long as the corpo- 
rations controlling them were able to carry on business 
as common carriers, that a disposition was sometimes ap- 
parent to consider the rolling-stock and other movable 
property of railroad corporations as appurtenant to the 
railroads. To correct that impression, and prevent its 
further growth, the tenth section of the eleventh article 
of the constitution was adopted, which declares that 
"the rolling-stock and other movable property of any 
railroad company in this state shall be considered per- 
sonal property, and shall be liable to execution and sale 
in the same manner as the personal property of indi- 
viduals, and the general assembly shall pass no law ex- 
empting any such property from execution and sale." 

And then to lay the foundation for the assertion of 
the public right to authorize competition in the business 
of carriers on the roads of the state, and to furnish the 
basis for the proper definition of the rights of the own- 
ers of railroad property as against the public right by 
its use, by the twelfth section of that article, it is declared 
that "railroads heretofore constructed, or that may here- 
after be constructed in this state, are public highways, 
and shall be free to all persons for the transportation of 
their persons and property under such regulations as 
shall be prescribed by law. And the fourteenth section 
recognizes the right of the state to take the property of 


corporations for public use to the same extent that the 
property of individuals may be taken." 

I then committed myself to the doctrine that railways 
are public highways, and that any carrier or company 
of carriers might organize and carry freight or passen- 
gers to the extent that they might choose to determine, 
subject to such compensation for the use of the fixed fa- 
cilities of railways to be ascertained by valuation. 

With reference to the penitentiary, I said : "I still be- 
lieve that with proper legislation and judicious manage- 
ment it may be made eminently useful as a penal and 
reformatory agency, and at the same time substantially 
self-sustaining ;" and at the same time I felt it my duty 
to add: "The only practical system for the successful 
management of the penitentiary in my judgment is that 
which combines the retention of complete control of the 
discipline and government of the convicts by the state 
with the lease of their labor to persons engaged in special 
pursuits." In reference to the reform school and in- 
ebriate hospital, I said: "Juvenile offenders, whose 
crimes are most frequently the result of the incapacity 
or the negligence of parents or guardians or neglected 
orphanage, or, as experience has demonstrated, with re- 
spect to many of that class, of latent, intellectual or 
moral incapacity or disease, while they attract and en- 
list the sympathies of the philanthropic, furnish the 
most encouraging field for employment of reformatory 
agencies, and it is to be hoped that as the state advances 
in wealth and culture, a greater degree of attention will 
be given not only to the classes intended to be provided 
for and benefitted by the reform school, but to neglected 
childhood wherever it may be found in the state. As to 
the inebriate hospital, recent investigations have led the 
most intelligent thinkers to the conclusion that drunken- 
ness is a form of disease that admits of treatment and 
cure. . . . But enough is known to inspire a meas- 
ure of confidence in curing drunkenness, and no one 
familiar with the subject will hesitate to confess that 


from its extensive prevalence and the mischiefs and dan- 
gers it is constantly producing, all efforts should be made 
to ascertain by experiments whether it does admit of 
permanent cure ; nor would the failure of any experi- 
ment that might be made by the state relieve the sub- 
ject from embarrassment, for there will still remain in 
the community a large and dangerous class to whom 
may be traced the commission of a large proportion of 
the crimes that afflict society and disturb social order, and 
the time has come when it is a reproach to the state that 
no measure can be devised which will bring relief. I 
am aware that some urge that total prohibition of the 
use of the liquors that produce intoxication is the proper 
remedy for the evil of drunkenness ; but I have never 
observed any satisfactory evidence of a real intention on 
the part of the people to enforce prohibition, nor do I 
believe that total prohibition of intoxicating agencies 
possible. But if I am mistaken in this opinion, and the 
time shall hereafter arrive when the men who believe 
the total prohibition of intoxicating liquors judicious or 
possible will come to consider that object of enough im- 
portance to induce them to prefer its success to that of 
political parties and vote according to their convictions 
and succeed in giving effect to their views, the time is 
not so near at hand that the general assembly should 
on account of its approach delay to make provision to 
relieve society from the almost unendurable evils than 
drunkenness now produces. . . . To me the theories 
upon which the laws respecting drunkenness depend are 
manifestly absurd, as they are oppressive and unjust. 
If it is a mere habit that inflicts no public injury, all 
the laws that treat it as a crime are unjust and should 
be at once repealed. If it is a crime, it should be pun- 
ished wherever committed. 

"The laws should be enforced impartially without 
regard to the social standing of the offender, and if a 
crime, persons who become intoxicated ought to be sub- 
jected to the laws that authorize dangerous persons to 


be restrained. If drunkenness is a disease or habit that 
produces physical alterations that assume the form of 
diseased mental or nervous action so that the subject be- 
comes an object of danger to individuals or to the public 
peace, punishments that assume his legal responsibility 
are unwarranted and unjust, though his confinement 
may be justified upon grounds that are consistent with 
proper regard for the safety of the public and with the 
real interests of the unhappy victim. Accepting what 
I conceive to be the most enlightened as well as the 
most humane view of the subject, I recommend to the 
general assembly the establishment of an asylum or a 
retreat for inebriates, to which all persons conscious of 
their unhappy condition may voluntarily resort upon 
consenting to such conditions and regulations for the 
government of their conduct as may be prescribed under 
the authority of law, and to which all habitual drunkards 
and persons who become dangerous when intoxicated 
may be committed and, if need be, confined until cured. 
The safety of individuals and of society is involved in 
the success of the measure proposed." 

After having referred to the revision of the laws, ju- 
diciary, the reports of the state officers in which I ex- 
pressed the sentiment that I cannot permit myself to 
separate from these officers without testifying to the 
faitlif ulness with which all of them have discharged their 
duty to the state, I added proudly : "The State of Illi- 
nois is now substantially free from debt, and the time is 
not distant when it will occupy the proud position 
among the states of having discharged all its obliga- 
tions and of imposing no burdens upon its citizens, ex- 
cept such as may be required to carry on its govern- 
ment," and concluded in the following language : "No 
one is more conscious than I am that in the necessarily 
active share I have taken in the varied affairs of this 
great commonwealth, I have in the judgment of some 
committed mistakes, but I have in all my important 
official acts been governed by my own convictions of 


duty. . . . My duties to the government of the 
United States begun with my birth, and have never been 
forgotten nor neglected, . . . and I have felt under 
the most solemn of earthly obligations to obey and de- 
fend and support the constitution and laws of the State 
of Illinois, and to enforce the laws of the state against 
all who might offend them." 



Presidential canvass of 1876 — Hayes nominated by the Republicans — 
Tilden nominated by the Democrats — Visited Louisiana — Hayes' 
electors counted in — Correspondence between Democrats and Re- 
publicans — Report to Mr. Hewitt — Nominated for United States 
Senate — Declined in favor of General Anderson — Election of Judge 

The Republican party had succeeded in the presi- 
dential elections of 1860 and 1864 with Lincoln, and 
with Grant in 1868 and 1872, and were reluctant to con- 
cede the possibility of the election of a Democrat in 
1876, and when its national convention met on June 4, 
1876, it was supposed that any Republican could be 
elected. The convention afforded an example of a com- 
bination against the most popular candidate. During 
the session it was ''anything to beat Blaine." A num- 
ber of candidates were presented to the convention by 
their friends ; among them were Benjamin H. Bristow, 
of Kentucky ; Roscoe Conkling, of New York ; Marshall 
Jewell, of Connecticut ; Oliver P. Morton, the war gov- 
ernor, of Indiana ; John F. Hartranft, of Pennsylvania ; 
Rutherford B. Hayes, of Ohio ; and James G. Blaine, of 

Mr. Hayes was nominated on the seventh ballot, re- 
ceiving 384 votes, and 351 for Blaine, and 21 for Bris- 
tow, and Wm. A. Wheeler was nominated for the vice- 
presidency. The two-thirds rule does not prevail in the 
Republican national conventions, and Mr. Hayes was 
nominated by a majority of the votes. The Democratic 
national convention began its session on June 27, 1876, 
and nominated Samuel J. Tilden, lately the governor of 
New York, for the presidency, and Thomas A. Hen- 
dricks, late governor of Indiana, for the vice-presidency. 
These nominations were received in a very different 


spirit by the respective parties. Mr. Blaiue was the 
favorite of the Illinois Republicans, and his defeat cooled 
their ardor, and humiliated them, while Mr. Hayes, who 
was conceded to be an honest man, which he had proved 
as governor of Ohio, had about him nothing brilliant or 
dazzling, as had Mr. Blaine. 

Mr. Tilden, on the other hand, was esteemed by the 
Democratic party as one of the great men of the country. 
As governor of New York he had smashed the "Tweed 
Ring," and had compelled the flight of the "Boss" and 
his subordinates to foreign countries to avoid punish- 
ment for their crimes. Although I favored the resump- 
tion of specie payments, and held with Greeley, that the 
proper "way to resume was to resume," and approved 
the act of congress which required resumption by the 
United States on January 1, 1879. I also favored tariff 
reform, and determined to support Mr. Tilden. I did 
so, and made a few speeches in his interest. 

Tilden's election to the presidency, "according to the 
returns," seemed to be assured and certain, but the 
country was startled by a dispatch issued the morning 
after the election by Hon. Zachariah Chandler, the chair- 
man of the Republican national committee, and secretary 
of the interior in the cabinet of President Grant, that 
"Rutherford B. Hayes has secured one hundred and 
eighty-five electoral votes, and is elected." 

This dispatch showed the purpose of the Republicans 
to assail the returns of the election, and when the presi- 
dent, as he did, indicated certain Republicans from the 
North to attend the canvass of the votes in the states of 
Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina, it became cer- 
tain that the electoral votes of those states were to be 

Mr. Abram S. Hewitt, chairman of the national Dem- 
ocratic committee, finding the votes of the states before 
mentioned were attacked by the Republicans, selected a 
number of Northern Democrats to attend the canvass of 
the votes for election, and I was one of the persons 


chosen by Mr. Hewitt to go to Louisiana, and "witness , 
a fair count." 

I received the dispatch from Mr. Hewitt on November 
10, 1876, and left home and proceeded to New Orleans, 
by way of Louisville, where I had my headquarters 
while I commanded the Department of Kentucky ; Nash- 
ville, where I had commanded troops during the civil 
war, and then by Decatur, where I had crossed the Ten- 
nessee river on the retreat to Nashville, and by the way ' 
of Mobile, which I had never seen, and arrived at New 
Orleans on November 13th. 

As soon as the representatives of the northern Demo- 
crats reached New Orleans I was elected chairman, 
and we called upon Governor Kellogg, whom I had 
known in Illinois, and afterwards I ascertained the 
place of business of Mr. Cazenave, who was a member 
of the returning board, and called upon him, and there 
I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Kenner, who was 
also a colored member of the returning board. During 
my conversation with Cazenave and Kenner they stated 
to me the general facts of the political situation of 
Louisiana, and said to me that "in several parishes that 
had given majorities for the Tilden electors intimidation 
had been resorted to." 

I told both of them that the "returning board was in- 
complete on account of the resignation of Mr. Oscar 
Arroyo," which I had learned occurred in December, 
1874, and advised them that the board had no jurisdic- 
tion of the election returns unless the vacancy was filled 
by the action of the board, which it had power under 
the law creatine; it. 

I said to Cazenave and Kenner that the occasion was 
a grand one in the history of the colored race, which 
had unexpectedly fallen upon them, and that the des- 
tinies of both political parties was in their hands. I 
urged them to fill the vacancy in the returning board, 
and to see that such a return was made as would satisfy 
the country of the integrity and capacity of the colored 


race. Mr. Cazenave said in reply that the Democratic 
party could not be trusted to take care of the colored 
people, and said, in substance, that that party should 
be kept out of power. He said that if it was a question 
of making General Nichols Governor of Louisiana he 
would be inclined to accept my suggestions. 

He thought that General Nichols was in sympathy 
with the colored race, at least to the extent of doing 
justice to that race. I urged them to appoint a fair 
man to fill the vacancy and to insist upon a colored 
man, and said to them that they, with the colored man 
(a Democrat), that the three colored members of the 
board, could make a report that would satisfy the 
country that the negroes had the capacity, integrity 
and courage to do right, and to present the facts in 
regard to the election in Louisiana in such manner 
that everybody would be satisfied that it was done 


Cazenave's answer after all that I had said was that 
the Democrats could not be trusted with the interests of 
the colored people, and Kennar was silent. I called 
upon Governor Wells and had a conversation with him, 
and watched for the coming of General Anderson who 
had not appeared in the city. 

Governor Wells appeared to regard himself as the rep- 
resentative of his party. He disliked the local politicians 
of the Democratic party, and he felt an unwillingness 
to fill the vacancy in the returning board, and professed 
a want of confidence in any local Democrat. I told him 
there was a general feeling throughout the United 
States that the vacancy in the returning board should be 
filled. He answered that the Democratic member of the 
board, Mr. Arroyo, having resigned, the Democratic 
party had forfeited its right to representation on the 
returning board. 

After General Anderson, a member of the returning 
board, had reached the city, I had several conversations 
with him. He seemed disposed to fill the vacancy on 


the board, but he could not agree with his colleagues 
on the man to be appointed, which was probably a mere 

He bore testimony to the intelligence and integrity of 
Dr. Hugh Kennedy, the person recommended by the 
Democrats, but the vacancy was never filled. After I 
had my several conversations with Cazenave and Kenner, 
the colored members, and with Wells and Anderson, the 
white members of the returning board, I was satisfied 
that they would declare the Hayes electors to have 
been chosen by the voters of Louisiana. 

I thought Cazenave to be an honest man from his 
standpoint, but he thought that the interests of the 
colored race demanded the election of Hayes to the 
presidency, and blinded by prejudice he was incapable 
of doing justice to the subject or of a decision according 
to law. Kenner was a very "common mulatto" and 
was controlled by Wells, whose mind was made up as 
soon as he perceived the importance of the questions 
submitted to the returning board, and General "Tom." 
Anderson was a soldier of fortune, ready to take any 
service and to find according to his interest. 

After the Republican visitors reached New Orleans, a 
meeting of the Democratic visitors was held, which con- 
sisted of Lyman Trumbull and William R. Morrison, of 
Illinois ; Samuel J. Randall, A. G. Curtin and William 
Bigler, of Pennsylvania; J. R. Doolittle and Geo. B. 
Smith, of Wisconsin; Joseph E. McDonald, Geo. W. 
Julian, M. D. Manson and John Love, of Indiana ; Henry 
Watterson, J. W. Stevenson and Henry D. McHenry, of 
Kentucky ; Oswald Ottendorfer and others of New York, 
and myself, and we attempted to secure the co-operation 
of the Republicans in preparing a statement of the pro- 
ceedings of the returning board of Louisiana, to be laid 
before the country. 

Reply of the Republicans relative to a conference. 
(We had the following correspondence with them. Our 
letter omitted) : 


"New Orleans, La., Nov. 16, 1876. 
"Gentlemen — We are gratified to learn that we have 
misapprehended the language and spirit of your com- 
munication of November 14th, inst., and that we were 
in error in attributing to you the purpose to interfere 
with legally constituted authorities in this state in the 
discharge of their duties. Perhaps this apprehension 
was the natural result of the language employed. Our 
request was to meet and confer with you personally or 
through committees, in order that such influence as we 
possess may be exerted in behalf of such a canvass of the 
votes actually cast, as by its fairness and impartiality 
shall command the respect and acquiescence of the 
American people. This, as we understood it, was for 
the purpose of influencing the action of the returning 
board in the discharge of its duties. The president had 
requested us to attend to witness, not to influence such 
a canvass, and knows that such request by him was 
not intended to witness the count of votes actually cast, 
but the entire proceedings of the board in reaching the 
result. As to the votes legally cast to be counted, we 
are gratified to learn that you concur with the president, 
and with us in this understanding. You also state that 
you are fully aware that both the organization and ac- 
tion, judicial and ministerial, of the returning board of 
Louisiana, was beyond the authoritative control from 
without ; and that it would be the height of arrogance 
and folly to attempt to alter the laws of a state of which 
we are not citizens, or to obtrude our interpretation of 
the laws upon those whose duty it is to administer them. 
We may therefore, as we think, assume that you will agree 
with us, that it would be arrogance equally to attempt 
by our concerted action to influence the proceedings or 
the results of courts of justice, or of boards acting 
judicially, and hence we are gratified at being able from 
the language and tenor of your letter, to assume that 
you did not wish to confer with us for the purpose of in- 
fluencing the action of the returning board, but only to 


secure such co-operation on our part as would enable us 
jointly with yourselves to witness the proceedings 
throughout. Conference for such purpose would now 
seem to be unnecessary, as we learn from a communica- 
tion just received from the board, which appears to us, to 
accomplish what, by your explanatory note, you desire to 
attain through the proposed conference. We will add 
that it is very apparent that if your wish is to see a fair 
and honest expression of the electoral vote of Louisiana, 
there is no difference between ourselves and you except 
as to our conduct with reference to that result. You 
have proposed conference and active associated influence ; 
this we regard as beyond our duty, or our privilege as in- 
dividuals. We shall be happy at all times to confer with 
you as individuals, to co-operate in whatever is right, but 
concerted action, for the purpose of influencing an of- 
ficial board, we hold to be beyond our privilege, and we 
shall hope that all may come to pass which good citizens 
can wish, without the use of any such means. We re- 
main, gentlemen, Very respectfully, 

"Signed by John Sherman, Stanley Matthews, J. A. 
Garfield, Ohio; E. W. Stoughton, J. W. Van Allen, 
New York; W. D. Kelley, Pennsylvania; Joe E. 
Stevenson, Ohio; Eugene Hale, Maine; J. M. Tuttle, 
J. M. Chapman, W. R. Smith, W. A. McGrew, Iowa; 
Sidney Clarke, J. C. Wilson, Kansas; C. B. Farwell, 
Abner Taylor, J. M. Beardsley, S. R. Haven, Illinois ; 
John Colburn, Will. Cumback, Indiana; C. Irvin Ditty, 

"To Hon. John M. Palmer, Lyman Trumbull, W. R. 
Morrison, Illinois; Samuel J. Randall, A. J. Curtin, 
Wm. Bigler, Pennsylvania ; J. R. Doolittle, Geo. B. 
Smith, Wisconsin; J. E. McDonald, Indiana; and 

The following is the reply to the Rebublicans' letter 
yesterday refusing to confer with the Democrats : 


"New Orleans, La., Nov. 17th. 

"■Gentlemen — We are in receipt of your answer to our 
letter of the 14th inst. , in which you inform us of your 
determination not to confer with us for the purpose of 
exerting such influence as we may possess in behalf of 
such canvass of the votes actually cast in Louisiana as 
by its fairness and impartiality shall command the ac- 
quiescence and respect of all parties. We sincerely re- 
gret this failure of our attempt to secure a co-operation 
of citizens from other states, in furtherance of the pur- 
pose which, as we supposed, had brought them hither at 
this juncture. 

"It can hardly have escaped your notice that our state- 
ment of the result to be obtained by the co-operative ac- 
tion which we sought to bring about, was a simple re- 
production of the language of President Grant, at whose 
request you are here. In his recent orders to General 
Sherman, that language was deliberately used, no doubt, 
in view of the fact, about which, as we conceive, there 
can be no dispute, that the first and most essential pre- 
requisite to an honest, just declaration of the result of 
the recent election in Louisiana, is a fair and impartial 
canvass of the votes really cast, to include votes illegally 
cast, as you certainly do us injustice, or imputation, of 
a desire to insist upon such a narrow and vicious in- 
terpretation. In our judgment, the expression, 'votes 
actually cast,' of necessity designates votes legally cast, 
and as a consequence of such votes only did we desire 
to secure a fair and impartial canvass. 

"We beg leave to say, therefore, that you are mistaken 
in the belief that we sought unduly to name a basis on 
which we invited your co-operative action, and you are 
no less in error in attributing to us a purpose to inter- 
fere with the legal authorities of this state in the dis- 
charge of their duties, or to claim rights, and to arro- 
gate to ourselves powers which we do not possess. In 
writing our letter, we were fully aware that both the 
organization and action, whether judicial or ministerial, 


of the returning board of Louisiana, were beyond any 
authoritative control from without, and that it would be 
the height of arrogance and folly to attempt to alter the 
laws of a state of which we are not citizens, or to in- 
trude our interpretation of these laws upon those whose 
duty it is to administer them ; but we had supposed, never- 
theless, that there was an influence which might be right- 
fully exerted, even by citizens of this republic, who are 
strangers in this state, and we had taken it for granted 
that your presence here, in response to the suggestion of 
the president was a recognition of the fact. We had not 
supposed that it was improper for us to remind the au- 
thorities of the state, by our mere presence at least, that 
there are certain rules of fairness and justice which un- 
derlie all constitutions and laws, and upon whose ob- 
servance most depends the acquiescence of the people of 
all parties in the declared result of the Louisiana elec- 
tion. Rules such as these : That no one ought to be judge 
of his own case ; that the decision of any contest ought 
not to depend upon the arbitrament of one of the par- 
ties thereto ; that before such decision is made, both par- 
ties ought to be fully and fairly heard ; that all ques- 
tions of law ought to be decided in conformity with its 
established general principles, and all questions of fact, 
upon evidence duly presented and weighed under rules 
which are of universal recognition in all the states of 
this Union ; that the trial of all causes involving public 
interests at least ought to be public, and that all pro- 
ceedings resorted to for the purpose of determining is- 
sues to the present electoral contest ought, by their 
manifest impartiality, to disarm suspicion that the forms 
of law have been perverted into instruments for viola- 
tion of its spirit. 

