does not hesitate to say that, in his opinion, there was no body of men of equal numerical strength in this country to whom, at that crisis, the Government
and country had cause to feel under greater obligation, and justice would require its acknowledgment at this time.
But for them the enemies of the Union
would have captured the city of St. Louis
with its great Government arsenal, and with the arms and ammunition thus secured would have overrun both the States of Missouri
A large preponderance of the American-born citizens of St. Louis
The Union people of that city who saved the day, were principally the “Dutch
,” as they were called.
A large army was needed at that point to protect the Governnment
's interests, when it had practically no available forces.
There was no law under which it could be organized on the spot.
No man could be made to serve.
No pay for service was assured, or even promised.
The army, however, was created by the voluntary and patriotic action of its members.
Nearly a dozen full regiments were organized and equipped.
Nine tenths of their members were Germans.
They did not wait for hostilities to begin.
Foreseeing the emergency near at hand, they organized into companies and regiments, and put themselves on a war footing before a blow had been struck or a shot had been fired.
They met by night to drill in factory lofts, in recreation halls, and in whatever other places were most available, the words of command being generally delivered in German
The writer has a lively recollection of the difficulties involved in trying to learn military evolutions