September 27, 1861
Battle of Blue Mills Landing.
Col. Scott with a part of the Iowa 3d, a few home guards, and a part of a German artillery company from St. Louis, with one six-pounder, numbering some 575 men, reached Liberty on Wednesday morning, and fearing that the enemy, under Boyd, Patten, and others, numbering 4,500 were in strong position near Blue Mills Landing , he despatched a messenger to Col. Smith to reinforce him. He advanced towards Blue Mills. The attack was made at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The enemy opened a strong fire on his skirmishers, who slowly retreated to the main body. The action soon became general. The six-pounder was brought to bear and two shots were fired with telling effect. The enemy opened a heavy fire on our only piece, and killed one gunner and wounded two others, whereupon several of the gunners abandoned the piece, carrying with them the primer and matches, and rendering the gun useless.
The action was continued for an hour after this; the men fighting like veterans but exhausted by the long marches of the preceding days, without artillery, and opposed to an enemy six times their number, the struggle seemed hopeless and they slowly withdrew to the open ground adjacent, bringing off with them their wounded and dragging the six-pounder by hand, the horses having all been killed or badly wounded.
Col. Smith, upon receiving the message sent by Lieut. Col. Scott, hurried forward his artillery and mounted force at full speed to his support. As it was quite dark when these reinforcements reached Col. Scott, and the troops were exhausted by their forced march, it was concluded not to attack the enemy, whose forces were much more than double the united forces of Col. Smith and Lieut. Col. Scott, until daylight the next morning.
Early next day our scouts brought in word that the enemy had abandoned his position the night before and crossed the river, the last party crossing a little after 3 in the morning. Having three large flats and a steam ferry for transportation, and the river being very narrow at this point, they were enabled to cross the river quite rapidly.
We might relate particular instances of bravery on the part of officers and men, but where all fought so gallantly and steadily, it might seem invidious to mention individuals.
This force driven out of Northern Missouri leaves that section of the country clear of large bands of rebels, and now that Gen. Prentiss has replaced Gen. Hurlbut we are sure that he will be able to maintain the peace in this section of the State. The killed and wounded, for the number engaged is exceedingly large. We are unable to give a correct statement of the killed and wounded.
Editors Journal: — If it would not be imposing too much on your time and patience, and encroaching too much on your columns, I would consider it a favor to be permitted to say a few words to the unconditional Union voters of the County.
I have been asked by several good Union men, if I would not allow my name to be used as a candidate for the office of County Clerk at the Nov. election, and I now wish to say a few words on that subject, which I need not do, were it not for the fact that I have been placed in a wrong position before the public, and as I well know, that if my name were brought out, there are some persons, who will leave no stone unturned to procure my defeat. I shall here take the liberty to say, that I am for the unconditional union of all the States, and that I am in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war, until the Rattle Snake flag shall be brought to the ground and the glorious old Stars and Stripes shall wave over every State and Territory, and that no compromise shall be made with the rebels, until they lay down their arms and show a desire to again be recognized as part of the Federal Union.
I am satisfied that there is power in the Government to put down the rebellion and I believe that power should, and will be exersised, and that the time is not far distant when the screams of the American Eagle will again be heard over the streets of New Orleans and Charleston.
In 1840 in Pennsylvania, my native State, I gave my first vote for Gen. Harrison for President, and until I came West in 1854 I always continued to vote the old-line Whig ticket. I never have been much of a partizan, but always voted as I thought right, and allowed others to do the same. I never thought it any part of my duty to try to persuade any person to vote contrary to their own choice, and I never allowed any person to influence me.
In 1854 I came to Macomb and wrote for some three months in the County Clerk’s office under Mr. Grantham, as hundreds through this county remember. I then went East and returned with my family in the fall of 1855 and was again taken into the office where I remained over eighteen months, and when I left the office in the spring of 1857, Mr. Grantham give me a certificate, a copy of which I will insert, as I have no doubt some will, to make capital for themselves or friends, report that I am not qualified for the office, or something of the kind, but any person who knew Mr. Grantham, knew his honesty and good judgment, will put more confidence in what he would say than in the idle reports of those who talk at random; besides which, I would not pretend to rely wholly on my own qualifications, though I know I understand the business of the office, but would be assisted by one every way competent.
