The attack could not have lasted over a minute, during which one hundred shots must have been fired, nearly all of my men being either killed or wounded. The fact that my men, scattered as they were over the square, were instantly shot down, and the systematic manner in which the sheriff rallied and drew off his party, together with affidavits of reliable citizens forwarded, leaves no room to doubt that a party of men came to Charleston armed with revolvers and shotguns with the knowledge and consent of Sheriff O'Hair, with deliberate intention of killing the soldiers.
As soon as the firing was over I telegraphed to Colonel Chapman at Mattoon to bring men and guns. He arrived at 4.30 p. m. with 250 men. I immediately mounted 75 men and scoured the country in all directions, arresting several parties implicated, and releasing Levi Freesner, private Company C, Fifty-fourth Illinois, who was confined in a house under guard 7 miles from town. He was arrested by Sheriff O'Hair some distance from the square while on his way to the station to take the cars from Mattoon, and knew nothing of the affray. His gun and accouterments have not yet been secured. As the regiment arrived in the court-house yard a man named John Cooper, living in this county, who had been in town all day intoxicated, wearing a pistol in sight and swearing he came to kill soldiers, was accosted by a patrol, but turning to run was immediately shot down, citizens and soldiers firing without orders. Unfortunately a ball passed through the residence of John Jenkins, citizen, wounding him and since causing his death.
Captain Montgomery, mustering and disbursing officer, arrived from Springfield, Ill., Tuesday morning, and examined several witnesses, instructing me to remain at Charleston with my command until you arrived.
A company of the Invalid Corps, Lieutenant Baker commanding passing from Paris, were detained by Captain Montgomery and ordered to report to me.
On your arrival Wednesday you instructed me to continue to arrest individuals implicated in the murder, procure affidavits of reliable witnesses, and to keep the peace, which has been done.
Hearing of large bodies of rioters of the country, I left Charleston with 100 mounted men at 9 p. m., April 2, proceeded south through Martinsville, to within 5 miles of Marshall, county seat of Clark County, from thence to Auburn, and north to the Terre Haute, Alton and Saint Louis Railroad at Kansas, and thence to Charleston, arriving at 7 p. m., April 4. I found bodies of men from 25 to 100 had been seen, but had dispersed; one squad of 16 I arrested but released. At present all is quiet.
I forward herewith lists of killed and wounded; also lists of prisoners forwarded.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. M. MITCHELL,
Colonel Fifty-fourth Ill. Vet. Vol. Infty., Commanding.
Lieutenant Colonel JAMES OAKES,
Superintendent Recruiting Service, Springfield, Ill.
The following is the list of killed and wounded during the disturbance at Charleston, Ill.:
Killed: Major Shuball York, Fifty-fourth Illinois Infantry; Privates Oliver Sallee and James Goodrich, Company C, and John Neer