"In this connection, we may be permitted to observe 
that, while undoubtedly, as you say, a sedulous inculca- 
tion and cultivation of habits of obedience to forms of 
law is vital to the preservation of constitutional liberty . 
it is no less important that a refusal to yield such 


obedience be not provoked by using these forms as a 
means for subverting the very ends for which they were 

"Without undertaking to question the sincerity of the 
belief which you are at pains to express, that you know 
of no reason to doubt that the Louisiana returning 
board will make a perfectly honest and just declaration 
of the results of the recent election in Louisiana, we 
deem it not improper to remind you that the presence 
in this city of so many citizens from all parts of the 
Union, at this moment, seems to be evidence of a widely 
prevalent distrust of the actions of this board, and that 
such distrust has this foundation at, least that the con- 
struction of the board has not been changed since its 
returns were set aside by a congressional committee, of 
which the Republican candidate for vice-president was a 
member, and this distrust is not unnatural, in view of 
the fact, that, as we understood, one of the members of 
the returning board is a candidate voted for at the recent 
election. Another is the holder of an office of profit and 
trust by appointment of the present executive of the 
national government, while the members of the board 
are believed to be in affiliation with but one of the parties 
to the present political contest. 

"In view of all this, it is hardly necessary to add that 
the terms of our letter were not designed to prejudge 
the question whether the functions of the returning 
board were judicial or ministerial, or both, but simply 
to invite you to see, with us, whatever may be the char- 
acter of these functions, they are openly, fairly and hon- 
estly discharged ; and while we thus refrained from any 
attempt at stating a construction of the laws of Louis- 
iana, we deemed it equally irrelevant to the subject of 
our correspondence with you to allude to the duties de- 
volving upon officers other than constituents of the 
Louisiana returning board under the laws of the consti- 
tution of the United States. 

"Whether, as you observe byway of illustration under 


the constitution, the president of the senate both counts 
and declares the votes of the several states, his duty 
being purely ministerial and not subject to the control 
of congress, or whether, as has been the practice for 
more than eighty years — a practice inaugurated by men 
some of whom had been framers of the constitution — 
votes are to be counted under the direction and control 
of the senate and house of representatives, is a question 
upon the discussion of which we deem it no part of our 
duty to enter. 

"In conclusion, permit us to say that, notwithstanding 
your refusal to co-operate, we still cherish the hope that 
the returning board, warned by the history of the past 
and conscious that its actions are being observed by the 
whole nation, will discharge its delicate duties with sucli 
circumspection, fairness and impartiality as shall give 
satisfaction to the American people. To this end, we 
will continue to labor. Should a different result follow 
the action of this board, we shall have the satisfaction 
of knowing that, while you have taken the responsibility 
of declining to act with us, we have done all in our 
power to avert the consequences which must follow. 
"Very respectfully, 

"John M. Palmer, Illinois, 
"Lyman Trumbull, Illinois, 
"W. R. Morrison, Illinois, 
"Samuel J. Randall, Pennsylvania, 
"A. G. Curtin, Pennsylvania, 
"Wm. Bigler, Pennsylvania, 
"J. R. Doolittle, Wisconsin, 
"Geo. B. Smith, Wisconsin, 
"J. E. McDonald, Indiana, and others." 

The following correspondence took place on Thursday 
and Friday between the northern Democratic and Re- 
publican committees, now in New Orleans, watching the 
canvass of the vote of Louisiana by the returning board : 


"New Orleans, La., November 30, 1876. 
"Hon. John M. Palmer, Chairman: Dear Sir — It is 
our purpose to communicate to the president copies of 
the testimony of witnesses taken under the order of the 
board of returning officers before a commissioner, but 
we have no means of getting copies of such depositions 
as are taken in behalf of the Democratic candidates for 
electors. If you will secure us copies, with depositions, 
we will with pleasure transmit them with the copies of 
depositions taken by the Republican candidates, so that 
if printed hereafter, the whole body of testimony may 
be read and considered together. No doubt a request 
by you of the gentlemen taking depositions will enable 
you to comply with our wish for a copy of them. 

(Signed,) "John Sherman." 

"New Orleans, La., Dec. 1, 1876. 

"Hon. John Sherman: Dear Sir — Your note of yes- 
terday's date received this morning, and at once laid be- 
fore the gentlemen with whom I am associated, and they 
instruct me to answer that they are extremely anxious 
that all facts relating to the election of presidential 
electors in Louisiana shall be known to the people of the 
United States, but that your note contains no assurance 
that the evidence collected here will be laid before the 
country. They further instruct me to say, that, upon 
that and other grounds, they decline to be the medium 
of communication between representatives of the presi- 
dent and citizens who, at the late election voted for presi- 
dential electors. 

"They would gladly unite and co-operate with you 
and associates in collecting and collating for publication 
such returns, protests, petitions, exceptions and evidence 
taken by all parties, with any other parties which may 
be necessary to a full understanding of all the questions 
at issue in the election for presidential electors in this 

"In view of your proposition, and the importance of a 


proper understanding of all the facts by the country, we 
must express our regrets that you declined the co-op- 
erative action proposed by us in the beginning. 

"Very respectfully, John M. Palmer." 

An Address to the People. 

New Orleans, Dec. 1. The Democratic visiting com- 
mittee issued the following address : 

"To the People of the United States. 

"Upon our arrival here, in casting about for ap- 
proaches to officials who control the elections in this 
state, we discovered that they were all of one political 
party ; that the governor had appointed none but Re- 
publican supervisors of election, and that the returning 
officers constituting the state board were of the same 
political school. 

"Influenced by those inauspicious surroundings, our 
thoughts and hopes were turned towards the eminent 
gentlemen who had been selected by the president to be 
present, and see that the board of canvassers made a 
fair count of the votes actually cast, and on November 
14th we invited these gentlemen to meet and confer with 
us. This co-operation was declined, but nevertheless we 
have reason to believe that to this correspondence may 
be attributed the invitation to us, on the 18th ult., by 
the returning board to be present at its meetings as 
spectators and witnesses of its proceedings. 

"Through this courtesy, and the services of a competent 
stenographer, we are possessed of all the essential facts, 
, determined on the facts of the official papers. We have 
been furnished with a certified copy of the duplicate 
statement of votes made by the commissioners of elec- 
tion at each place of voting in the state. From these state- 
ments it appears that Tilden electors received the fol- 
lowing votes, to-wit; McEnery, 83,712; Wickliffe, 83,- 
880; St. Martin, 83,676; Poche, 83,539; De Blanc, 
83,667 ; Seay, 83,842 ; Cobb, 83,579 ; Cross, 83,652, and 


the Hayes electors received the folio-wing votes to-wit : 
Kellogg, 77,152; Burch, 77,144; Joseph, 74,889; Shel- 
don, 74,844 ; Marks, 75,221 ; Levisse, 75,570 ; Brewster, 
75,457; Jefferson, 75,956. 

"The result for the vote of the presidential electors, 
as disclosed on the face of the returns opened by the re- 
turning board in our presence for the Tilden electors, 
McEnery, 82,233; Wickliffe, 82,326; St. Martin, 82,- 
129 ; Poche, 82,036 ; De Blanc, 82,065 ; Seay, 32,242 ; 
Cobb, 81,959; Cross, 82,109. 

"For the Hayes electors: Kellogg, 77,023; Burch, 
76,983; Joseph, 74,642; Sheldon, 74,678; Marks, 75,- 
087; Levisse, 75,157, Brewster, 72,270; Jefferson, 

"In most cases the returns opened by the returning 
board correspond with the certified copies of statements 
of the commissioners of elections furnished us. The 
most material arose from the failure of the supervisors 
of East Baton Rouge, Tangipahoa and Orleans to for- 
ward statements of votes from all voting places in their 
respective parishes. In thirty-five out of the thirty- 
eight states of the Union these figures would be con- 

"No one would claim that Tilden and Hendricks were 
not entitled to the electoral vote of the state, but in Louisi- 
ana a tribunal has been set up, which on a former occasion, 
has overthrown the will of the people as expressed at 
the polls, and for which power is now claimed, in its 
discretion, to change the results of the popular vote at 
the present election. In view, however, of the returns, 
the law and the facts which should control the return- 
ing board, with which we have made ourselves familiar, 
we have no hesitation in saying that the result shown 
by the votes actually cast cannot be changed without a 
palpable abuse of the letter and spirit of the law govern- 
ing the returning board and manifest perversion of the 
facts before it. 

"Irregularities have been committed in some instances 


by officers conducting elections and in making returns, 
but they are about as much on one side as the other, and 
as to intimidation, violence, or other illegal acts pre- 
venting a free and fair election, there is evidence on 
both sides ; but not of sufficient character to affect the 
general result. 

"In most instances the acts of violence proceeded 
from mere lawlessness, as in the case of the Pinkston 
family, and had no connection with politics. It is a 
significant fact that in parishes where it is alleged that 
voters were kept from the polls by intimidation, the total 
vote of such parishes was as large as at any time hereto- 
fore, and in the whole state it is 1,500 above any vote 
heretofore cast. 

"An honest and fair canvass of the returns, even un- 
der the laws of Louisiana, cannot materially reduce 
Tilden's majority as shown on the face of the returns. 
(Signed,) John M. Palmer, 

Lyman Trumbull, 
Wm. Bigler, 
Geo. B. Smith, 
Geo. W. Julian, 
P. H. Watson, 
"To Hon. Abram S. Hewitt, Chairman Democratic 
National Committee. 

"The returning board of Louisiana having this day 
promulgated, as the result of the recent election in that 
state, that the Hayes and Wheeler candidates for elect- 
ors received a majority of the votes, we who by invita- 
tion watched the proceedings of the board in opening 
and canvassing the returns until it went into secret 
session, deem it our duty to lay before you and the pub- 
lic such facts connected with the election and the re- 
turns as will, we think, clearly show that the action of 
the returning board in proclaiming the election of the 
Hayes electors as arbitrary, unfair and without warrant 
of law, and we adopt as applicable to this canvass the 


language of a report made the United States house of 
representatives in 1875, by George F. Hoar, William A. 
Wheeler and William P. Fry, in regard to the canvass 
of 1872, in which they say, 'The so-called canvass made 
by the returning board in the interest of Kellogg seems 
to us to have no validity and is entitled to no respect 
whatever.' We also adopt the language of this same 
report upon the condition of Louisiana in 1875, 'In the 
State of Louisiana there is a governor in office who 
owes his seat to the interference of the national power, 
which has recognized his title to his office not by reason 
of any ascertainment of the facts by legal process, but 
has based its action solely on the illegal order of a 
judge. In the same state there is a legislature one 
branch of which derives its authority partly from the 
same order, the other being organized by a majority 
who have been established in power by another inter- 
ference of the national government, and which majority 
derives its title not from any legal ascertainment of the 
facts but from the certificates of a returning board 
which has misconceived and exceeded its legal au- 

"November 18, 1876, before the returning board com- 
menced the canvass of the electoral vote, the candidates 
for electors on the Democratic ticket presented a protest 
against its jurisdiction over the subject or its canvass of 
the votes relating to the same. The protest was sum- 
marily overruled by the board without affording an 
opportunity for argument. No legal proposition, in our 
opinion, is clearer than that the board was mistaken as 
to its powers, and that 'it had nothing whatever to do 
with the electoral vote.' Each state shall appoint in such 
manner as the legislature thereof may direct a number 
of electors equal to the whole number of senators and 
representatives to which the state may be entitled in the 
congress, but no senator or representative, or person 
holding an office of trust or profit under the United 
States, shall be appointed as an elector. 


"The legislature of Louisiana has either directed the 
manner in which electors in that state shall be appointed 
or it has not. The election law of 1872, and amend- 
ments under which the returning board is created and 
acts, makes no provision as to the manner of appointing 
electors of presidents and vice-presidents, whether by 
the legislature or by vote of the people, nor whether by 
the state at large or by congressional districts, nor does 
it contain any provisions as to the qualifications of elec- 
tors, the place where they are to meet, nor for filling 
vacancies. Section 71 of that act declares as follows: 
'That this act shall take effect from and after its passage, 
and that all others on the subject of election laws be 
and the same are hereby repealed.' This is not an 
implied, but a direct, repeal of all election laws to which 
it refers, and if it repeals the previous act of 1868, re- 
vised in 1870, providing for the appointment of presi- 
dential electors, it repeals the whole of it and all its pro- 
visions, and there is no law of the state on that subject, 
and of course the board would have no jurisdiction to 
canvass votes cast for such officers. If, on the other 
hand, the act of 1872 does not repeal the law of 1870, 
then presidential electors must be appointed, and the 
canvass of the votes therefor must be made in accord- 
ance with the law of 1870, and the returning board has 
no jurisdiction over the subject, as will be seen by refer- 
ence to some of the provisions of the act of 1870, which 
are as follows : 

"Section 2824. Every qualified voter in the state shall 
vote for electors as follows : Two persons shall be 
selected from the state at large, and one person shall be 
chosen from each congressional district in the state ; and 
in case any ticket shall contain two or more names of 
persons residing in the same district (except the two 
chosen from the state at large) the first of such names 
only shall be considered as duly voted for. 

"Section 2825. No person shall be considered a quali- 
fied elector who is not a qualified voter in the district for 


which he is chosen, or in case of being selected for the 
state at large, then of some parish of the state. 

"Section 2826. Immediately after the receipt of a re- 
turn from each parish, or on the fourth Monday of 
November, if the returns should not sooner arrive, the 
governor, in the presence of the secretary of state, the 
attorney-general, a district judge of the district in which 
the seat of government may be established, or any 
two of them, shall examine the returns and ascertain 
therefrom the persons who have been duly elected 

"Section 2829. The electors shall meet at the seat of 
government on the day appointed for their meeting by 
the act of congress, and shall then and there proceed 
to execute the duties and services enjoined upon them 
by the constitution of the United States in the manner 
therein prescribed. 

"Section 2830. If any one or more of the electors 
chosen by the people shall fail for any cause whatever to 
attend at the appointed place at the hour of 4 p. m. of 
the day prescribed for their meeting, it shall be the duty 
of the other electors immediately to proceed by ballot to 
fill such vacancy or vacancies." 

"It is immaterial, so far as it affects the jurisdiction 
of the returning board, whether the act of 1870, relating 
to the appointment of presidential electors, is repealed 
or not. If repealed, there is no law in Louisiana for the 
appointment of presidential electors ; if not repealed, 
then the canvass of the returns for such electors 
must be made by the governor in the presence of the 
secretary of state, the attorney-general, a judge of the 
district in which the seat of government may be estab- 
lished, or any two of them, as required by the act of 
1870 ; and in making such canvass, they would be con- 
fined to an ascertainment of the persons elected, accord- 
ing to the returns, without authority to reject votes. In 
no event can the returning board have jurisdiction over 
the returns of electors of president and vice-president, 


and their canvass of the same is therefore a nullity and 
entitled to no respect from anyone. In another aspect, 
it may be important to determine whether the act of 
1870 is repealed, for if it is, the statutes of the state pro- 
vide no mode of filling vacancies in the electoral college, 
and it is understood that two of the electoral candidates 
on the Republican ticket held offices of trust or profit 
under the United States at the time of the election, and ( 
could not, therefore, be appointed electors. Other ob- 
jections were made to the jurisdiction of the returning 
board. That it was anti-Republican ; that it was in 
conflict with the constitution of the state, in that it un- 
dertook to exercise judicial functions, and in that with 
only four members it was not legally constituted. The 
election law declares : 'That five persons, to be elected 
by the senate from all political parties, shall be the re- 
turning officers for all elections in the state, a majority of 
whom shall constitute a quorum, and have power to 
make the returns of all elections. In case of vacancy, 
by death, resignation or otherwise, by either of the 
board, then the vacancy shall be filled by the residue of 
the board of returning officers.' The present board con- 
sists of only four members, to wit : J. Madison Wells, 
T. C. Anderson, G. Casanave and Louis M. Kenner, one 
of whom, T. C. Anderson, was a candidate for the 
state senate at the recent election on the Republican 
ticket. All are members of the Republican party. They 
are the same persons who constituted the returning board 
in 1874, and canvassed the election returns of that 
year, and of whom a committee of the house of repre- 
sentatives of the United States, composed of Messrs. 
Hoar, Wheeler, Fry, Foster, Phelps, Marshall and Pot- 
ter, after careful investigation of its action, said: 'We 
are constrained to declare that the action of the return- 
ing board, on the whole, was arbitrary, unjust and in 
our opinion illegal.' 

"The vacancy in the board, occasioned by the resig- 
nation of Oscar Arroyo, in December, 1874, has never 


been filled, although repeated applications by the repre- 
sentatives of the Democratic conservative party of the 
state and its candidates have been made to the board 
to fill the same. The foregoing committee of the house 
of rej)resentatives, commenting on the failure of the 
board to fill the vacancy in 1874, when it occurred, 
said : 'Your committee think the law as to the consti- 
tution of the board was not complied with.' If this 
view be correct, the board is not so constituted as to 
have authority to act at all. The entire clerical force 
appointed by the board at its present session to compile 
the votes cast is also Republican, and the board refused an 
application to appoint any clerk or to allow any person 
of the opposite party to be present to witness the com- 
pilation, and even excluded the United States supervisors 
of election under the act of congress. 

"The laws of Louisiana require a registration of 
voters every two years by officers appointed by the gov- 
ernor of the state — the registration to commence the last 
Monday of August, pending the general election in Novem- 
ber. The election law of the state contains the follow- 
ing provisions for conducting the election, making re- 
turns, etc., to wit : 

"Section 26. Be it further enacted, etc., That in any 
parish, precinct, ward, city or town in which, during the 
time of registration, or revision of registration, or on 
any day of election, there shall be any riot, tumult, acts 
of violence, intimidation and disturbance, bribery or 
corrupt influences shall prevent or tend to prevent a 
fair, free, peaceable and full vote of all the qualified 
electors of said parish, precinct, ward, city or town, it 
shall be the duty of the commissioners of election, if 
such riot, tumult, acts of violence, intimidation and dis- 
turbance, bribery or corrupt influences, occur on the day 
of election, or of the supervisors of registration of the par- 
ish, if they occur during the time of registration or re- 
vision of registration, and make in duplicate and under 
oath a clear and full statement of all the facts relating 


thereto, and of the effect produced of such riot, tumult, 
acts of violence, intimidation and disturbance, bribery or 
corrupt influences, in preventing a fair, free and full regis- 
tration or election, and of the number of qualified elect- 
ors deterred by such riot, tumult, acts of violence, in- 
timidation and disturbance, bribery or corrupt influ- 
ences, from registering or voting ; which statement shall 
also be corroborated under oath by three respectable 
citizens, qualified electors of the parish. When such 
statement is made by a commissioner of election, or a 
supervisor of registration, he shall forward it in dupli- 
cate to the supervisor of registration of the parish ; if 
in the city of New Orleans, to the secretary of state, one 
copy of which, if made by the supervisor of registration, 
shall be forwarded by him to the returning officers pro- 
vided for in section 2 of this act, when he makes the re- 
turns of the election in his parish. His copy of said 
statement shall be so annexed to his returns of election, 
by paste, wax or some adhesive substance that the same 
can be kept together, and the other copy the supervisor 
of registration shall deliver to the clerk of the court of 
his parish for the use of the district attorney." 

"Section 13. Be it further enacted, etc., That it shall 
be the duty of the commissioners of election at each poll 
or voting place to keep a list of the names of all persons 
voting at such poll or voting place, which list shall be 
numbered from one to the end ; and said list of voters, 
with their names and numbers as aforesaid, shall be signed 
and sworn to as correct by the commissioners immedi- 
ately on closing of the polls, and before leaving the place, 
and before opening of the box. If no judge or justice 
of the peace, or other person authorized to administer 
such oath, be present to do so, it may be administered 
by any voter. The votes shall be counted by the com- 
missioners, at each voting place, immediately after clos- 
ing the election and without moving the boxes from the 
place to where the votes were received, and the count 


must be done in the presence of any bystander or citizen 
who may be present. 

"Tally-lists shall be kept of the count, and after the 
count the ballots counted shall be put back into the box 
and preserved until after the next term of the criminal 
or district court, as the case may be ; and in the parishes, 
except Orleans, the commissioners of election, or any 
one of them selected for the purpose, shall carry the box 
and deliver it to the clerk of the district court, who shall 
preserve the same as above required ; and in the parish 
of Orleans the box shall be delivered to the clerk for the 
first district court for the parish of Orleans, and be kept 
by him as above directed. 

"Section 43. Be it further enacted, etc., That, imme- 
diately upon the close of the polls on the day of election, 
the commissioners of election at each poll shall proceed 
to count the votes, as provided in section 13 of this act ; 
and, after they shall have so counted the votes and made 
a list of the names of all the persons voted for, and the 
offices for which they were voted for, and the number of 
ballots contained in the box, and the number rejected 
and the reasons therefor, duplicates of such lists shall be 
made out, signed and sworn to by the commissioners of 
election of each poll, and such duplicate lists shall be 
delivered, one to the supervisor of registration of the 
parish, and one to the clerk of the district court of the 
parish, and in the parish of Orleans to the secretary of 
state, by one or all of said commissioners, in person, 
within twenty-four hours after the closing of the polls. 

"It shall be the duty of the supervisors of registration, 
within twenty-four hours after the receipt of all the re- 
turns for the different polling places, to consolidate such 
returns to be certified as correct by the clerk of the dis- 
trict court, and forward the consolidated returns, with 
the originals received by him, to the returning officers 
provided for in section 2 of this act, the said report and 
returns to be enclosed in an envelope of strong paper or 
cloth, securely sealed, and forwarded by mail. 


"He shall forward a copy of any statement as to vio- 
lence or disturbance, bribery or corruption, or other of- 
fenses specified in section 26 of this act, if any there be, 
together with all the memoranda and tally-lists used in 
making the count and statement of votes. 

