War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0502 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

alarmed at the tremendous consequences likely to ensue from the effect of their teachings upon the popular mind, and will, I think, as a general rule, endeavor to calm the passions of the people, and to dissuade them from, rather than incite them to, acts of open and armed resistance tot eh restrain the masses will be increased by the infernal atrocities of the New York mob, while the difficulty of doing so is fearfully enhanced; for the effect of the unbridled diabolism of that terrific riot upon the turbulent passions of disaffected and unreasoning men is to inflame and excite in the highest degree, the influence upon the leaders and people of the opposition being in opposite directions. In antagonism with eh adverse tendencies which I have mentioned is the powerful influence of the recent repeated and splendid victories of our arms. But for the formidable outbreak in New York I firmly believe that the wave of patriotic feeling se tin motion by the magnificent triumphs of the Union forces would have borne down opposition and carried Illinois through the draft with no considerable disturbance, except in a few isolated instances. As it is, I would request your serious attention tot he suggestions of Captain Westlake (inclosure F) relative to the bearing of the great riot upon the progress of thtate. The relation of New York to the whole country as the great commercial metropolis and center of political influences is so peculiar that the suppression of the riot and enforcement of the draft there is, I believe, and absolute necessity to its successful enforcement in Illinois and elsewhere.

"Everywhere or nowhere" is the maxim already heard in our streets.

Doubtless all this is perfectly understood at Washington. The riot will of course be suppressed, its instigators punished, and the draft proceeded with in New York at any and all hazards. When this is done, if done effectually and completely, the influence of the emeute in New York upon the behavior of disloyal persons in Illinois will be beneficial rather than pernicious, for all will feel that if the Government is too strong for traitors in that great city resistance elsewhere will be in vain.

I have dwelt upon this point because its direct bearing upon my field of duty cannot be overestimated.

I would respectfully invite your attention to the inclosed letters (O, P, Q) from the provost-marshals of the Fifth and Sixth Districts. They are of very grave import, and i am powerless to provide them the assistance called for.

In conclusion I would respectfully suggest that, if compatible with the interests of the public service, the order for the draft in this State may be deferred till ample means can be placed at the disposal of all district provost-marshals whose headquarters have been or are likely to be menaced by an armed mob to promptly resist and suppress all violent manifestations. For this purpose there should be, in my judgment, not less than three or four full companies of soldiers at each headquarters before the draft begins (with the exception perhaps of the Second and Third Districts), and at the least one full regiment as a reserve for the State at large.

The preceding estimate is based upon the supposition that the draft will be simultaneous in all the districts. If, however, the draft should be made in one district at a time, a less number of troops would suffice, since they could be moved from point to point a the draft progressed. And if it could be distinctly understood by the people that there would be a draft in every district, while the order in which the districts are to be taken is withheld from their knowledge,