« PreviousContinue »
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives :
I congratulate the people of the State, our common constituents, that the period has arrived when you, their immediate neighbors and representatives, fresh from your homes, can participate in the duties and responsibilities of providing for and protecting their interests ; and it is a source of great relief to myself to know that, with your presence, I shall have able counselors to guide and direct me, in the discharge of the many cares and responsibilities resting upon the Executive.
There never has been a period in the history of our State when a faithful and vigilant effort at duty, on the part of the people's representatives, was more required than the present. The question of man's capacity for self-government is yet unsettled. The gigantic effort of wicked and bad men to overthrow our beautiful and heavenly form of government, which existed at the period of your adjournment, has not yet been quelled. We were given the reins of our State government, for the time being, by an bonest and confiding constituency, with a special view to carry out their wishes in maintaining the government as handed down to them by their Fathers ; we should look well to it, then, that we do not disappoint their expectations. They have not faltered in this great work; but, fully appreciating the mighty importance of preserving our institutions, they have yielded up everything, with a degree of generosity unparalleled in the history of any people. I verything dear to them has been given to the cause. Husbands, fathers, sons and brothers have left their loved ones, to brave the dangers of the field of battle and the diseases incident to camp life, with a cheerfulness never before manifested. The mothers, wives and sisters also have fully demonstrated their claim to the love and affection of these brave and gallant men. All that woman can do, has been done to alleviate the distresses of our soldiers, and thereby stimulate them to duty.
Such being the character of our constituents, it is impossible to measure the claim they have upon us, their agents. Energy, integrity and purity of purpose, economy and industry, are, at least, due from us to them.
Aside from the claim that our constituents have upon us for all this, the only true reward a public servant can win for himself, is to be able to claim, when communing with his Maker, an honest and vigilant effort at public duty. If we cannot claim this for ourselves, when we shall surrender up our trust, we will have worked to little purpose.
It is not necessary to discuss the question presented by this rebellion with the people of Ohio; they have, with great unanimity, determined that, cost what it may in time, treasure or life, the Union of the States, as handed down to us by our Fathers, shall be preserved unimpaired ; and thus handed down to our children. They will not for one moment concede that there can be any cause sufficient to justify a State, or any number of States, in withdrawing from the Union. Admit, if you please, that the authorities of the Federal Government, for the time being, were to attempt to interfere with the domestic institutions of either Obio or South Carolina, to the extent even of introducing slavery into the former or excluding it from the latter; this would not give the slightest prettxt for the one thus attempted to be interfered with, to take up arms against the government. The Federal Constitution itself expressly protects the State, thus interfered with, from injury. Long before any such attempt could be executed, the people, in whose hands all power is placed, would, through the peaceable, quiet mode pointed out by the Constitution, burl the authors of such attempt from power, and thus rescue the injured State. But no such attempt has been made, or thought of, by the Federal officers now in power; and this the authors and leaders of the rebellion well know. President Lincoln has, again and again, in the most solemn manner, assured the people that it was his determination, so far as lay in his power, to preserve, inviolate, all the rights of the several States. The Fed. eral Congress, the several State Legislatures of the loyal States, and the people of said States, in their political assemblies, have all, again and again, made the same pledges to the people of the South. It was not, therefore, either the fear or the belief that their State rights were about to be inter'ered with, that induced them to take up arms against the government, Mad ambition, and disappointment in not obtaining place and power, on the part of a few wicked men, was the sole cause ; and all other causes alleged by these leaders, are simply to deceive their blind followers.
To bring these wicked men to the punishment they deserve, and thereby restore harmony, law and order throughout our common country, the people of Obio desire to do their full share of duty; and, to that end, will bear any burden that may be imposed upon them.
The period since your adjournment has been one of great excitement. About the first of June our National Capital was seriously threatened by the rebel army; and, but for the prompt response to the President's call for more troops, would have been sacked and p undered. The gallant young men of our State were among the first to rush to the rescuemover five thousand promptly assembled at Camp Chase, and tendered their services. To their honor, and the honor of the State, it should be known, that although they thus assembled without officers, or military organization of any kind, a more quiet, orderly and well-behaved body of men or soldiers never met together. About three Thousand of this number were promptly organized into regiments and sent to the vicinity of Washington City, where they remained during the term for which they were organized ; and, it is proper to add, maintained their high character for courage and gentlemanly bearing. The remainder were organized for duty at Camp Chase and other points within the State. Many of these, since their discharge, have gone into the service for three years, or during the war.
