1864 October 29: The Splendid Union Mass Meeting in Prescott
The following is from the October 29, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.
THE MASS MEETING !
A SPLENDID DEMONSTRATION !
Three Thousand in Council !
The Union Mass Meeting in this city, on Tuesday last, was a splendid success—equaling the expectations of the most sanguine, and gladdening the heart and re-assuring the faith of every loyal man.
The day was fair, and from every part of our county, and from Hudson, Hastings, Point Douglas, Cottage Grove, and other places, the delegation came pouring in, till the town was alive with people—everywhere were banners and mottoes, and music stirred all hearts, and the cannon thundered out a welcome and a triumph, and over all the jubilant throng the “OLD FLAG” waved in beauty and glory, and when the Grand Procession was formed, led by thirty gayly dressed Indies on horseback, with their escorts, it was a display worthy of the patriotism of the St. Croix Valley.
River Falls was out in her strength.—About 10 o’clock the large procession from that town arrive. Seventy-five teams full of people, three of them being six horse teams and several four-horse teams. HOSEA B. BATEM (who was only 25 years old that day) was Marshal, assisted by Lt. W. P. KNOWLES, who has been accustomed to marshal the Union forces down in Dixie. It was a monster delegation, even for River Falls.
Hudson was out strong. The Enterpise came down alive with banners and filled with the wide awake Union men of that town, and many came with their own teams.
Clifton and Oak Grove done nobly, while true Trimbelle sent all she had left. There were many up from the lower part of the county, but no delegations came in procession from the lower towns.
Hastings done well, and would have come twice as strong could they have got ferried over. Twelve ladies with their escorts, all well mounted, and excellent riders came over from there, and added much to the beauty of the display.—Cottage Grove sent a delegation of about seventy-five.
About 10 o’clock the grand procession was formed, under the direction of Capt. O. T. MAXON [sic: Orrin T. Maxson] Marshal, assisted by the various Marshals from this and other places. It was a magnificent display—excelling anything ever seen in Northern Wisconsin before. The air was alive with flags, and all along the line were banners bearing pithy and patriotic mottoes. Thirty ladies, with their attendants, on horseback, led that procession ; then came the band ; then a monster wagon from Hastings, holding representatives of the States ; other representatives of the States from here ; the boy’s Lincoln Club of this place, with their banners and Marshals, and then the long and almost endless line followed. The most amusing thing in the procession was McClellan on a little Mexican Jack, with a spade and pick. Charley Haven, of Rivers Falls, personated the “gunboat hero,” and provoked an infinite amount of mirth.
We did not attempt to count the number of teams or persons in the procession, but it was over half an hour in passing into the grounds. No one estimated the number of people at less than 3,000. If it was a “shoddy” meeting, there is not much but shoddy in this part of the country.
We have not space to speak of the speeches as they deserve. Messrs. ED GEHTON and WASHBURNE, of St. Paul, occupied most of the time in the afternoon, Hon. J. W. TAYLOR closing with a brief and eloquent appeal. In the evening, Mr. TAYLOR spoke again to a crowded house, and gave one of the most forcible speeches to which we ever listened. It did good.
The demonstration was one of which Union men are justly proud. It showed the strength of the Union feeling in the Northwest, and gave assurance of a glorious victory at the polls.