Doc. 192.-proclamation of Gov. Yates.
Illinois the privilege of volunteering to vindicate the supremacy of the Government, I have at length succeeded in obtaining instructions from the Secretary of War to accept all companies which shall offer themselves for the three years service. I have now the pleasure to announce that all companies which shall report, fully organized, within twenty days from this date, will be received, and that orders for the transportation, sustenance, and equipment of troops have already been given. Equipments of the best quality will be furnished in the shortest practicable period, and arms will be procured as soon as possible. An admirable camp, with ample drill and parade grounds, abundance of pure water, pleasant shade, and conveniences for bathing, has also been selected; skilful and experienced drill officers have been employed. I have also taken steps to call home as many of the sons of Illinois, graduates of West Point, and now in the army of the United States, as may be practicable, with a view of giving them positions in the army, and an opportunity to serve the State in the stirring events through which she is now passing. It has been my unpleasant lot, resulting from the limited authority conferred upon me by the Legislature and the Federal authority, to turn  off thousands who were ready to enter the field, and to see the patriotic ardor of the people dampened by refusal of their services; but I still have no doubt as to the response which will now be made. It is with pride, and in a spirit of exultation, that I refer to the patriotic response of Southern Illinois to the late call made by me for troops. From Southern Illinois alone the whole requisition could be filled. The response from Northern Illinois has also been creditable in a high degree, but the larger portion of those eager to enter the service have been engaged in their harvest fields. They will respond with alacrity and promptitude within the next twenty days. In the mean time, numerous companies of Home Guards have been formed, and organizations under the Militia law have been initiated, giving assurance that our State will be prepared for any emergency. Chicago, besides sending her gallant regiments into the field, has already a full regiment completely organized under the Militia law — a fact worthy of her, as the first city in the State. Illinoians! the war is on your hands — the enemy now in large numbers is marching toward your borders. Every prominent point on your rivers is threatened with attack. Shall it be said that the numbers, whose object it is to sustain a Government as good as ours, are not one-third so large as those which are in arms to put it down! Shall the handful of our first volunteers be required to oppose vastly superior numbers? How long shall the brave Siegel in the unequal contest be forced to retreat? How long shall the blood of the noble Lyon cry from the ground unavenged? How long shall the fatal blunder and foul blot of Manassas stain our escutcheon? The cause in which you are to engage is a holy one. You are to fight for a Government you love; the very best Government on earth, endeared to you by the boundlessness of the blessings it confers; which has protected and nursed you with all the fondness of a mother for her child; which has secured our country respect at home and abroad, and made the title American citizen prouder than that of Roman citizen in the days of the Scipios and Caesars. What undying memories cluster around it! What joys, what fears, what tears, what smiles, what destinies, what hopes are associated with it! The gift of Washington — the hope of our children — the asylum of the oppressed of every nation on earth; to aim for its perpetuity is the loftiest summit of patriotic aspiration — and to vindicate it, the most shining height of human achievement. To fight for — to live for — to die for such a Government — is glorious. We fight for our nationality, for the life of liberty itself, for our Union--for the States to be one and undivided; now and forever; to establish, now and always, that there is power in a Government of the people, founded upon the equal rights of all and upon the rights of a majority, to defend itself against all traitors at home and enemies abroad. Cost what it may, then — an empty exchequer, ruined credit, prostrate commerce, and fearful loss of human life — the war, at any cost, will be cheap, and history, in all her ample chronicles, shall indite no sublimer event than the spontaneous uprising of this great people to establish the proposition which all ages have not settled — that a free government can be strong enough to sustain itself, and that man is capable of self-government. Illinoians! Traitors are marching upon your National Capital to tear down the flag which Washington planted upon its dome, and which, for eighty-five years, has waved to the battle and the breeze — the emblem of our National sovereignty, and the proud ensign of our National greatness and renown. Let us meet them, never giving ground, never yielding an inch, till the jubilant shouts of triumph shall go up from all our charging columns and all our victorious legions. Let there be no compromise, till the last traitor shall lay down his arms and sue for peace. Illinoians! we are soon to make a record for our State. Each State will be justly emulous to inscribe her name highest on the scroll of fame, which the historian of this war has already commenced to write. Shall not the star which answers to Illinois be brightest in the galaxy of the thirty-four? On many a field of glory she has written an imperishable record of her prowess, and while the names of her Hardin, her Bissell, her Shields, and her Baker, and the gallant men around them, remain, her fame is secure. Let us now send her proudest chivalry into the field, and do nothing to mar the glories already achieved. Let us raise an army, which, in numbers, discipline, and prowess, shall of itself be sufficient to sweep the last vestige of treason from the Mississippi Valley, and to bear our flag in triumph to the ends of the republic.
Richard Yates, Governor and Commander-in-Chief.