Friday, August 12, 2011

150 Years Ago -- Proclamations

On Monday, August 12, 1861, Confederate General Ben McCulloch issued a proclamation to the people of Missouri.  McCulloch had defeated General Nathaniel Lyon's forces at the Battle of Wilson's Creek just two days before.  Now he was urging Missourians to pick a side:
TO THE PEOPLE OF MISSOURI: Having been called by the Governor of your State to assist in driving the National forces out of the State, and restoring the people to their just rights, I have come among you simply with the view of making war upon Northern foes and to drive them back. I give the oppressed of your State an opportunity of again standing up as freemen, and uttering their true sentiments. You have been overrun and trampled upon by the mercenary hordes of the North. Your beautiful State has been nearly subjugated, but those sons of Missouri who have continued in arms, together with my forces, came back upon the enemy, and we have gained over them a great and signal victory. Their General-in-Chief is slain, and many other of their other general officers wounded; their army is in full flight, and now if the true men of Missouri will rise up and rally around their standard, the State will be redeemed.

I do not come among you to make war upon any of your people, whether of Union or otherwise. The Union people will all be protected in their rights and property. It is earnestly recommended to them to return to their homes. Prisoners of the Union party, which have been arrested by the army will be released, and allowed to return to their friends.

Missouri must be allowed to choose her own destiny. No oaths binding your consciences will be administered.

I have driven the enemy from among you. The time has now arrived for the people of the State to act. There is no time to procrastinate. She must take her position, be it North or South.

BEN MCCULLOCH, Commanding.

In Washington, President Lincoln had a proclamation of his own, declaring the last Thursday in September to be "a day of humiliation, prayer and fasting for all the people of the nation," recommending to all that they "recognize the hand of God in this terrible visitation, and in sorrowful remembrance of our own faults and crimes as a nation and as individuals, to humble ourselves before Him, and to pray for His mercy, — to pray that we may be spared further punishment, though most justly deserved; that our arms may be blessed and made effectual for the re-establishment of law, order and peace, throughout the wide extent of our country; and that the inestimable boon of civil and religious liberty, earned under His guidance and blessing, by the labors and sufferings of our fathers, may be restored in all its original excellence."

In West Texas, Mescalero Apaches raided Fort Davis, killing some cattle and scattering some horses.  The Confederates now holding the fort sent Lieutenant Reuben Mays and 14 troopers in pursuit.  The Apaches ambushed the cavalrymen in the Big Bend region, killing them all.

And, in Ilion, New York, Eliphalet Remington, the designer of the Remington Rifle, died of a heart attack while overseeing munitions manufacture at the E. Remington & Sons plant.

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