The war record of Illinois one to be proud of by all the sons of Mars. In 1832-33, when men were not very plenty in Illinois, Gov. Reynolds called for volunteers to march against the great Indian Warrior, Black Hawk, and they went forward, conquered and vanquished the savage fore and drove him beyond the Mississippi. In 1846, when the war with Mexico was declared, 8,370 Illinoisans offered their services to their country, whereas but 3,720 could be accepted under the call. How those volunteers acquitted themselves in this war, the deathless memories of Baker, Bissel, Hardin, Shields, and hundreds of other brave officers and men will tell.|
In the war of the rebellion, Illinois put into her own regiments 256,000, far exceeding the total of all the soldiers who served in the Revolutionary war that achieved our independence. The total period of service of these men was 600,000 years. The laws of Congress called for the able-bodied men between the ages of twenty and forty-five, but the Illinoisans went in with their boys of eighteen and men of fifty and upward. The enrollment was excessive and the quota greater than in any other State. When Mr. Lincoln's attention was called to this injustice, he said, "the country needs the sacrifice and we must put the whip on the free horse." But that was not necessary for enough were willing to go without the use of the whip. With one-thirteenth of the population of the loyal States, Illinois furnished one-tenth of all the soldiers that served in the war of the rebellion, and gave to the country, above all calls, 73,000 years of service. The mothers and daughters went into the fields, raised and harvested the crops, and the fathers and sons went into the battlefields to subdue the rebellious land and to reap in the harvest of death and deathless fame. In Sherman's march from Atlanta to the sea, there were forty-five Illinois regiments of infantry, three companies of artillery and one regiment of cavalry. Knowing these men as He did, Mr. Lincoln replied to the fears and apprehensions as to the defeat of this army by saying, "It is impossible, there is a mighty sight of fight in a 100,000 Western men." Illinois soldiers raised the first Union flag over the city of Richmond, and brought home with them 300 battle-flags "all tattered and torn." She had the best War Governor of all the States, in the person of Gov. Yates. She furnished the greatest and best of all the Presidents during these perilous times, and she had the yet prouder distinction of furnishing the greatest military hero that the world has yet produced.