Proclamation of Gov. Yates.
PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS:
Under a late requisition of the President, I am called upon to furnish, at the earliest practicable period, nine regiments of Infantry, for the tree years' service, being a part of the quota of the State under the call of the President for three hundred thousand men. An order of Adjutant General Fuller, this day published, will give the details as to the mode of raising troops, subsistence, transportation, places of rendezvous, etc.
The war has now arrived at the most critical point. A series of splendid successes has crowned our arms. The enemy has been driven from Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky, from Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, and from the seacoast at almost all points. The Mississippi has been opened from Cairo to the Gulf. The Potomac has been opened from Washington to the Chesapeake. Beaten, broken, demoralized, bankrupt and scattered, the enemy has fled before our victorious legions, leaving us a large area of conquered territory and almost innumerable posts in the enemy's country to garrison with our troops. But the rebels, whose leaders are bold and sagacious, and with whom the fate of the rebellion is now neck or nothing, have with the energy of desperation resolved to cast all upon the hazard of a single battle; and while weak at every other point, they have, by the evacuation of Corinth, and by the rapid concentration of their scattered forces at Richmond brought together a great and powerful army, far superior in numbers to that of our own at the same point. With the consummate skill and general ship they have planned so as not only to defend their own capital, but also, should they be successful in driving back McClellan, to take ours, and raise the rebel flag upon the capitol at Washington, with the expectation that so great a conquest would reanimate the South, revive their fading fortunes, and secure them the immediate co-operation of the two great powers of Europe — England and France.
This is their last great stake. The desperation with which they have fought has developed the depth, intensity and recklessness of their designs. Their mode of warfare is the most malignant, desperate and savage. Thus we are brought to the very crisis of the rebellion, and all our hopes, and the hopes of this great country, hang upon the issue.
It is for this reason that the President telegraphs me in a private dispatch, "Time is everything. Please act in view of this."
Illinoisans! In view of the crisis, when the battles soon to be fought will be decisive, the alliance with the foreign powers in not only sought, but confidently relied upon by the rebels, and when our own brave volunteers contending against unequal numbers stretch out their hands for help, I cannot doubt the response you will give. Indeed I am most happy to state that in response to active measures already taken, every mail brings me the glad tidings of the rapid enrollment of our volunteers in the nine regiments which are forming.
Covered all over with glory, a name honored throughout the earth — shining with the lustre of the great achievements of her sons on almost every field, Illinois will nto now hold back and tarnish the fame she has so nobly earned. To the timid who supposed that the State will not now respond, I say "take courage." They vastly underrate the patriotism and courage of the men of Illinois. But I repeat, time is everything. Defeat now would prolong the war for years. Also remember that every argument of public necessity, of patriotism, ever emotion of humanity appeals to the people to turn out in overwhelming demonstration, so that the rebellion may be speedily crushed and an end put to this desolating war, Remember the words of Douglas, that the "shortest road to peace is the most stupendous preparation for war."
Your all is at stake. The crisis is such that every man must feel that the success of our cause depends upon himself, and not upon his neighbor. Whatever his position, his wealth, his rank or condition, he must be ready to devote all to the service of his country. Let all, old and young, contribute, work, speak and in every possible mode further the work of the speedy enrollment of our forces. Let not only every man, but every woman be a soldier, if not to fight, yet to cheer and encourage and to provide comforts and relief for the sick and wounded. The public as yet knows but little how much the country is indebted to the noble women of our State for their assistance to our soldiers in the field. — All along the path of our army, upon the banks of our rivers, filling our steamboats and ambulances, in the tents of the soldier far from his home, I have witnessed the bright traces of woman's enduring love and benevolence. When the war shall have closed and its history shall be written, the labors of our Sanitary Associations and Aid
Illinoisans! Look at the issue and do not falter. Your all is at stake. What are your beautiful prairies, comfortable mansions and rich harvests? — what is even life worth if your government is lost? Better that the desolation of pestilence and famine should sweep over the State than that the glorious work of our fathers should now forever fail. Look out upon your country with a government so free, institutions so noble, boundaries so broad — a beautiful sisterhood of States so prosperous and happy, and resolve afresh that as your fathers gave it you, you will hand it down to your children, a glorious inheritance of liberty and union for their enjoyment forever. For seven long years our fathers endured, suffered and fought to build up the fair fabric of American freedom. The precious boon purchased by patriot blood and treasure was committed to us for enjoyment, and to be transmitted to our posterity with the most solemn injuction that man has the power to lay on man. By the grace of God, we will be faithful to the trust! And if need be, for seven years to come we will struggle to maintain a perfect Union, a government of one people, in one nation, under one Constitution.
The coming of the brave boys of Illinois will be hailed on the banks of the Potomac and James river with shouts of applause.
During my recent visit East, I felt my heart to leap with exultant delight at the praise of Illinois heard from every lip. You will be hailed as the brothers of the men who have faced the storm of battle and gloriously triumphed at Donelson, Pea Ridge, Shiloh, and other memorable fields.
Go, then, and doubt not the result. We are sure to triumph. The God of liberty, justice and humanity is on our side.
Your all and your children's all — all that is worth living or dying for is at stake. Then rally once again for the old flag, for our country, union and liberty.
Governor of Illinois.