"Section 2 declares: That, within ten days after the 
closing of the election, said returning officers shall meet 
in New Orleans to canvass and compile the statements 
of votes made by the commissioners of election, and 
make returns of the election to the secretary of state. 
They shall continue in session until such returns have 
been compiled. The presiding officer shall at such meet- 
ing open, in the presence of said returning officers, the 
statements of the commissioners of election, and the 
said returning officers shall, from said statements, can- 
vass and compile the returns of the election in duplicate ; 
one copy of such returns they shall file in the office of 
the secretary of state, and of one copy they shall make 
public proclamation by printing in the official journal 
and such other newspapers as they may deem proper, 
declaring the names of all persons voted for, the number 
of votes for each person and the names of the persons 
who have been duly and lawfully elected. The returns 
of the election thus made and promulgated shall be prima 
facie evidence in all courts of justice before civil officers, 
until set aside after a contest, according to law, of the 
right of any person named therein to hold and exercise 
the office to which he shall by such return be declared 
elected. The governor shall, within thirty days there- 
after, issue commissions to all officers thus declared 
elected who are required by law to be commissioned. 

"Section 2. Be it further enacted, etc., That in any 
such canvass and compilation the returning officers shall 
observe the following order : they shall compile, first, 
the statements from all polls or voting places at which 
there shall have been a fair, free and peaceable registra- 
tion and election. "Whenever, from any poll or voting 


place there shall be received the statement of any super- 
visor of registration or commissioner of election in form 
as required by section 26 of this act, on affidavit of three 
or more citizens of any riot, tumult, acts of violence, in- 
timidation, armed disturbance, bribery or corrupt influ- 
ences which prevented or tended to prevent, a fair, 
free and peaceable vote of all qualified electors entitled 
to vote at such poll or voting place, such returning offi- 
cers shall not canvass, count or compile the statement 
of votes from such poll or voting place until the state- 
ments from all other polls or voting places shall have 
been canvassed or compiled. The returning officers 
shall then proceed to investigate the statements of riot, 
tumult, acts of violence, intimidation, armed disturb- 
ance, bribery or corrupt influences at any such poll or 
voting place ; and if from the evidence of such statement 
they shall be convinced that such riot, tumult, acts of 
violence, intimidation, armed disturbance, bribery or 
corrupt influences did not materially interfere with the 
purity and freedom of the election at such poll or voting 
place, or did not prevent a sufficient number of qualified 
voters from registering or voting to materially change 
the result of the election, then and not otherwise, said re- 
turning officers shall canvass and compile the vote of 
such poll or voting place with those previously canvassed 
and compiled ; but if said returning officers shall not be 
fully satisfied thereof, it shall be their duty to examine 
further testimony in regard thereto, and to this end 
they shall have power to send for persons and papers. 

"If, after such examination, the said returning officers 
shall be convinced that said riot, tumult, or act of 
violence, intimidation, armed disturbance, bribery or cor- 
rupt influences did materially interfere with the purity 
and freedom of the election at such poll or voting place, 
or did prevent a sufficient number of qualified voters 
thereat from registering and voting to materially change 
the result of the election, then the said returning officers 
shall not canvass or compile the statement of the votes of 


such poll or voting place, but shall exclude it from their 
returns ; provided, that any person interested in said 
election by reason of being a candidate for office, shall 
be allowed a hearing before said returning officers upon 
making application within the time allowed for the for- 
warding of the returns of said election. 

"Under section 2 of the foregoing provisions, it will 
be seen that the duty of the board of returning officers is 
similar to that of state canvassing boards in most of the 
other states of the Union, simply 'to canvass and com- 
pile the statements of the commissioners of election,' and 
proclaim the result, and this is the whole duty of the 
returning board, unless the commissioners of election or 
the supervisor of some parish imposes upon it a further 
duty, as provided in sections 26 and 43. In commenting 
upon the powers of the returning board we avail our- 
selves of the able argument of Judge Spofford made be- 
fore it. 'No one has the right to attack the returns from 
any poll, ward or parish in the state on account of undue 
influence, intimidation or other acts of violence, unless 
the foundation therefor be first laid by the statement of 
the commissioners of election at the particular poll, if 
the acts occurred on election day ; or of the supervisors 
of registration of the parish if they occurred during 
registration, as provided in sections 26 and 43. The 
board has no legal authority to receive or give effect to 
statements of outside parties till the proper commission- 
ers of election and supervisor have spoken. Nor has the 
board been invested with power to institute complaints 
against any poll ex officio, or of its own motion. It cannot 
blot out or fail to count a solitary vote returned, unless a 
legal foundation has been laid for inquiry by the supervisor 
of the parish where the vote was cast, or by one of the commis- 
sioners of election reporting through such supervisor; and 
even they, the supervisor and commissioners, can only 
lay a foundation for inquiry in the board by making and 
forwarding, in the prescribed manner, their official 
"statements" contemporaneously with their returns, and 


in the very form set forth by section 26 of the act in 
question, challenging the votes of whole cities and 
parishes by unofficial persons, even though they are can- 
didates, is a startling and lawless innovation.' 

"No outside protest can be entertained, because even 
a supervisor's 'statement' can receive no consideration by 
the board, but must be wholly disregarded, unless made 
at a time and in a manner which no outside party could 
possibly comply with. 

"His 'statement' (or that of his subordinate commis- 
sioner) must form an integral part of his return and 
official report ; it cannot be made up at a different time 
and place from the return, to which the law requires it 
to be attached 'by paste, wax or some other adhesive sub- 
stance,' and a duplicate thereto must be lodged by him 
with the clerk of the court of his parish; it must be made 
under oath ; it must be a clear and full statement of all 
the facts and of the effect produced thereby. Such a 
statement, so annexed and sent by mail, is the only kind 
of statement the board can notice at all so as to institute 
an inquiry into intimidation, etc. 

"The intent of the law is plain and indisputable, that 
all the supervisors should be engaged simultaneously in 
the several parishes in completing their returns and state- 
ments on the spot where the election was held, without 
communication with each other or with persons beyond 
the parish, and before they can obtain information of 
what has been done in other parishes or of the general 
result. And the reason for these minute, mandatory and 
imperative provisions is equally obvious. 

"It was precisely to shut out from consideration by 
the returning board all such ex post facto complaints as 
have been trumped up and illegally thrust in here at the 
last moment by Mr. Kellogg, Mr. Packard and Mr. 
Brewster, and even by some of the supervisors therm 

"The law has not been complied with ; most of the 
supervisors who have put in complaints have not written 


them at the proper time and proper parish ; they have 
not annexed them to the returns, sealed and sent them 
by mail ; they have brought down their returns to this 
city with no statement so annexed, but have patched up 
statements here at an improper time and in an improper 
place. They could only fulfill their duties according to 
law by finishing their returns, attached statements and 
all, and mailing them, sealed in one envelope, at one of 
their parish postoffices within the time required by law. 
It is appalling to think that statements thus made con- 
trary to law, after the result of the election throughout 
the state was known with approximate accuracy, made 
as an afterthought by disappointed candidates and their 
friends with an evident view to cast a drag-net of sus- 
picion over parishes enough to reverse the emphatic ver- 
dict of the people — made, too, at so late a day and so 
great a distance from many of the parishes struck at, 
that it is impossible to have any fair investigation or 
that they should receive consideration. 

"Commenting on the foregoing provisions of the 
Louisiana statute, Messrs. Geo. F. Hoar, W. A. Wheeler 
and W. P. Fry, in their report made February 23, 1875, 
said : 'Upon this statute, we are all clearly of opinion 
that the returning board has no right to do anything ex- 
cept to canvass and complete the returns which were 
lawfully made to them by local officers, except in cases 
where they are accompanied by the certificates of the 
supervisor or commissioner, provided in the third section. 
In such cases, the last sentence of that section shows 
that it was expected that they would ordinarily exercise 
the grave and delicate duty of investigating charges of 
riot, tumult, bribery or corruption on a hearing of the 
parties interested in the office. It never could have been 
meant that this board, of its own motion, sitting in New 
Orleans, at a distance from the place of voting and with- 
out notice, could decide the right of persons claiming to 
be elected. . . . There is no more dangerous form 
of self-delusion than that which induces men in high 


places of public trust to violate law, to redress or prevent 
what they deem public wrongs.' 

"These references to the report of the congressional 
committee upon the action of this same returning board 
in 1874, and its constructions of the statute are made 
that the public may know how this board and its 
rulings were regarded by prominent gentlemen, one 
of them a candidate for vice-president at the recent 
election, at a time when its decision did not affect a 
presidential election. 

"We regard it as indisputable that the returning 
board has no jurisdiction to inquire into and reject the 
returns from any voting place in the state on account 
of intimidation, acts of violence, or other cause men- 
tioned in the statute, unless the foundation for such in- 
quiry and rejection is laid at the time and in the man- 
ner provided in the statute. 

"In no case did the supervisor of registration deliver 
to the clerk of the court of his parish, as required by 
section 26, a duplicate statement, made and sworn to 
by the commissioners of elections and corroborated by 
three citizens, of any riot, acts of violence, intimidation 
and disturbance, bribery and corrupt influences, and of 
the facts relating thereto occurring on the day of elec- 
tion, nor any like statement of his own that any such 
acts occurred during the time of registration or the re- 
vision of registration. When the returns were opened 
by the returning board such statements were found among 
the papers in a few instances, but not in relation to the 
parishes of Ouachita, Morehouse, East Baton Rouge, 
East or West Feliciana, and such were the manifest 
efforts on the part of officers of elections to conceal their 
acts and confuse and mislead persons interested in a 
proper investigation of the facts relating to the election, 
that it was impossible to determine whether any such 
statement had been made by the commissioners of elec- 
tion or the supervisor of registration, and attached to 
the returns of the supervisor in any parish in the state 


at the time and in the manner required in sections 26 
and 43. 

"This fact leaves the returning board without juris- 
diction to inquire into the acts of violence, etc., at the 
election or during registration, and with no other duty 
to perform except to canvass and compile the votes re- 
turned, as the returning officers of any other state would 
do : and as the returns opened by them show a majority 
for the Tilden electors, it ought to be an end to all con- 
troversy on the subject. 

"But as the board in the face of these facts has come 
to the extraordinary conclusion, to declare that the 
Hayes electors have a majority, it is proper to look 
further into its action. 

"The first meeting of the board attended by us was 
held November 20th, at which an application in behalf 
of the candidates on the Democratic-conservative ticket 
that all the proceedings of the board should be public, 
and that interested candidates should have leave to be 
present, by themselves or counsel, at the opening of the 
returns, with the right to inspect the same, was refused, 
and certain rules were adopted, against several of which 
protests were filed, and particularly against rule nine, 
which declared that : (9) 'No ex parte affidavits or state- 
ments shall be received in evidence except as a basis to 
show that such fraud, intimidation, or other illegal 
practice had at some poll, requires investigation ; but 
the returns and affidavits authorized by law made by 
officers of election, or in verification of statements as 
required by law, shall be received in evidence as prima 
facie . ' 

"Under that rule several hundred ex parte affidavits 
were prepared and sworn to in New Orleans charging 
intimidation and other illegal acts in distant parishes, 
were then put into the envelope enclosing the super- 
visor's consolidated returns, which had been brought to 
the city of New Orleans and kept open for the purpose. 
This was done to support statements of intimidation or 


other illegal acts interpolated by supervisors long after 
their consolidated returns had been made out and sworn 
to as correct, and had been filed with the proper district 
clerk without any protest or allegation of intimidation or 
other acts of violence. 

"The proceedings of the board in executive session, to 
which we were admitted, consisted in opening the re- 
turns from each parish and examining the votes for 
presidential electors. If no protest or objection ap- 
peared among the papers and there was no outside 
protest from any one, the returns were sent to a private 
room to be tabulated by the clerks, all of whom were 
Republicans, who kept their action secret. 

"If any protest was found among the papers or from 
outside parties, the returns were laid aside, to be after- 
wards considered by the board in secret. 

"In the few cases in which there were charges of 
fraud, intimidation or other illegal acts, the candidates, 
or their attorneys, were permitted to take copies of the 
charges, and testimony taken on written interrogatories 
was submitted in regard to such parishes. 

"On December 2d, after all the returns had been 
opened, the board went into secret session, and we were 
not permitted to see the compilations of returns already 
made, nor to know what rules the board adopted in pass- 
ing upon contested cases, nor the processes by which it 
arrived at results. We have been furnished a triplicate, 
or a certified copy of the duplicate statement of the 
commissioners of election at each voting place in the 
state, from which has been compiled a consolidated state- 
ment of the entire vote of the state for presidential 


"From this statement, which we believe to be accurate, 
the majority for the highest Tildcn elector over the low- 
est Hayes elector, is 8,957, and the majority for the low- 
est Tilden elector over the highest Hayes elector is 
6,300. The returns in our possession correspond pre- 
cisely in most cases with those opened by the returning 


board. The difference in the aggregate arises mainly 
from the fact that the board did not have all the returns 
before it. 

"The supervisors, all of whom were Republicans, 
many of them employed in the custom-house at New 
Orleans, some nonresidents of the state, and one of them 
under indictment for murder, withheld the statements 
of the commissioners of election, in some instances 
where Democratic majorities were given, amounting in 
the aggregate to about 1,500 votes. 

"The returning board refused to receive certified cop- 
ies of the duplicates of these missing returns filed in 
the offices of the secretary of state, and the clerks of 
the district courts, or to take any effective measures to 
procure the originals. 

"The returning board, in proclaiming the result of 
the vote for electors makes no statement of the votes 
cast in the several parishes, but simply announces the 
aggregate vote for each elector in the state giving the 
Hayes electors majorities varying from 4,G26 to 4,712. 
To accomplish this, they disfranchise 13,350 Democratic 
and 2,042 Republican voters. 

"This announcement is made in the face of the fact 
that the statements made by the commissioners of elec- 
tion showed a majority ranging from 6,300 to 8,957 for 
the Tilden electors. 

"No attempt is made to give a reason for this arbi- 
trary action of the board, nor is there any statement to 
show what votes were counted and what rejected. As 
well might the officers canvassing the returns for pres- 
idential electors in Ohio or Massachusetts declare the 
Tilden electors in those states elected, in the face of the 
fact that the returns showed a majority for the Hayes 
electors. We have shown that it is questionable whether 
the legislature of Louisiana has made provision for the 
appointment of electors at all ; that if it has made such 
provision it has not vested the returning board with 


authority to canvass the returns of the votes cast for 
such officers ; and that if it were possible to construe the 
statute as conferring such authority on the returning 
board, then the statute limits the authority of the board 
to the canvass and compilation of the 'statements of 
votes made by the commissioners of elections,' without 
authority to reject any on account of intimidation or' 
other acts of violence, unless the foundation therefor 
be first laid as provided in the statute ; that the evidence 
does not disclose that such foundation was laid in any 


"There is, however, evidence of attempts, surrepti- 
tiously, to lay such foundation after the consolidated re- 
turns were completed, and that the supervisors of elec- 
tion, in many instances, unlawfully withheld returns for 
that purpose, and interpolated among them ex parte affi- 
davits taken in secret in New Orleans before a United 
States commissioner, which the board has no jurisdic- 
tion to consider. 

"The evidence taken on both sides, so far as it has 
been accessible to us, discloses a state of lawlessness in 
certain parishes, not in the state generally, about the 
cause of which parties are not agreed. 

"The Democrats attribute it to the inefficiency and 
imbecility of the state government, which they allege to 
be a usurpation, resting wholly for support upon the 
federal army, without the confidence or respect of the 
people, and without the disposition to prevent or punish 
crime, which they can pervert to political uses. Such a 
state of things, as might be expected has led to disorder, 
and in some instances to the most shocking barbarities . 
The Republicans, on the other hand, attribute the law- 
lessness to the hostility of the white against the colored 
race, and as largely due to politics. The murders and out- 
rages which have been brought to our notice are frequently 
committed by persons of the same race upon each other, 
and in a large majority of cases have no political signifi- 


cance. Many such cases were brought to the notice of 
the board by ex parte affidavits, without regard to the 
time of their occurrence, and when they did not have 
the slightest connection with the recent election. 
Strangely enough, it is assumed by the Republicans, who 
have had complete control of the state government for 
years, that if they could show that lawlessness prevailed 
in certain localities, and that crime went unpunished, 
that those facts furnished a reason why they should be 
continued in power, notwithstanding the large majority 
of ballots cast against them. 

"Another assumption of the Republicans is, that all 
the colored men in the state are necessarily Republicans. 
We were visited by a large number of colored persons 
from all parts of the state, including the alleged dis- 
turbed districts, who made speeches and took an active 
part in the active canvass in favor of the Democratic 
ticket, and who gave, among other reasons for so doing, 
that they had been deceived by the Republican officials 
who had proved dishonest and corrupt, had robbed 
them of their school money, and burdened them with 
unnecessary taxes, and that they believed it for the in- 
terest of the colored race to unite their fortunes with the 
whites, whose interests, like their own, were identified 
with the state. It is certain that thousands of colored 
persons voluntarily and actively supported the Demo- 
cratic ticket. The entire vote of the state, at the recent 
election, is about 15,000 greater than ever before, and 
even in the parishes where intimidation is charged, it 
exceeds in the aggregate any previous vote. 

"The congressional committee which it is understood 
will soon visit the state armed with authority to send for 
persons and papers, and inquire into all the facts con- 
nected with the recent election and the action of the re- 
turning board, will have greater facilities for arriving at 
the truth than we possess, but with the law and such 
facts before us as have been disclosed by the action of 


the returning board, we do not hesitate to declare that 
its proceedings, as witnessed by us, were partial and un- 
fair, and that the result it has announced is arbitrary 
and illegal and entitled to no respect whatever. 

"Fifteen years ago, when Fort Sumter was fired upon 
by men who sought a disruption of the Union, a million 
patriots, without regard to party affiliations, sprang to 
its defense. Will the same patriot citizens now sit idly 
by and see representative governments overthrown by 
usurpation and fraud? Shall the will of forty millions 
of people constitutionally expressed be thwarted by the 
corrupt, arbitrary and illegal action of an illegally con- 
stituted returning board in Louisiana, whose wrongful 
actions heretofore, in all respects similar to its present 
action, has been condemned by all parties? 

"It is an admitted fact that Mr. Tilden received a ma- 
jority of a quarter of a million votes at the recent elec- 
tion. This majority is ready and willing to submit to 
the minority when constitutionally entitled to demand 
such submission, but it is unwilling by an arbitrary and 
false declaration of votes in Louisiana that the minority 
shall usurp power? 

"These are dark days for the American people, when 
such questions are forced upon their consideration. If 
it were true, as some insist, that neither the white nor 
the colored voters have in all instances been afforded an 
opportunity to give free expression to their wishes at the 
ballot-box, shall we, by sustaining a fraudulent and il- 
legal declaration of the votes cast, stifle the voice of the 
millions of voters who have freely expressed their choice, 
and thus seek to correct a great wrong by committing 
another immeasurbly greater wrong? 

"Can we sanction such action of the Louisiana return- 
ing board, and thereby form a precedent under which a 
party once in power may forever perpetuate its rule, and 
so end constitutional liberty? 

"Shall such be the fate of this republic at the begin- 
ning of the second century of its existence, is the 


momentous question now presented for the determina- 
tion of the American people? 

"John M. Palmer, 
"Lyman Trumbull, 
"George B. Smith, 
"George W. Julian, 
"P. H. Watson. 
"New Orleans, La., Dec. 6, 1876." 

The Louisiana returning board was, from its defective 
organization and the animus of its members, incapable 
of rendering a fair decision, and, when it came to the 
declaration of General Nichols, as governor of the State 
of Louisiana, President Hayes conceded the whole ques- 

The president appointed Charles B. Lawrence, Wayne 
McVeigh, John M. Harlan, Joseph R. Hawley and John 
C. Brown as commissioners to Louisiana, and, upon 
their report, support from Mr. Packard was withdrawn, 
and Francis T. Nichols was declared governor of the 
state. Packard had substantially the same vote that 
Hayes had. Mr. Hayes got the electoral votes of Louis- 
iana, and was declared by the "eight-to-seven" commis- 
sion to be the president of the United States. No founda- 
tion was laid for the impeachment of the returns by the 
board, even if the right to go behind them was con- 
ceded . 

There is nothing clearer than that the returning board 
was prejudiced and transcended its authority, and that 
Mr. Tilden was entitled to the electoral votes of Louis- 

On January 12, 1877, I was nominated as a candidate 
for a seat in the United States senate. I said, upon the 
occasion of my nomination : 

"While I have as much ambition as any man ought 
to have, I have always regarded it as the right of the 
people, without pressure from without, to choose those 
whom they desire to occupy the great offices of the coun- 


try. A seat in the senate of the United States is an ob- 
ject worthy of the ambition of any man, yet a seat in 
that great and illustrious body is worth nothing unless 
the man who is elected has the confidence of those who 
elected him. To obtain such a place by any means not 
consistent with the most perfect fairness and candor, 
would make the place not one of honor, but one of in- 
famy. You have placed me in nomination as your can- 
didate for senator ; you have not promised to elect me, 
and I have no right to expect that you will. You have 
given me this expression of your confidence, and, now, 
all I ask of you is to take part with me in what shall be 
pre-eminently a fair fight. 

"The Republican party have placed in nomination 
John A. Logan, who, in my judgment — without saying 
anything discourteous, or without meaning to compli- 
ment the gentleman — is the fittest representative of Re- 
publicanism as it is to-day. He is here backed by the 
patronage of the Federal government. I have seen men 
who were paid by your money and mine in the lobbies 
insisting on the selection of the man to whom they were 
indebted for their places. I suppose the patronage of 
the state government will be employed in his election. 
So far as I am concerned, and so far as you are con- 
cerned, we have nothing to offer in the way of patronage 
or place. They, even after we have elected a president, 
by the votes of the people, have cheated us out of the 
election. Governments are created for the benefit of the 

"There are millions of men, women and children, 
who, in the morning, when they arise from their beds, 
pray to Our Father, 'Give us this day our daily bread ;' 
the want of the people is peace and free and untram- 
meled industry, that honest men and women may earn 
their bread. The policy of the government should be so 
directed as to enable these hungry ones to obtain it ; the 
mission of the government is the welfare of its people. 

