were so active and enthusiastic, and apparently ubiquitous, that there were supposed to be ten times that many of them.
In their zeal to do something—to force a fight —they hoisted the Confederate
flag over their headquarters and defied the Home Guards to take it down.
But the Home Guards, or rather the Union
leaders, did not accept the challenge.
They were not ready, nor for that matter were the Minute Men
, for they were unarmed, and there were no arms in sight except those in the arsenal.
In the arsenal, as has been stated, there were 60,--000 stand of good arms, with an abundance of the munitions of war. The Minute Men would have seized it or died in the attempt if they had not been restrained by their commanding officer.
His policy was delay.
He and those in authority at Jefferson City
were waiting for the legislature to act and the people to rise en masse, when they proposed to demand the surrender of the arsenal, and, if the demand were not complied with, to take it by force.
But the governor, busy trying to control the legislature, some time before had turned the matter over to General Frost
, and authorized him to take it whenever in his judgment it was expedient to do so. Frost
accepted the trust and had an interview with Maj. Wm. H. Bell
, the commandant of the arsenal, and on the 24th of January reported the result to the governor.
‘I have just returned from the arsenal,’ he said.
‘I found the Major
everything you or I could desire.
He assured me that he considered Missouri
had, whenever the time came, a right to claim it as being on her soil.
He asserted his determination to defend it against any and all irresponsible mobs, come from whence .they might, but at the same time gave me to understand that he would not attempt any defense against the proper State authorities.
He promised me, upon the honor of an officer and a gentleman, that he would not suffer any arms to be removed from the place without first giving ’