the old army.
But neither Mr. Washburne
, nor any one else at that time, knew the real ability of the man, or imagined the military genius which the opportunities of the war would reveal.
He was commissioned on the 7th of August, to date from May 17, 1861, about the time he was appointed colonel by Governor Yates
On the 1st of September Grant
was assigned, by Major General Fremont
, commanding the Western Department, to the command of the South
-eastern District of Missouri
, which included the southern part of Illinois
and the western part of Kentucky
, as far as the Union
forces should advance.
The governor of Kentucky
, whose sympathy was more with the rebels than with the government, was endeavoring to have Kentucky
maintain a neutral position in the contest; and all the rebels of that state, and not a few of those who claimed to be Union men, took the same ground.
They sought to keep the national forces from their soil equally with the rebel forces — a measure which would have redounded entirely to the advantage of the rebels, who were collecting large forces in Tennessee
, and were openly aided by their sympathizers in Kentucky
The real Union sentiment of that state was thus almost wholly repressed, and the state would have been soon controlled by the secessionists, who committed the grossest outrages upon Union men, and were preparing, under the guise of neutrality, to join the rebels.
The government did not recognize this neutrality, but claimed the right to move its troops to any part of the soil of the United States
. General Grant
was the first to exercise this right, and he exercised it promptly,