The Position of Illinois.
We have on several occasions referred to the manner in which our Illinois volunteer regiments are being scattered and broken up to do service for commands in other States. The process still goes on apace. Illinois has now seven regiments in different parts of Missouri and not a single General officer to command them. At the present rate the identity of our Illinois troops will soon be entirely lost and their business will consist in keeping camp and guarding railroad bridges while more favored troops do the fighting.
Illinois, if properly cared for, occupies to-day a most commanding position in this war. On the one side Missouri has as much as she can do to take care of herself, while Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota have had their troops drawn off for service eastward. On the other hand, Indiana and Ohio have sent all their troops forward for service in Western Virginia. Illinois has a powerful force of 20,000 men in the field. If this force can be kept together and properly officered and commanded, upon Illinois will devolve largely the reconquest of the valley of the Southern Mississippi. Such an army, when it moves Southward, would of necessity, occupy a commanding position and control the operations down the lower river.
It is important for the military fame of our State, so gloriously achieved on the plains of Mexico, that our troops be kept together for this purpose, and have a commander over them who shall be a citizen, directly interested in their welfare and success; and that they move to the execution of the operations down the Southern river, with an undivided force. Appeals to this end have again and again been made to the War Department, but thus far no notice have been taken of them. Our delegation in Congress has also been written to to interfere in this matter. Gen. Pope, now in charge of our State troops, has used all the influence he could bring to bear, by letter and otherwise, and he is still using it against the policy of scattering our regiments.
We hope and trust that justice will yet be done to Illinois. It is indispensable to our military efficiency and reputation that we should have a commander to our troops who shall have full authority in the State. The system which is now being pursued is demoralizing and frittering away our strength, subjecting our volunteers to the most obscure and odious service and absolutely destroying the identity of our troops. Although we have force enough on foot to entitle us to one Major General, if not two, and at least five Brigadier Generals, only two Brigadiers have been appointed, and neither of these has yet been assigned to active duty. Let us at once have a Major General, one of own people, to whom the welfare and reputation of our State are dear, and who will enable us to move, when we do move, with our whole military power.