"Of course, gentlemen, you all know what my opinions 


are upon almost every public question. While I was 
governor of the state, my messages were delivered to the 
general assembly, giving my views in regard to all the 
great questions that then interested the public mind ; my 
opinions are unchanged. If you should elect me, what- 
ever I can do to advance those opinions will be do'ne"; 
they are in harmony with yours ; they are to encourage 
the industry of the country and to remove the burdens 
from those industries. 

"The president and the governor are but magistrates 
to execute the constitution and the laws, and each citi- 
zen owes obedience to the laws and to no other au- 
thority on earth. 

"I thank you again, but I shall ask now nothing of 
you but to consider the question after you have looked 
the whole field over. Is it better that you shall elect me 
to the United States senate, or that you shall elect some 
one of the distinguished gentlemen who have been named 
by other parties? If, after you shall have given the sub- 
ject your careful attention, you shall conclude that the 
public welfare, the welfare of the country that we love 
so well, and the government under which we have en- 
joyed so much liberty and happiness, will be best pro- 
moted by the election of one of them, you owe me no 
duty — your duty is to your country. You owe me noth- 
ing. I can promise but one thing, and that is, that the 
people of this state, and of this whole country, white 
and black, rich and poor, shall have my earnest, indus- 
trious and faithful services to the extent of that ability 
with which the Almighty has endowed me." 

After twenty-one ballots, in which I received all the 
votes the Democratic party could command, I withdrew 
in favor of General W. B. Anderson, who had served as 
colonel of the 60th Illinois Infantry. There was still an 
obstinate interest which refused to vote for me, or for 
General Anderson, which succeeded in finally electing 
Judge David Davis, as senator in the congress of the 
United States. 



Speech of welcome to General Grant — His reply— Obsequies of Hon. 
David Davis and General John A. Logan. 

On May 5, 1880, General U. S. Grant was received by 
the citizens of Springfield on his return from a trip 
around the world. "Suitable ceremonies were observed 
at the governor's residence, and General Grant was es- 
corted from there to the state house grounds at 1 p. m., 
accompanied by Governor Cullom, Senator Oglesby, 
Hon. Milton Hay, Governor Palmer, Hon. J. L. D. Mor- 
rison, state and city officers, many public men and a 
suitable escort." 

The following address of welcome was delivered by 
me according to the agreement of the reception com- 
mittee : 

"General — I have been appointed by my fellow- 
citizens of Springfield to welcome you to the city. They 
do not suppose that you require this evidence of their 
respect or affection for you, nor have they charged me 
with the whole duty of making you welcome. In direct- 
ing me to address you in this formal manner on their 
behalf, they propose no more than to conform to a social 
custom, while they are eager to take you by the hand 
and for themselves express the happiness they feel in 
meeting you. 

"General, the most of those present to-day only know 
you as a successful military leader whose name is a 
household word, and to whom the country is indebted 
for distinguished and patriotic services, and, as the chief 
magistrate of the republic, charged with the administra- 
tion of its laws and the guidance of its policy during a 
most important and interesting period of its national his- 
tory. They honor you because, during the civil war, 
you never doubted but that the patriotism, the courage 


and the endurance of the American people would pre- 
serve the Union and re-establish the authority of the 
constitution and the laws, nor in peace that their in- 
tegrity, industry and economy would maintain the pub- 
lic credit and restore national and individual prosperity. 
The opinions of your countrymen credit you with being 
governed during your public life by two maxims as sim- 
ple as profound : 'In war, march and fight — in peace, 
earn and pay.' These maxims are too stern and simple 
to find ready acceptance with holiday soldiers or fanciful 
economists, but the present situation of the country 
proves that they embody the vital elements of military 
and financial science. 

"But there are many present who know and remember 
you as their comrade and leader during the weary years 
of the war, when the eyes of the civilized world were 
upon them and upon you, and when the unity of the re- 
public and the existence of constitutional government 
and popular liberty on this continent seemed to depend 
upon their patriotism and courage, guided by your wis- 
dom and skill and supported by your never-faltering 
firmness. In the darkest hour of the struggle, General, 
your officers and soldiers never distrusted you. They 
knew that you would 'fight it out on that line' and on all 
the lines until the arms of the republic were triumphant 
and its flag again respected and honored everywhere. 
Much of what is called history is fable and illusion, but 
those who served under your command during the war 
will always believe that you are indebted for your mili- 
tary successes to your thorough understanding of the 
character and temper of the men who composed and who, 
under your orders, commanded your armies, to the con- 
fidence with which you inspired your subordinates in 
your sense of justice, your devotion to duty, your sin- 
gleness of purpose, the clearness with which you foresaw 
the end from the beginning, and the invincible persist- 
ence of your resolution, and you are singularly fortunate 


that your military fame lias excited no envy, and you 
have written no book to prove yourself to be the hero of 
your own campaigns. 

"There are others here to-day whom I have no doubt 
you will meet with peculiar interest and pleasure. They 
are the survivors of those who received you in the early 
months of the memorable year 1861, when you came 
from your home in Galena to tender your aid in giving 
military organization to the patriotic freemen who were 
gathering in Springfield and elsewhere in the state to 
take arms in defense of the Union against menaced seces- 
sion and disruption. Those were dark days for the re- 

"The freemen of the country, long accustomed to the 
extravagance if not the violence of political controversy, 
were even then hardly convinced that the movements in 
the South were seriously hostile to the union of the 
states. Many of them supposed that the actual or- 
ganization of the Confederate government at Mont- 
gomery was but an extreme threat intended to over- 
awe Mr. Lincoln and his political supporters and sep- 
arate him and them from those in the North who had 
opposed his election. 

"The men who received you and accepted your 
valuable assistance were not so hopeful or credulous. 
They believed, with Douglas, that the country had 
reached a point where its future must be determined 
on the battlefield : they believed then, what all know 
now, that the free people of the United States will never 
allow the disruption of the Union, will never submit to 
the dictation of a section, will never permit the sub- 
version of their republican institutions, and that the 
strongest government on earth is that which rests for 
its support upon the affection and free consent of an 
intelligent, patriotic people, and that their whole duty 
was to organize and give direction to the swelling 
spirit of the men of our great state. 

"You assisted in organizing our early regiments and 


led one of them to the field, and in that way aided in 
preparing the country for the great struggle then before 
it. You won their confidence then, and they have 
watched your career in all the grades in the army 
through which you passed, and in public civil life, and 
ever since you surrendered the cares of public office, 
with a peculiar and most profound interest. They 
almost claim a share in the successes and honors you 
have won, for they persuade themselves that they were 
the first to discover your military capacity and secure 
your services for the country. 

"But their numbers have been lessened by the in- 
exorable work of time. Yates, the eloquent orator and 
patriotic governor, sleeps quietly at Jacksonville : Du- 
bois, the rugged, generous Dubois, and Butler, the 
sagacious and firm, rest near the city ; and others, whom 
you will remember, followed you to the field and 
perished there, or have died at their homes, while 
Governor Wood, so earnest and sincere in his patriot- 
ism, near the end of an honorable, useful life is strug- 
gling with age and disease at Quincy ; and Hatch and 
Williams and Mather and Bradford are present to greet 
you again. They survive, and with others who have 
passed through the periods of anxiety and doubt that 
preceded and attended the war, and of depression and 
bankruptcy which followed its close, are here. 

"They have not escaped unscathed; their locks are 
whitened and their forms marked by age, but they 
welcome you to-day and rejoice with you that liberty 
is the law of the republic, that peace and order and 
prosperity prevail everywhere within its boundaries. 

"I will not detain you longer, general, but will leave 
you to the attention of my fellow-citizens, who are 
anxious to tender you in person proofs of their sincere 

General Grant, who had remained standing during 
this address, made the following response : 


"General Palmer, Governor Cullom — Citizens of 
Springfield and Illinois — After an absence from my 
country of nearly three years, in which I have made 
a circuit of the globe, it has seemed to me fitting and 
proper that I should come to this city, from which I 
started in the memorable struggle in which I first be- 
came acquainted with so many of the citizens of this 
state. I assure you it is with great pleasure that I see 
you here to-day, and I thank you for the hearty welcome 
which has greeted me here. In all of my travels, I can 
say to the citizens before me, that none have a country, 
a climate, a fertility of soil to surpass just what we have 
around this capital of the State of Illinois, and if all of 
you could see, as I have seen, other countries, other 
people, and the struggle for life and existence there, it 
would make each one, if possible, a better citizen of his 
own country, and he certainly would feel that he had 
nothing to complain of here. 

"Our Union, as General Palmer has said, has cost us 
a great struggle to preserve, and I see before me here 
many of those who went to the field with me deter- 
mined that it should not perish ; and if they had seen 
what I have they would feel certainly as well satisfied 
that what they fought for there was worth even more 
than the price we paid for our present union. 

"In my travels through our own country I am happy 
to say that I thought I saw signs of returning prosperity 
in the section that we were lately in conflict with, and 
with prosperity, a returning love of the flag that floats 
on this side of the platform. 

"That is what we desire certainly, that there should 
be a substantial, solid union feeling in every section of 
the country ; and no matter what the public position of 
parties nineteen years ago, they should all feel now they 
have a common interest in the same country, and are 
protected by the same flag, and if necessary, should 
fight for it too ! 

"Gentlemen, I don't know that it is necessary for me 


to say anything more ; I return thanks again, and give 
you an opportunity to get out of the sun." 

General Grant was then a candidate for the presidency, 
and would submit his claims to the national Republican 
convention, which met in Chicago. General James A. 
Garfield defeated him for the nomination. I had con- 
tinued the practice of law until the nomination of Gen- 
eral Winfield Scott Hancock for president, and William 
H. English for vice-president, by the national Demo- 
cratic convention, which took place at Cincinnati. 

I made two speeches at Greencastle, Indiana, and on 
my return encountered a railroad wreck, caused by the 
slipping of a switch. We ran into an oil-tank, which 
destroyed the train by fire. 

I made speeches in Sterling, Whitesides county, Mt. 
Carroll, Carroll county, Freeport, Stevenson county, and 
other points in Illinois. The morning after I spoke at 
Freeport, about the middle of October, I found snow 
falling, and returned home by way of Decatur. I was 
joined at Tonica, south of LaSalle, by Governor Oglesby, 
who had been engaged in the canvass for Garfield, but 
like myself gave up his appointments on account of the 
inclemency of the weather. At Virginia, Cass county, I 
first heard that General Hancock had written a letter in 
which he pronounced the tariff a "local issue." 

This had a depressing effect upon the Democracy, and 
taken in connection with the fact that Indiana, which 
held its election in October, had declared for Garfield, 
caused us, after a few more speeches, to give up the 

General Garfield was elected. 

I continued to practice my profession until 1884, when 
Mr. Cleveland received the nomination for president at 
the national Democratic convention, which met at Chi- 
cago, and to which I was a delegate. 

I canvassed for him ; he reorganized the Democratic 
party upon the tariff issue, and was successful over Blaine 
and Logan. 


In February. 1887, the journal of the house shows the 
hour of two o'clock p. m. having arrived, it being the 
time specified for the meeting of the two houses in the 
hall of representatives, for holding the joint memorial 
exercises, commemorative of the life and public service 
of the deceased statesmen, Judge David Davis, who died 
June 26, 1886, and General John A. Logan, whose death 
occurred December 26, 1886. The senate, preceded by 
the president of the senate and the secretary thereof, 
proceeded to the hall of the house of representatives. 

After a prayer by the Reverend Dr. Wines, and the 
anthem, "Jesus, Savior of my soul," by the Quincy 
quartette, Judge Lawrence Weldon delivered an address 
on the life and public services of Judge David Davis. 
. . The president then presented General John M. 
Palmer, who delivered the following address upon the 
life and services of General John A. Logan. 

"Governor Oglesby, Senators and Representa- 
tives, Ladies and Gentlemen — In accepting the invi- 
tation of the general assembly of the State of Illinois, 
so kindly extended to me to address you on this me- 
morial occasion, I assumed a task of unanticipated diffi- 

General John A. Logan, whose life, character and pub- 
lic services will be the subject of this address, was, while 
he lived, so energetic and active, and bore so many im- 
portant and varied relations to the people of the State of 
Illinois and the country, was so lately a busy actor in 
public affairs, filling and rounding out what, until his 
death, all believed to be an incomplete but promising 
career, that it is almost impossible now to think or 
speak of him as one who has passed away from life, or 
to realize that 'the places that know him will know him 
no more forever.' 

"His friends still almost feel the warm grasp of his 
hand. The signs of public and private grief are still 
around us . We cannot forget that his earthly remains are 


still without a resting place ; nor that the devoted wife, 
who by her gentleness and wisdom, did so much to make 
him happy, elevate and ennoble his character, and 
promote and advance his interests, uncertain of her 
own future, now that she is bereaved and desolate, like 
the broken-hearted wandering mother, keeps her loved 
dead in her arms, with the hope that she may make its 
final bed near where her own sad heart and weary 
limbs will at last find a home and rest. All of us who 
knew General Logan are still too much under the in- 
fluence of his personal presence to speak of him witli 
absolute impartiality, and the most calm and self- 
poised mind hesitates when required to consider him 
only in the character of 'the illustrious dead,' and meas- 
ure all the great facts and events of his life, to make 
an estimate of his character for the instruction of those 
who follow him. But happily it is not true that what 
are called the great facts and events in the lives of emi- 
nent men are alone to be considered in forming an es- 
timate of the true value of their lives and character. 
No man can be understood without a knowledge of his 
social and home life. 

"American homes are nurseries of virtue ; and, while 
the loved wife who rules and the children who cluster 
in such homes need support and provident care of the 
husband and father, he requires for his own encourage- 
ment and safety all their gentle and benign influences. 
In peace, the sweet faces of wife and children steal upon 
us when we are alone and tempted ; and in war, they 
come to us in our dreams, and urge and invite us to a 
noble manhood. When at home, by her instinctive but 
wise methods, the wife places herself between her hus- 
band and harm, and controls the excesses and eccen- 
tricities of his strength by the influence of her marvel- 
ous but all potent weakness. The blessings of this 
most benign influence no man could have realized more 
fully than did General Logan. His wife, who has her 
own high place in the respect and affection of all who 


know her, and has added to the almost sacred name 
she bears new beauty and sweetness, was to her husband 
a wise counselor and judicious friend. She walked be- 
side him in his strength from her early womanhood to 
his death ; she leaned upon his strong arm for support, 
but she gave him strength by her wise counsel and gen- 
tle influence. Let her bring her loved dead to Illinois, 
and like a loving mother, Illinois will take him to her 
bosom. He may rest at Murphysboro, beside those of 
his own family who have gone before him, or he may 
sleep where the winds of Lake Michigan will forever 
sing his requiem, while she, to command the respect and 
affection of every son of Illinois, will have but to pro- 
nounce her own simple name, Mary, the wife of Logan ! 
But we must pass from these affecting considerations, 
and speak of General Logan as he was to the people of 
his native state, in various relations — as a citizen, a sol- 
dier and a politician. He must be studied in all these 
aspects and relations, that we may ourselves understand 
him, and that he may pass from the hands of those who 
knew him and loved him into the keeping of impartial 
history. I have already spoken of Logan as a husband 
and father ; that he filled those relations well, is shown 
by the devotion of his wife and his children, and their 
pathetic grief at his loss. That he was in private life 
a good citizen and neighbor, is attested by the united 
voice of those who knew him in his childhood, and 
watched him advance in his successful career with an 
affectionate interest that proves how warmly they were 
attached to him. It is remarkable, that, though General 
Logan was in opposition to most of the people of the 
section of the state where he lived when he entered the 
army, and then excited by his aggressive course the 
most severe and bitter criticism, he still retained a large 
measure of the personal good-will and respect of those 
who opposed him. Aside, however, from mere personal 
respect and attachment to him, it has always seemed to 
me that much of the strength of General Logan, with 


the people of that portion of the state, which we call 
Southern Illinois, resulted from the circumstance that 
he knew them, was of them, and was in many re- 
spects like them. By making this latter statement, I 
undertake the difficult task of so describing the peo- 
ple to whom I refer, their traits, their habits of life, 
and surrounding conditions, that they will be under- 
stood and properly appreciated by this audience, 
which so largely represents the progress and growth, 
as well as the intelligence and culture of the Il- 
linois of to-day. Contrasting the social condition of 
the people of Illinois to-day with that of the inhab- 
itants of Southern Illinois sixty or even thirty years 
ago, they seem to be separated from us by the space of 
a century ; and yet in this earlier state of society, we see 
the germs of all that is noble and excellent in modern 
life. More than a century ago, the restless population 
of the old states, stung by an uncontrollable passion for 
adventure and change, commenced the movements that 
have since peopled the continent. 

"The course of northern immigration is well under- 
stood ; but we are to follow the movements of those from 
the southern and southeastern Atlantic states, who, early 
in the century, crossed the Ohio river and took posses- 
sion of the southern portion of the state. The older of 
the earlier emigrants of the region to which I refer had 
halted for a time in Kentucky and Tennessee, and then, 
with their families increased by children and grand- 
children, moved on across the Ohio, where they estab- 
lished themselves, soon providing new swarms for the 
possession of the elysium of the pioneer 'further west.' 

"Death itself, in the imagination of the pioneer, as in 
that of his almost kinsman and predecessor, the Indian, 
was but to descend into and be lost in the ocean which 
limits the continent on the west. This was a hardy, in- 
dependent, self-reliant race. Some of them had taken 
part in the revolutionary war, and when these veterans 
'shouldered their crutches to show how fields were won,' 


their denunciations of 'the British' were fierce and bitter 
enough to satisfy the hates of an Irish patriot or a modern 
senator. They were a martial race, and had taken part 
in the war with Great Britain in 1812-15. Some of them 
were with Harrison at Tippecanoe ; others, with Win- 
chester, witnessed the massacre at Raisin river ; but 
others, more happy and honored than all, were with 
Jackson at New Orleans. 

"They were in favor of all wars present and prospec- 
tive, and Logan, a soldier at nineteen and again at 
thirty-five, was thoroughly imbued with this warlike 
spirit. But the qualities of hardiness, independence and 
self-reliance which I assert for them was illustrated by 
all their acts and conduct. They knew nothing of cities ; 
they were impatient of the restraints imposed upon 
them by 'the settlements;' they loved the solitude of 
the woods, with no companion but the rifle. Their 
houses were of logs ; every man was his own architect 
and, with the voluntary aid of a few of his neighbors, 
his own builder. These rude homes sheltered affections 
as pure and tender as ever did 'marble halls ;' and in 
them the patient wife and mother, as solitary in her 
tastes as her husband, made and fitted the coarse, sim- 
ple garments worn by herself, her husband and her chil- 
dren. They hated ecclesiastical establishments with the 
intensity which characterized the gloomiest of the En- 
glish and Scotch Dissenters from whom many of them 
were descended. In their religious beliefs, which were 
favorable to personal independence, they were sincere, 
intense and narrow. They were tolerant only, I fear, 
because they had no power to punish. The logic of 
their own opinions made it impossible for them to con- 
sent that the state should in any way interfere with the 
affairs of the church, but they expected with the most 
confident faith that God would avenge himself of His 
enemies, and they were sure and felt a degree of satis- 
faction in the certainty that certain classes of persons 
who differed from them would be remembered when the 


hour for the infliction of divine vengeance should arrive. 
In their political conduct, they were independent. The 
caucus was unknown as a means of political organiza- 
tion, and they knew no methods for the control of the 
individual or subordination of the private will of the 
citizen to the will of the majority. They were illiterate — ■ 
using that term in the exact sense that they were defi- 
cient in a knowledge of letters — but not uneducated in 
the arts of the independent and sufficient support. While 
they regarded learning in others with an almost super- 
stitious respect, they always looked upon it with a de- 
gree of suspicion. Doctors and lawyers were social and 
political leaders, but the true pioneer, with a sagacity 
that did him credit, always suspected that the skill 
claimed by the physician was pretense, and the lawyers 
were hardly honest. In this picture, which is drawn by 
no unfriendly hand, for in it I see the portraits of my 
own ancestors, the last of whom crossed the Ohio in 
1831, I have endeavored to present to 3-ou the social 
conditions which gave impress to and molded the char- 
acter of John A. Logan. But still, like other theorists, 
I am ready to make large concessions in order to pre- 
serve my theory. Those who study the processes of nature 
assert it to be an axiom that 'like produces like,' but, ob- 
serving as a practical fact that nature delights in di- 
versity, they concede that the effects of heredity are 
largely modified by circumstances, but they still claim 
that its essential potency exists. I concede that, while 
the essential and underlying qualities common to the 
people of Southern Illinois, as I have described them, 
were the basis of General Logan's character, their influ- 
ence was modified by circumstances and conditions, 
among which were the fact that his father was a physi- 
cian and possessed more than the average culture and 
knowledge of the world ; that Logan's own opportunities 
were, for the time, liberal ; and that, entering upon public 
and professional life early, aided by a quick and observ- 


ant mind, lie became what he was in 1860 and 1861, when 
his real life commenced. 

