On the War-Path

The Black Hawk War—Abraham Resolves to Enlist—Others follow—A Company formed in New Salem—How chosen Captain—Abraham's Speech—“Captain Lincoln”—He lifts a Barrel of Whiskey—His Views of Betting, and Whiskey—Lecture to Green—Going into Camp, and End of War—Incidents—The Friendly Indian and General Cass—Abraham's Courage and Power—His Life in Danger—The Greatest Athlete—Wrestles with Thompson—His Uprightness—Securing the Rights of his Volunteer Company—Irwin's Tribute to him as a Soldier—Abraham's Humorous Speech about it in Congress

The Black Hawk War was causing great excitement in Illinois and other Western states when Abraham closed his labours with Offutt. Not long afterward the Governor of Illinois called for four regiments of volunteers.

“I shall enlist,” said Abraham to his intimate friend and companion, William Green, as soon as the news reached New Salem.

“I shall if you do,” responded William.

“Well, I shall do it, honest. Nothing else on hand now. Besides, Black Hawk is one of the most treacherous Indians on the footstool, and he ought to be shot. It is not more than a year ago, and hardly that, that he entered into a treaty; and he was to keep his people on the other side of the Mississippi, and now he has crossed to make war on the whites.”

“Real Indian, that is,” continued William; “the only way to deal with an Indian is to shoot him.”

“I don’t know about that; it’s the only way to treat Black Hawk, though,—a cunning, artful warrior, who is in his element when he can massacre the whites,” added Abraham.

“They expect to make short work of it, or the governor would have called for volunteers for more than thirty days,” suggested William.

“They may call for them again after the expiration of thirty days, and the same volunteers may re-enlist I shall enlist for the war, whether it is thirty days or thirty months.” Abraham meant just what he said, as the sequel will snow.

“Clary Grove Boys” were now the fast friends of Abraham, and all were eager to enlist with him. Other young men, and older men, also, were ready for the war. In consequence of the general interest awakened, Abraham said,—

“We can raise a company in New Salem.”

“True as you live,” answered Herndon.

“We must be about it in a hurry if we are goin’ to do it,” remarked Green.

The whole town became fired with military ardour in consequence of Abraham’s leadership, and the result was that a recruiting office was opened in New Salem. Within a few days the company was full, Abraham being the first to enlist, and the choice of officers became the exciting topic. However, the officers were not elected at New Salem; but the volunteers marched to Bushville, in Schuyler County, where the election took place.

There were only two candidates for captain, Abraham and Fitzpatrick, the owner of the saw-mill at Spring Creek. He sawed the lumber for Abraham when he built the boat for Offutt, and treated his customer rudely. Fitzpatrick was a popular man, but there was a small show for him in a race with Abraham.

The method of electing captain was peculiar—perhaps the best method for that place, under the circumstances. The two candidates were required to take their positions opposite each other, at a suitable distance; and, at a given signal, each volunteer went to the one whom he desired for his captain. Three-fourths of the

  By PanEris using Melati.

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