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Posted April 29, 2003
General Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri in 1861
by James Peckham, 1866
|The Harney Regime||
Part I - Part II - Part III
Part I - Part II - Part III
Part I - Part II - Part III
GEN. NATHANIEL LYON
MISSOURI IN 1861.
Camp Jackson. (Part III)
Illustrations on this page not from original text
That Friday night witnessed the last and the culminating ebullition of secesh rage and frenzy in St. Louis. Around the Planters' House the secessionists gathered in crowds, and made the air resound with their curses. Cheers were given for Jeff Davis, and groans for "Yankee Lyon," "Frank Blair," "Infidel Boernstein," and the " D--d Dutch." Threats were loudly and frequently made that the latter should be exterminated to the last man. Secesh orators addressed the crowd in the most exciting manner, talking the most blatant treason. The minute-men's headquarters, at the old Berthold mansion, were crowded with infuriated traitors, and, the rebel flag, flying from the roof, was repeatedly cheered. About nine o'clock a large crowd started from the Berthold mansion, shouting, "To the Democrat office," "Tear the d--d thing down," &c., &c. Turning Pine street they proceeded up Fourth and down Locust streets, yelling hideous noises, and cheering the State Journal, and Jeff Davis.
CHIEF OF POLICE MCDONOUGH.
Fortunate indeed was it for the city of St. Louis in general, and the proprietors of the Missouri Democrat in particular, that the police force were under the control, during those troublous times, of such a chief as James McDonough. Whatever may have been his sympathies or predilections in the great political issues of that day, he did not allow them to interfere with his official duties. Regarding himself as a conservator of the peace, he struggled to prevent violence and enforce order. On the night in question he was exceedingly vigilant, and with admirable foresight had so arranged his force that he could furnish assistance to any of the newspapers which might be threatened by a mob. As the crowd rushed down Locust street and across Second street, they were greeted by a platoon of thirty policemen, who, with bayonets fixed, were in line extending across the street, and facing the mob. The Chief soon gave them to understand that his duty was to keep the peace, and he intended faithfully to discharge that duty. The crowd reflected, and hearing orders given, in case of resistance, to use both ball and bayonet, set up a shout of derision, but did not advance. Finally, convinced they were wasting time in that locality, they turned around, and shouting "Anzeiger!" "Anzeiger!" moved off to attack that office. McDonough had some of his men there also, but they were strongly backed by a company or two of Sigel's soldiers. The mob then moved off toward the Planters' House and the Berthold mansion, and until after midnight groups were standing in many places throughout that portion of the city, engaged in boisterous conversation upon the events of the day, and cursing the "D--d Dutch."
As day rolled up the curtain of night, on the morrow of that eventful 10th of May, a hideous picture was revealed to the "enlightened genius" of the century. The threats of the ruffians on the previous night had not been vainly uttered. A foretaste was had of that barbarity which afterward gave ANDERSONVILLE and MILLEN to history, and which in many instances failed of the full benefits of occasional victory, in the anxiety to rob the Federal dead, who had heroically fallen upon the field of battle. The threat to "exterminate the d--d Dutch" was carried out on that Friday night in too many instances. Early on the morning of Saturday a dead German was found on Market street near Fifteenth street; another on the corner of Tenth street and Clark avenue, just on the edge of the Chouteau pond; another on the corner of Franklin avenue and Seventh street; another in an alley between Franklin avenue and Morgan street. During the forenoon of this Saturday a soldier of the United States Reserve Corps (a German), with a musket in his hand, while walking up Sixth street, when near Chestnut, was met by a secessionist, who shot him in the breast and immediately fled. Before any one could reach the soldier, he was dead, and though the assassination was witnessed by several, no one would aid in the arrest of the assassin, not even by giving a description. About the same time, on Market street near Ninth street, a German was attacked by a crowd, beaten almost to insensibility, and dragged by a rope tied to his leg, to Chestnut street, after which nothing was heard of him.
THE STATE JOURNAL IN A RAGE.