"Entertaining this opinion, I purposely pass over all 
that portion of his public life that preceded the year 1860, 
with the briefest reference to details. He volunteered 
for the Mexican war, and served with his regiment ; he 
was the clerk of one of the local courts, a member of the 
state legislature for more than one session, was state's 
attorney of his circuit and was finally elected to congress. 
These, "as compared with the later years of his life, were 
uneventful. He was elected to these various offices as 
the representative of the party to which he was attached, 
and his election signified but little more than that he had 
succeeded in winning a larger share of the confidence of 
his party associates than had his rivals in his own party. 
Perhaps, it is more accurate to say that Logan's real ca- 
reer commenced in 1860, after the election of Mr. Lincoln 
to the presidency ; for, though he did not enter the mili- 
tary service, where he won his highest claims to distinc- 
tion, until the autumn of 1861, yet, from the time the 
Southern leaders found in Lincoln's election a pretext for 
secession and the organization of a government — a rival 
of and hostile to the Union— Logan's popularity and in- 
fluence in Southern Illinois, as well as his known bold- 
ness, made his probable course a subject of deep interest 
to Mr. Lincoln and his supporters in the West. 

"Gentlemen of the General Assembly, when I accepted 
the invitation to address you upon this occasion, I real- 
ized that no estimate of the life and services of General 
Logan would be satisfactory to the country which did not 
include a discussion of the feelings, motives and purposes 
which controlled his conduct from the defeat of the Dem- 
ocratic party at the presidential election, in 1860, until 
he entered the army, in 1861, and which have been the 
subject of so much controversy. 

"I knew at the same time that you were not ignorant 
of the fact that my political relations with General Logan 
at the time of his death were not harmonious, and that, 


in the controversies which preceded the election of Mr. 
Lincoln, in 1860, and that attending the second election 
of General Grant, in 1872, and those which have attended 
subsequent elections, we exchanged many rugged but 
not unmanly blows. These considerations suggest to 
me that others who may speak of General Logan may be 
pardoned if they merely eulogize his life and brilliant 
services ; but, that it will be expected of me that I should 
deal with the facts of his life, analyze his character, and, 
as far as possible, contribute to and discharge our common 
duty to impartial history. I have had access to all the 
evidence bearing upon this subject, written, oral and tra- 
ditional, and to his own public explanation, but I prefer 
to rely upon a few circumstances to which I shall briefly 
advert, with others of like character with which I am 
familiar, to justify the conclusion I have reached. While 
I am bound to say that John A. Logan, in 1860, disliked 
and distrusted the supporters of both Lincoln and Breck- 
enridge, and, until the actual occurrence of flagrant hos- 
tilities, hoped for some adjustment of sectional contro- 
versies upon the basis of the Union, and was, for the 
sake of such peaceful adjustment, prepared to make con- 
cessions to the discontented elements, there never was a 
day when he sympathized with secession, or would have 
consented to a dissolution of the Union. In order to 
exactly comprehend the motives and the influences which 
probably controlled the conduct of General Logan from 
the time of the election of Mr. Lincoln, in 1860, until 
he donned the uniform of a soldier, it must be remem- 
bered that, even before the proposition to repeal what 
was called 'The Missouri Compromise' was made in con- 
gress, abundant evidence existed that the legislation of 
1850, which was intended to settle all of the disturbing 
questions which grew out of the annexation of Texas 
and the acquisition of territory from Mexico, had not 
quieted the public mind, and was not really satisfactory 
to what was then termed 'the sections,' the North and 
the South, though these measures, grouped together, and 


called the 'compromise of 1850,' were approved by the 
Democracy of the northern and border states as a fair 
adjustment of dangerous subjects of dispute. 

"The repeal of the 'Missouri Compromise,' for which 
Mr. Douglas was held responsible by those who opposed 
the measure of repeal, opened the flood gates of strife, 
and led in fact to the organization of two parties in the 
country between whom compromises were impossible, 
and armed conflict was inevitable, though the parties to 
which I refer were not fully developed until 1860. In 
1856, the Democracy of the Union, though disturbed by 
conflicting policies and purposes, succeeded in electing 
Buchanan to the presidency, who, no doubt, patriotic in 
sentiment, blinded by prejudices and paralyzed by 
narrow views of the lawful right of the people of the 
United States to defend and protect their own govern- 
ment and free institutions, weakly permitted already 
determined secessionists to enter his cabinet and use the 
power of his administration to pursue and, if possible, 
destroy Mr. Douglas, the leader of the Northern De- 
mocracy, and make war on the free settlers in Kansas. 
He did not understand the character and purposes of the 
Southern leaders as Douglas did, nor was he the con- 
scious traitor Douglas asserted him to be, when in Febru- 
ary, 1861, he said : 'The Southern leaders will not be 
satisfied with independence ; they seek dominion. Rec- 
ognize a confederacy which will comprise all the slave 
states, and they will demand Washington upon the pre- 
text that the District of Columbia was once a part of 
Maryland. Concede them Washington, they will then 
insist upon having all public property not local in the 
North ; and if it can be imagined that all these conces- 
sions would be submitted to by the people of the North- 
ern states, they will then close the Mississippi river to 
western commerce, to compel the secession of the West- 
ern states,' and he added: 'If Buchanan had not been 
a traitor, I would have forced the issue upon Davis and 
his friends when they attempted to shackle the people of 


Kansas with the Lecompton constitution, and would 
have compelled them to fight. Then there was a Union 
sentiment in the country strong enough to crush them 
instantly, but now, before the controversy is settled, the 
continent will tremble under the tread of a million armed 
men.' From what Logan said to me, when a day or two 
later I repeated to him what Douglas had said, I was 
satisfied that if Douglas had succeeded in forcing the 
issue upon the Southern leaders, as he proposed, Logan 
at the head of regiments of his Southern Illinois neigh- 
bors would have rallied around the flag with enthusiasm, 
and for that object would have been among the foremost 
to battle for the maintenance of the Union. 

"In two other conversations with Logan, in February, 
1861, he used expressions that are far more satisfactory 
evidence to me of his real feelings with reference to the 
threatened assaults upon the integrity of the Union, than 
formal language used by him on public occasions. 

"In one of these conversations about February 24, 
18G1, we spoke of the conduct of Mr. Buchanan, who, 
at the request of John Tyler, once president of the 
United States, and then president of the peace confer- 
ence, had forbidden the usual parade of the United 
States troops, then in and around the capitol, on Wash- 
ington's birthday, for fear that the South would regard 
such a parade as a 'menace.' Logan said, in language 
more forcible, if less elegant than he was accustomed to 
use in later life : 'The — old fool will see a — sight 
more troops in Washington before his secession friends 
get possession of this government.' In the same, or an- 
other conversation with Logan about that time, I told 
him that a distinguished man, afterwards a member of 
Mr. Lincoln's cabinet, the chief-justice of the supreme 
court of the United States, favored a call of the states to 
devise means to settle our controversies and pacify the 
country ; and that he had said in substance, that if such 
a convention was called in pursuance of the constitution, 
and it should agree upon a division of the Union, allow- 


ing the Southern states to form a separate government, 
no authority could rightly resist its conclusion. Logan 
then said, in terms of scorn, 'Yes, his convention will 
make one end of the Mississippi river discharge its waters 
into Lake Michigan, I suppose, but unless it does that, 
Illinois will never consent that a foreign government 
shall control the Mississippi from Cairo to the Gulf of 
Mexico.' These and other circumstances prepared me 
fully to agree with what was said in this city in May, 
1861, by one of Logan's most distinguished predecessors 
in the senate to a number of gentlemen who were dis- 
cussing with reference to the war : 'Never mind Logan, 
he hates secession ; he has not yet realized the gravity 
of the contest, but he will after awhile. He is a soldier 
by instinct, he will come into the fight and distinguish 

"Logan's warlike temper made him visit Bull Run 
and witness the battle fought between the Union and 
Rebel forces on July 27, 1861, in which the Union 
forces suffered a disastrous defeat. He then, if he had 
not before, realized that all was in danger, and that 
as a patriot and soldier his country had claims upon 
him which he could no longer resist ; and on September 
18, 1861, he was mustered into the service of the United 
States as colonel of the 21st Regiment of Illinois Volun- 
teer Infantry ; and from that time until the close of the 
war the story of his conduct and services as a soldier is 
written upon the brightest pages of the military history 
of the war. 

"Gentlemen of the General Assembly, I accepted your 
invitation to make this address that I might bear this 
testimony ; and having done so, time, which pursues 
us all from the cradle to the grave, and whitens our 
locks and bows our forms, for a brief space withholds 
his final blow and permits me, divested of all feelings 
of strife and all memory of conflicts, to stand as if in 
the glow of a summer sunset and look back along the 
shadows as they lengthen to the east and see and recall 


only the kindly faces and pleasant events of the past. 
In this retrospect I only see Logan as he was when I 
first met him a third of a century ago, young, energetic 
and ambitious, full of strength and hope ; but my 
memory recalls him most impressively as my comrade 
on the battlefields, when under the same glorious flag 
we fought for liberty and national unity, and where he 
always acquitted himself as a devoted patriot soldier. 

"General Logan has large claims to distinction as a 
soldier, and yet these claims to be properly understood 
are to be considered with reference to many facts which 
are not usually taken into account by those who form 
and express opinions as to the character of military men ; 
and it is curious to note that the most earnest and 
eloquent of his eulogists seem to exhaust themselves in 
praising him for his acknowledged possession of the 
most common of all soldiery qualities — courage. That 
General Logan possessed this essential quality of a 
soldier in a high degree none can doubt, but almost 
every man who fought under his order from Belmont to 
Atlanta possessed the same noble temper. No man who 
ever commanded American soldiers on a battlefield will 
fail to remember that his own command and the enemy 
opposed to him always exhibited undoubted courage, 
and perhaps every battle afforded examples of heroism 
in his own soldiers equal to his own highest claims. 
It may have been exhibited in the desperate struggles 
between battalions for the possession of a battery or a 
flag, or between regiments from the same state with the 
same number, the one Federal, the other Confederate, 
both refusing to yield the field, officers of all grades and 
every man in the ranks, forgetful of all else, fighting 
with desperation. The Rebels at Corinth and at Knox- 
ville, where we filled the ditches in front of our works 
with their dead, displayed the most conspicuous and 
wonderful courage, while at Kenesaw, ill fated Kenesaw, 
the heads of our columns of attack were swept away by 


a consuming fire, every man meeting his fate with un- 
surpassed heroism. So on the grander occasion at 
Missionary Ridge where an army, obeying a common 
impulse, made their way up the face of the mountain 
while its top was shrouded with smoke of more than a 
hundred pieces of artillery and the slope crowded with 
veteran infantry. No grander scene could be imagined 
than that which was witnessed by those in the valley 
west of the ridge, when fifteen thousand men at once 
sprang forward, pushed their way on and up, and until 
they entered the cloud of smoke their battle flags could 
be seen fluttering in the sun. Upward they climb ; for 
a brief space they are lost to view, then the ringing 
shouts of thousands of men is heard, the victory is ours, 
and the army of brave men which had beleaguered 
Chattanooga is crushed and vanishes. But the battle 
on the left of Atlanta, on the day of the death of 
McPherson, affords a more pertinent illustration of my 

"On that day, Logan was at once inspired by the 
splendid courage of his subordinates, and was, by his 
own daring, an inspiration to them. On July 18, or 19, 
1864, Hood succeeded Johnston in command of the army 
of veterans which had confronted three armies, the 
'hundred days' between Ringgold and Atlanta. On 
July 20th, he made that impetuous attack upon the 
Army of the Cumberland, which opened what is called 
the 'Battle of Peach Tree Creek.' He was repulsed 
with terrible loss, and during the night of the 21st, Gen- 
eral Sherman conceived the idea that Atlanta was evacu- 
ated, and the orders issued to the right of the army on 
July 22d were to leave Atlanta to the left, and pursue 
the enemy in the direction of Eastport, which was to 
the west and south. Whether the supposed fact of the 
evacuation of the city by the Rebels had been announced 
on the morning of the 22d to General McPherson, who 
commanded the Army of the Tennessee on the extreme 
left, I never knew. I have always supposed that it had 


been done, and that, inspired by belief that the enemy 
had retreated, McPherson was less careful than usual, 
and that Hood was allowed, by a bold movement, to 
turn and envelop the left of the army with nearly his 
whole force of magnificent men. The movements of the 
Rebel forces were so made and concealed that McPherson, 
while riding inside his own lines, as he supposed, en- 
countered a portion of the enemy, and was killed, and 
Logan took command. 

"From all accounts, official and personal, of this bat- 
tle, which have been published, it was one of the most 
remarkable affairs of the war, and made the largest de- 
mands upon the soldierly qualities of officers and men. 

"I hesitate to say that any portion of the Army of 
the Tennessee was surprised, because I remember the 
controversies produced by the events of the battle of 
Shiloh. I believe that on the morning of July 22d, Gen- 
eral Sherman did not expect that any part of his army 
was to fight a battle on that day. I know he did not 
expect the right to fight because it was informed by him 
that Atlanta was evacuated, and it was ordered to pursue 
the enemy, who was supposed to be retreating. 

"If he had expected the center or left to fight on that 
day, he would not have sent the right in pursuit of an 
enemy which had not retreated, and which he knew was 
then in position, or to take position for the battle. 
Whatever may be the facts upon these points, the Rebel 
movements brought the armies face to face, and Hood's 
attack was made with recklessness, which characterized 
his conduct in all the battles around Atlanta and Frank- 
lin, where, under the impulse of mere unreasoning cour- 
age, Hood attacked the retreating Army of the Cumber- 
land, and was repulsed with the loss of thousands of his 
best officers and soldiers. 

"It was precisely at this moment that the death of 
McPherson devolved the command of the Army of the 
Tennessee upon Logan, and it is upon his conduct on 
that day rests his best claim to be regarded as a 


great military commander. On that day, thousands of 
men whose names appear only upon such company rolls 
as may have been preserved, or who sleep in nameless 
graves in the soil of Georgia, fought with unsurpassed 
and unsurpassable courage — but Logan, while he saw 
this grand expression of valor with the pride and en- 
thusiasm of a soldier, had other claims upon him. It 
was the necessity of his situation that he should be cool 
and deliberate and observant of all the phases of the 
battle, and on all points of the battlefield. Others, un- 
der the fierce glow of the battle fever, which thousands 
have felt, but which none can describe, might fight, for- 
getful of all but that a brave enemy was before them. 
But the commander, with a ready eye, and unconquer- 
able resolution, must be able to see order when to others 
everything is confusion ; must think for all, have an eye 
for the battlefield, and be ready to provide for every 

"These were the qualities required of Logan on that 
day, and we have the testimony of General Sherman 
himself that Logan possessed and employed them all. 
I will not quote Sherman's testimony on these points as 
it appears in letters written by himself a few days after 
the battle ; but Sherman, to the astonishment of all, in 
the face of his admissions of Logan's gallantry and skill 
on that day, within a week after the battle, assigned a 
stranger to the command of the Army of the Tennessee, 
and Logan returned to the command of his corps. It 
was felt at the time that Sherman's course in relieving 
Logan was a wrong done to him and to the volunteer 
officers of the army. The real reason for Sherman's 
conduct was that Logan did not belong to the regular 
army. It is true, as Sherman says in his letter of ex- 
planation written to Halleck assigning Howard to the 
command of the Army of the Tennessee, 'It did not de- 
prive Logan of his rank in the army, nor of his excel- 
lent army corps,' but we know that it did deprive Logan 
of his opportunity to win the distinction at the head of 


the army, which he had demonstrated his capacity to lead 
and command on a battlefield. It is probable that this 
mistake of General Sherman resulted from the often ob- 
served fact that men educated at West Point, who have 
attempted the pursuits of civil life and have failed, are 
apt in war to overestimate the value of special military 

"They are unable to imagine a versatility of capacity 
which makes it possible for some men, without the 
formal training of this school, to succeed by force of 
qualities which adapt them to military command. The 
great Napoleon, unlike Halleck and Sherman, did not 
look to the military schools alone for the leaders of his 
armies. He understood men and employed great qual- 
ities wherever found, and the result was that his 'eagles' 
dominated the world. The value of opportunity will be 
understood by a brief reference to some other distin- 
guished commanders during the war. Opportunity 
waited for Grant. He won Donelson and fought the 
battle of Shiloh, and was then superseded by Halleck. 
Opportunity came to him again before and at the fall 
of Vicksburg, and she again came to him with a smiling 
face at Chattanooga. She invited him to the Army of 
the Potomac when McClellan, McDowell, Pope, Hooker 
and Burnside had failed, and at a time when the poli- 
ticians at Washington had been taught by our reverses 
that to make and unmake commanders for the Army of 
the Potomac would not put down the rebellion. Grant, 
when he reached Washington, was made the dictator of 
the republic. His will was made law. He touched the 
wires and armies were created and moved at his word. 
The governors of states became his recruiting officers, 
and recruits moved from the states in masses to fill the 
vacancies in his ranks, created by disease in his camps 
and death on his battlefields. He was placed upon an 
eminence of command from which he overlooked the 
whole field ; and with the resources of the country at 
his command, he crushed the rebellion, and no other 


policy and perhaps no other man was equal to the oc- 

"Opportunity waited for Sherman with great patience. 
He did not distinguish himself at Bull Run in 1861, nor 
in Kentucky, or in Missouri. At Shiloh, he says that 
lie was not surprised, though he confesses some aston- 
ishment that he was attacked unexpectedly. His assault 
upon Vicksburg was unfortunate. His raid upon Me- 
ridian, in 1864, was not fruitful of good results, nor did 
he succeed in crowning Missionary Ridge until the 
enemy was successfully assailed by the Army of the 
Cumberland ; but opportunity finally came to him and 
gave to him the command of the army on his march 
from Chattanooga to the sea. Perhaps she was not so 
kind when she allowed him to exhibit his superiority 
to men trained in the pursuits of civil life, as he did 
in his never-to-be-forgotten negotiations for the surrender 
of Johnston. Grant, who entertained a different view 
of his duty, assigned General Logan to take command 
of the army at Nashville in December, 1864 ; and the 
events which followed further illustrate the value of op- 
portunity, for if Logan had reached Nashville one day 
before Thomas commenced his battle, Logan would have 
taken command of the army and won a great victory, 
while Thomas, who now occupies so grand a place among 
the illustrious soldiers of the republic, would scarcely 
be remembered. It would afford me pleasure to enter 
into the details of the military life of General Logan, 
and give an account of his services at Belmont, at Don- 
elson, at Shiloh, and in the battles in the advance upon 
and before the siege of Vicksburg and around Atlanta, 
but the needed information on these subjects is before 
the country, and I may add that in addition to a purpose 
I have already disclosed, my only object is to present 
him to your view by reference to characteristic events as 
he will in my judgment stand in history. To attempt to 
make my audience comprehend my estimate of the char- 
acter of General Logan by comparing him with any other 


man whose name is familiar in our history, would prob- 
ably mislead or delude, but still, at the risk of being 
misunderstood, I will attempt it. In most important 
respects, he resembled Andrew Jackson, though less 
fortunate in mere accidents that give men distinction. 
He was the equal of Jackson in courage, resolution and 
promptness on the battlefield, but since Jackson's day, 
social and military conditions are essentially changed. 

"Jackson, without formal military education, was the 
most eminent military leader of the day in which he 
lived ; but all the accidents of the times favored him. He 
commanded men who knew and loved him. The science 
of war as he practiced it was simple, and afforded a wide 
field for the exercise of personal martial qualities. The 
weapons of war were the arms possessed by the citizen, 
and except in the single operation at New Orleans, the 
enemy was the savage. Jackson was never 'over- 
slaughed' or controlled by the pedantry of military 
sciolists or the necessities of politicians. I feel quite 
confident that under like circumstances General Logan 
would have been equal to the duties, and would have 
won the victories which crown the name of Jackson. 

"Nor was he one of the men made great by war, to be 
made small by peace, of which we have seen in our his- 
tory so many melancholy examples. After the war was 
over and the authority of the government restored, he 
again entered the civil service of the country. I am not 
prepared to say the mind of General Logan was adapted 
to the highest achievements of statesmenship, nor do I 
believe that an example can be found in the history of 
the race where the highest military qualities and those 
of profound constructive statesmanship have been united 
in the same person. Washington and Jackson possessed 
great administrative abilities, so, in my judgment, did 
Logan, as I think he would have proven had he lived to 
attain the presidency. Administrative qualities are 
akin to those which are essentially military. Madison, 
though the most learned, thoughtful and profound of 


our early constitutional statesmen, was painfully insig- 
nificant when the country became involved in war. 

"When General Logan, after the war, returned to the 
pursuits of civil life, he found a party already organized 
which possessed the confidence of the country, from the 
results of the war. He shared its temper and spirit and 
at once became one of its leaders, a position he retained 
until his death. He was not a doctrinaire in politics, 
but essentially a man of action and a leader. He co- 
operated with his party in its efforts to maintain its as- 
cendancy, and accepted its economic and financial 
theories ; and I can remember but two instances in 
which he displayed his own personal characteristics 
without reference to his party. One, and the most sig- 
nificant of these instances is that of his intense, persis- 
tent and almost obstinate resistance to the restoration of 
General Porter to the rolls of the army. The story of 
the trial and conviction of General Porter by a court- 
martial is well known to the country, and his efforts to 
obtain from congress a reversal of the sentence, are 
equally familiar. The burden of General Porter was to 
prove to military men that he had sufficient reasons for 
failing to execute an order from his commanding officer 
to move forward and prepare to take part in the battle. 

"General Grant (and there is no better authority) 
after a careful examination of the evidence now before 
the country, has decided that General Porter's reasons 
are sufficient ; but I will always believe that if the 
15th Army Corps under the command of Logan had 
been at the time in the exact situation of General Porter 
and his corps, he and his corps would have furnished 
more satisfactory evidence of their disposition to move 
forward and take part in the impending battle. 

