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the soldiers. This discharge being immediately followed by two others from the neighboring houses, the troops suddenly turned round, presented their muskets, and fired a volley down the street. A promiscuous slaughter followed, in which innocent women and children again suffered the fate of the guilty. These two fatal collisions had resulted in the death and wounding of some fifty in all, and served to embitter still more the unhappy feeling already existing among the inhabitants of the same city.
The return, however, of Major-General Harney, the commander of the department of the West, to St. Louis, where he had established his headquarters, served for a time to compose the angry dissensions in Missouri, and to give hopes of saving that State from the evils of a civil conflict.
William Selby Harney was born in Tennessee in the year 1800, and entered the army as a second lieutenant of the First Infantry at the age of eighteen. He had acquired, during his long service, the reputation of an energetic, though arbitrary officer. His characteristic impulsiveness and headstrong disregard of consequences led him to assume possession of the island of San Juan, in Vancouver's Bay, during the dispute with Great Britain in regard to the boundary line between the northwestern possessions of that power and Oregon. This unauthorized act excited greatly the anger of England, which was only appeased by the recall of Harney and the conciliatory action of the veteran
Scott, who was sent to supersede him in command.
At the beginning of the present civil war, Harney was the commander-inchief of the Western Department, but was temporarily absent from St. Louis during the disturbances in that city, having been summoned to Washington. On his way he was taken prisoner by the Confederates at Harper's Ferry, but being soon released, he hastened, after a brief visit to the capital, to resume his duties in the West. Though the ties of birth and property attached him strongly to the slave States, he promptly declared his firm loyalty to the Union:
"The Government, whose honors have been bestowed upon me, I shall serve," he wrote, in a published letter, "for the remainder of my days. The flag whose glories I have witnessed shall never be forsaken by me while I can strike a blow for its defense. While I have breath I shall be ready to serve the Government of the United States, and be its faithful, loyal soldier."
To these expressions of loyalty the General added some pertinent advice to Missouri:
"Secession would, in my opinion," he emphatically declared, "be her ruin. The only special interest of Missouri, in common with the Confederate States, is slavery. Her interest in that institution is now protected by the Federal Constitution. But if Missouri secedes, that protection is gone. Surrounded on three sides by free States, which might soon become hostile, it would not be long until a slave could not be found within her borders. What interest could Missouri, then, have with the cotton States, or a confederacy founded on slavery and its extension? The protection of her slave property, if nothing else, admonishes her to never give up the Union. Other interests of vast magnitude can only be preserved by a steadfast adherence and support of the United States Government. All hope of a Pacific Railroad, so deeply interesting to St. Louis and the whole State, must vanish with the Federal Government. Great manufacturing and commercial interests with which the cotton States can have no sympathy, must perish in case of secession, and from her present proud condition of a powerful, thriving State, rapidly developing every element of wealth and social prosperity, Missouri would dwindle to a mere appendage and convenience for the military aristocracy established in the cotton States."
Immediately on his return to his post at St. Louis, General Harney strove with unquestioned sincerity, but uncerMay tain vigor, to allay the civil strife 12« in Missouri. In his first proclamation he assumed a highly conciliatory tone:
"I most anxiously desire," he proclaimed, "to discharge the delicate and onerous duties devolved upon me so as to preserve the public peace. I shall carefully abstain from the exercise of any unnecessary powers, and from all interference with the proper functions of the public officers of the State and city. I therefore call upon the public
authorities and the people to aid me in preserving the public peace.
"The military force stationed in this department by the authority of the Government, and now under my command, will only be used in the last resort to preserve peace. I trust I may be spared the necessity of resorting to martial law, but the public peace must be preserved, and the lives and property of the people protected. Upon a careful review of my instructions, I find I have no authority to change the location of the Home Guards.
"To avoid all cases ot irritation and excitement, if called upon to aid the local authorities in preserving the public peace, I shall, in preference, make use of the regular army."