On the morning of the 11th, the State Journal in its accounts of the taking of Camp Jackson, indulged in the most outrageous expressions, styling the noble Lyon as "this man Lyon," alias "Numidian Lyon," alias "Lyon the murderer." In order to produce excitement and propagate disturbance, it manufactured the most horrible lies, and filled its columns with the most treasonable matter. Lyon was too busy at the arsenal to notice it just then--he will notice it after awhile.
THE MAYOR’S PROCLAMATION.
On the morning of the 11th, the following proclamation was issued by the Mayor, who exercised commendable energy in the adoption of measures to preserve the peace:
MAYOR’S OFFICE, CITY HALL, May 11, 1861.
In view of the prevailing excitement, and for the purpose of removing, as far as possible, all causes of additional irritation, and of maintaining the public peace, I, Daniel G. Taylor, Mayor of the city of St. Louis, hereby respectfully request all owners and keepers of bars, drinking-shops, beer-houses, and other places where intoxicating liquors are sold, to close the same forthwith, and keep them closed during the continuance of the present excitement.
I also, by virtue of the power in me vested by act of the Legislature, require all minors to keep within doors three days next succeeding the issuing of this proclamation. I also request of all good citizens to remain within doors after nightfall, as far as practicable, and to avoid all tumultuous gatherings and meetings.
Relying upon the loyalty and good judgment of his fellow-citizens, the undersigned confidently expects a cordial compliance with these requests.
DANIEL G. TAYLOR, Mayor
Attest: William S. CUDDY, City Register.
MATERIALS AND MEN CAPTURED ON THE TENTH, AT THE CAMP
During the forenoon of Saturday, Captain Sweeney was also engaged in forwarding to the arsenal the captured material from Camp Jackson. The following were among the articles found in the camp;
A large quantity of balls and bombs, in ale barrels.
Artillery pieces, in boxes of heavy plank, the boxes marked "marble," "Tamaroa, care of Greeley & Gale, St. Louis-Iron Mountain Railroad."
Twelve hundred rifles, of late model, United States manufacture.
Tents and camp equipage.
Six brass field-pieces.
Twenty-five kegs of powder.
Ninety-six ten-inch bomb-shells.
Three hundred six-inch bombshells.
Six brass mortars, six inches diameter.
One iron mortar, ten inches.
Three iron cannon, six inches.
Five boxes of canister shot.
Fifty artillery swords.
Two hundred and twenty-seven spades.
One hundred and ninety-one axes.
Several boxes of new muskets.
A very large number of musket stocks and musket barrels; together with lots of bayonets, bayonet scabbards, &c.
One thousand one hundred and ten enlisted men were taken prisoners, besides from fifty to seventy-five officers. Between five and six o'clock, Saturday evening, they were all discharged on parole, excepting one, Captain Emmett McDonald, who insisted upon a free discharge, and was finally released by writ of habeas corpus.
FLIGHT OF STERLING PRICE.
By the Jefferson train, on the morning of the 11th, Sterling Price left the city for the State capital. As he crossed the Osage, over the ruins of the destroyed bridge, he remarked to a gentleman (who passed him on the bridge), in response to an inquiry: "All is lost; there is no hope now." Two days after this, he was appointed by Claib Jackson to the command of the " Missouri State Guard," under the new Military bill, with the rank of Major-General.
SECESH EXCITEMENT ON THE ELEVENTH OF MAY.
On that Saturday, it was a bold act for any known Union man to show his face upon the street north of Walnut, south of Cass avenue, and east of Twelfth street. As a general thing, good citizens obeyed the Mayor's proclamation. An incident will show the temper of the people on that day. A gentleman named Nash, from Springfield, Illinois, stopping at the Everett House, learned that he could hire a negro woman that would be of service to him as a servant in his household at Springfield, at a place on Chouteau avenue, and in order to procure her he obtained a buggy, and went in search of the locality. He was successful, and having concluded a bargain with her, took the woman in his buggy, intending to leave the city that afternoon. He was driving up Fourth street, when a gang of ruffians seized his horse, and charged him with being a "nigger thief." Full explanations were made, but only secured the privilege of proceeding on his journey without the negro. The woman begged to be allowed to go with her master, but to no purpose; and Mr. Nash was glad enough to even escape without her. The gang was by no means polite in any of their expressions, and Mr. Nash thought himself lucky to get off as he did.
