rly in the spring of 1849, I returned to Freeport and resumed my struggle with Latin.
Then an unforeseen event turned the course of my life.
The young man who had been appointed to West Point from our district only a year or two before had failed to continue his course in the Military Academy.
Thus a vacancy occurred just at the close of Mr. Thomas J. Turner's term in Congress.
There was no time for applications or for consultation.
He must select another candidate to enter the following June, or leave the place to be filled by his successor.
Fortunately for me, Mr. Turner, as one of the public-school directors, had been present at an examination where the subject with which I had to deal was mathematical; if he had caught me at Latin, the result must have been fatal to all my prospects.
Besides, Mr. Turner had heard from his brother James of the stamina I had shown in the public land-surveying expedition; and also from my father of my determination to get a good education befor
incoln, are to me the most cherished recollections of my official career.
The appreciation of my action in Washington was expressed by General Halleck in a letter dated July 7, 1863, in which he said: The promptness with which you sent troops to General Grant gave great satisfaction here; and by the President himself, in a letter to the Hon. Charles D. Drake and others, committee, dated October 5, 1863, in which he wrote: Few things have been so grateful to my anxious feelings as when, in June last, the local force in Missouri aided General Schofield to so promptly send a large general force to the relief of General Grant, then investing Vicksburg and menaced from without by General Johnston.
It would have been impossible for me to send away more than a small part of those troops if I had not been able to replace them by Missouri militia.
This General Curtis had probably been unable to do because of the unfortunate antagonism between him and the State government; and perhaps th
ur proposal to substitute national forces for the enrolled militia implies that in your judgment the latter is doing something which needs to be done, and if so, the proposition to throw that force away, and supply its place by bringing other forces from the field, where they are urgently needed, seems to me very extraordinary.
Whence shall they come?
Shall they be withdrawn from Banks, or Grant, or Steele, or Rosecrans?
Few things have been so grateful to my anxious feelings as when, in June last, the local force in Missouri aided General Schofield to so promptly send a large general force to the relief of General Grant, then investing Vicksburg and menaced from without by General Johnston.
Was this all wrong?
Should the enrolled militia then have been broken up, and General Herron kept from Grant to police Missouri?
So far from finding cause to object, I confess to a sympathy for whatever relieves our general force in Missouri, and allows it to serve elsewhere.