The desperation and audacity of the rebel enemy led them, early in September, to attempt the invasion of our Southern border. To repel this impudent and wicked movement, it became necessary to call upon the loyal citizens of the State to arm themselves, repair to the border, and drive back the insolent foe.
Most nobly were these calls responded to. From the fields, workshops, stores, offices and sacred desks, both old and young, most generously turned out, and, armed with the same old rifles used by the pioneers of the State, with the same old bullet pouch and powder-horn, and with three days' rations, cooked by dear mothers and wives, rushed to our Southern border and drove the fiends back, and thus saved the soil we all love so much, and the Queen City, of which we are all so justly proud, from invasion and destruction. The enemy, seeing this evidence of gallantry and power, were glad to abandon their heilish purpose, and retire ; thus preventing an opportunity of testing, whether or not the old gun was still true to the steady and manly hand of him who held the same.
The enemy baving thus retired, these patriotic volunteers had but to return to their anxious friends; happy, however, in the reflection, that their short term of service, though bloodless, had demonstrated to the world, that our love for free institutions is such, that we will, on a moment's warning, peril life, property, all, for their preservation.
It is difficult to estimate, with any degree of accuracy, what number of brave and patriotic men turned out on these occasions. They could be counted only by measuring the means of transportation, for thousands were turned back for the want of these.
At many points on the Obio, above Cincinnati, we were, for many weeks, constantly threatened with invasion ; indeed, the people of nearly all the river counties have been in a state of alarm most of the summer and fall. The river has been urusually low, thus forming but a slight protection to our border. I am happy to announce, however, that the vigilance and patriotism of the citizens of the counties thus exposed, have proved sufficient to protect our border from invasion, without any material assistance from other portions of the State.
The attention of the War Department was called early to this subject; but although it evinced a disposition and willingness to do all in its power to drive the enemy from Western Virginia, it was impossible to concentrate a sufficient force for that purpose until about the first of October. All is now quiet on our southern border.
Early in July, the President issued calls upon the loyal States for 600,000 more troops. Obio's quota for these calls was about 74,000; and we were called upon to raise this number promptly. When it is remembered that, up to this date, we had raised 115,200 troops, by voluntary enlistment, of which number at least 60,000 were then in the field, this additional demand will be fully appreciated. Large, however, as this demand was, and great as the effort necessarily would be to meet it, you will be proud to know that the gallant men of Ohio were found equal to the emergency. With one accord, the patriotic and loyal citizens all over the State entered upon the good work, and ceased not until it was finished.
Of this number, about 37,000 were, by an Act of Congress, paseed July 17, 1862, and by the President's order, issued in pursuance thereof on the 4th day of August, 1862, subject to be drafted, upon failure to tender their services voluntarily.
Anticipating the draft, on the 22d day of July, A. D. 1862, I requested the several township and ward assessors to take an enumeration, and make a perfect list of all citizens, subject to military duty, within their respective districts. This request was most cheerfully complied with ; and I here return my sincere thanks to the Auditor of State, and the several county auditors and townsbip and ward assessors, for their kind and prompt assistance in this difficult and unpleasant duty.
The Report of the Hon. Martin Welker, who was appointed to superintend the execution of the President's order relating to the draft, is herewith submitted, and to which your attention is invited.
It will be seen, that the total militia strength of the State is 425,147; that, of the 74,000 required from Ohio, about 62,000 volunteered between the date of the President's order and the date fixed for the draft; thus leaving but about 12,000 to be drafted ; that, of this 12,000, about 4,800, either in person or by substitute, volunteered for the term of three years ; that 2,900 were discharged for various reasons, and that 1,900 have, as yet, failed to respond to the diaft; thus leaving 2,400 as the number actually sent to the field for service under the draft.
The deficiences, above stated, occasioned by discharges and failures to respond, amounting together to 4,800, are more than made good by voluntary enlistments, since the draft, of men other than those drafted.
Ohio has, therefore, fully responded to the large calls made upon us. We all have reason to feel proud of our noble State, to know that she has within her borders so generous and patriotic a people. To the many generous hearts, who have contributed so liberally in this great and good work, the people are much indebted. To the several county military committees especial credit is due.
The Report of the Adjutant General, herewith, will give the disposition of this large army from Ohio. It also exhibits our total force now in the field. This report is worthy of your profound consideration. To Adjutant-General Hill, and his able and efficient corps of clerks, I am greatly indebted. They have devoted themselves to the duties of their respective positions with diligence and scrupulous fidelity.
The Report of Quarter-master General Wright will advise you fully of the operations of bis department. A perusal of this report will fully demonstrate the necessity of an efficient head, and competent corps of assistants and clerks, in this