MOB ATTACK ON THE HOME GUARDS.
The Fifth Regiment of the U. S. Reserve Corps (Colonel Stifel) had just been mustered in by Captain Lyon, and on Saturday afternoon, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Robert White, was proceeding to its barracks, when it was attacked by a mob on the corner of Walnut and Fifth streets. For some time the regiment continued to march along, unheeding the violent abuse and filthy epithets applied to the soldiers by ruffians in the crowd. As at Camp Jackson, the mob were emboldened by the seeming indifference of the troops, and the yelling, and cursing, and opprobrious epithets were followed by a shower of stones and brickbats, hurled at the Union soldiers. This was soon after succeeded by the firing of revolvers from the crowd, and the soldiers becoming exasperated, began an indiscriminate firing into the mob. So completely bewildered by excitement and passion were many of the troops, that they fired wildly, some shooting into the air, others into the eaves of the surrounding buildings, and some in opposite directions from their assailants. The crowd fled panic-stricken; and the soldiers, after considerable efforts of their officers, were restored to their places in line, and marched to their destination. The result of this ruffianly attack was the killing of seven persons, and the wounding of several others. Some of the soldiers were severely hurt by the missiles thrown at them, and one or two wounded by pistol balls.
This second attack upon German troops, the death of Captain Blandowski, the assassination of several Germans already mentioned, and the rumors of many others being cruelly maltreated and murdered, together with the threats against them made by the secesh, aroused the whole German population, and as they were armed and organized, they began themselves to threaten that they would retaliate.
JEFFERSON CITY, MAY, 1861.
The Legislature met on Thursday, May 2, and the House re-elected McAfee its Speaker. The treasonable message of the Governor was sent in on the 3d, and thenceforward the Legislature conducted its business daily in secret session. The Military bill was immediately brought under consideration, and from day to day, in both Houses, amendments and debate were the order. That the Military bill would pass there was no doubt; but as the session was prolonged, there increased a willingness on the part of the timid to favor amendments. The "fire-eaters" began to scheme for an occasion to produce excitement, and one was manufactured.
On the 8th of May (Wednesday), a printed bill was placarded around the city of Jefferson, containing the following "Come one! Come all! The flag of the Confederate States will be flung to the breeze on Thursday afternoon at four o'clock, at the foot of Madison street (near the Governor's residence).
"Ladies are all invited to attend."
"Speeches will be made by Lieutenant-Governor Reynolds, Peyton, Vest, and others."
The affair thus advertised was a complete fizzle. The crowd was so small that Reynolds saw fit to be very busy. Peyton, Vest, and others spoke, and the "occasion" passed off with wine-drinking and card-playing. The effect on the timid was disastrous to the conspirators, and the cabal retired to rest, little thinking that on the morrow (10th) an excitement would be produced which would launch them all into the irretrievable step.
During these days of legislative sitting the conspirators were actively engaged in perfecting their plans for the final outbreak. Reynolds and Rains had their eyes upon the Indian nation, and arranging for support from that quarter. The following letter, dropped by Rains, exposes this part of the conspiracy:
SARCOXIE, MISSOURI, May 3, 1861.
General James S. Rains
From latest advices we learn that the Cherokee Indians, and probably other tribes, are anxious to lend their aid to our State. Ross states that be can furnish fifteen thousand men, well armed. I suggest the propriety of Governor Jackson appointing commissioners to visit them, and secure their services. Things are as when you left. The Republicans are leaving for Kansas. We fear there is a bad motive in view. Arm us quick as possible.
A. M. PATTERSON.
On the back of the letter is this indorsement:
To Governor JACKSON--I would advise your opening a correspondence at once with Ross.
In this session of the Legislature the favorite schemes of the secessionists, besides the Military bill, were the perverting the funds provided for the maintenance of the several State charitable institutions, by voting them into the military chest; the seizure of the school fund for the same purpose; and the direct efforts to impose fresh taxes upon the people for the support of the Governor's proposed army.