"In a later instance General Logan refused to take 
part in the local disputes of Ohio politicians over the 
charge that one of the senators in congress from that 
state had obtained his election by corrupt means. I 
know nothing of the facts of this case, but Logan de- 


clined to be dragooned into the controversy, and learned 
as a consequence, that no service to the country will pro- 
tect a public man from the fangs of angry, disappointed 

"But he is gone. He is deaf alike to the voice of 
praise or censure ; his comrades, many of them older 
than he, will soon follow him, and they ask for him, and 
for themselves, no other epitaph than 'here lies one who 
deserves to be remembered by his countrymen.' " 



Marriage of the author — Nomination and canvass for Governor of 


On April 4, 1888, I was married a second time, to Mrs. 
Hannah L. Kimball, the daughter of Mr. James L. Lamb, 
of Springfield, Illinois. Mrs. Kimball was the widow of 
Mr. L. R. Kimball, who died in May, 1865. She is 
my companion and amanuensis, and has rendered me val- 
uable assistance in the preparation of this volume. 

On May 22, 1888, the evening before the meeting of the 
Democratic convention, I called upon the delegates and 
candidates for the nomination for the different offices of 
the state, including that of governor, from mere cour- 
tesy, and visited Mr. Sparks, of Clinton county, who 
was a prominent candidate, the Macoupin delegation, 
and Judges Anthony Thornton and S. B. Moulton, and 
was surprised by the suggestion that I should become a 
candidate for the nomination by the convention for gov- 
ernor. I declined to do so, alleging my age as an apology 
for my declination, when I was told by the gentlemen 
who had solicited me to become a candidate, that I would 
only be required to make a few speeches for publication, 
and "go through the motions." 

I told them that the Democratic party would expect 
more of me than to be a nominal candidate, and that, if 
a candidate, I must try to be elected, but that I would 
take an hour or two to consult my friends and consider 
the matter, and would inform them of my decision be- 
fore ten o'clock at night. After a brief consultation witli 
a few friends, and those who had a right to advise me, I 
reported to the gentlemen who had proposed the nomina- 
tion to me, that, "if the convention made the nomination 
with anything like unanimity, I would accept it, but that 
I would not engage in a struggle for the nomination." 


The convention met the next day (May 23d) , with Gen- 
eral Jesse J. Phillips as president, and nominated me as 
a candidate for governor on the first ballot. I did not 
expect the nomination, and had only promised to accept 
it if conferred with unanimity, but I appeared before the 
convention and accepted it. I made my own issues in a 
speech which was reported as follows : 

"Mr. Chairmen and Gentlemen op the Conven- 
TI0N — My days of office-seeking for the gratification of 
ambition are over. I owe services to the Democratic 
party of the state and to the people, and to them I am 
willing and anxious to be useful. 

"Without preface,, therefore, I gratefully accept the 
nomination conferred upon me, and I will exert my best 
efforts to give your whole ticket success. I do not sup- 
pose you have nominated me for the presidency ; I sup- 
pose you are satisfied with the man who was nominated 
four years ago, when the Democratic party vindicated its 
wisdom by placing in nomination for the presidency its 
present incumbent, one of the most sensible, practical, 
earnest, patriotic men of the age ; nor do I suppose that 
you have nominated me for the senate of the United 
States. I suppose you believe, and that you know I be- 
lieve, that the constitution of the State of Illinois is 
of binding obligation ; and, when that constitution de- 
clares that the governor of the state shall not be eligible 
to any office during the term for which he was elected, 
and he takes an oath to support that constitution, you 
expect it to be obeyed. When I had the honor to be gov- 
ernor of this state years ago, I said 'I was the independ- 
ent governor of the State of Illinois.' I asked nothing 
of the legislature. I asked them to do their duty to the 
people ; I would do mine. If I shall be elected governor 
again, I will again be the independent governor of the 
State of Illinois ; and I will ask no favors of anybody. 
I gave four honest years of service before, and I will do 
so again if the people of this state shall honor me with 
their confidence. And, gentlemen of the convention, let 


me say to you that the time has come when the people of 
the State of Illinois should be considered in our political 
canvasses. We have devoted years to the making of 
presidents. Now, Illinois must have some friends, and 
we must now appeal to the people of the State of Illinois 
to look after their own interests, and inquire why things 
are as they are to-day. 

"We must inquire why it is that taxation has increased 
and is increasing. They must be told why it is. They 
must be asked why it is that the state has become an ob- 
ject of such contempt, that standing armies are raised in 
its midst to furnish mercenaries to Pennsylvania and 
Iowa — wherever and under what authority they act ; how 
it is that private men may organize soldiers in the state, 
hirelings, to go with their Winchesters and overawe the 
people. If I am elected governor the people of this 
state shall have firm government, so far as it depends 
upon me ; as firm as the law and no firmer ; as weak 
as the law and no weaker. 

"The government of the State of Illinois shall not 
under my administration, if I am elected, tempt by its 
feebleness weak men to crime, and then hang them for 
it ; and men shall be told that the laws are supreme, 
that the law will furnish redress for every wrong, that 
the law deserves their respect, and that the State of 
Illinois deserves obedience to its legislation. The in- 
terests of the people of Illinois have been disregarded. 
We have been but a mere electoral district. The gov- 
ernors of the state have only regarded this honorable 
place to which you have nominated me as a stepping 
stone to other places. They have filled up all the state 
boards, penal, educational, reformatory and benevolent, 
with rings that are controlled by members of the legis- 
lature, and the members of the legislatures in turn 
make senators of the governors. That must be stopped. 
Gentlemen of the convention, if I shall have the strength 
to make a canvass of the state this year I will leave the 
making of presidents to those to whom you have assigned 


that duty. I will endeavor to talk to the people of the 
State of Illinois about Illinois. God bless her — I love 
her I Her people are worthy of the best services of the 
best men everywhere, and if I shall be elected governor 
the State of Illinois shall have the benefit of earnest, 
sincere service devoted to its interests. Let Cleveland 
run the national government, that is his business. He 
won't need my help, and, as you recollect a little in- 
cident in my experience of years ago, I shall not need 

"Gentlemen of the convention, I promise you fair, 
earnest, honest service during this canvass. I want to 
see the canvass conducted in Illinois upon plain, square, 
practical issues ; that there shall be no dodging any- 
where ; that when we point out the extravagance or the 
negligence of Republican administrations we shall not 
be answered by hired bands playing 'Marching through 
Georgia.' I shall tell the people what the people have 
a right to know, and it will be no answer that they 
shall talk to us about the beauties of protection and the 
advantages of shackling commerce, that the rich may 
grow richer and the poor may grow poorer. Gentlemen, 
I am done." 

One writer says: "The occasion evidently inspired 
the speech, and again and. again Governor Palmer was 
cheered in a manner that made the great hall ring lon«- 
and loud with his praise, for this was the first occasion 
when a Democrat or Republican had dared to denounce 
the spoils system of politics or to speak plainly of the 
conduct of public servants." 

The same writer says: "General Palmer made his 
opening speech of the campaign at the opera house in 
Springfield the latter part of June. . . . But at the 
same time his adversaries were not idle, his administra- 
tion while governor was critically reviewed and every 
supposable weak point was brought to the surface, and 
he thus became the object of universal attack, and 
official reports of the state were quoted in order to> make 


the assaults the more effective. The fact that he had 
once been a Republican was urged as a reason why no 
Republican should vote for him. He was accused of 
courting the influence of the anarchists, and an anon- 
ymous circular to this effect was spread broadcast. His 
controversy with General Sheridan at the time of the 
Chicago fire was revived. He was charged with resign- 
ing his command in front of the enemy, and Sherman's 
memoirs were cited to prove the charge. General 
Palmer bore these assaults with good grace. In his 
opera house speech he had anticipated his enemies by 
saying that his career in public life had been long and 
varied and he expected to have a great deal to say in re- 
gard to himself before the close of the campaign. . . . 
He held that his administration was an open book, that 
he had committed no act while governor of which he 
was ashamed, he concealed nothing and gave a reason 
for every official act while he was the executive which 
had been made the subject of the campaign. Some of 
his adversaries in their public speeches not infrequently 
advised soldiers to 'vote as they shot,' and there was per- 
haps no unkind word written or spoken of him during 
the heated contest that so touched his manly pride as 
did the attempt to cast odium upon his name as a soldier, 
and when the campaign was over he resigned his mem- 
bership in the Grand Army of the Republic, as evidence 
of the displeasure he felt toward those of his comrades 
who had allowed political prejudice to call in question 
his acts as a soldier." 

I hope that I may be permitted to add from the same 
writer: "The canvass of the state by General Palmer 
was regarded as the most illustrious since that of Douglas 
and Lincoln in 1858. He spoke not infrequently to ten 
thousand people, sometimes in the scorching sun, some- 
times in the pattering rain, sometimes by the dim light 
of the torch, but always with a power and clearness 
upon the questions of the hour that arrested the atten- 
tion of the whole country, and those nearest him, who 


felt the public pulse as he mingled with the masses, as- 
sumed that but for the ever-pressing influence of the 
national campaign, he would have been elected." — 
[Politics and Politicians of Illinois, 576-581.] 

On June 19th, I had an appointment to speak at Lin- 
coln, Logan county. I observed that the older politicians 
who had been accustomed to defeat kept away from the 
meeting, but I was met by an immense number of young 
Democratic voters, who insisted upon an earnest, ener- 
getic campaign. I asked what majority they would give 
me in Logan county, which before that time had given 
a majority to the Republicans? One of the persons ad- 
dressed said, "We will give you three hundred." Al- 
though I had some doubts about their ability to do so, I 
then and there determined to make the canvass ener- 
getically and "for all that was out." 

During the canvass, I visited all parts of the state, 
and spoke in more than sixty counties, frequently ad- 
dressing two audiences in one day, and spoke to thou- 
sands of persons. At Streator, it was charged against 
me that I was in the service of the railroads, and that 
Mr. Paul Morton of the R. I. R. R. was the treasurer of 
my campaign. 

In my speech, I gave an account of every cent I had 
received and the names of the donors. It did not exceed 
four hundred and fifty dollars, but the name of Mr. Mor- 
ton was not among them, as I had never known him or 
had any correspondence with him. 

Another charge was, that I had pledged the anarchists 
to pardon such of them as were in the penitentiary. In- 
deed, a circular imputing that purpose and pledge from 
me was published and widely circulated throughout the 
state. To that charge I could only oppose my denial, 
but the facts are, that a brother of one of the parties 
executed called upon me at my residence in Springfield 
one morning after my nomination and said to me that 
"if I would promise to pardon the anarchists then in the 
penitentiary, they would give me ten thousand votes." 


I told the messenger that I could "make no pledges, but 
that the anarchists in the penitentiary would stand upon 
the same footing that other convicts did." I have good 
reason to believe that the same proposition was made 
to my opponent, Governor Fifer, and was declined by 


In my addresses, I advised the people to depend upon 
the laws and upon the officers to enforce them. I said I had 
vetoed the bill under which the Pinkertons were organ- 
ized, and felt that entrusting police powers to private per- 
sons was "dangerous and corrupting." I discussed the 
railroad question and asserted the right of the state to 
prohibit combinations and trusts, for I even then fore- 
saw, what has since occurred, the formation by corpora- 
tions of trusts to regulate the prices of products. 

I was defeated by 12,547 votes. Harrison's plurality 
in the state over Cleveland was 22,104. The Democrats 
hoped for my election, and Fifer 's friends had believed 
that he would be elected by a plurality of 30,000. 

It was claimed that the anarchists had voted for me, 
but when the vote of Cook county was fully canvassed, 
it was evident that such was not the case, but the real 
facts are, that Cook county was carried for me upon the 
ground that I had done so much for Chicago and Cook 
county at the time of the great fire. 



Letter to Hon. James E. Campbell — Meeting and action of Democratic 
state convention — Speech on the ratification of my nomination — 
Letter from the Hon. W. E. Mason — My reply. 

The canvass of 1888 satisfied me that a Democrat 
could be elected to the senate of the United States in 
1890 if the candidate for that office could be nominated 
by the Democratic primaries and the convention, and be 
permitted to canvass the state as the recognized candi- 
date of the Democratic party. In addition to this be- 
lief, I think senators should be elected by the people of 
the states, and not by the legislatures, and that the con- 
stitution of the United States should be so amended as 
to make that course admissible. Accordingly, on March 
1, 1890, I wrote to the Hon. James E. Campbell, Chair- 
man of the state Democratic committee, the following 
letter : 

"Springfield, March 1, 1890. 
"Hon. James E. Campbell, Streator, Illinois; 

"Dear sir — I have your favor of February 22d, and 
would have answered it sooner, but I have been both busy 
and sick. I am satisfied that the convention ought to 
meet in June ; any day in that month would be suitable. 
I saw Mr. Wright, of Petersburg, a few days ago and 
expressed my views to him fully. I cannot be in Chi- 
cago on the 6th on account of urgent engagements. I 
am anxious to meet the committee for personal reasons. 
While I desire to be clearly understood witli reference to 
the senatorial question, I am in no sense a candidate for 
the senate. All that I have ever said is, that I think 
that the state convention ought to adopt as a permanent 
rule of party action the nomination of a candidate for 
the senate, and that if my view of party policy in that 


respect is adopted, I would accept the nomination and 
make the canvass, but I should greatly prefer that some 
other person should be nominated. 

"The motive that leads to this suggestion is, that I 
do not desire to be a member of the senate, and -will 
only consent to be a candidate before the people in order 
to vindicate the principle of electing a senator by popular 
vote as nearly as possible. I wish it to be understood as 
not urging my views upon the party ; on the contrary, if 
there is any considerable opposition to the plan I sug- 
gest, I would for the sake of harmony advise that it be 

"We will carry the legislature if we make a united, 
energetic canvass. Let nothing be done that will divide 
us, or dampen the enthusiasm of the party. 

"Respectfully, John M. Palmer. 

} » 

The committee met on March 6th, and fixed June 4, 
1890, as the date for holding the state convention, and 
referred it to the Democracy of the different counties to 
choose delegates to the convention, and to express their 
preference for or against the nomination of a Democratic 
candidate for the senate. 

Before the meeting of the convention, more than 
ninety counties (including Cook) of the one hundred and 
two in the state, had met in their primaries and de- 
termined that a candidate should be nominated, and se- 
lected me as their choice, and the convention unani- 
mously indorsed me for the nomination. After the 
ratification of my nomination, I delivered the following 
address : 

"June 4, 1890. 

"Gentlemen of the Convention — In 1888, the De- 
mocracy of Illinois paid me in full for all the services I 
had ever rendered them, for they gave me every vote 
they could command. No party ever did better, or can 
do better. The Democracy of Illinois have to-day paid 
me in full and in advance for all I can hereafter do for 


them ; they have nominated me as their candidate for 
United States senator. They have not promised to elect 
me. They have given me a commission to go out and 
make battle for Democratic principles, and have prom- 
ised to do all they can to help me. That is all any of us 
can promise to do. But it must not be understood that 
the Democracy of Illinois intend that I shall go out and 
fight everybody; my mission is a very peculiar one. 
The Democracy of Illinois have commissioned me in 
their name to make an attempt to popularize the senate 
of the United States. I am not, as has been said by 
some of my friends who write for the newspapers — I am 
not bound as an expositor or definer of Democratic 
faith. There are thousands of Democrats in the state 
who will attend to that job whenever required. It does 
not need any special champion. The fact is, there is a 
growing feeling throughout the country, not confined 
to Illinois, that the national senate is becoming an ele- 
ment of danger, rather than of good. It is the only 
body of officials who are not responsible to anybody. 
The president, when nominated by the national conven- 
tion, although he takes but a small part in the canvass 
that precedes the election, is made the subject of criti- 
cism ; his whole life is examined, his business relations 
are discussed, and at last the people pass upon the men 
who are presented to them. Not so with a senator. 
Sometimes, as is found in this state, when the governor 
uses his patronage while occupying the position of chief 
magistrate of the state, and later on, secures the ma- 
jority of the legislature, when the legislature assembles 
the party caucus nominates him, he ceases to be gov- 
ernor and becomes senator, and from that time forth he 
is responsible to nobody. He travels through the state 
during the pendency of the elections, and criticizes the 
candidates, but is responsible to no one. 

"It is the purpose of the Democracy of Illinois that 
hereafter when a senator comes into the state somebody 
shall take care of him. It is intended hereafter that the 


senators from Illinois shall give an account of them- 
selves. Heretofore, as I have said, they have traveled 
through the state responsible to nobody. National ex- 
penditures are increasing at a fearful rate. The new 
state of Montana is organized, and two senators stolen, 
and we are threatened with an election law, which is to 
make our representatives just what the party in power 
may choose. Our senators will take part in these meas- 
ures, but when they come into Illinois it is the purpose of 
the Democracy that they shall answer for their conduct 
at the bar of public opinion. They shall be asked why 
the people of the State of Montana are not allowed to 
have senators who represent them ! They will be re- 
quired to respond to these questions. They will be 
asked, what have the people of the State of Illinois 
done that the power and control over their own elections 
shall be taken from them and placed in the hands of ir- 
responsible federal officials? They will not escape by 
wrapping their senatorial togas around them. It is the 
intention of the Democracy that these men shall be 
compelled to answer. Here they will be surrounded 
by the representatives of four hundred thousand Demo- 
cratic votes, and an answer will be demanded. That is 
the purpose of your action to-day, not to provide a 
champion for Democratic principles, not the sending 
forth of a knight-errant to encounter windmills. The 
purpose is, that hereafter these senators shall be made 
responsible to the people, their acts shall be inquired 
into, and they shall be called to respond to them just 
as other people are required to do. That is the pur- 
pose of the movement ; it is to popularize the senate of 
the United States. 

"In other states gentlemen have found evidence that 
satisfies many people, that in some of those states the 
request of a senatorial candidate for votes is expressed 
in the form of a 'check.' It will be the purpose of the 
Democratic party that such 'checks' shall not pass cur- 
rent in senatorial elections hereafter, but that the conduct 


of those officials shall be investigated. They shall, for the 
first time in our history, be made responsible for their 
conduct. We know that in the earlier history of the re- 
public, the senator was regarded as so much the serv- 
ant of the state that legislatures instructed them as to 
their duty, and the common law of politics of that time 
required that the senator should obey the instructions 
given by the legislature, or resign, that the legislature 
could elect some one who would respect the wishes of 
the people who sent him to the senate. But all that 
has passed by, and now those gentlemen are responsi- 
ble to no one. The party caucus actually makes the 
nomination, the majority elects him for the time being 
senator, and the senator is under no obligations to an- 
swer for his conduct to anybody ; and in this case I say 
the action of the Democratic party of the state is a 
warning to Mr. Cullom, a monition to Mr. Farwell, and to 
those men generally of the Republican party, that when 
they think proper to nominate a senator they will do it. 

"Well, this commission will be a burden to me, and 
you know you must take care that Democratic princi- 
ples are enforced. There are thousands of Democrats 
all over the state while this work on this charge is being 
performed who will take care of the followers behind. 
That is the mission on which you have sent me. 

"Gentlemen of the Convention, I trust during this 
canvass I may be able to render an additional service to 
the Democratic party that is to assure them of my belief 
that Illinois is to-day a Democratic state. It is to assure 
the Democracy of the state that the time has come when 
they may be Democrats without forfeiting their social 
standing or injuring their character as church members. 
That now public opinion has so far changed that not 
only is that true, but that the intellect and intelligence 
of the country is now with the Democratic party, and 
the work of the party from this time forward requires 
but this, that the old men should remember that they 
still owe duties to their country which will last as long 


as they live ; that the men in middle life will feel that 
good government must be maintained for the welfare of 
their children ; that it is upon the young men we must 
depend in this struggle ; and I, for one, will say in this 
campaign I want to be regarded as a captain for one 
purpose. I want to say to every young Democrat in 
this state, that you have the right to go forth and fight 
this battle for good government, and if you fight it earn- 
estly, you will win it. 

"Most of the Republican party believe that they 
should stand by the men in power, and their patriotism 
requires that the older they grow, the more money they 
should receive. They have succeeded to all the patriot- 
ism of the old soldiers in the army, and still require that 
you should provide for their noble service to the country. 
That is not true of the young men, and you will now 
have to fight for the principles of the Democratic party. 

"Gentlemen of the Convention — It is not necessary 
that I should say I thank you most profoundly for this 
additional evidence of your confidence. I thank you 
with my whole heart for your kindness. 

"I have read with the greatest interest the proceed- 
ings of your county convention, and the kind words 
spoken of me, and I have felt grateful to all of you, and 
I shall enter upon this contest with all the energy I can 
employ in that direction. 

"I believe sometimes I have read a newspaper pub- 
lished by my young friend, Mr. Medill, who designates 
me as a 'decrepit old man.' I have only to say that if 
he does not quit, I will treat him as the prophet did the 
boys — x w iH 'set the bears' on him ; I will set the bears 
on those juveniles who follow me. 

"I shall endeavor to make a good fight for a good 
cause, and I shall call on one and all of you to do your 
full share in this work. 

"There is to be no 'off year' in politics in Illinois any 
longer. The Democracy of Illinois does not require the 
incentive of a presidential election to bring them out to 


work. And this should be no 'off year.' It should bo 
one of labor for the cause of right and justice, and that 
the people may be delivered from the terrible oppression 
under which they now labor. Gentlemen, I repeat my 
thanks, and with that I am done." 

During the summer after my nomination and whilst 
engaged in the canvass, the following correspondence 

took place : 

"Washington, D. C, August 15, 1890. 

"Hon. John M. Palmer, Springfield, Illinois: My Dear 
Sir — I have read what purports to be extracts of speeches 
made by you in regard to legislation proposed and passed 
by the present house of representative, and believing the 
people will take more interest in it and understand pub- 
lic questions better if they were jointly discussed, I there- 
fore very respectfully invite you to meet me in joint dis- 
cussion upon the questions which have been pending in 
the fifty-first congress. I desire to maintain that the 
action of the Republican party on the silver, tariff, na- 
tional election, anti-trust and pension legislation have 
been more for the interest of the people than any similar 
legislation offered or passed by the Democratic party 
during its last four years of power. 