The original certificate, of which the following is a copy, is in my possession, and can be seen by any one who cares to see it.
Clerk Office, County Court
Macomb, McDonough Co., Ill.,
May 28, 1857.
I take pleasure in saying that Mr. Robert H. Jeffery, the bearer hereof, is a gentleman of good moral character and steady habits. – Mr. Jeffery has been employed by me in this office for over eighteen months, and I have found him to be careful and attentive to business, and a good clerk, and I have all confidence in his integrity.
Co. Clerk, McDonough Co., Ill.
My name is now at the service of the public, and all who are so disposed are welcome to say all they can against it. I am poor, and have to labor for bread for my family. I have never had an office in my life, and never besieged any party convention to give me one. I have always tried to live an industrious and strictly temperate life, and to do all in my power to accommodate all, without regard to party or sect, and have therefore nothing to fear from honest men.
As to previous political opinions it matters but little, as the only real division now is the union and disunion question, and all good union men should lay aside all other differences of opinion and present a united front against the common enemy; and though I would be pleased to receive union votes, from either of the two leading parties, I hope no one who would desire to see the flag of our old Union brought to dishonor, will attempt to vote for me; as such votes will not be acceptable, but it is to be hoped that few such votes are to be found in McDonough County.
R. H. Jeffery.
September 28, 1861
Demcrats are not Invited.
We noticed a handbill posted up about town calling for an “Unconditional Union Mass Meeting,” to be held at Macomb on Thursday next, to nominate candidates for county officers. No proper signatures are appended to the call, and it is anonymously signed “Many Unconditional Union Men.” We suspect that this is merely a scheme set on foot by certain republicans, in order to place themselves or their friends in office, if they be successful in gulling a few Democrats to act with them. We do not think any Democrat is concerned in the matter; and as the call has not been brought to this office for publication, we think Democrats are not wanted to take any part in its proceedings. The time of the meeting being Thursday next, the notice is so short that the people in the country will have no fit opportunity, by township meetings, to be fairly represented. It will consequently be mostly attended by those republicans living nearest to town, and will no doubt be managed entirely by the central committee of the late republican party. They will endeavor to sugar-coat the Chicago platform, in the hope that Democrats may not be able to detect the smell or taste of the wool concealed in it. We look for it to be a republican meeting in all respects, save the name.
“If we cannot alter things,
By –, we’ll change their names, sir!”
The Quincy Herald once More.
It is said that in early times in Illinois, a certain judge delivered an opinion from the bench to the effect that “there was no law in Illinois against a man making a fool of himself.” The Quincy Herald is availing itself of the negative benefit of this decision, and we think is illustrating its own case to show how completely and unreservedly a man can “make a fool of himself.” It will be recollected that the Herald sought a controversy with the Democrats of McDonough county, and founded its accusations upon the fact that in one or more townships they declared themselves in favor of a convention of the States to revise or amend the Constitution, and thereby aid the military arm of the government in its efforts to defeat and suppress the rebellion. The Herald had seen a resolution of the same purport adopted in other counties and States, and found no word of objection to it. But when the Democrats of McDonough county began to avow themselves in its favor, the Herald suddenly found that such a purpose smelt of secession and was nigh akin to treason. Just four days after the Herald denounced the McDonough Democrats for supporting this measure, it cheered and applauded the New York Democrats for adopting a similar resolution. We called the Herald’s attention to this matter, and pointed out its inconsistencies in the kindest possible manner. We did it too with the friendliest motives and indulged the hope that it would be able to explain the matter satisfactorily to its old friends in this county. We felt it to be our duty to defend the McDonough Democracy from what every candid man, whether Democrat or republican, admitted was an uncalled for and unjustifiable attack. Our duty to the cause of truth and justice, not less than the obligation to defend our friends left no other course for us. While we expostulated, we were careful to refrain from using any expression calculated to