There was constant communication between the State authorities and the Southern leaders. An active agent in this correspondence was Colton Greene, whose personal efforts secured the material brought up from the Baton Rouge arsenal. The issue of the Atlanta Commonwealth, dated May 3, 1861, contained the following:
"A messenger from Governor Jackson, of Missouri, to President Davis, at Montgomery, passed through Atlanta this forenoon, for the purpose of soliciting aid in taking the St. Louis Arsenal."
In another part of the same paper (same date) appeared the following:
"Cannon from Fort Sumter passed through Atlanta to-day, on their way to Memphis, Tennessee. Final destination not known to us. They are grim-looking monsters."
PANIC IN THE LEGISLATURE OVER THE CAPTURE OF CAMP JACKSON.
It was during the afternoon session of the Legislature, on Friday, May 10, that, both House and Senate being quietly engaged in business in secret session upon the Military bill, a sudden storm arose, which in a moment developed into a tremendous tempest. It was about four o'clock when Claib Jackson was seen to enter the Hall of Representatives, and casting a hurried glance around, observed Conrow, Freeman, Harris and Vest engaged in conversation on the left, near the desk of Harris. Stepping quickly to where they were, he handed one of them a piece of paper which all read, looking over the shoulder of the holder. In a moment Vest was standing upon a chair, and interrupted all proceedings by shouting, "Mr. Speaker!" Without scarcely waiting for a recognition from the "Chair," Vest proceeded to announce that he held in his hand a dispatch, which, when published, would arouse the deepest indignation of every Southern heart. He then read a telegram from Deacon Tucker, editor of the State Journal at St. Louis, to the effect that Captain Lyon, Frank Blair, and the Dutch had captured Camp Jackson, seized upon all the property there, and marched the State troops prisoners to the arsenal.
Instantly the utmost excitement prevailed. Dougherty, Beall, Freeman, McBride, Heyer, Conrow, Harris, and others exhibited their passion by bitterly abusing the patriots, who that day had performed a noble duty. One or two short speeches were made, and Conrow made a motion to reconsider every amendment that had been adopted to the Military bill; he wanted to see who were friends and who were enemies. Without debate this motion prevailed; then every amendment was rejected, the bill read a third time, just as it came from the Committee, and in a few minutes was passed by an overwhelming majority. The ayes and noes were called for by Owens, of Franklin, seconded by ----, of St. Louis. Amid the confusion the speaker refused to hear the motion of Judge Owens; but that loyalist, even after the Speaker declared the bill passed, maintained his right, and the Speaker could see no objection to each man's name being on the record. The call was then ordered, and only eight were recorded against the bill.
The passage of the bill was followed by increased sensation, and it was evident the more determined of the secesh leaders were desirous of effecting as much as possible while the House was in its present temper. The timid were for once indulging in some enthusiasm, and in denouncing the Black Republicans, from "Old Abe Lincoln" down, committed themselves to the rebels. Reynolds, taking advantage of the "occasion," advised the Indian measure; and Conrow put forward a bill appropriating $10,000 to cultivate friendly relations with the Indian tribes of the border. The bill went through, upon Conrow's recommendation, without any reading, except by title. There was almost a riot when the House adjourned until the evening, at seven o'clock.
The excitement in the capitol was continued upon the streets and in the lodgings of members. There was a universal search after weapons. Some procured muskets, shot-guns, and rifles; others, pistols and pikes. There was a general cleaning up of old rusty weapons. Rumors flew fast and thick. At one time Frank Blair had seized the Pacific Railroad, and was moving up in haste to seize the Legislature and State authorities; at another, he was on his way up by the river. Messengers were dispatched to the country to summon the faithful to the rescue of the forlorn hope, and many began preparations to evacuate the town. Jackson sent for Colonel N. C. Claiborne, and ordered him to seize a locomotive and proceed as far as he could, until he ascertained the true condition of affairs. If he found Blair really coming, he was to destroy the Gasconade and Osage bridges upon his return.
