War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0631 Chapter XLIV. RIOT AT CHARLESTON, COLES COUNTY, ILL.

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ing post, representing in urgent terms the need of more troops at that point. I therefore asked for 500 men from Indianapolis, and returned by next train to Mattoon, finding the place in a state of the most intense excitement, over a hundred citizens being organized and under arms, the prisoners lodged in a secure place and strongly guarded, pickets posted, and every preparation made to defend the place, an attack upon which was confidently anticipated.

The Forty-first Illinois, Colonel Pugh, and Forty-seventh Indiana, Colonel Slack, arrived about midnight, and both regiments, under the command of Colonel True, proceeded to points some 12 miles west and southwest of Mattoon in search of the rebels who were believed to be there collected in considerable force. Finding that the insurgents, small parties of whom had been assembled at the designated places, had dispersed upon the advance of the troops and made good their escape, the command returned to Mattoon, arriving on the morning of the 31st, when the Forty-seventh Indiana was permitted to proceed on their way to Cairo en route for the field.

Leaving the Forty-first at Matton, I again repaired to Charleston, where I found the excitement subsided and confidence partially restored, the people feeling secure in the protection of the troops, consisting of the Fifty-fourth Illinois, and Company E, Twenty-third Veteran Reserve Corps, which had been stopped by Captain Montgomery on the 29th while on its way from Paris, Ill. After making such arrangements for the protection of the place and the maintenance of order as circumstances seemed to require, I returned to Mattoon and thence to Springfield, arriving on the morning of the 2nd instant.

On the 8th instant, I again visited both Charleston and Mattoon, and found those places and the surrounding country quiet and confidence generally restored. The Forty-first was furloughed on the 11th instant, and the Fifty-fourth left for the field on the 12th, leaving one company of the Veteran Reserve Corps at Charleston and another at Paris, which I deem ample for the present.

A large number of prisoners were taken by the military and citizens, most of whom were released for lack of evidence. The proof against 29 was, however, deemed sufficient to warrant their being held for further examination, and I ordered them to be forwarded, under guard, to Camp Yates near this city, until the necessary testimony could be obtained and examined, to enable me to determine what further disposition should be made of them. After careful examination of the evidence received, consisting of affidavits, reports, letters, &c., and which is very voluminous, I have discharged 13 of the 29, and 1 has since died, leaving 15 yet to be disposed of. I have forwarded all the testimony, together with an elaborate report, to Major General S. P. Heintzelman, commanding Northern Department, with request that the prisoners might be tried by military law, if consisted and expedient, and requesting early instructions or suggestions for my further action in the premises.

It is much to be regretted that the ruling spirits and chief actors in this treasonable insurrection have not as yet been captured. O'Hair, the sheriff of Coles County and the ringleader of the insurgents, is not to be found; and others who were prominent in the murderous assault have made their escape.

It is impossible to doubt that this outbreak was premeditated and preconcerted, and that its immediate purpose was the murder of the soldiers, to be followed by such other movements as circumstances