May 11, 1861

Macomb Eagle

The News.

We give all the news items respecting the war, that we deem reliable, and also some that we do not attach much confidence to.  It is a hard task, knowing the anxiety of the people to obtain the fullest information, for the editor of a weekly paper to select only what is true from the great mass of statements and rumors that fill the columns of the daily papers.  If, therefore, we fail to give all that is important or probably correct, or publish something that is without foundation, it need not be wondered at.  We do the best we can, and the reader must exercise his own judgment after all; “you pays for what you gets and believes what you likes.”


Cairo – – Bombast.

The town of Cairo, now occupied by some three thousand Illinois troops, is laying claims to becoming one of the headquarters of sensation dispatches – a focus of ghost stories and hobgoblin apparitions.  Every few days some “Union man exiled from Tennessee,” or “northerner traveling in disguise through Mississippi,” arrives at Cairo, and with eyes as large as saucers, he proceeds to relate how Gen. Pillow is mustering an army of thousands for the conquest of the few troops whom the mosquitoes may spare at that awful post; that southern men swear terribly – and that horrible tortures are devised for “northern invaders who may fall into the hands of outraged South.”  This gasconade would be innocent enough, were it not detailed over the country by the daily press, which cannot withstand the temptation to publish “exciting news,” no matter how ridiculous it may appear on it s face.  The paper heroes, too, cannot let such occasions pass without doing a few brave things by telegraph, as witness the following:

Cairo, May 4th. – Col. Prentiss has just received the

following Dispatch from a prominent citizen of Cincinnatti:

“General Pillow has several steamers ready at Memphis.  He

Meditates an immediate attack on Cairo.”

Col. Prentiss replied, “Let him come; he [illegible behind fold]

            Is it possible for any man to read such things without being ashamed of their puerility?  “In the name of the prophet – figs.”


The Ten Regiments.

The ten regiments of volunteers provided for in an act of the special session of the Legislature have been located as follows by the Governor; 1st district at Freeport; 2nd, at Dixon; 3rd, at Joliet; 4th, at Peoria; 6th, at Jacksonville; 7th, at Mattoon; 8th, at Belleville; 9th, at Anna, the tenth regiment at Springfield; for the 5th district we have the following programme:

For the fifth Congressional District – the regiment shall consist of the following companies: Pike County: one company from Pittsfield, Capt. S. W. Hayes.  Hancock County; one company from Montebello, Capt. B. F. Smith; one company from Dallas City, Capt. S. Johnson.  Henderson County; one company from Terre Haute, Capt. Jas. Fritz.  Adams county: one company from Quincy, Capt. Chas. Petrie.  Schuyler county: one company from Rushville, Capt. J. C. Bagby.  Brown county: one company from Mt. Sterling, Capt. Samuel Taylor.  McDonough county: one company from Macomb, Capt. V. Y. Ralston; one company from Macomb, Capt. D. P. Wells; one company from Colchester, Capt. S. Wilson.  Which regiment will go into camp at Quincy.

  • When Gov. Sprague’s regiment, from Rhode Island left Annapolis for Washington, 3 negro men belonging to the Hon. George W. Hughes, residing some ten miles from Annapolis, attempted to follow and escape.  As soon as the Governor, who was in command, was apprised of the fact, he had them arrested and conducted to their master.

We trust that this is the spirit which will animate all of the officers and men in this war.  The defense of our flag requires no robbery of private property, and no course of conduct will sooner satisfy the people of the South of the honesty of our intentions, than that which has been initiated by Gov. Sprague.  Those who would counsel the setting free of slaves, by the army, can only be looked upon as the most villainous and cowardly of robbers.


Glorious Letters from “Old Dick.”

The following letter from our representative in Congress, addressed to several citizens in this country, has been handed us for publication.  We give it place cheerfully.  It is the right talk, and will thrill the heart of every Democrat who reads it with patriotic joy.  It places the responsibility of the disaffection of the border States on the right “spot,” and it is equally emphatic as to duty of every man who loves the maintenance of law and order and who reveres the time-honored flag of our country:

                                                                        Quincy, April 30th, 1861.

Messrs. Lovely, McCormick, and Gibson,

Gentlemen: I am in receipt of yours of the 26th, and without hesitation reply to your inquiries frankly and fully.  As I have no notion to conceal my opinions, you are at liberty to make such use of this as you see proper.