Colonel Claiborne, accompanied by A. W. Jones, William Martin, and a man named O'Brien, in obedience to the orders of the Governor, procured a locomotive, and started upon his mission. Basil Duke, with a company of minute-men, was in command of the Osage, and to him Claiborne repeated his orders. He then went as far as Franklin, thirty-seven miles, from St. Louis, where he learned that all was quiet in the great city and the railroad undisturbed. Thinking it unnecessary to proceed further, he returned to the capital but at the Osage instructed Duke that the Governor's orders were to destroy the bridge in case Frank Blair should attempt to use it for crossing. Colonel Claiborne suggested to Duke, as a complete method of rendering the bridge useless, the plan of turning the draw, and so cripple the machinery that it would take considerable time to repair it. Duke, however, thought it best to be on the safe side, and at once set fire to the western span of the structure. In a short time the bridge was a ruin.
LEGISLATION UNDER DIFFICULTIES.
In Jefferson City, on that Friday night, May 10, 1861, the halls of the capitol were filled by excited secessionists, most of whom were either members of the Legislature or newly arrived recruits from the country. The members, after supper, repaired to their respective chambers and proceeded to "business." Nearly every individual was armed, some with many more weapons than others. Members in their seats were surrounded by guns of every description, some leaning against desks, some against chairs, some held between the knees, some leaning against the wall, some lying on the floor, and some across desks. Many members had belts strapped around their waists, and from one to three pistols or bowie-knives fastened to them.
The scene in the "House" particularly was exceedingly grotesque and ludicrous. Many showed faces pale with fear; others exhibited the anxiety natural in any crisis; a few sought to impel the movements of the doubtful into the secesh ranks; while the leaders proposed measures for adoption, and dared opposition. Every gentle waft of the delicious air of spring startled many, as if it were the roar of battle, and every arrival at the door was looked to for tidings of the dreadful "Frank Blair." I was a spectator (being a Republican member of the House), but I also append the statement of Mr. Kelley, the Jefferson City correspondent of the Missouri Democrat at that period.
The Legislature, after an exciting session, adjourned shortly after midnight. Let us ignore further details of the barbarism of that night's legislation.
JACKSON IN A FRIGHT.
Claib Jackson, scenting the battle as near at hand, was perhaps the most frightened man in the place. At one o'clock that night, he had his movables packed up, and started with them, together with his family, for the southwest. Others followed suit. In the morning early, there was a general desire to add to the distance then separating the captors of Camp Jackson from Jefferson, and members began leaving for their homes. Jackson on horseback, from the capitol to the Governor's mansion, stopped to exhort some of those who were hastening off, to remain. "For God's bake, don't desert me now. Stand by me or we are lost!" exclaimed the valorous knight. With some, this request was an order, and was obeyed reluctantly; but others, like Beall and Dougherty, " couldn't see it in that light." Parsons, Peyton, Conrow, McBride, and men of that stamp assured the Governor they would remain with him to the "bitter end." And they did.
THE GREAT SCARE AT JEFFERSON.
[Special Correspondence--Missouri Democrat, May 13, 1861.]
JEFFERSON CITY, May 11, 1861.
Your special reporter, authorized and instructed last Monday morning to proceed to Jefferson City, and calmly and vigilantly watch events there, sends to you by express this, his report. I have not written to you before, because of my inability to correctly ascertain facts; but during the excitement of last night and to-day, members of the Legislature have let the cat out of the bag, and I can now give an approximation to the real truth of their proceedings. In some particulars I may err, but the main facts you can rely upon as being absolutely as stated. During the week I made it my business to be around whenever I saw a crowd collect. Let me assure you that this locality is overwhelmingly for the Union and the American flag. Jackson manifests his knowledge of this by refusing to organize a corps out of Jefferson City citizens, for the protection of the powder magazine, but calls for troops to be sent him from among the St. Louis minute-men. The Unionists, however, have no arms, and are forced to suppress their sentiments. The least demonstration in favor of the Union would be put down by armed men imported from other places.
A secession flag floats from a pole within a few yards of the Governor's residence. Another secession flag is floating from the roof of a liquor and gambling shop, and the third from the house of a citizen.
All those who are permitted to speak to the Governor are avowed secessionists, and cheers for Jeff Davis and Claib Jackson are frequently heard in the presence of his Excellency.
During the week, the Legislature has held secret sessions, and everybody has something to say about its mysterious doings. All sorts of rumors are afloat. The Military bill has been passed and repassed dozens of times. Several times we heard that an ordinance of secession was under discussion. Members preserve a mysterious air; the secessionists looking bold enough.
