by the rebel government with large sums of money for the purpose, commenced operations to organize in Canada an expedition to release rebel prisoners of war at different camps in the North-west, and aid the “Sons of Liberty” with money and arms, to raise an insurrection, especially in the States of Illinois and Indiana, against the Government of the United States. About the twenty-fifth day of August last an expedition was organized at Toronto, Canada, under the immediate direction of Captain Hines, formerly of Morgan's command, composed of one hundred and fifty to two hundred escaped prisoners and rebel soldiers, accompanied by Colonel G. St. Leger Grenfell, at one time Morgan's Chief of Staff and afterward Inspector-General on the staff of General Bragg; Colonel Vincent Marmaduke, of Missouri; Colonel Ben. Anderson, of Kentucky; Captains Castleman and Cantrell, formerly of Morgan's command, and other rebel officers. This force was armed with pistols at Toronto, divided, and its members, in citizen's dress, came to Chicago, by different routes, in the same trains which brought the thronging thousands who assembled on the twenty-ninth of August to attend the Chicago Convention, and which made it difficult to detect their presence. It was to have been assisted by large numbers of “Sons of Liberty” and other guerrillas, who came armed to that convention, gathered from Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois, and were to be under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Charles Walsh, of the “Sons of Liberty.” The presence of these officers and men for that purpose was suspected by the Government, and reinforcements were made to the garrison at Camp Douglas, which thwarted the expedition, and its members dispersed, some of the rebel officers and soldiers to Canada, others to Kentucky, and yet others to Southern Indiana and Illinois, and the “Sons of Liberty” and guerrillas to their respective homes, to await a signal for the general uprising which, it was determined, should soon take place in the States of Illinois and Indiana against the Government. About the first of November another expedition of like character was organized in Canada, to be commanded by Captain Hines, and composed of the same elements as that which had failed at the time of the Chicago Convention. It was determined that the attempt should be made about the period of the Presidential election, and the night of that day was finally designated as the time when the plot should be executed. During the canvass which preceded the election, the “Sons of Liberty,” a secret organization, within, and beyond all doubt, unknown to the better portion and majority of, the Democratic party, had caused it to be widely proclaimed and believed, that there was an intention on the part of the Government, and great danger that such intention would be carried into effect, to interfere by military force at the polls; against the Democratic party, as an excuse under which to arm themselves, as individuals, and had also obtained and concealed at different places in this city, arms and ammunition for themselves and the rebel prisoners of war, when they should be released. On the evening of the fifth day of November, it was reported that a large number of persons of suspicious character had arrived in the city from Fayette and Christian counties, in Illinois, and that more were coming. On Sunday, the sixth day of November, late in the afternoon, it became evident that the city was filling up with suspicious characters, some of whom were prisoners of war, and soldiers of the rebel army; that Captain Hines, Colonel Grenfell, and Colonel Marmaduke were here to lead, and that Brigadier-General Walsh, of the “Sons of Liberty,” had ordered large numbers of members of that order from the southern portion of Illinois, to cooperate with them. Adopting measures which proved effective to detect the presence and identify the persons of the officers and leaders, and ascertain their plans, it was manifest that they had the means of gathering a force considerably larger than the little garrison, then guarding between eight and nine thousand prisoners of war at Camp Douglas, and that, taking advantage of the excitement and the large number of persons who would ordinarily fill the streets on election night, they intended to make a night attack on and surprise this camp, release and arm the prisoners of war, cut the telegraph wires, burn the railway depots, seize the banks and stores containing arms and ammunition, take possession of the city, and commence a campaign for the release of other prisoners of war in the States of Illinois and Indiana, thus organizing an army to effect and give success to the general uprising so long contemplated by the “Sons of Liberty.” The whole number of troops for duty at Camp Douglas on that day were as follows:
to guard eight thousand three hundred and fifty-two prisoners of war confined in the garrison square at this camp, by a fence constructed of inch-boards, twelve feet high.
The election was to take place on Tuesday, the eighth, two days thereafter.
By deferring action till the night of Monday,
|Eighth regiment Veteran Reserve corps, Lieutenant-Colonel L. C. Skinner, commanding||273|
|Fifteenth regiment Veteran Reserve corps, Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Flood, commanding||377|
|Twenty-fourth Ohio battery, Lieutenant James W. Gamble, commanding||146|
|Making a total of||796|