War of the Rebellion: Serial 122 Page 0168 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

the reins of Government at a time when its Treasury was empty and its credit exhausted; when its Army was scattered; its ships dismantled and disabled in foreign ports, and its arms secured by deposit in the hands of traitors. We appreciate also the anxieties incident to the known or supposed treachery of a multitude of civil, military, and naval officers. We can understand the immense labor that must have been performed to bring back the Government to the point it has now reached. We approve most fully of whatever has been done by the Government, and are prepared to expect still further exhibitions of energy, such as the public exigencies demand.

But now we wish to urge upon you the absolute necessity, since Washington is safe, of giving more attention to the country immediately contiguous to the line between the free and the slave States. The fierceness of this wicked rebellion is to exhibit itself through the last named extent of country more than anywhere else, and on the law and government side of that line there is less preparation than almost anywhere else. From Pittsburg and Cincinnati to the mouth of the Ohio, on the northern side of the river, the country is almost entirely defenseless against an armed enemy. Cincinnati and numerous small towns on the river could be utterly destroyed and the country about them laid waste, without the means of resistance. It would require no very heavy battery and no very large army to take Cairo and for a long time to hold it. The commanding positions for defense or attack are on the south side of the Ohio. It is a matter of absolute necessity, not only for the Northern border States but for all the Northwestern States, to be able to control the business and commerce of the Ohio River and the Upper Mississippi in order to reach a vital part of this rebellion. We must be able to cut off all supplies of breadstuffs, and also to stop the transit or transportation of arms or munitions of war. An enemy to o an important point like Cairo. The Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers must be kept at all times open to the legitimate commerce and business of the Northwest. The vast lumber and mineral interests of Wisconsin, independent of her commanding produce and stock trade, bind her fast to the North border States, and demand, like them, the free navigation of the Mississippi and all its tributaries from the highest navigable waters to their mouths.

It requires but slight knowledge of the country and of the character of the States to see all this. The necessities I have named being great, we must look to the means necessary to do what ought to be done in the least possible time. It needs men, will, arms, and munitions of war. One hundred and sixty thousand men can be rallied in four weeks for this purpose, and among the swarming millions of the North border and Northwestern border States there is but one pulse beating to-day and but one purpose- to hold up your hands, sustain the integrity of the Government, and aid in executing the laws in every State alike. The Northwest needs a better military organization and a military head to which it can communicate its necessities without tedious and mischievous delays.

I know full well that the Government will do for the Northwest and border States just as fast as it seems to see a necessity. We see a necessity now, not only for the safety of the Government, but for the safety of the free border States, for immediate action. There is no occasion for the Government to delay, because the States themselves are willing to act vigorously and efficiently. I must be permitted to say it, because it is a fact, there is a spirit evoked by this rebellion