The Rock Island Company.
Capt. W.D. Williams's company of Rock Island Volunteers, left yesterday (Thursday) morning, by cars, for Springfield. The company number 120 strong, a complete list of which, officers and men, will be published soon. They are a fine looking, hardy set of men, and zealous to do something for the defence of their country.
The scene at the depot was one of unusual interest. A great crowd of ladies and gentlemen followed the new flag, prepared by the ladies, and carried to the depot by Mayor Davenport. The company marched from their quarters through Illinois street, stopping on their way in front of the Rock Island House, of Barney's American Hotel, and of the Island City Hotel, the proprietors of which furnished free rations for the company, put up in packages.
At the depot there was a very large concourse of ladies and gentlemen to witness the ceremonies of parting. Three fine companies, from Iowa, were drawn up in line, between the crowd and the river, and added greatly to the brilliancy of the scene. They were the Governor's Greys, of Dubuque, Capt. T.J. Herron; Capt. Littler's company, of Davenport, and Capt. Brewster's company.
Order having been obtained, Jacob Norris, Esq., in behalf the city government, said: Fellow-Citizens:
I have been requested by the committee to make a few remarks in behalf of the mayor, city council and citizens generally. We are assembled, here, this morning, under circumstances of most solemn grandeur; never before did Rock Island witness the like of this. Humanity is stirred from its lowest foundations. We have met to part with loved ones destined for the battle-field. After my remarks, a flag, prepared by the ladies of Rock Island, will be presented to the company now leaving; then a sword will be presented to one of the officers of the company. Fellow-Citizens, we have been born and raised under a government that we love; we have been accustomed to respect, revere and obey our government, and to think it the best on earth. — That government has been menaced and threatened, and is in great danger of being destroyed by rebels and traitors. Our country called for help, and Rock Island has most nobly responded. In a very short time she has raised a company of at least 120 good men, and now starts them for the defence of our country. More will soon follow, if needed.
The mayor and council, exercising that care in the discharge of duty eminently becoming the city fathers, have furnished the officers of the company with means to purchase their swords and other articles, and have made arrangements for ample provisions for the families of those leaving, and bid the soldiers go, feeling that all is right at home.
The company now going are made up, mostly, of the young men, the flower of Rock Island county. Young men, you go, leaving many near and dear ones behind, but the hearts of all our people go with you. Our tenderest affections cluster around you, and will follow you in all your career. Your officers are brave men, and we feel that you will die, if die you must, with your faces to the foe. We part with you with deep regret, but with a solemn sense of duty. Go, and may the richest blessings of heaven attend you, and the best wishes of all our people go with you. We hope you will return in safety; but if the fortunes of war are adverse, and if you fall in a brave defence of your country, we will bring you home, and bury you among your friends, with the honors of war. But, Sons of Rock Island, remember, if our country needs, you will not be alone. Your fathers will be with you, and stand by your side until our country's honor and flag is vindicated, or we all fall together.
Mr. Norris's remarks were very appropriate and affecting throughout, and were loudly cheered by the assembly.
Mr. Danforth then, at the request of the ladies, who had prepared the flag for the company, presented the same to Capt. Williams, reminding him that the bunting of which the flag was made, was endeared to every man in the company by the fact that it was first used in the great flag thrown out from the Revere house, Boston, Mass., and under its broad folds our distinguished senator, Judge Douglas, made a speech to a union meeting there, something over a year ago; and that it was next used by the republican party, under the Lincoln and Hamlin streamer from the tall pole which graces Union square in this city. It was peculiarly a union flag and was now to be used in the service of the United States, to uphold and defend the best government the world ever saw. He also reminded the captain of the humiliating fact that the flag of our country had recently been lowered from one of the forts of the United States (Sumpter) to rebels against their government; that it was an humiliation which every true American deeply feels and which he and his company are called upon to help avenge; that when he unfolds that flag, at the head of his company, in battle, not a thread of it should ever be suffered to trail in the dust before rebels in arms against their country; that every impulse of patriotism called for its gallant defense, and that every member of the company should guard it with tenderest care; that when they saw its bright colors unfold before them in battle, the thought that the eyes of the fair daughters of Rock Island whose hands wrought the flag, and whose hearts were throbbing for its safety and honor, should nerve every man to defend it or die at his post. He had no doubt that the flag was entrusted to brave men who would bring it back with honor, or be brought back with it for their shroud.
Capt. Williams, receiving the flag from the hands of Mayor Davenport, made a short and appropriate reply, pledging the lives of himself and his company to defend it to the last.
Hon. Ira O. Wilkinson next took the stand, and called for Lieut. Quincy McNeil, for the purpose of presenting a sword to him on behalf of a lady of this city.
Judge Wilkinson in presenting the sword to Lieut. McNeil, addressed him to the effect:
That he was deputed by a patriotic lady of this city to present to him the sword, as well in appreciation of his prompt response to the call of his country, as for a testimony of devotion to the government, he and his company were going forth to defend; that the tasteful ornaments and elaborate workmanship displayed in its finish, did not alone or chiefly contribute to its interest and value. — The interest attaching to its past service, was far more than any intrinc value it possessed. It was a present from Gen. Brady to Capt. Dean of the 1st regiment of Michigan volunteers, and was worn by him with distinguished honor throughout the Mexican war, from the first crossing of the Rio Grande, to the final and successful culmination of the campaign at the city of Mexico. Capt. Dean