captain of the company over William Kirkpatrick
A recital of the campaign that followed, in the effort to drive the treacherous Indians
back, or a description of the few engagements — none of which reached the dignity of a battle — which took place, have in no wise been overlooked by the historians of Illinois
and of the Black Hawk
war. With the exception of those things which relate to Lincoln
alone I presume it would be needless to attempt to add anything to what has so thoroughly and truthfully been told.
On being elected captain, Lincoln
replied in a brief response of modest and thankful acceptance.
It was the first official trust ever turned over to his keeping, and he prized it and the distinction it gave him more than any which in after years fell to his lot. His company savored strongly of the Clary's Grove
order, and though daring enough in the presence of danger, were difficult to bring down to the inflexibilities of military discipline.
Each one seemed perfectly able and willing to care for himself, and while the captain's authority was respectfully observed, yet, as some have said, they were none the less a crowd of “generous ruffians.”
I heard Mr. Lincoln
say once on the subject of his career as captain in this company and the discipline he exercised over his men, that to the first order given one of them he received the response, “Go to the devil, sir!”
Notwithstanding the interchange of many such unsoldierlike civilities between the officer and his men, a strong bond of affection united them together, and if a contest had arisen over the