wound the feelings or in any manner to block up the way to a friendly and honest explanation. But the Herald got incensed at our presuming to call in question its right to make “fish of us and flesh of another,” and instead of attempting to satisfy its friends here that it intended to do them no injustice, it launched out a tirade of abuse and misrepresentation that could not be excelled by the blackest republican paper in the land. It cought up greedily the falsehoods of the Quincy Whig and the Macomb Journal, and with a shameless and brazen effrontery – a mendacity and recklessness that even the Whig or the Journal had never surpassed – it charged the Democrats of this county with “advocating the independence of the South.” The Herald knew this was basely false; but, covertly professing to be a friend to our Democrats, it did not hesitate to attempt to stab them in the presence of their enemies. What provocation the Democrats of this county had given the Herald, we are at a loss to imagine; and why it should become debauched from the truth, or how it became subsidized into an ally of the black republicans of this county, is more than we can tell. But while the Herald thuse charged the Democrats of this county in a body with treason to the Government, it also sought a personal controversy with the editor of The Eagle, and charged him with “leading” the Democrats into this position of hostility to the government. In our paper of last week we made what reply we deemed appropriate, tho while regretting the necessity that compelled us to do so. We had been worse than craven, had we permitted the Democrats of this county to be so recklessly and spitefully abused without exposing the moral turpitude of a paper which, under the guise of friendship, sought to do them the worst injury that man could inflict upon them. As to the personal charge against us, that we had led, or was leading, the Democrats into secession and treason, we called upon the Herald to quote an article – a paragraph – a sentence – to support its accusation; nay, conscious of our innocence, and strong in the fact that the reverse was the truth, we “defied” the Herald to make good its charge. We hoped the Herald was not wholly debased – that it was not wholly lost to the common courtesies of life, let alone to the promptings of an honorable man, or the demands of a Christian profession. But does it quote from The Eagle to sustain its accusation? Not a word. Has it the manliness then to say that it was mistaken? Not a word. Has its editor the Christianity to regret that he had “borne false witness?” Not a word, either. But the Herald retires on its “dignity” – The Eagle has become “abusive,” and it “don’t deal in that sort of thing;” it therefore can’t notice us further – it won’t exchange with us, and won’t “recognize us as a gentleman!” The Herald condemned the McDonough Democrats, for doing just what it said was the “true spirit of patriotism” in other Democrats, and because we asked it to explain this, we are “abusive.” It says the Democrats of this county are “advocating the independence of the South,” and because we mildly term this a misrepresentation, it “won’t exchange with us.” It makes a charge of treason against us, and when we defy him to the proof, it says we are “no gentleman.” It adopts the republican style of falsifying the Democrats of McDonough, and because we gently reprove it and request that such gross injustice be not done them, it don’t want our “friendship.” That will do. After seeking this controversy – after traveling out of its way to force it upon us – this is the manner in which it seeks to crawl out of it – to escape from the odium that so justly attaches to its malicious conduct. If the Herald thinks it has won any honor – achieved any fame – or acquired any pelf – from its assault upon the McDonough Democracy, as well as its inglorious retreat, we hope it will enjoy the one and make good the use of the other. We can tell its editor plainly, that while he remains in his present mind, we can have no other feeling than that of contemptious pity toward him. If his “friendship” can only be obtained at the price of truckling to him, or any of his friends, then we had rather “be a dog and bay they moon” than bask in his “friendship.” If we can only be entitled to “an exchange,” by permitting him to play the McDonough Democracy into the hands of the black republicans, in order to gratify the spite of some other person, then we will try to live the rest of our “three-score years and ten” without the wonderful favor of “an exchange.” If we can only be a “gentleman” by tamely permitting him to insinuate the blackest of crimes against us, then we hope we shall never be so abject and debased as to fill his idea of a “gentleman.” The Herald can go. It can receive noting but the scorn of the McDonough Democracy, since it has sunk to the base level of the republican papers.