« ZurückWeiter »
forget the majestic uprising of the people at the attack on Fort Sumter. The old flag, which had been regarded chiefly as an ornament for festal occasions, became at once the dear symbol of our undying love for our native land.
The human soul is so organized that it always requires a visible sign of its emotions : such was the eagle to the Roman, the cross to the Christian, the crescent to the Mahometan. The same sentiment in the heart of man was recognized and invoked in that most heartbreaking and mournful scene in human history, — the institution of the Last Supper, and the visible emblems of the body broken and the blood shed. The national ensign, representing all that was precious in national life or sacred in patriotic duty, was at once flung out from spire and balcony and mast-head, on land and
The occasion moved Grant to the utmost depths of his being. He said to a friend, “ The government has educated me for the
What I am, I owe to my country. I have served her through one war, and, live or die, will serve her through this.” Noble words, and nobly have they been redeemed.
Immediately he began recruiting and drilling a company in the streets of Galena ; and, four days after, he went with it to Springfield, the capital of the State of Illinois, the home of Abraham Lincoln, and offered it to Gov. Yates. So modest was he, that he only applied to be their captain, thinking his military education would be of use to them: but another member desired the place, and informed Grant of his wish ; and the future lieutenant-general gave way. So little was the North prepared for war, that many of the States had no war
department or adjutant-general's office. instances, the office of adjutant-general was not filled by officers experienced in the routine of military organization. After a few days, Gov. Yates said to Grant one morning, “Do you know about these military details ? — how many men it takes to make a company, and how many to make a regiment, and what officers each must have ?"
Grant replied, “Oh, yes, sir! I was educated at West Point, and served eleven years in the regular army.'
“ Then,” said the governor, “sit right down in this
• arm-chair, and act as Adjutant-General of the State.” He did so, and was of special service at Springfield in organizing and forwarding regiments. Gov. Yates has since spoken of his first impressions of Gen. Grant in the following terms :
“ In presenting himself to me, he made no reference to any merits, but simply said he had been the recipient of a military education at West Point; and, now that the country was assailed, he thought it his duty to offer his services, and that he would esteem it a privilege to be assigned to any position where he could be useful. I cannot now claim to myself the credit of having discerned in him the promise of great achievements, or the qualities · which minister to the making of great names,' more than in many others who proposed to enter the military service. His appearance, at first sight, is not striking. He had no grand airs, no imposing appearance; and I confess it could not be said he was a form
• Where every god did seem to set his seal
He was plain, very plain; but still, sir, something - perhaps his plain, straightforward modesty and earnestness — induced me to asin tim ad in the evazire očice. In short time. Ive tim to be an inrisbie assiezi s my očce and in that the acijutant-paaral. He was ca sa sized to be remind of the six camps of organitzaca si intaia web I b established in the Sage."
He had previously written to the AFurant-General of the United States, at Washington, offering his services, during the war, in any capacity in which he might be wanted; but it was merely from some urkowa officer out West, by the name of Grant; and this letter, which would have been read with interest by thousands for years to come, was not even preserved.
He remained five weeks at Springfield, with the erception of a flying visit to Cineinnati, which he made to see Gen. McClellan, whom he had known in the army, and with the secret thought that possibly MeClellan would offer him a place on his staff; but JcClellan was absent, and he returned.
On the 15th of June, 1861, Gor. Yates gave him his commission as colonel of the Twenty-first Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. The regiment at once felt the hand of a master. Its reduced numbers were raised to a thousand men: order, discipline, exactness, were everywhere seen. He reported to Brig.-Gen. John Pope, by whom he was stationed at Mexico, in the State of Missouri. He at once showed such skill and efficiency as a trained military man, that in August following, unknown to himself, upon the nomination of Hon. E. B. Washburne, member of Congress froin Illinois, who early discerned his abilities, he was appointed brigadier-general of rolunteers, his rank dating from the 17th of May.
Gen. Pope had been succeeded in the Western
Department by Gen. Fremont; and, on the 1st of September, Grant was ordered by the latter to Cairo.
Cairo is situated at the southern extremity of Illinois, on a tongue of land which thrusts itself out exactly where the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers meet, a hundred and seventy-five miles below St. Louis. It is within striking distance of the five States of Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. It is said, that, in the first consultation that Gen. Scott had with the cabinet at the opening of the war, he placed his finger on the map at Cairo, and spoke of it as in every way one of the most important places in the country to the military power of the United States.
Paducah was on the Kentucky side of the Ohio, at the mouth of the Tennessee River. Kentucky at this time had a rebel for governor, by the name of Beriah Magoffin. It was evident from the first that the border States, Maryland, Kentucky, and Tennessee, would be the first battle-ground for the Union. The rebels in the two latter did not dare attempt to carry them at once over to secession ; but their policy was to talk “armed neutrality.” The “sacred soil of old Kentucky must not be invaded by the troops of either party." These fine words were to be used until they could be carried boldly into the Rebellion. But, in the war for the Union, there could be no “ neutrality” for any State, least of all for States which held the ashes of Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay. Every State and every man was either for the Union or against it.
The Legislature of Kentucky was for the Union by a large majority. On his arrival at Cairo, Grant had telegraphed to them that a rebel force had entered Ken
tucky. Gov. Harris of Tennessee telegraphed, “ it had been done without his consent;” “ President Davis would order their withdrawal ;" “Gen. Polk would withdraw them.” But Grant preferred to trust his soldiers rather than Jeff. Davis, Beriah Magoffin, or Gen. Bishop Leonidas Polk; and accordingly took possession of Paducah the next morning with two regiments and a battery. He found the rebel flag flying in all directions, rations and army supplies in great quantities (among the latter a large amount of leather, of which Grant considered himself an excellent judge); and he appropriated all for the use of the United-States troops. He issued the following proclamation to the inhabitants :
PADUCAH, Ky., Sept. 6, 1861. TO THE CITIZENS OF PADUCAH, I have come among you, not as an enemy, your
fellow-citizen; not to maltreat or annoy you, but to respect and enforce the rights of all loyal citizens. An enemy in rebellion against our common government has taken possession of, and planted its guns on, the soil of Kentucky, and fired upon you. Columbus and Hickman are in his hands. He is moving upon your city. I am here to defend you against this enemy, to assist the authority and sovereignty of your government. I have nothing to do with opinions. I shall deal only with armed rebellion and its aiders and abetlers. You can pursue your usual avocations without fear. The strong arm of the government is here to protect its friends, and punish its enemies. Whenever it is manifest that you are able to defend 'yourselves, and maintain the authority of the government, and protect the rights of loyal citizens, I shall withdraw the forces under my command.
U. S. GRANT, Brig.-Gen. commanding.
The tone of this proclamation was admirable, and represented the spirit of the Union people : “I have come among you, not as an enemy ;
“I am here to