January 17, 1862
We are Safe. – It has been threatened by the secesh of Missouri that as soon as the river froze over they would make a raid into this State, and plunder what they could and burn the towns. – Quincy has put herself in a state of defence, and we were the other day mentioning to a friend the propriety of the people of Macomb looking a little to their safety, as the rebels might make an incursion thus far and burn us out. Our friend replied, “What, the rebels burn Macomb? Oh no, they have too many friends here for that. One copy of the Eagle would save us. They would never burn a town where such a paper was printed!”
The Eagle Opposed to Taxation.
The Eagle makes a doleful cry over the prospect of “Heavier Taxes on the Poor.” Its aim from the time the war commenced appears to have been to excite grumblings and discontent among the poorer classes. This war, which rebel Democrats have forced upon us, everybody knows will increase our taxes of the rich as well as poor. Because there has been a tax imposed on sugar, tea, coffee and molasses, the Eagle will see nothing in the act but a discrimination which is made against poor men. Don’t the rich who buy all these articles, usually in greater abundance have the same tax to pay? But “under Democratic administrations,” the Eagle says, “the necessaries of life were almost wholly exempted from taxation, while the luxuries of life were heavily taxed to pay the expenses of government.” So they were under Whig administrations. The Whig Tariff of 1842 admitted tea and coffee free of duty, and so would a Republican administration have done the same if it had not been obliged to raise an extraordinary amount of money to subdue a rebellion which had been nursed and fostered during two Democratic administrations. The Eagle winds up its dismal howl over the Republican administration, by saying “it is in keeping with everything they have done thus far, and will do, until their places are filled by better men.” Pray sir, suppose “better men” should fill their places, are we not to pay the expenses of this war? Or are we to repudiate, and raise the banner of “No Taxes, for poor folks.” The Eagle editor hasn’t the first idea of what constitutes true statesmanship, or else he is a wicked and corrupt man, who would breed a mutiny if he could, in order the more to perplex a Republican administration, and thus gratify his hate and malice toward Republicans.
Bird’s Point, Jan. 11
Messers. Editors: This morning I voluntarily made myself the witness of the most mournful scene the eye of man can be called upon to behold.
Different companies of cavalry are called upon each day to furnish a certain number of men as out guards. It is their business to go some four or five miles beyond the pickets in order to ascertain the approach and movement of any of the enemy, who may attempt to come near our camp. Yesterday the detail was made from Co. “L,” commanded by Captain G. M. Scott, of Bushnell. This morning the report was brought to our camp by a citizen who claims to be a Union man (as in fact they all do who live in proximity to a camp of federal troops,) that reports of fire arms had been heard and that several horses had been seen without riders.
A scouting party was immediately sent to ascertain the true state of the circumstances which he related.
A number from our company, and among them myself, although destitute of arms, volunteered to go. We marched silently forward after passing the pickets, not knowing but any moment we also might be made the dupe of these fatal emissaries of secession, and our lives pay the forfeit. In hopes that we might be the means of relieving our brother soldiers, we hurried on regardless of mud, which was in places knee deep, and of the dangers to which we were exposed from the indian hearted enemy. Emerging at length from the heavy timber adjacent to the river into a clearing, and observing a farm house, we proceeded thence for information. – We found that our worst fears had been more than realized. Four as noble, intelligent, and patriotic young men as ever the light of heaven shone upon lay by the roadside a short distance below, weltering in their gore. Not deprived of life while in combat, but murdered willfully, murdered by men too cowardly to show themselves in daylight; by men whose property some assert I am called upon to protect. They may preach it at home, they may promulgate it and may cram it down the throats of every citizen in the land; but when it comes to the ears of soldiers who witness such scenes as I have to day, it will be seed sown upon stony ground. But I digress. A short distance from the house we found the body of a young man from Henry co., Thomas Langford, shot through the head, who had apparently fell from his horse and died without a struggle. A little farther lay Daniel Lair, whose parents live near Canton, Fulton county, also shot in the head. Still farther were the bodies of the other two, viz: Alexander Lockard and Christian Mayer, the former from New Salem, the latter from Bushnell. Upon examination it was found that the enemy had been concealed by a log over which they had taken deadly aim. They remained exactly as they had fallen, not an article having been removed, or otherwise disturbed, plainly showing the cowardice of the men who [?] They had retreated in as much haste as they could, no doubt fearing others might be behind. Too much could not be said in honor of these men who have been so suddenly and unexpectedly sacrificed to satisfy the ungodly ambition of the southern oligarchy. Their dead bodies are now at the hospital being prepared for interment. The suspicion rests strongly upon these self-styled Union men. – The weapons used were undoubtedly shotguns, as from six to ten pieces of lead cut from bars were taken from each body. A party who went out after we came in, have returned, bringing with them one prisoner and two loaded guns, found in his house. He was the only man found in the neighborhood. They also discovered about a thousand of Jeff Thompson’s cavalry. Nothing is known of his head quarters. The swamps with which he is well acquainted form for him a secure retreat. His only mode of warfare is that of shooting down or capturing any small party who may come in his way. – Twenty-five of our cavalry will put to rout four times that number of his. He has had the best of invitations to meet us in open field but will not accept.