On Friday afternoon it was said on the streets that a Mr. Colton Greene had arrived from the Confederate States. Upon inquiry I learned that this Colton Greene is from St.. Louis, and was a deputed messenger from Claib Jackson to the Montgomery cabinet; that he had been down there begging for arms, and giving assurances that if Jackson only had the weapons he could effectually squelch out the Union sentiment in Missouri. From Mr. Peckham, one of our St. Louis members, who came up on the cars with this man Greene, I learned that it was openly stated on the cars that Greene had returned from the South with plenty of arms for Governor Jackson. I tried to glean from Mr. Greene's conversation some facts in the case, but he put me off as a suspicious person, and I could not get him to communicate. Mr. Peckham also stated that a company of men came up on the cars on Friday, from Camp Jackson, a part of whom were stationed at the Gasconade bridge, and the balance at the Osage. Mr. Peckham says that at every station these men set up vociferous cheerings for Jeff Davis and Claib Jackson.
It was common talk in Jefferson City during the week that "Frank Blair would soon be driven like a dog from the arsenal by General Frost."
The secessionists are constantly engaged in exciting conversation, threatening the destruction of every "Black Republican," and the complete banishment of Unionism in Missouri.
Every report that came to Jefferson of Union men being driven out of the interior counties created intense satisfaction among the clique in the Governor's confidence. Every expression of joy at such news was followed by threats against the arsenal, as soon as General Frost should have men enough to handle the guns, which was daily expected.
On Friday afternoon a report was circulated that Frank Blair had captured General Frost's entire command, with all the munitions just received from Baton Rouge; and that Frank Blair also was marching upon the State capital, for the purpose of arresting Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, State officers, and the Legislature. Jackson was seen to rush to the capitol in great trepidation. It was thought, up to this moment, that the Military bill was already a law, but I now learn that Jackson rushed into the house and presented the dispatch to the Speaker, who read it to the house, and that immediately a vote was taken to reconsider all the amendments to the Military bill, and at once the most odious of its original features were restored, and the bill passed by an overwhelming majority. It is a common remark that the utmost excitement prevailed in the two Houses, and that the secessionists were frightened out of their wits. Claib Jackson went about urging his friends to stand by him. I heard frequent threats passed against those gallant heroes, Colonels Stevenson and Peckham, of St. Louis, and Owens, of Franklin. These gentlemen informed me that the proudest act of their lives was their recorded votes against this bill.
Governor Jackson showed his fears of "personal insecurity" by dispatching a locomotive to the Osage to burn that splendid structure, which cost the railroad company $110,000, and which was a strong and durable work. It will cost $5,000 to repair the damage. This cowardly act was the work of the meanest soul that trembles with fear in that secession clique--the Governor of Missouri.
The lights were burning in the capitol, and the Legislature had not adjourned, when I went to bed at one o'clock, A. M. I saw members going to the night session with loaded guns. This morning it is openly said that the most outrageous laws were passed last night. I will recapitulate what I hear.
The Military bill makes the Governor an irresponsible military dictator. The lives and the property of the subjects are completely at his disposal. In no case can he be successfully questioned. To question is to die for the crime of treason. Three millions of dollars are
appropriated to the unconditional use of the Governor. There is to be a confiscation of the funds set apart for school purposes, and for the payment of the July interest. Money besides has been appropriated for the immediate use of the Governor, amounting to large sums.
From what I overhear, I take it as a fact that a bill has passed appropriating money for the purpose of inducing the savage Indian tribes to the west of us to make a descent upon Kansas and Iowa. I heard Mr. Peckham denounce to a secessionist the heathenism of such a law, and the response he received was as follows: "It will be d--d lucky for you fellows, if worse things than that ain't done to you before we are through with this thing."
Monroe Parsons is probably a Major-General under the new bill. To-day the stores are nearly all closed, and Parsons is on horseback, followed by a band of music, drumming up recruits. Cheers are given every few moments for Jeff Davis and Governor Jackson.
From all parts of the State news come of the driving out of Union men by armed mobs of secessionists.
None of the members could get their warrants cashed this morning, because of the absence of the State Treasurer. The news of Colonel Blair's expedition to Jefferson City obliged the loyal Treasurer to abscond, taking with him all the money of the State.
