was in Chicago
, where the greatest material interests, both public and private, were at stake, though many other important railroad centers and many thousand miles of road were involved.
There the insurrection was so great in numbers and so violent in its acts as to require the most prompt and energetic action of a very large force to suppress disorder, protect property, and execute the laws.
The city police were utterly powerless in such an emergency, and deputy United States
marshals, though employed without limit as to numbers, were no more effective.
The State militia were not called out in time to meet the emergency.
Hence nothing remained but for the National Government
to exercise the military power conferred upon it by the Constitution
and laws, so far as the same were applicable.1
Fortunately, the acts of Congress passed in pursuance of the Constitution
, although never before made effective in a similar case, were found to give ample authority for the action then required.
Fortunately, also, the wise foresight of the government in establishing a large military post at Fort Sheridan, near Chicago
, made a regiment of infantry, a squadron of cavalry, and a battery of artillery immediately available for service in that city.
But, unfortunately, the commanding general
of that department was absent from his command, where superior military capacity was so much needed at that time.
Although the troops west of the Mississippi
had been engaged for a long time, under the President
's orders, in overcoming the unlawful obstruction of railroad traffic above referred to, the general appears not to have anticipated any emergency which would in his judgment require or justify such use of the troops in his own department, and hence remained in the Eastern States
, where he had gone some time before.
From this it resulted that when the troops at Fort Sheridan were ordered into Chicago