There has been a great movement of troops in all directions from this place and others, within the last few days. Several thousand yesterday went down the Mississippi and as many up the Ohio. The gunboats are nearly all below, and cannonading has been going on during the day in the direction of Columbus, but for what purpose or with what result is not known.
J. H. Case, Co. L
P. S. The general health of troops is good considering the weather and their exposure.
January 18, 1862
What Shall Be Done?
Seven weeks of the session of Congress have elapsed, and we have no measure matured, not even initiated, to furnish the administration with “the sinews of war.” Day after day and week after week have been spent in discussing the [African-American] generally and particularly; but that has been all that the “blundering congregation of incapables” have accomplished. Congress were fully aware that between legitimate expenditures for the war, which have been large beyond all precedent, and the stealing and plunderings of the political harpies, by which the administration has been surrounded, the treasury has been burdened to a degree bordering upon insolvency. The banks and the people, when first appealed to promptly and freely took the loans offered by the secretary of the treasury, and furnished the funds demanded to prosecute the war. The public debt has been raised to a point which renders the ordinary and extraordinary revenues entirely inadequate to pay the interest, a state of things which every sound financier knows must bankrupt the government, and put an end to the war, unless some measure can be devised to extricate it from the unhappy dilemma. There are but two modes of relief – one is the issue of treasury notes to an unlimited amount, and the other is taxation, heavy direct taxation. The banks will loan the government no more money, and the people begin to look with distrust upon government securities. The government has followed the suspension of the banks and is unable to pay its obligations in coin. Shall the country be thrown upon the poor dependence of an unlimited and irredeemable issue of paper, which would soon burst like a bubble? In this emergency the administration hesitates; abolitionists talk of emancipating negroes, and the republican members stop to inquire how a tax bill will affect their popularity and the chances for their re-election. How every day’s history of the country shows that the republican party is utterly incapable of conducting our affairs, with either credit to themselves, honor to the national fame, or prosperity for the people.
Arrest for riot. – On Tuesday last some forty persons, citizens of Colchester, were arrested at the instance of Hugh Roberts, who made a affidavit of their being guilty of a riot. The accused are miners and haulers, who have been on a strike for higher wages for several weeks. Mr. Roberts brought up two teams from Quincy to haul coal, and the strikers followed them to the banks and by persuasion, or other means, prevailed upon the two haulers to desist from work and join them. The partially loaded wagons were emptied, and cheers and shouts rent the air. The noise frightened the horses fastened to one wagon and they ran down into a ditch or ravine, doing some damage. Mr. Roberts, being again foiled, had the men arrested for a riot. All of Wednesday and Thursday forenoon were occupied in hearing testimony for the prosecution. On Thursday evening, after a patient investigation, seven of the accused were held to bail and the rest discharged. – While we do not exculpate the miners from a technical violation of law, yet we cannot believe that they are guilty of an intention to destroy or damage any man’s property. It must be remembered that they have been imposed upon in a variety of ways, and that an unrelenting advantage has been taken of their presumed dependence upon the Coal Company, which few other persons would have submitted to. If Mr. Roberts had done the fair thing by the miners all the time, attempted no extortion, and shown receipts and legal weights, there would have been no trouble between him and them.
Plenty of Change. – There are plenty of changes in the grocery firms in town, even if change is scarce in the pocket. The latest that we have heard of is, that J. W. Atkinson has purchased the stock in trade of Jones & Naylor. “Jehiel” will keep a good assortment of sugar, coffee, tea, fruits, nuts, candies, tobaccos, and all other articles of a retail grocery store, and he will sell at as low figures as any dealer can. Purchasers are invited to call and see him, first door north of Campbell’s.
We have had quite “a spell of weather” this week. Sunday and Monday were severely cold – the thermometer sinking below zero. Tuesday evening snow fell to the depth of four or five inches, and there is now the best bottom for sleighing ever got up in these parts.