Monday, April 16, 2007

April 16, 1832:

Gov. John Reynolds Calls Up the Illinois Militia

The Black Hawk War is important in US presidential history because, unknown to its participants, two future presidents -- Taylor and Lincoln -- participated in it, and so did the future president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, though he missed most of the conflict. Actually, though he joined up three separate times, young Mr. Lincoln missed fighting Indians as well, reporting later that he mostly fought mosquitoes. Nevertheless, Lincoln had answered the call of Gov. Reynolds of Illinois for militia in the spring of 1832 to repel Sac and Fox Indians who had decided to return unannounced to ancestral lands in Illinois. (Gov. Reynolds also served as a field commander in the conflict, unusual for a state governor.)

"[Lincoln's] first enlistment was as elected captain of a company in the 4th Regiment of Mounted Volunteers, of Gen. Samuel Whiteside's Brigade," wrote Robert A. Braun of the Old Lead Region Historical Society. "Lincoln enrolled on April 21, 1832, and mustered out with his company at Fort Johnson (Ottawa) on May 27, 1832. The company served at Beardstown, and reportedly Lincoln's company helped bury the dead of "Stillman's Run"— although this occurrence is still under investigation...

"Lincoln re-enlisted on the same day he mustered out of his old company, and was mustered in on May 29 as a private in Captain Elijah Ises' Company, Twenty-Day Interim Regiment. He actively served with the company when General Henry Atkinson detached Captain Iles' command to ride north from Ottawa along the Kellogg Trail and reopen communications with Galena -- which had been out of touch with the rest of the world since the Felix St. Vrain Massacre... Once this ride was completed, the service of Iles’ company was essentially at an end. On June 16, Lincoln was mustered out.

"Lincoln's third enlistment was as a private in Captain Jacob M. Early's 'Spy Company.' This unit mustered in approximately June 20, 1832, and served as part of General Atkinson’s army as it moved north through present-day Beloit, Janesvilles, the Storr's Lake encampment (west of present-day Milton, Rock County, Wisconsin) and on to the “Trembling Lands” east of present-day Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County, Wisconsin. Atkinson's food supply dwindled, and his solution was to muster out most of his militia. Accordingly, Early's company (along with Lincoln) was mustered out and discharged on July 10, 1832..."

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