SPRINGFIELD, April 19, 1961.Upon receipt of your commands as above I immediately took active measures to raise the largest armed force possible in my brigade.
As quick as possible have as strong a force as you can raise armed and equipped with ammunition and accoutrements, and a company of artillery, reading to march at a moment's warning. A messenger will start for Chicago tonight,
( Signed ) RICHARD YATES,Commander-in-Chief.
On the morning of the 20 ult., orders were placed in my hands, by your special messenger, John W. Bunn, Esq., of which the following are copies:
CHICAGO, April 20, 1861.Upon receipt of these orders, I redoubled my efforts, and sent orders by telegram to military corps in my brigade at Lockport, Joliet, Plainfield, Elgin and Ottawa, for the immediate movement of all troops to Chicago holding serviceable arms. Captains Houghtaling of Ottawa, Hawley of Lockport, McAllister of Plainfield, and Carr of Sandwich, reported themselves ready for service, but did not reach Chicago in time to join the expedition before it marched. They were, however, sent forward by Quartermaster Hough immediately upon their arrival.
Gen. R. K. SWIFT:
I am instructed by Governor Yates to inform you to raise the largest force possible, including artillery, and take possession of Cairo at the earliest moment. The utmost secrecy is required. Have your expedition start as if going to Springfield via Illinois Central Railroad.
(Signed) John W. Bunn , Special Messenger from the Commander-in-Chief, Governor Yates
CHICAGO, April 20, 1861.
I am directed by the Commander-in-Chief to say that it is hoped that the utmost expedition will be made as well as secrecy observed in the destination of the troops.
It is intended that your paymaster and quartermaster shall report to the proper officers at Springfield. We want to concentrate all information at this point as to the condition and position of our forces, and you will please see that a proper communication, and as frequently as possible, is made to Springfield. Perhaps the state of feeling in Southern Illinois may require the utmost dispatch and secrecy, without regard to other considerations, but there are others of great importance.
By order of the Commander-in-Chief.
(Signed.) JOHN W. BUNN, Special Messenger .
I would here say that Roger Fowler has been appointed commissary, and J. D. Webster paymaster, to the expedition.
(Signed.) JOHN W. BUNN, Special Messenger.
CHICAGO, April 20,1861.
GEN. R. K. SWIFT:
I am directed by the Commander-in-Chief to say that Captain John Pope, U S. Army, will join your expedition at some point.
By order of the Commander-in-Chief.
(Signed.) JOHN W. BUNN
As you did not advise me in any of your orders, either by telegram or by your special messenger, as to when, where or how the troops I was ordered to raise and start with such haste, were to be supplied with ammunition for both infantry and artillery, with rations, camp equipage, army stores and horses for artillery, I considered that your orders, to be consistent, gave me authority to provide the troops, as far as possible, with ammunition for defense, and all other needful and useful military equipments, appendages and appliances,. for without these the troops, if intended for contemplated and immediate active service, would have been worse than useless.
To supply these, my only remedy was to avail myself of the aid and co-operation of patriotic citizens, which I am happy to say was cheerfully extended, and whose active exertions, in conjunction with Quartermaster Hough, enabled us to move upon so short a notice.
On Sunday, the 21st ult., I was advised of a telegram, said to have been received by some one of the managers of the Illinois Central Railroad, at Chicago, that the railroad bridge across the Big Muddy creek was in imminent danger of being destroyed, and I was earnestly requested by the committee, who were aiding in fitting out the expedition, to move the main body forward at once to Cairo, notwithstanding we had only a short supply of percussion caps. Deeming it a great emergency, though illy prepared to meet a contending force, yet, in accordance with this request, I determined to move the main body of the expedition forward.
The force consisted in rank and file, as near as could be ascertained by hasty and informal reports and inspection, of about five hundred and ninety-five persons, forty-six horses for artillery, and four brass six-pounder guns.
Leaving the depot of the Illinois Central Railroad about 11 o'clock P. M. on Sunday, the 21st ult., we arrived at Centralia about 2 o'clock P. M. of the 22d, and halted. At this point I was again notified, by J. D. Hermiker, Esq. of the Illinois Central Railroad, that threats were still being made to destroy the Big Muddy Bridge.
The expedition was immediately put in motion, and arrived at the bridge about 5 o'clock P. M., where we halted and the grounds were reconnoitered, but no armed force was visible. I, however, deemed it necessary to station a force there for the protection of the bridge, and detailed Company A, Captain J. R. Hayden, of Colonel Scott's Zouave Regiment, for that service. This detail were without tents, and for two days and nights were compelled to make their quarters in the forest as best they could. From this point the expedition moved to Cairo, arriving there about 11 o'clock P. M. of the 22d ult.
A few moments after our arrival in Cairo your communication of the 21st was placed in my hands, of which the following is a copy:
SPRINGFIELD April 21, 1861.Within an hour after the receipt of the above, I had two hundred copies of it printed and distributed through Cairo. Quite soon after our arrival there, the mayor of the city informed me that threats had been made to cut the levee and flood the city, but that he had an armed patrol of eighty men to prevent the execution of these threats.
GENERAL R. K. SWIFT:
Say to the people of Cairo that troops are sent there from no distrust of their loyalty to the Government, but under orders from the War Department at Washington, to repel expected invasion from the States.
(signed.) RICHARD YATES, Commander-in-chief-chief.
The troops as well as the artillery horses were necessarily retained in the cars through the night, and until about 8 o'clock A. M. of the 23d, when they moved and went into camp behind the levee, and close to the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
As the troops were not provided with tents, nearly all of their time during the day was employed in preparing quarters, and consequently there was no opportunity for commanders of companies to make out accurate reports of the number and condition of their respective commands.
About 10 o'clock A. M. of the 23d ult. I was advised that a force of some five hundred men was being raised in the vicinity of Carbondale, who threatened to tear up the track of the Illinois Central Railroad, in order to cut off communication between my command at Cairo and the detachment at Big Muddy Bridge, and next that they would attack Captain Hayden's company and destroy the bridge. Upon receipt of this advice I detailed Company B. of the Zouave Regiment, consisting in rank and file of seventy men, under command of Captain Clybourne and Lieutenant Willard of the Chicago Light Artillery, with a detachment of artillerymen and one six-pounder cannon, to go to the bridge and reinforce Captain Hayden, in order to overawe what seemed to be a riotous gathering. This had the desired effect, and no further demonstration was made. On the morning of the 24th ult. Colonel B. M. Prentiss handed me a copy of your orders No. 8, by which I was relieved from the command of the expedition and ordered to report, without delay, to your headquarters at Springfield, which last order I immediately complied with, and reported in person on the evening of the 25th. On the 26th I received your order, of which the following is a copy:
HEADQUARTERS OF COMMANDER-IN-CHIEFUpon receipt of this order I proceeded to Cairo for the purpose of obtaining reports as to the number of men and condition of the companies, and communicated with Colonel Prentiss in command.
SPRINGFIELD. April 26. 1861.
GENERAL R. K. SWIFT
You will make a written report in detail of the military expedition which moved from Chicago to Cairo under your command.
To fulfill this order you will proceed to Cairo and. if need be, to Chicago.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant
( Signed. ) RICHARD YATES, Commander-in-Chief
T. S. MATHER, Adjutant General.
I have the honor to remain,
Dear sir, very respectfully,
R. K. SWIFT,
General Com'd'g the 2d Brigade, 6th Div., I. M.
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