In the mean time, the Legislature, still in session at Jefferson City, passed a "military bill," the object of which was apparently to resist the Federal authority. The Governor was authorized to call out the militia, and a large sum was appropriated to arm and equip them. At the same time extraordinary powers were given to the Governor, by which he might control the State troops to his own purposes, which no one could doubt were in accordance with the interests of secession. No sooner had the "military bill" passed, than the Governor began to avail himself of the privileges it conferred, by mustering a military force, and ordering the telegraph and railroad bridges which communicated with St. Louis to be destroyed, in order to prevent the loyal troops of that city from marching to the rescue of the 253
HARNEY ATTEMPTS CONCILIATION".
State from the grasp of its secession conspirators.
General Harney now issued a second May proclamation, to the gentle plead17« ings of which in behalf of loyalty he added a not very undecided declaration of the rebellious character of the "military bill."
"It is with regret," he said, "that I feel it my duty to call your attention to the recent act of the General Assembly of Missouri, known as the 'military bill,' which is the result, no doubt, of the temporary excitement that now pervades the public mind. This bill cannot be regarded in any other light than an indirect secession ordinance, ignoring even the forms resorted to by other States. Manifestly its most material provisions are in conflict with the Constitution and laws of the United States. To this extent it is a nullity, and cannot and ought not to be upheld or regarded by the good citizens of Missouri. There are obligations and duties resting upon the people of Missouri under the Constitution and laws of the United States which are paramount, and which I trust you will carefully consider and weigh well before you will allow yourselves to be carried out of the Union, under the form of yielding obedience to this ' military bill,' which is clearly in violation of your duties as citizens of the United States."
To this proclamation succeeded an energetic movement toward repressing the secession demonstrations in various parts of the State of Missouri. Two hundred armed secessionists were dis
persed from the arsenal at Liberty, and soon after the Federal arms met with other success. Some Union men having been driven from Potosi, in Washington County, Captain Lyon sent a small force, consisting of a hundred and fifty volunteers under the command of jiay Captain Coles, to their relief. Arriving at Potosi before daylight, Captain Coles posted a chain of sentinels around the town, and stationed guards at the houses of the prominent secessionists. As the day broke, some hundred and fifty men found themselves thus imprisoned without hope of escape. Most of them were released on giving their parole and taking the oath not to take up arms against the United States, while the prominent leaders were held captive. Various munitions of war and other supplies intended for the secessionists were at the same time seized. On their way back from Potosi, the Union troops put to flight at De Soto a company of secession cavalry, captured a score or more of their horses, and their flag, secreted within the hoops of a lady of the place. The service of the surgeon of the United States volunteers was very appropriately put into requisition on the occasion. On entering, " the doctor thought he observed the lady of the house sitting in rather an uneasy position, and he very politely asked her to rise. At first the lady hesitated, but finding the doctor's persuasive suavity more than she could withstand, she slowly rose, when the bright folds of the rebel ensign appeared around the lady's feet. The doctor, bowing a graceful 'beg pardon, madam,' stooped, and quietly catching hold of the gaudy color, found in his possession a secession flag thirty* feet long and nine feet wide."
Having apparently checked the rising spirit of rebellion by judicious military movements, General Harney sought, by a quasi league with the leader of the so-called State troops, to establish a permanent truce with the seditiously disposed citizens of Missouri. He accordingly held a personal interview with Sterling Price, appointed by the Governor a major-general of the Missouri militia, and who, like him, was doubtless in league with the Southern leaders of rebellion. General Harney, persuaded by the artful plausibilities of the shrewd May Trice, was cajoled into an agree21, ment, by which he pledged the Federal authority to withhold its power, and to leave the seditious Governor and his confederates to pursue their own designs, under the pretext of preserving order in the State. In a joint declaration, signed by General Harney and the major-general of the so-styled State Guard, it was announced that " General Price, having by commission full authority over the militia of the State of Missouri, undertakes, with the sanction of the Governor of the State already
0 St. Louis Democrat, May 17.
declared, to direct the whole power of the State officers to maintain order within the State among the people thereof; and General Harney publicly declares that this object being thus assured, he can have no occasion, as he has no wish, to make military movements which might otherwise create excitements and jealousies which he most earnestly desires to avoid."