"I suggest these questions, as I desire to discuss live 
issues, but will take up any other question you may de- 
sire, comparing the record of the two parties. I am 
sure no personalities will be indulged in, and I am led 
to believe you will receive this communication in the 
spirit in which it is written. 

"Please do not think me presumptuous. I know your 
experience and ability as a lawyer and as an orator, 
and trusting nothing to my own ability but wholly to 
the justice of my cause, I desire to meet you in joint 
discussion as suggested herein. 

"Very respectfully yours, Wm. E. Mason." 


"Springfield, Illinois, August 18, 1890. 
"Hon. Wm. E. Mason, House of Representatives, 
"Washington, D. C. 
"My dear sir — I have to acknowledge the receipt of 
yours of August 15, 1890, in which you say : 'I have 
read what purports to be extracts of speeches made by 
you in regard to legislation proposed and passed by the 
present house of representatives, and believing the 
people will take more interest in, and understand public 
questions better if they were jointly discussed, I there- 
fore very respectfully invite you to meet me in joint dis- 
cussion upon the questions which have been pending in 
the fifty-first congress,' and you express a desire to main- 
tain in such joint discussion that the 'action of the Re- 
publican party on the silver, tariff, national election, 
anti-trust and pension legislation have been more for 
the interest of the people than any similar legislation of- 
fered or passed by the Democratic party during its last 
four years of power.' The Democratic party of Illinois 
share with you the belief that the people take more in- 
terest in, and understand public questions better, if they 
are jointly discussed in their presence, and the De- 
mocracy of nearly every county in the state gave expres- 
sion to that belief when, in their primary meetings, they 
declared that sound policy dictated the nomination of a 
candidate for a senator in the congress of the United 
States, and did me the honor of expressing their prefer- 
ence for me as such candidate ; and it was a source of 
profound regret and something of a surprise not only to 
the Democracy, but to many Republicans, and to the 
large class of voters who are not in harmony with cither 
of the leading political parties, that the Republican 
state convention not only declined to nominate a candi- 
date for the senate, but refused to designate a dis- 
tinguished citizen whose name I am informed was sug- 
gested, to jointly discuss with me the political questions 
that most deeply interest the people. 

"Understanding from these facts that the Republican 


leaders of Illinois, in declining to name any one of its 
distinguished men (yourself included) for whom they 
are willing to be responsible in joint discussion such 
as you propose, I am not able to see what public ad- 
vantage would result from an acceptance of your in- 

"It will readily occur to you that our relations to the 
people of the state are essentially different. A very 
large number of the electors of the state, by nominating 
me as a candidate for a seat in the United States senate, 
have made themselves responsible, not only for my po- 
litical opinions and conduct, but for all the important 
acts of my public life, while on the other hand, the po- 
litical party to which you are attached have declined 
making itself responsible not only for you, but for all 
others of its public men. 

"I beg to assure you that I entertain none but feelings 
of personal friendship and respect for you, and I know 
no gentleman in this state more capable of vindicating, 
if vindication were possible, the measures to which you 
refer, and it would afford me the greatest satisfaction if 
the Republican party should, before the election, accept 
your view of the value of the joint discussion of public 
questions, and name you as a candidate for the United 
States senate. In such an event it would be my duty, 
upon an intimation of your wishes, to accept an invita- 
tion to engage in such joint discussion as might be ar- 
ranged. "Respectfully, 

"John M. Palmer." 

The legislature assembled on the Tuesday after the 
first Monday in January, 1891, and cast one hundred and 
fifty-three ballots for senator, and on the one hundred 
and fifty-fourth ballot I was elected, March 11, 1891. 

The legislature consisted of one hundred Republicans, 
one hundred and one Democrats, and three populists who 
voted for their candidate, Mr. Streeter. The Republi- 
cans voted for Governor Oglesby on a great many bal- 


lots, but finally, with the aid of Dr. Moore and Mr. 
Cockrell, Populists, I was elected. 

I am largely indebted to the speaker of the house, 
Hon. Clayton E. Crafts, the one hundred and one Demo- 
crats who so faithfully adhered to me for one hundred 
and fifty-four ballots, and hosts of other friends, re- 
membered if not mentioned. 



Take my seat in the Benate — Funeral of Senator Plumb — Speech on 
election of senators by the people — Discussion with Mr. Chandler. 

I took my seat as senator from the State of Illinois on 
December 7, 1891, and was assigned to the following 
standing committees: "Military Affairs, " "Pensions," 
and on "Railroads," and the select committee "to in- 
quire into all claims of citizens of the United States 
against the government of Nicarauga." 

Preston B. Plumb, a senator from Kansas, died on 
December 20, 1891, and I was appointed one of the 
committee to accompany his remains to Emporia, 
Kansas, with Senators Peffer, Dolph, Paddock and 
Gordon. We proceeded to Emporia by way of In- 
dianapolis, Terre Haute, St. Louis, Kansas City and 
Topeka, and there buried our late associate. 

From the assembling of congress after the holidays, I 
took part in the debates upon all the important ques- 
tions that came before the senate. I advocated the 
admission of Fred T. Dubois to a seat in the senate 
from the State of Idaho. Mr. Dubois was opposed upon 
the ground that he was elected on December 16, 1890, 
which was the second Tuesday after the organization of 
the legislature of Idaho. 

The senate of Idaho had assembled and elected a 
speaker pro tempore and a secretary, and adopted the 
rules of the last territorial assembly, and provided for 
the drawing of seats by the senators. 

I maintained that the senate of the State of Idaho was 
organized for the purposes of the act of congress of 186G, 
and that the election of all the officers of the legislature 
were pro tern as long as the legislature would continue 
them in office. Mr. Dubois was admitted to his seat in 
the senate. 


On February 18, 1892, I called up the resolutions 
which I had before offered for adoption, which were as 
follows, and afterwards addressed the senate in the 
speech given below : 

"Resolved, by the senate and house of representatives, 
etc., that the following amendment to the Constitution 
of the United States be proposed to the legislatures of the 
several states, which when ratified by the legislatures 
of three-fourths of the several states shall become a part 
of the constitution. 

"The senate of the United States shall be composed 
of two senators from each state, chosen by the people 
thereof for six years, and each senator shall have one 


"Electors for senators in each state shall have the 
qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous 
branch of the state legislature. 

"When vacancies happen in the representation of any 
state in the senate by resignation or otherwise, the exe- 
cutive authority shall issue writs of election to fill such 

"At any election for senator the person receiving the 
highest number of votes shall be held to be duly 

"Mr. President — In calling the attention of the 
senate and the country to the subject of an alteration 
of the Constitution of the United States, which shall 
provide for the election of senators in congress by a 
direct vote of the people of the several states, I only 
obey the instructions given me in the most impressive 
manner by the people of the State of Illinois. 

"The people of Illinois are loyal to the constitution, 
and are devoted to the principles of orderly, constitu- 
tional free government, but they believe that the election 
of senators by the state legislature under existing con- 
ditions has failed of satisfactory results, and that the 
reform proposed by the joint resolution now before the 


senate is demanded alike by correct principles and the 
highest considerations of public policy. 

"Influenced by a knowledge of public opinion, the 
state committee of the Democratic party of Illinois, in 
1890, in connection with a call for a state convention, 
submitted to the electors attached to that party two 
propositions to be considered and determined by them 
in their primary conventions. These propositions were, 
in substance, first, the propriety of a nomination by the 
proposed state convention of a candidate for senator to 
be voted for by the people at the next election, as 
directly as is possible under the provisions of the con- 
stitution, and, secondly, the selection of a candidate for 
senator if it should be determined that a candidate 
be nominated. 

"The election of a senator by a popular vote, which 
by common consent should control members of the legis- 
lature, was not novel to the people of the State of 
Illinois, for they were familiar with the history of the 
great contest of 1858, when Douglas and Lincoln were 
spontaneously chosen to represent opposing opinions 
upon subjects which, by their gravity and importance, 
interested and excited every intelligent voter in the 

"These great leaders traversed the state together ; ad- 
dressed audiences composed of thousands of citizens at 
different important points ; and, separating from time to 
time, each pursued his own canvass until they were 
heard by a majority of the voters of the state. 

"This historical contest involved principles of the 
most profound importance. It was characterized by ex- 
hibitions of oratory and logic and the most extensive 
knowledge of the principles of free government, but the 
questions they discussed, like the great actors in the 
drama, have passed into history, or live only in the 
memory of the few who still linger on the stage of ac- 
tive life. 

"The conditions which existed in 1890 and now are 


different from those of 1858. Then the questions discussed 
involved the existence of the Union. The great civil war 
which soon followed was foreseen by many, though but 
by few in its awful proportions. Now, proposed reforms 
in the government, and even alterations in its structure, 
may be considered in the form of calm reason, enlight- 
ened by experience. 

"The result of the submission of the two propositions 
before mentioned to the Democratic electors of the state 
was, that the primary conventions held in more than 
ninety of the one hundred and two counties of the state, 
including the county of Cook, which contains now nearly, 
if not quite, one-fourth of its population, determined to 
nominate a candidate, and indicated their preference for 
the person to be presented to the people. 

"The state convention, which was held on June 4, 
1890, gave faithful expression to the popular will. It 
expressly approved the plan of electing senators by the 
direct vote of the people, and indorsed the candidate for 
the senate selected by the primary conventions. 

"The convention also adopted a platform which dis- 
tinctly and clearly expressed the opinions of the Demo- 
cratic party of Illinois upon subjects which relate to the 
administration and policies of both national and state 

"The candidate nominated by the people and indorsed 
by the state convention accepted this platform as contain- 
ing a substantial expression of his own opinions upon all 
the subjects referred to. 

"During the subsequent canvass, he explained and 
defended the principles of the platform in many addresses 
to the people in more than fifty counties of the state. 
Upon the issues tendered by the platform adopted by the 
state convention, one hundred and one members of the 
state legislature (two hundred and four being the whole 
number) were elected by an aggregate plurality of more 
than thirty thousand votes. 

"These 'one hundred and one' members of the legis- 


lature, regarding themselves as electors chosen to register 
the will of their constituents, between January 21, 1891, 
and March 11th, voted for the candidate nominated on 
one hundred and fifty-three ballots, and on the one hun- 
and fifty-fourth ballot they were joined by two members 
of the house of representatives who were favorable to 
the election of senators by the direct vote of the people 
of the several states, and on that ballot a senator was 

"Mr. President — I am here to-day the senator elected 
by the free people of the State of Illinois, and my duty 
to them and my own sincere and well-matured convic- 
tions alike require me to urge upon the senate the sub- 
mission to the legislatures of the several states an amend- 
ment to the Constitution of the United States which will 
provide that the senators shall be elected by the direct 
vote of the people of the states. 

"Mr. President — I repeat, in substance, what I have 
before said, that the constitutional mode of electing sen- 
ators by the legislatures of the states is no longer satis- 
factory to the American people. 

"I do not mean to make myself responsible for the 
charges of bribery and undue influence which attend 
nearly every senatorial election by indorsing or repeating 
any of them, and, in referring in even this slight manner 
to them, I do so only to emphasize the statement I have 
heretofore made, that the people no longer confide in, 
but are profoundly distrustful of, the methods of electing 
senators by the state legislatures. 

"It is not a sufficient answer to the popular dissatis- 
faction with the present mode of electing senators to say 
that it is the method provided by the constitution. 

"Mr. President — Much of that profound reverence en- 
tertained by the friends of a free government throughout 
the world for the Constitution of the United States results 
from an association of the instrument with the names of 
the patriots and statesmen who composed the convention 
of which Washington was the president. 


"It is, however, a fact disclosed by contemporary his- 
tory, that the constitution at the time of its adoption 
was regarded by many of the most distinguished mem- 
bers of the convention as an experiment of extremely 
doubtful success, and that, while some members of the 
convention refused to sign the constitution, or make 
themselves responsible for its provisions, others approved 
it upon the ground that whatever its defects might be 
it was preferable as a framework of government to the 
articles of confederation to which it would succeed. 

"The provisions in the constitution for its own amend- 
ment, by peaceable, orderly methods, was one of the 
happiest conceptions of profound statesmanship ; and 
that it was placed in the constitution justifies the belief 
that even the necessity for a new system of government 
would not have been sufficient to secure the acceptance 
of the constitution by the requisite number of states if 
it had not been for the confident expectation entertained 
by many that it would thereafter be improved by essen- 
tial amendments. 

"It may well excite surprise that the framers of the 
constitution, who were familiar with the long struggle 
in England to secure popular rights, neglected to pro- 
vide in the constitution securities for freedom in the 
exercise of religion, free speech, a free press ; the right 
of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the 
government for a redress of grievances ; the right to 
bear arms ; the right to be secure in their persons, 
houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches 
and seizures and against general warrants not supported 
by oath or affirmation ; and that they failed to provide 
by the constitution that no person should be held to an- 
swer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on 
a presentment or indictment of a grand jury; nor did 
they provide protection for the citizen against being put 
twice in jeopardy of life or limb for the same offense, 
or against being compelled to bear witness against him- 
self, nor place his life, liberty and property under pro- 


tection of due process of law. Private property was 
not protected from being taken for public use without 
compensation, nor was there secured to citizens accused of 
crime the right to a speedy and public trial by an impar- 
tial jury of the legal or actual vicinage, nor the right to be 
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against 
him ; to be confronted with the witnesses against him ; 
to have compulsory process for having witnesses in his 
favor and the assistance of counsel in his defense ; nor 
did the constitution as it came from the hands of the 
convention afford protection against the demands of ex- 
cessive bail, nor the imposition of excessive fines, or the 
infliction of cruel or unusual punishments. 

"To remedy the obvious omission, and to provide 
adequate security for the protection of these important 
rights, the first congress which assembled under the con- 
stitution proposed ten amendments to the legislatures of 
the states for their approval. These amendments were 
adopted, and became a part of the constitution. The 
constitution we reverence is not the fragment prepared 
by the convention, but the complete instrument perfected 
by the amendment. 

"Five additional amendments to the constitution have 
since been adopted. Of these, the thirteenth, fourteenth 
and fifteenth, grew out of conditions which could not 
have been foreseen or provided for by the most saga- 
cious statesmen ; but the eleventh and twelfth amend- 
ments are organic, and were devised to cover original 
defects in the government. 

"The framers of the constitution found but little diffi- 
culty in the application of the principle then as now so 
important, of distributing the powers of the govern- 
ment to three independent departments, or, as it is well 
expressed in the constitution of one of the states, 'those 
powers of government which are executive, to one de- 
partment, and those which are legislative to another, 
and those which are judicial to another.' 


"But the method of selecting the person to execute 
the duties and discharge the functions pertaining to 
the several departments was the subject of profound 
differences of opinion among the members of the con- 
vention, and of extensive debate. It is said that the 
proposition, 'that the national legislature ought to con- 
sist of two branches,' was agreed to without debate or 
dissent, except that of Pennsylvania, given probably 
from complaisance to Dr. Franklin, who was said to be 
partial to a single house of legislation. 

"It is manifest that there prevailed in the convention 
the most profound distrust of popular elections. It was 
conceded, indeed, that an election of one branch, at 
least of the proposed legislature by the people, imme- 
diately was a clear principle of free government. Mr. 
Gerry, whose name is connected in modern political life 
with a practice which is invariably denounced by minori- 
ties, conceded that much. He said: 'It was necessary 
that the people should appoint one branch of the govern- 
ment, in order to inspire them with confidence,' but he 
wished the 'other to be so modified as to secure a just 
preference of merit.' 

"The organization of the senate was for more than one 
reason a matter of difficulty ; the small states demanded 
equal representation in the senate, and this was, as we 
know, ultimately yielded. But it is probable that the 
general purpose of the convention in the organization of 
the senate and in the election of senators, was expressed 
by Mr. Dickinson, who said he wished 'the senate to 
consist of the most distinguished characters, distinguished 
for their rank in life and their weight of property, and 
bearing as strong a likeness to the English house of lords 
as possible,' and he thought 'such characters most likely 
to be selected by the state legislatures, than by any 
other mode.' Mr. Madison, sharing the same feeling, 
said : 'The use of the senate is to consist in its proceed- 
ing with more coolness, with more system and with more 
wisdom than the popular branch.' On another occasion 


he said 'he was an advocate for refining popular 
appointments by successive filtrations,' but thought 
'it might be pushed too far.' He wished 'the ex- 
pedient to be resorted to only in the second branch of 
the legislature and the executive and judiciary branches 
of the government.' Considerations like these largely 
influenced the convention to confide the election of 
senators to the legislatures of the states. Perhaps it 
will excite surprise to persons who are familiar with ex- 
isting conditions, to be reminded that another of the ob- 
jects intended to be accomplished by the election of sen- 
ators by the state legislatures, was that of protecting the 
commercial and moneyed interests. It was argued in 
the convention 'that the commercial and moneyed inter- 
ests would be more secure in the hands of the state legis- 
latures, than of the people at large.' The former has 
more strength of character, and will be restrained by 
that from injustice. 

"And then, to illustrate their incapacity, it was added : 
'The people are for paper money, and the legislatures 
are against it.' In Massachusetts, the county conven- 
tions had declared a wish for 'a depreciating paper that 
would sink itself.' 

"At that time the 'planting states,' as they were 
termed, were the wealthiest, and their influence was 
dreaded by the commercial states of the East and North. 
What marvelous changes time has produced ! The 
'commercial and moneyed interests' are now most 
potent. They have representation in every department 
of the government. 

"I do not concede that the framers of the constitution 
properly estimated the intelligence and capacity of the 
then people of the several states. Most of the members 
of the convention were themselves still under the influ- 
ence of the inherited, aristocratic ideas, and were with- 
out experience of the successful working of popular in- 
stitutions. They were surrounded by the most dis- 
couraging circumstances ; the separate American states 


in their aggregate territory were but a strip between the 
ocean and the mountains ; they were without an adequate 
government, without commerce, without credit or es- 
tablished industry. With the aid of France, they had 
but lately succeeded in establishing their independence, 
which Great Britain had yielded with haughty contempt 
for their poverty and weakness. 

"The inefficiency of the articles of confederation led to 
the calling of the convention, and the objeet of the lead- 
ing members of the convention was to provide a new 
government, founded on popular rights, which should at 
the same time produce stability and strength. 

"Having these objects in view in the formation of the 
new government, it is not surprising that the framers of 
the constitution feared that to allow the people a larger 
participation in the direct control of the government, 
would be to introduce into the system an element of 

"In this apprehension, no doubt, the authors of the 
constitution were mistaken, for experience has demon- 
strated that whenever any portion of the American 
people have been intrusted with political power they have 
been equal to its responsibility. They enter and occupy 
new territories in multitudes, and at once improvise 
governments and establish order. 

"The Americans of that day would, like their descend- 
ants have been equal to their responsibilities and have 
added strength to the fabric of the government of the 
constitution. They were brave, patriotic and self-deny- 
ing ; they were not instructed in the learning of the 
schools, but they loved liberty and order, and were mas- 
ters of the art of self-help and self-care, which is the 
most useful, if not the noblest, education. 

"If, however, it was conceded that the framers of the 
constitution properly estimated the intelligence of the 
people of that day, we cannot be blind to the changes 
produced by a century of progress. 

"It is easy to compare the American republic, which, 


at the time of the adoption of the constitution, was only 
able to ask of Great Britain, in terms not amounting to 
a demand, a compliance with the terms of the treaty of 
peace, and which begged the privilege of sharing the 
navigation of the Mississippi river, with the great re- 
public of to-day, composed of forty-four organized and 
powerful states which extend from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific ocean ; from the great lakes to the gulf, and to 
the line that separates the United States from Mexico, 
which is threaded by systems of railways of which our 
fathers never dreamed, with a population approaching 
seventy millions, and with an external commerce proba- 
bly as great as was that of the world a century ago. 

"But it is not in material respects alone that the 
United States have, within the century, accomplished so 
much, for, in 1787, liberal culture was the exception ; in 
1892, it is the rule. 

"Now, the school-house dots every neighborhood, 
youthful libraries are found in every village, institutions 
for higher culture are open to the humblest student, and 
the newspaper, with its many million sheets, reaches 
daily the most obscure settlement, and the telegraph 
and telephone have annihilated time and distance, and 
steam, a comparatively new force, is almost obsolete, 
now that the lightning is made subject to the require- 
ments of human necessities. 

"But few public men can be found who do not recog- 
nize the intelligence of those who control the instru- 
ments of modern industry, and those who are engaged 
in what were once the sober and quiet pursuits of agri- 
culture, quickened by the consciousness that the products 
of their acres are by the modern means of communica- 
tion and transportation brought into competition with 
every productive acre on the globe, are asserting their 
right to participate in the direct control of the govern- 

"It may be lamented, but it is true, that the peaceful 
contentment of farm life is no longer found anywhere, 


since the farmers are but the manufacturers of the raw 
material of commerce, and have become necessarily rest- 
less students of political and social economy. 

"From what I have said, the conclusion is inevitable 
that none of the reasons which led the framers of the 
constitution to deprive the people of the direct control 
of the executive department and of the senate now ex- 
ists. Experience long ago demonstrated the uselessness 
of the electors as agents for the selection of presidents 
and vice-presidents. Electors are now but counters for 
the enumeration of the votes of the states — the John 
Does and Richard Roes of our political system. 

"The propositions, I repeat and seek to maintain, are, 
that the constitution should be so amended that the elec- 
tion of senators should be taken from the state legisla- 
tures and conferred upon the people, to be exercised by 
them directly. Specific proof of the incapacity of the 
legislatures to exercise electoral functions, and of the 
capacity of the people to do so, will be found on exam- 
ination of the revised and amended constitutions of the 
older states and of the new states modeled after them. 
It will be sufficient for my purposes, and tend to brevit}^, 
for me to refer to the Constitution of the State of Illi- 
nois ; that is, the original constitution of 1818, under 
which the territory of Illinois was admitted into the 
Union, and the revised constitutions of 1848 and 1870. 

