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OFF FOR THE WARS.
UESDAY, September 24th, the long expected and much wished for day of departure from Camp Hammond dawned. Before day the men were astir, the camp alive and buzzing like a huge bee hive. Hurrahs would break
out from some unexpected quarter, which were followed by scattering hurrahs all over camp. Animation beamed from every countenance, and soon after sunrise people from the country came crowding into the camp by the thousand. They came on foot, on horseback, and in every conceivable kind of vehicle from a lumber wagon to a chaise. Gaily dressed women, fair-faced country lasses, hardy countrymen, over-dressed fops and substantial farmers, making up a “tremendous big crowd,” were on hand, rendering the scene animated and picturesque beyond description. A larger assemblage. never before gathered on the banks of the glistening Fox; and never went soldiers to fields of glory bearing kinder wishes for their welfare, or more heartfelt adieus at their departure. Eyes unused to weeping were dimmed with mistiness, and hearts throbbed heavily with painful thoughts as the order was given to strike tents, and in ten minutes the prairie which had been flecked with snowy canvass was littered with heaps of straw, old clothes, hats, bundles of rags, fire places, boards and ruined bunks.
At 4 P. M. the column was formed, and headed by the band, we bade adieu to Camp Hammond forever ; marched to Aurora and embarked in a long train of passenger coaches which awaited us, and amidst the deafening shout of thousands the train moved away. Scarcely a sad face was seen in the regiment, and if flashing eyes and loud huzzahs were an index of the feelings within, all departed with joy and gladness. On the line of railroad our departure had been heralded in advance, and it seemed as if the whole population were out, lining the track to bid us God speed. Bonfires blazed, guns were fired, and the evening air was stirred with shouting as we passed swiftly through the villages which dotted the country. At Arlington, in Bureau County, where we stopped a few minutes for water, crowds of ladies flocked to the train to welcome and shake the hands of their gallant defenders. At Galesburg the citizens thronged the station, and were profuse in complimenting the fine appearance of the men. A group of cavalrymen, with Major Barry in their midst, while standing on the platform at the depot with their overcoats and clean uniforms on, attracted the attention of a citizen, who remarked, while looking at the squad, “They have a fine looking set of field officers.” Whether the Major alone appropriated the compliment, or regarded it as a drive at the officers, was not ascertained. We reached Quincy at 3 P. M., September 25th, and soon the work of transferring cavalry horses, tents and regimental stores to the steamer Warsaw commenced. Those of the men not detailed for that purpose found quarters in an empty warehouse; many, however, remained in the cars, and doubling up like jack-knives, sought repose in the seats.
RETURN OF COL. MULLIGAN'S MEN.
A thousand or more of Mulligan's men had arrived at Quincy from their defeat at Lexington, and each had his story of adventures, of hardship and suffering to tell. They were a brawny set of Irishmen, who had fought well and deserved much of their country, which up to that time had paid them nothing. As our destination was Missouri, and the probabilities were that we would have the same enemy upon our hands, some pains were taken to ascertain the character and numbers of the rebels, and the particulars of the late battle at Lexington.
Previous to September a small force of the 1st Illinois Cavalry and a body of Home Guards had been posted at Lexington to protect the Union people of that place. This force being menaced by superior numbers, Col. Mulligan was dispatched from Jefferson City with his regiment as a reinforcement, marching a distance of · 150 miles on foot. Entrenchments were thrown up around the Masonic college building, which served as a magazine and store house. The Union forces at this time numbered 2500 men. The next day the enemy's advance, 6,000 strong, under Gen. Rains, made their appearance. Col. Mulligan, finding himself threatened by a greatly superior force, sent urgently for reinforcements, while the command speedily set to work with pick and shovel to strengthen their defences. On the 12th of September the siege began. By the 17th the enemy were in force and had entirely surrounded Mulligan's position with 20,000 men. The battle continued ,night and day with both cannon and musketry, but every charge was repulsed with heavy loss to the enemy. At length they constructed breast works of hemp bales, from behind which they kept up a continuous fire while rolling them towards the federal position. Sorties were made upon these works and the enemy driven away, but lacking sufficient support to hold them the advantages gained were temporary. During one of these charges Col. Mulligan was wounded and Col. White, of the 1st Illinois Cavalry, killed. Upon the death of Col. White a panic seized the Home Guards, who, without orders, raised a flag of truce, which Col. Mulligan caused to be torn down, and the combat continued. At length the ammunition having given out, and the men being completely exhausted, the Home Guards again raised a white flag, which this time was not torn down. Terms of surrender were agreed upon, the men were paroled and permitted to proceed to Quincy. Everything except clothing and officers' side arms were given up. Col. Mulligan wept when he found he must abandon a contest which he had gallantly maintained for eight days. Gen. Price complimented the command by saying that “these Irishmen were the hardest set to capture he had ever seen,” and certainly their looks in this respect did not belie them. Many of these men were ready to violate their parol, and proceeded to St. Louis with us, persisting in their determination to join our command and fight the “rebs" on sight.
The next morning all the men and equipage were transferred to the Warsaw, and as she steamed out into the river, turned her prow from the city and went cutting the spray southward, a thousand cheers were interchanged between boat and shore. The shrill notes of the band and loud beating of drums echoed from the woody banks—and from each negro cabin a shout went up and a fluttering handkerchief or apron waved us a kind God speed. But two nights' and a day's absence from home had afforded ample time for a little of the enthusiasm to cool, and when the men began to realize that they were dissevered from old 'familiar land marks, it might be for months—possibly, alas, forever! many faces were measurably lengthened, contrasting strangely with the animation of the day before. At night the
EN ROUTE TO ROLLA.
twinkling stars were suggestive of sad thoughts; even the notes from the band became mournful as a funeral dirge, and its strains seemed to echo only tearful and melancholy farewells. Some eyes were observed terribly red-resulting from the wind, of
The trip was made with scarcely a stop, except when stranded on a sand bar, where for twenty minutes the men were kept on a double quick from bow to stern until the craft worked its way over and was again cleaving the waves. No incident worthy of record occurred to those on board, but everybody on shore, as we rapidly steamed by, came out and gazed at the great steamer plowing through the water, crowded with 1,200 soldiers, who swarmed from texas to boiler deck. The men were generally in good spirits, and but few complained of illness until it became known that the sick were to occupy the cabin, when an epidemic for state rooms suddenly broke out, and Surgeon Young was much surprised at the numbers responding at sick call, all requiring immediate attention and removal to the cabin.
Daylight on the morning of the 27th found us safely moored at a landing in front of the city of St. Louis. Col. Greuse! immediately proceeded to the headquarters of Gen. Fremont, reported the arrival of the Regiment, and asked for arms. His requisition was at once granted, and at 9 o'clock A. M. the War. saw dropped down to the United States Arsenal. Arrived within its stone walls, arms and accoutrements were quickly distributed. Companies A and B were fortunate in securing Minnie and Enfield rifles, while Springfield muskets of an old pattern, remodeled, were dealt out to the balance of the Regiment. The Colonel was indignant, the men were disappointed, but no amount of expostulation could secure different arms, from the simple fact that they were not to be had.