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[258] my old friends made tolerably sure of my taking sides with them. Be this as it may, they showed no disposition to detain me in Richmond by violence, but permitted me to leave there, and I went to Washington without opposition, and immediately availed myself of the opportunity of publishing a letter, addressed to an old friend and resident of St. Louis, in which I announced myself as irrevocably for the Union. I desired to put this point absolutely beyond the possibility of question. Under ordinary circumstances, such a declaration would not have been necessary; but as I was from one of the Southern States, and had resided nearly all my life in a slave State, I felt called upon to make my election as between the Union and the rebel cause as publicly as possible, that my old friends in the South might understand that they had nothing to expect from me, and to manifest before the country my sense of duty as an officer of the Government.

Upon making my report at the War Office, and asking for orders, I was not long in discovering that the public affairs of Missouri--especially in the city of St. Louis — were very much under the influence of the two Blairs, Montgomery and Frank — the former the Postmaster-General, then in Washington; the latter a lawyer in St. Louis, who had recently been active in raising a volunteer force in the city of St. Louis, then immediately designed for the protection of the United States Arsenal on the Mississippi River, in the southern suburb of the city.

It will be the province of history to recite the suspicious proceedings of the Legislature of the State of Missouri, in authorizing military organizations in different parts of the State, under pretence of preparing the militia for the defence of the State. One of these organizations was commenced in the city of St. Louis; the nucleus of it having meetings in a building on one of the most public streets of the city, where they impudently hoisted a rebel flag. They continued to assemble at this place, until their numbers had increased so greatly as to require more room for their meetings, when they formally marched out of the city, and established a camp in what was called Lindell's Grove, immediately in the western edge of the city. This was called Camp Jackson, after the Governor of the State, who was known to be in the interests of the South, and was commanded by General Frost, an officer of the State militia, acting under the authority of the Governor, ostensibly for the purpose of militia exercise in a camp of instruction; but no one who was willing to see the truth, had any doubt but that this organization had for its object the seizure of the public arsenal, which was to have been a signal-step for the State to declare herself with the South.

Among those who very clearly saw the purpose of this camp was Frank Blair, who had been appointed a colonel of volunteers, and had been stationed at the arsenal with his own regiment and other troops, for its defence.

The lamented General Lyon had recently been placed on duty at the arsenal with his company of infantry; and the whole force at the arsenal had reached, I think, about five thousand; the troops in General Frost's camp numbering about six hundred.

There may be many matters of interest in connection with the events at St. Louis at that time with which I was not then acquainted, and am not now thoroughly informed of. I think there was a Committee of Safety, of known Union men, acting under advice from the authorities at Washington, communicated, perhaps, through Mr. Montgomery Blair; and that the military authorities at the arsenal had been instructed by the Secretary of War to make no movement without first consulting the Committee of Safety, and to do nothing except upon their approval. I have never known precisely the origin of the first movement made from the arsenal — whether it was made on the suggestion of General Lyon, Colonel Frank Blair, or that of the Committee of Safety. But on the tenth day of May, 1861, in the middle of the day, when no one in the city or in Camp Jackson anticipated the movement, the military force at the arsenal was suddenly put in march toward the city. One portion of it passed through the midst of the city, whilst another marched along the western outskirts of the city; and the march of the two portions was so well-timed and measured, that Camp Jackson was completely surrounded before any measures could be taken by its inmates for either escape or defence. An unconditional surrender was demanded and acquiesced in. Unfortunately, some citizen sympathizers with the rebel cause, together with some loose population, had gathered around the camp, and while measures were being taken to secure the prisoners, without bloodshed, the troops were insulted by the most abusive epithets from the populace, which was all borne for a considerable time by the most perfect discipline and forbearance. But at length the report of a pistol from the crowd was heard, and it was immediately supposed by the troops that it was necessary to disperse the crowd to protect themselves; and accordingly a miscellaneous firing was commenced by the soldiers, which required all the efforts of the officers to control; and this was not effected until some twenty-five or thirty persons were killed or wounded.

It may well be supposed that such an event could not transpire without producing in the city, then nearly divided in sentiment between the North and South, an immense excitement.

I now return to myself in the city of Washington, where I was wholly ignorant of the events just detailed; the closing event — the capture of Camp Jackson — not having, indeed, taken place until after I left Washington on my return to St. Louis, which city I reached on the evening of the Friday on which that event took place.

It is necessary to state that whilst in Washington, making my application to the Secretary of War for orders to return to my command, Mr.


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