"The territory of Illinois extended from the Wabash 
to the Mississippi and from the Ohio to Lake Michigan. 
Almost the entire population was south of the present 
capital of the state, while the northern half was what, 
in 1818, seemed limitless prairie. The population of the 
northern half was so sparse that, as late as 1821, Chi- 
cago was described in a book of authority as 'the village 
at the mouth of Calamick creek, in Pike county.' The 
emigrants to Illinois territory were the pioneers of civil- 
ization, chiefly from Virginia and the Carolinas, who 
had found their way through Tennessee and Kentucky. 
Soon after they crossed the Ohio, their emigrations were 


checked by what seemed to be the dreary waste of the 
central and northern portions of the territory. 

"The people I have attempted to describe were, be- 
yond anything that we can now conceive, jealous of the 
executive authority, and, therefore, by the constitution 
of 1818, they reserved to themselves the election of a gov- 
ernor, but surrounded him with a council of revision, 
consisting of the judges of the supreme court, and then, 
apparently distrusting themselves, they provided that 
the justices of the supreme court and the judges of the 
inferior courts should be appointed by both branches of 
the legislatures. The constitution further provided that 
the justices of the peace should be appointed in such 
manner as the general assembly should direct, and the 
legislature was authorized to appoint the executive 
officers of the state government, with the exception of 
the secretary of state. 

"Under the constitution of 1818 the legislature was 
omnipotent, and it is difficult to describe the extent to 
which it abused its powers. It established a visionary 
system of internal improvements and elected commission- 
ers to execute the contemplated public works with au- 
thority to sell the bonds of the state in domestic and 
foreign markets, by which means a public debt was 
created so enormous, that when the people in 1847 
called a convention to revise the constitution, poverty 
and distress prevailed on every hand. The legislature 
also reorganized the judiciary, and elected four additional 
justices to the supreme court. 

"The convention of 1847 made many valuable changes 
in the existing constitutions. It prepared and submitted 
to the people a provision for the payment of the state 
debt, which the people, with that sturdy, rugged honesty 
and courage which has always characterized the people 
of Illinois, adopted by their direct vote, and saved them- 
selves and their posterity from the shame of repudi- 
ation . 

T hope I may be pardoned when I pause and say 



with feelings of pride that I assisted in the preparation 
of this proposition. I voted for it as one of the freemen 
of the state, and that in 1869, while governor, and the 
currency of the country was depreciated, Illinois paid 
its debt in gold. The convention of 1847, however, did 
more, for it deprived the legislature of all electoral 
power ; it provided for the election of governor, and all 
the executive officers of the state, and the justices of the 
supreme court, and the judges of the inferior courts, by 
direct vote of the people, and further provided that no 
officer, whether created by the constitution or the laws, 
should thereafter be elected by the legislature. 

"I confess, that as a member of the constitutional 
convention of 1847, I submitted to the plan proposed for 
the election of the justices of the supreme court by the 
people with reluctance ; it was an experiment then, 
which has vindicated itself, and the judges of the 
Supreme Court of Illinois elected by the people have 
justified the highest hopes of those who favored the in- 
novation. The illustrious names of the men who have 
composed the Supreme Court of Illinois are known and 
honored by the legal profession throughout the Union. 

"The constitutional convention of 1870 adopted many 
improvements in the state constitution, and re-enacted 
the provision of the constitution of 1848, which deprived 
the state legislature of all electoral authority. 

"Mr. President, if it was possible, it would be wise to 
incorporate in the Constitution of the United States 
many of the reforms to be found in the improved con- 
stitution of Illinois and other states for the protection of 
popular rights. 

"I ought now to say that in the election of senators 
the legislature of Illinois is subject to such criticisms 
only as may be fairly directed toward the conduct of 
legislatures of other states. 

"It is true, that it has been charged at different times 
that the votes of members have been controlled by federal 
patronage, and instances have occurred where federal ap- 


pointments were given to members of the legislature 
very soon after they had voted for the successful can- 
didate, and in one memorable case a long struggle in 
the state legislature was determined by the death of a 
member of the house of representatives who was a sup- 
porter of one of the candidates, and the election of a 
' member who supported his leading competitor. 

"It has been charged by one party, and confessed by 
the other, that the vacancy was filled by an ingenious 
trick practiced upon the very large Democratic majority. 
It has never been claimed that the representative from 
the thirty-fourth district of Illinois represented the 
people of the district, nor has it been denied that if the 
people of the district had known he was a candidate he 
would have been defeated. 

"The vote of the member from the thirty-fourth dis- 
trict elected one of my most distinguished predecessors. 

"And it has 'gerrymandered' the state in the adjust- 
ment of the congressional and legislative districts, and 
for this a remedy seems impossible ; but if the constitu- 
tion is amended to permit the election of senators by 
the direct vote of the people, then the 'gerrymander' 
will no longer influence the choice of senators, but will 
in that respect at least pass into 'innocuous desuetude.' 
"I will not assert, but I confess that I doubt whether 
the legislative districts in any state are so adjusted as 
to allow a fair and just expression of the popular will 
in the selection of representatives in either branch of 
the state legislature. 

"I do not by this intend to assail the conduct of any 
political party, for, while states are 'gerrymandered' to 
serve the purposes of political parties, other causes have 
operated to produce unfair apportionment in state legis- 

"The president, in his late annual message, called 
the attention of congress and the country to one instance 
which he apprehends may operate to defeat the popular 
will in one of the states in the choice of presidential 


electors. The words of the president are entitled to the 
most £>rofound respect, but he knows, as we do, that the 
'trail of "the gerrymander" is "over them all." ' 

"The elections for the choice of presidential electors, 
the election of members of the legislature who elect 
senators, the election of members of the house of repre- 
sentatives in congress, are alike influenced and often 
controlled by the unfair arrangements of districts. 

"If the amendment which I propose is adopted, the 
members of the senate of the United States will be 
chosen by the direct vote of the free people of the sev- 
eral states, and will be, what it never yet has been, the 
popular branch of the congress of the United States. 

"There is one additional consideration to which I call 
the attention of the senate. In 1787, the property of 
the country was of small value ; in 1892, its value can 
not be expressed in terms which can be comprehended by 
the ordinary mind. In 1787, it was believed by many 
that the security of property would be endangered by 
the direct participation of the people in the election of 
senators ; now, the rights and liberties of the people 
are threatened by the overwhelming and all-pervading 
influence of property. It is not necessary, in order to 
make myself understood, that I should assail or de- 
nounce those who control the enormous aggregates of 
either fixed or speculative property ; it is enough to point 
to the irresistible logic of existing conditions, the property, 
or to use more expressive words, the wealth invested in 
commerce, in manufactures, in the railways, the for- 
ests, the mines, and in the myriad forms of organized 
activity, demands legislation for its protection or its 
benefit, and its political power, whether employed in the 
congress of the United States or in the state legislature 1 , 
rarely fails of success. Organized as it is it is so re- 
lated that it can direct its influence to the attainment of 
any desirable end. 

"Mr. President, the property to which I have alluded 
lias now nothing to fear from the aggressive action of 


the people, or from their direct influence upon the gov- 
ernment. All they can gain by the amendment to the 
constitution I have proposed, will be enlarged powers of 

"Senators to be hereafter elected by the people by 
their direct votes will be their true and exact represen- 
tatives and will defend their homes and their property 
from unequal and excessive burdens. They will dignify 
the states, for the people are the states. They will 
recognize their responsibility to the people who elect 
them, and they will find their reward in the approval of 
their fellow-citizens whom they have faithfully served." 
— [United States senate, February 18, 1892.] 

On April 12, 1892, Mr. Chandler, of New Hampshire, 
answered the speech just quoted, and I give so much of 
his reply as is pertinent : 

"Mr. Chandler, of N. H. . . . Mr. President, the 
senator's record as a Republican was distinguished. He 
was entirely sound on the fifteenth amendment, and 
whenever this amendment to the constitution for the 
election of senators by the people is adopted, and also 
an amendment for the election of president and vice- 
president by the people, and it is necessary to enact a 
federal election law in order that the fifteenth amend- 
ment may be obeyed, I am glad to believe that, in view 
of the message of the senator which I have in my hand, 
we shall have his vote therefor. I ask the secretary to 
read it as a part of my speech : ' ' 

The secretary read as follows : 

"Executive Dep't. 
"Springfield, III., March 5, 1869. 
' ' To the honorable speaker of the senate — I have the honor 
to communicate to both branches of the general assembly 
a copy of the resolutions of congress proposing to the 
legislatures of the several states a fifteenth article to the 
Constitution of the United States. 

"I deem it unnecessary, while performing this act of 


official duty to do more than express my own earnest hope 
that the general assembly will at once give voice to the 
ardent wishes of the people in expressing the concurrence 
of the State of Illinois in this crowning act of statesman- 

"Illinois owes much of its prosperity and greatness to 
the ordinance of 1787, which in addition to the exclusion 
of slavery from the territory northwest of the Ohio, took 
its place in history by the side of the declaration of in- 
dependence, as the protest of Mr. Jefferson and his con- 
temporary patriots against human slavery ; and the 
state which led in the political contest of 1860, which 
gave to freedom its first victory and which was the home 
and now shelters in her bosom all that was mortal of the 
great martyr, will not hesitate a moment to assent to 
this measure of justice, which closes the greatest and 
noblest struggle the history of the world has known, and 
with 'liberty and union, one and inseparable now and 
forever.' John M. Palmer." 

"Mr. Chandler. Noble sentiments, Mr. President, ut- 
tered by a Republican governor, with the excellent mili- 
tary record of the senator from Illinois. I do not wonder 
that the Democratic state committee — 

"Mr. Palmer. Mr. President — 

"The presiding officer (Mr. Harris in the chair) . Does 
the senator from New Hampshire yield to the senator 
from Illinois? 

"Mr. Chandler. At the end of this sentence : I do not 
wonder that the Democratic state committee selected the 
senator with whom to originate the popular movement 
which was to convert the State of Illinois from a Re- 
publican into a Democratic state. 

"Mr. Palmer. I wish to state to the senator that it was 
not as a Republican governor, but as a man entertaining 
my own views. I had my own views. I was not the 
slave of any party. I repudiate all claim to any opinion 
I have expressed in the course of my lifetime as being 


the doctrines of any political party. I have thought for 
myself and have spoken my own words on all occasions 
during my lifetime. 

" . That which I characterized as a trick has 

been so regarded in Illinois and laughed at and con- 
demned in Illinois, and I think now there is a dispute as 
to who deserves the credit of the trick in the neighbor- 
hood where my colleague and I live. 

"The fact is that the twenty-fourth district, I believe 
it is, of Illinois is very largely Democratic. A Demo- 
cratic representative named Shaw died, and a special 
election was ordered. Judge Leiper, of Cass county, 
was nominated by the Democrats to supply the vacancy. 
The Republican managers made an agreement by which a 
man named Weaver, who was an insurance agent, and 
who traveled over the district as if lie was engaged in 
his ordinary business, was to run as a candidate. His 
name was not mentioned otherwise than confidentially, 
but his supporters turned out in the afternoon of the day 
as I recollect the story, and the ballots were deposited 
and he was elected. I think Leiper got two hundred votes, 
perhaps, in a district of several thousand ; and Weaver 
got three or four hundred. He traveled ostensibly en- 
gaged in his business as an insurance agent. 

"I characterized that as an ingenious trick, and I 
think I was justified in doing so. That vote determined 
the majority that elected one of my most distinguished 

"Mr. Chandler. Did the senator mean General Logan 
when he said that? 

"Mr. Palmer. I did not mention any name, but I 
know General Logan was the senator elected. 

"Mr. Chandler. You knew it was General Logan's 
case ? 

"Mr. Palmer. I did, but I never imagined there was 
any malice about it ; nor do I suppose now, as it was a 
public matter, that it was a thing about which I ought 
to keep silent. It was illustrative of the mischief of 


electing United States senators by the votes of mem- 
bers of the legislature. It was a trick, understood to be 
a trick, laughed at by the Republicans as a trick, and de- 
nounced by the Democrats as a trick. 

"Mr. Chandler. It was a popular election. 

"Mr. Palmer. A popular election, but a trick, never- 

"Mr. Chandler. It was not a trick in the legis- 

"Mr. Gray. Allow me to ask the senator from 
Illinois, if the insurance agent, to whom he has re- 
ferred as having been elected as a Republican repre- 
sentative, was regularly nominated by the Republican 


"Mr. Palmer. By no means. It was not suspected 
by the Democrats until after it was discovered, late in 
the afternoon of election day, that the Republicans were 
voting at all. (Laughter.) Their insurance agent had 
gone around the district making his arrangements, and 
the Republicans turned out to vote in the evening. It 
was a revelation to the Democrats. They had been 
beaten without knowing that they were opposed. That 
is the fact. If my friend can find, in my reference to 
that, any evidence of malice toward General Logan, 
or any evidence to depreciate his memory, the sugges- 
tion is supplied by his own mind, and not by mine, nor 
by those who heard me. 

"Mr. President — The senator from New Hampshire 
has very kindly referred to some facts in my own po- 
litical history. I suppose there is no man in the State 
of Illinois whose public life has been more open than 
mine, and I suppose there is no man in Illinois who 
has been supposed to act more according to his own 
w ill — I was about to say his own convictions — who has 
acted according to his own will more conspicuously 
than I have. The senator is mistaken in one fact : 
General Logan was never an anti-slavery Democrat ; I 
was. General Logan went into the army in 1861, some 


time after I did. General Logan had his own motives 
for doing so. I am not called upon to characterize, 
and I certainly do not characterize them in an unfriendly 
way. He acted according to the convictions of his own 
conscience and his own sense of duty, but he was never 
an anti-slavery Democrat ; I was from the beginning. 
I think I inherited that feeling. My father voted for 
Thomas Jefferson in 1804, I think it was, and I had 
been trained in that faith, hostile to slavery. I do not 
think I ever in my life, while slavery was an existing 
institution, suppressed an expression of my opposition 
to slavery. 

"When the war broke out, I entered the army early — 
went into the army on May 15, 1861, as the colonel 
of a regiment, elected by the votes of my neighbors 
and those who knew me. I served in the army as 
brigadier-general and major-general of volunteers. I 
did so from a sense of duty. After the war was over, I 
was elected governor of Illinois, upon the basis and 
upon the theory of standing by the public faith, paying 
the debt incurred by the war in gold. I was in favor of 
such legislation and amendment of the constitution as 
would secure the results of the war. I was open and 
outspoken, and I have taken nothing back yet. 

"In 1872, after the Republican party had adopted 
the heresies of the old "Whig party, I refused to go witli 
it. In 1860, when the Republican party was organized, 
it was not a protective-tariff party, and Mr. Blaine says, 
in his most admirable book, that the protectionists came 
into the war for the sake of protection — in substance, 
without any feeling, without any sympathy with the 
anti-slavery party ; and, when the Republican party 
adopted all the fallacies of the Whig party, I separated 
myself from it, and voted for Mr. Greeley, upon the 
principle — a very ludicrous principle now — that the sub- 
ject of tariff should be referred to the people of the re- 
spective congressional districts. 



Opposed the Pure Food bill — Favored pensions for judges of the supreme 
court — Opposed the Indian bill — Homestead speech. 

I opposed the "Pure Food" bill introduced by Mr. 
Paddock, of Nebraska, but avowed my readiness to vote 
for any bill which should be for the purpose of regulat- 
ing the commerce in food products and drugs between 
the several states and territories of the United States. 

I said, and I repeat, that "to the extent this bill goes 
beyond its declared object, it is objectionable. In some 
of the states it has been found necessary — in the State 
of Illinois — I think probably in the improved constitu- 
tions of all the states, it is required, that the object of the 
bill must be set out in its title, and in some of the states 
it has been held that so much of the bill as is hot em- 
braced in its title is void. . . . Now, I think, if I tell 
the senator from Nebraska that I am for all of his bill 
which I believe regulates commerce between the states 
in respect to food and drugs and am for all that is 
auxiliary to that purpose, I think I act in good faith. 
But if the senator thinks that I am bound to accept this 
bill with all that is irrelevant to its object, that I ought 
to submit to unconstitutional enactments to prove the 
sincerity of my declaration that I favor his bill, I can 
only say that I must submit to whatever censure he 
chooses to impose upon me." 

. . . I favored an appropriation from the treasury for 
the meeting of the "Grand Arrrry of the Republic," in 
Washington, and said: "Let them come, old men that 
they are ; they will be here but a little time longer. 
Time is dealing with them, their heads are gray, their 
limbs are palsied, and they will desire to come for the 
last time to visit the capitol of their country which has 


grown so much since the great hours of sorrow that 
spread over the whole land." 

. . . I voted for pensions for the judges of the Su- 
preme Court of the United States for this reason, as I 
have stated it : "I have witnessed the struggle between 
poverty and a desire to discharge duty, until I have the 
utmost sympathy for the men who engage in it. I have 
known judges of eminence to become involved in specu- 
lations ; a great lawyer is not likely to have much money 
saved. I believe there are exceptions, but as a rule 
they are not remarkable for their money keeping ca- 
pacity, and I have known them to become involved 
in speculations that would not have been very at- 
tractive to men of experience. I have witnessed the 
struggle, and I should be glad to see the principle 
adopted of paying a judge such salary in presenti and in 
future, as would enable him to feel that he had his life 
work upon him, and that he might feel relieved from 
those anxieties that attend men as they grow old, with 
the consciousness that their physical and mental facul- 
ties too are not as they were at an early period of their 
lives. ... I desire that the judge shall feel that 
whatever the duties of the place are, he shall have none 
of the temptations to engage in business or distract his 
thoughts. . . ." 

March 18, 1892, I opposed the bill reported by the 
committee on Indian affairs, placing the Indians under 
the control of the war department, and said : 

"It is exceedingly strange to me that during the 
centuries that have passed since the Indians were a war- 
like people, they should have been entrusted to the care 
of civilians, and now that they have become broken, a 
mere fragment of their tribal relations existing, it should 
be proposed to turn them over to the army. One would 
suppose that we had reached a point where they would 
be the most proper subjects for a civil control. I have 
great respect for the officers of the army, but I have 


never supposed that their education fitted them for the 
particular features of care that the Indians require as 
they have been particularly described by the senator 
from Oregon (Mr. Dolph) , and others who have at- 
tempted to describe them. What is the exact condition 
of the Indians to-day, as we understand it? I speak in 
general terms. They have been driven from nearly all 
the fertile lands upon the continent. They were first 
driven from the Atlantic to the mountains in this direc- 
tion, and the people of Oregon and other Pacific states 
have driven them east towards the mountains ; they are 
feeble, while they have gained something in civilization, 
they have lost very much by civilization. And at no 
time in the history of the race, have they so much re- 
quired that peculiar care which can be given by intelli- 
gent men and women as they do now. ... I have 
no patience with any form of argument which places 
this subject upon the pure and simple ground of 
economy. It is easy for gentlemen to say that the 
Indian ought to work, that they should be made to work. 
All that is easy generalization, a very simple thing, but 
here is this race in its present condition. ... I 
am not disposed to enter iuto any nice discussion as to 
what they ought to do, or how much they may be made 
to do. I am insisting upon treating them as they are 
to-day, and have been made by our policy. Treat them 
as they are, feed them. . . . After feeding them, or 
in connection with feeding them, care for them. 

. "Mr. President, I know of but few things 
more pitiable, whether applied to young children or ap- 
plied to 'children of a larger growth,' like the Indians, 
than subjecting them to the perpetual drill of military, 
rule. The senator speaks of the advantages of evening 
schools, post schools, the canteen and other methods 
by which the simple, everlasting treadmill of discipline 
may be enforced. It is the most cruel system of gov- 
ernment. It is like shutting children up in some of our 
charitable institutions and compelling them to go through 


the drill every day. ... I protest, therefore, that 
whatever may have been the necessity heretofore in 
placing the Indians under the control of the array, the 
day for it has passed. They should be under the control 
of intelligent, humane men and women, that the influ- 
ence of both may be brought to bear to humanize, civ- 
ilize and elevate them. . . . The buffalo has gone, 
the Indian will go. ... I suppose men who have 
been with civilized armies have seen brave men, civilized 
men, maddened by hunger. For I have never seen the 
man with a musket, or the man who had power, die with 
hunger, when food was within his reach. . . . I spoke 
and voted for a measure authorizing the people of Arizona 
to fund their bond issue in gold. . . . I opposed the 
bill in reference to the Chinese immigrants, by which it 
was proposed to exclude Chinese from testifying ; and 
voted for the prosecution of the claims of the government 
against the Pacific Railroad. . . . I said in a debate 
on May 4, 1892 : ' 'The United States, in the first instance, 
established homes where men were isolated. It also es- 
tablished 'Soldiers' Orphans' Homes,' where the children 
were isolated. It has always been thought that an ex- 
periment that would authorize any of the states to col- 
lect and employ and educate the families of certain 
classes of soldiers and sailors would be a wise experi- 
ment, and would probably lead to the solution of the 
difficulty which we have all experienced. We have a 
large 'Soldiers' Orphans' Home' in Illinois. I have al- 
ways felt the embarrassment of separating these children 
from their surviving parents and from their home asso- 
ciations, and caring for them in the sort of semi-military 
way that is necessary in the homes. For several years 
I had the honor of being one of the managers of the 
national homes. At Dayton, where there are many thou- 
sands of soldiers, I found a difficulty almost incurable in 
the separation of soldiers from their families and from 
home associations. When I saw this proposition, to 
lend to the State of Kansas, that the state may with its 


own resources make the experiment of bringing soldiers, 
decrepit old men and their families to a home, where home- 
life can be enj oyed by these old men , I was glad . I know of 
but very few things more pitiful than the necessity that 
separates an old man from his family, and in order to en- 
joy the benevolence of the gover