[Special Correspondence of the Missouri Democrat.]
JEFFERSON City, Mo., May 11, 1861.
Yesterday afternoon the city was thrown into a terrible state of excitement, and the Governor into hysterics, and the Legislature into a perfect trembling in their boots, by sundry reported dispatches from St. Louis, delivered to the Governor. The first was that Colonel Blair was marching with three thousand five hundred men on Camp Jackson; the next one was that one had been sent by the paid and fed pauper of the State-the editor of the State Journal-to his bosom friend the Governor, who recognized him (because he is a South Carolinian traitor) as his organ, that Colonel Blair had taken Camp Jackson; that the brave Missourians under General Frost were surrendered unconditionally, without firing a gun, and marched prisoners to the United States Arsenal and Jefferson Barracks, with all their munitions of war, secretly smuggled in by the steamer "Swon" from New Orleans; and that Colonel Blair was marching on Jefferson City with four thousand men, to take the den of traitors as his prisoners, on charge of high treason, also to capture the powder. Another dispatch, received afterward, said that Colonel Blair only demanded from General Frost the cannon of the southwest expedition as the property of the United States, but four thousand men were sent by him to enforce it; and that General Frost had delivered them up, under the protest of an overwhelming force against him in time of peace.
On the receipt of the first message, while your correspondent was in the telegraph office to send his dispatch, Parsons, Hough, and others, came in and took possession of the wires in the name of the Governor of the State. Mr. Goodwin asked leave to notify the Superintendent in St. Louis. He was emphatically refused, and told that another message sent by him would be treason to the State.
Reverend J. S. Lockett, a Baptist preacher, Chaplain of the Senate, in partnership with another violent secessionist, Reverend Prottsman, who prays by turns, was placed as Captain, or officer of the guards. He is the man, or wolf in sheeps' clothing, who tried to get up a company of secessionists in the city to guard the powder, but failing in that, went out to Clark township, and raised one there. Instead of preaching the doctrines of the meek and lowly Jesus, as bound by far more sacred obligation than any oath, he has been more conspicuous in endeavoring to incite civil war; to force citizens and relatives of his own Church, county, and city, to meet in deadly combat; and in the spirit of Cain, or a far more devilish one, to mutually shed each others' blood. No matter what blood may flow, no matter what kindred may be sundered forever, this clerical demon is urging his fellow-citizens on to blood and slaughter, and is busily engaged, in the true spirit of Robespierre and Marat, in pointing out to his followers the marks at which they must aim in fratricidal conflict. He was peculiarly active in loading his gun, and getting up sensation reports, while in the telegraph office guarding--he knew the reports were true; such were his assertions, when he knew they were not.
A special train was ordered by the Governor, as soon as the telegraph wires were taken possession of. Crowds of armed men gathered quickly on the main streets of the city. Excited messengers came running down from the capitol, confirming the news of the dispatches. At about half-past ten o'clock, P. M., the train was got ready to start for Osage, after considerable difficulty in getting an engineer, many of them refusing to serve. Finally, an old man was got, who left, followed by a volley of curses from his Union comrades.
The locomotive was backed up some distance to a passenger and baggage-car, secretly prepared by the Governor, and hitched on. On running back to the depot about forty armed men were placed on board, with orders from General Hough to allow no cigars or matches on board; thus showing that powder or inflammable material was placed on the cars. The train started on its errand of cowardice and fell destruction. The news, which is undoubted this morning, is, that the Osage bridge was burned last night. This is positively confirmed. Whether this will reach you to-day, I cannot say.
To show the panic of the secessionists, Mr. Massey, Secretary of State, and other leading secessionists, moved their families across the river, to Callaway county, this morning at day-light; also all the young ladies of the female seminary were sent across. The panic is terrible. Every one believes that Blair is on the other side of the Osage, with three thousand men. The last reports are that he is crossing it on rafts, and will be here to-night. The penitentiary prisoners are all locked up to-day. If Blair comes, they are to be turned out and furnished with arms to fight against him, on condition of freedom.