Although the immediate effect of this compact was to tranquilize the public sentiment of Missouri, it soon became evident that the Governor and his confederates had been using General Harney to further their own seditious purposes. They continued to muster their military forces, and were evidently bent upon hostility to the Union men of the State. The Government at Washington becoming conscious of the impolitic action of General Harney, withdrew him from the Western Department. Lyon, who jiay had been lately promoted to the W« rank of brigadier-general of volunteers, succeeded to the command of the Federal forces in Missouri. This energetic officer at once proceeded to assert the authority of the Union by the most decisive action. We shall soon have occasion to say more of him and his spirited achievements.
LOYALTY OF THE WEST.
Spirit of Loyalty of the Free States of the West.—Attachment to the Union.—Interests in the Struggle.—The danger of being cut off from the Mississippi.—The Position of Illinois.—Her interest in the preservation of Communication.— Spirited Action.—Military Possession of Cairo.—Situation of Cairo.—The Key to the Northwest.—The motive for founding the City.—Marshy Site.—Artificial Dykes.—Great Size and enormous Expense.—Illinois Central Railroad. —Population of Cairo.—Its Docks.—A Reservoir of Water.—Artificial Remedies.—Future Prospects.—Neighborhood of Cairo described.—Cairo as a Military Post.—Bird's Point.—Its Position.—Description of the place.—Its Importance.—Danger of its Seizure.—Secured to the United States by General Lyon.—Communications with Cairo. —Columbus.—Paducah.—Military Possession of Cairo a blow to the Enemy.—Their Opinion.—Increased Military Energy of the United States.—Move across the Potomac.—The vote on Secession in Virginia.—Scruples of Government.—The crossing of the Potomac.—Arlington Heights occupied.—Entrenchments.—Opposition anticipated at Alexandria.—The animosity of the City.—Secession Flags.—Expedition against Alexandria.—The plan.—Movement of the Michigan Regiment.—Embarkation of the New York Fire Zouaves.—The Steamer Pawnee.—Indiscreet haste of the Zouaves.—Landing at Alexandria.—Death of Colonel Ellsworth.—The Michigan Regiment disappointed.—Escape of Virginia Troops.—Capture of thirty seven Horsemen.—Occupation of Alexaudria.—Sacrifice of a promising life.—Biography of Ellsworth.—Early Career.—Military Tastes.—His Company of Chicago Zouaves. —How shown and admired.—Application for a clerkship in the War Department.—Disappointment.—Made a Lieutenant in the Army.—Resignation.—Recruits the Fire Zouaves at New York, and becomes their Colonel.—Grief at his death.—A touching Letter.
The free States of the West, actuated by a sentiment of loyalty which inspirited them to vindicate the honor and preserve the integrity of a Union to which they were fondly attached, exhibited the greatest alertness in coming to the rescue of the Federal Government. Finding, moreover, their interests deeply involved in a struggle, which, with the secession of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and the unsettled condition of Missouri and Kentucky, threatened, by obstructing the navigation of the Mississippi River, to cut off that great channel of communication between the Northern lakes and the Gulf of Mexico, they felt, with all the impressiveness of a motive of selfpreservation, the necessity of resisting the rebellion.
Illinois, from her geographical position, had been the chief State to profit from that bountiful provision of nature which united Lake Michigan and the Gulf of Mexico, and brought the northern city of Chicago into close relationship with tropical New Orleans. This State, accordingly, alive to the importance of securing a communication which had proved so great a source of inspiration to her enterprise and of the wealth that had crowned its efforts, eagerly strove to further the endeavors of the Federal.Government to prevent the disruption of the Union. Her troops responded readily to the call of the Governor, and were soon enabled to hold in force the most important strategic point of the West. This was the city of Cairo, within her own borders.