There is not now, and never has been, any justification for the people in the cotton States either to seize the public property or fire upon the flag of the country.  The federal Government has done no act of hostility to them or their property.  The leaders in the cotton States did all they could to divide and defeat the Democratic party in the last Presidential contest.  They knew if they divided the Democratic party, the republican nominee must be elected.  They desired such a result.  It was part of their plan.  They believed it would enable them to break up the Government and establish a southern Confederacy.  In eight of slave holding States, however, a decided majority of the people were opposed to disunion.  If the republican party, or a majority of the republicans in Congress, had desired, they could have held those States in that position now.  If the eight states remained firm, the cotton States would have been compelled to abandon their position of Revolution.  The republican party adopted another course, and did not conciliate the border States.  My opinion is that the whole question could have been honorably adjusted during the last session of Congress, but now it cannot be.  Civil war is upon us.

We have duties to perform, whether the government is well or ill administered.  It is our duty to obey the law, support the Constitution, and defend the flag.  These have been cardinal doctrines with us, as Democrats, in the past, and are so still, and must be so to the end.  Thus far the line of duty is plain and we cannot mistake it.  The republican party has the President and both branches of Congress and they will have the sole direction of the war.  How it is to be prosecuted, and how to end, belongs to the uncertain future. – Whether it is to be defensive or aggressive, I don’t think any one can now predict.  We can only hope that we may not add another to list of Republics who have lost their liberties in civil strife and fraternal war.

The flag of our country has its memories for nearly every family in the land.  I have mine.  In the revolution and the war of 1812 my ancestors fought and fell beneath it.  In the storm of battle at home and in a foreign land I have stood beneath it.  I hope to live and die beneath its folds.

I am truly your,                        W. A. Richardson.

In the Quincy Herald we find the following letter from Col. Richardson, to a citizen of Adams county:

Quincy, April 26th, 1861.

My Dear Sir: I am in receipt of yours of this date, and in reply have to say that I can only give you briefly, in substance, what I have written to others who have made similar inquiries.  The present is no time for the concealment of opinions, and I shall give mine fully and freely, assuming the consequences, let them be what they may.

The history of the slavery controversy is familiar to the whole country.  Prior to 1860 it had divided nearly all the churches in the political parties except the Democratic party.  The means by which the Democratic party was broken up, is too recent to require repetition here.  The main element which divided and destroyed it, were disunionists, who had determined long prior to the convention of 1860, either to divide it, and thereby defeat it, as they did do, or adopt such a platform as to secure the election of the republican nominee.  When the republican candidate for President was elected, which they desired and aided, this was to be made the pretext for breaking up the Government, and establishing a southern Confederacy.

The people in the cotton States had not only no justification, but no excuse, either to seize the public property, or to fire on the flag of the country – none whatsoever – and never have had, and those who have done so are in rebellion against the Government without excuse or pretext.  This whole revolutionary movement, in all its stages, received great aid from the Administration of Buchanan, while that Administration was under the control of Cobb, Floyd and Thompson.

When Congress assembled in December last, it was manifest that in eight of the slave holding States, a large majority of the people were opposed to this whole secession and disunion movement, and in the other slave holding States, except South Carolina, there were respectable minorities opposed decidedly to the whole thing.  These minorities and majorities agreed that it was necessary, for peace and Union, that Congress should submit to the States for ratification such amendments to the Constitution as would take the slavery question forever from the arena of federal politics.  Propositions for this purpose were submitted by Senators and Representatives, Committees, and a Convention of a part of these States, any of which propositions, if passed as a whole by Congress, would have been ratified by the requisite number of States, and have given Union, peace, and prosperity to this now divided and distracted country.  It could have been done without dishonor to the nation, or any single individual.  The republicans defeated all of these propositions for compromise.  Civil war is upon us.  Where it is to end, and what are to be its consequences, are questions of fearful import.  The North can overrun the South.  They are more numerous and equally brave.  Suppose, with immense armies, at vast expense of money and life, it is done – what will be done with it then?  Can this Government, under her present Constitution, hold conquered provinces?  Is it to be a war of extermination?  Are we to change our Constitution and present form of government?  For one, I hope the day is not far distant when this war, so detrimental to all, will be ended, and so ended as not to add the ruins of our Republic to those that have gone before us.  However much we may differ upon the past, there are great present duties upon which we can all agree.  Whether the laws that are that are passed are wise or unwise, whether the Government is wisely or unwisely administered, every citizen owes it as a solemn duty to obey the law, to support the Constitution, to repel invasion, and defend the flag.                         *          *          *

W. A. Richardson.


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