A point was made on the proverbial good faith of the Governor last evening. Some days ago he was charged with having sent a secret Commissioner to Montgomery, to the President of the so-called Confederacy. Anxious to conceal it, he wrote a denial under his own hand, to appear in the State paper here, which appeared this morning. But the State printer found out before the whole edition was struck off, that the Governor's denial was false--that he had sent one, and came in and ordered his card out, saying that he would not knowingly publish a lie for anybody.
So part of the edition has the card in, and part has not.
Under the panic and excitement created by reported dispatches from St. Louis, the Military bill, was, of course without amendment, pushed through both Houses. A late evening session was held, also an early morning session, at seven o'clock.
The State capitol is guarded inside and out with armed men, and glistening with bayonets. Some of the secessionist members carry them into the halls. A military despotism reigns. Dispatches and carriers were sent all over the country yesterday and to-day, and probably a thousand armed men will be here this afternoon. They are now flocking in fast from the country. The Union men are in the majority, but are not armed, and dare not get up an organization till assured by Union men from other places.
JEFFERSON CITY, May 12, 1861.
The name of Colonel F. P Blair seems to strike terror to all-the Governor, the officers, and the Assembly. Several families have been sent over the river for safety, and also the young ladies of the seminary. The convicts were all locked up, and the city was put under strict military and civil restraint; all drinking saloons were closed by order, and most of the business houses voluntarily closed. Guards are stationed at every corner almost; also at the railroad depot.
No one could persuade the State Rights party but that Colonel Blair was on the road to take them all as prisoners, for treason. Since yesterday morning, men from the country have been pouring in thick, and still are coming. The effect of the news was at once seen in the action of the Assembly. Late night sessions were held on Friday night, and the Military bill, without amendment, was passed by a large majority in both Houses. In the morning of the same day it had met a bitter opposition, and its friends feared its defeat. But fear prevailed over the better judgment of many of its opponents.
A bill was passed in the House and sent into the Senate, authorizing the Governor to buy founderies for casting cannon; also real estate, on which to erect armories and manufacture arms.
An early morning session was held on Saturday. In the Senate, an open session was held for a short time. The bill to amend the city charter of St. Louis, introduced last session, was passed.
A bill allowing the banks to issue small notes was passed.
A bill exempting the Sheriff of St. Louis county from the law, passed at the late session, regulating the sale of real estate under execution, was passed.
A bill appropriating $25,000 for the construction of a State road to the southern boundary of the State, was passed. This road is intended as a military road, over which to transfer troops, if necessary; also to command that boundary.
The appropriation bill for arming the State has passed both Houses. The provisions of it are not positively known yet. It is reported to appropriate some two or three millions for arming the State, to be raised by the issue of new bonds in small amounts, to be sold to citizens, and made receivable for taxes by the appropriation of the bank fund to pay the State interest; also the school fund; also the whole revenue of the State for the next two years, if necessary.
Full and despotic powers are given to the Governor to act as he sees proper or expedient in the expenditure of this fund, or to raise the money for it.
The Assembly will probably adjourn on Tuesday or Wednesday. Many of the members have gone home, and it is doubtful whether there will be a quorum in the House in the morning.
The Union men--those who were not borne down by clamor and threats--declare it useless now, on their part, to resist the passage of any measure desired by the Governor and his party.
One of them remarked that never, in the history of any State, had such tyrannical, despotic bills, taking away all rights of the people, passed, as there had been in this Assembly since the reception of the news from St. Louis. They would disgrace even South Carolina. The people of the State must expect the worst invasions of freedom and rights. After the arrival of the papers last evening from St. Louis, the excitement somewhat quieted down. Troops are arriving every hour, in squads or mounted companies. The telegraph is still under surveillance, though not so strict as at first. I believe business messages, &c., are allowed to go through.
The Union feeling here is rather on the increase than otherwise. All excitement of debate is avoided by the Union men. Their policy is to maintain a masterly inactivity, until a vitiated political atmosphere becomes purified, which will not take place, however, until after the Assembly adjourns. To the credit of all good citizens, of all shades of party or opinion in the city, the effort and wish are to avoid between themselves any personal animosities or quarrels on political subjects. Demagogues may try it, but their wish is for peace as citizens.
©2002 G. E. Rule
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