Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Western Style and Prairie Manners....

---From the La Crosse Democrat

Re-printed in the Prairie du Chien [Wisconsin] Courier, Thursday, June 17, 1864


Since the opening of the present war we have watched with the closest eye and careful scrutiny the conduct of our Northern troops. Before the May battles began, the Western men were more than in advance of those in the East, and the events of the present month have faded the laurels for the East and brightened those of the West till the latter are truly entitled to the proud title of American Heroes.
The battles fought lately in the West have been of terrific carnage. The victories Western men have successfully won have been at the bayonet point, after a display of courage and endurance like that of the ancient Romans who used the shield less for defense than to rest the heads of dying braves on. The troops under Grant - the divisions of Logan, Steele, Sherman, Quimby, McClernand, McArthur, and McPhereson in the late battles before Vicksburg have covered themselves with glory enough for a lifetime, no matter what reverses in the Providence of the war may overtake them in the future. Where death held highest revel - where the bursting shell - screaming rifle ball and howling rifled shot dealt destruction the brave troops of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Kansas have with unfaltering firmness and unfinishing bravery beat back the pride of the rebel forces and made the rebel chivalry forces to acknowledge the superiority of Western pluck, muscle, bravery, and endurance.

When the full accounts of the battles of Jackson, Raymond, Edward's Depot, Big Black Bridge, Barker's Creek, Vicksburg and other fields are given, each one will be a chapter of bravery which will make Grant's army the envied of the war. All through this war, the entire record of Western troops is one of undaunted spirit. In defeat or victory they have never become demoralized, or given up in despair. Western men don't know the meaning of defeat. At Boonville, Carthage, Wilson's Creek, Springfield, Lexington, Frederickstown, New Madrid, Cape Giradeau [sic] - at Corinth, Fort Donelson, Columbus, Pea Ridge, Pittsburg Landing - at Boston Mountain, Fayetteville, Island No. 10, Bowling Green, Shiloh, and Murfreesboro our Western men have proved themselves.
While the West has fought to win, with a life, pluck and energy to make us feel more than proud, the armies of the East have become demoralized, politicalized and manipulated that no one dare bet on them for fighting. The retreats, flights and foot races in and out of Washington have caused us to lose much of the respect once felt for the eastern troops.
Had it not been for the Western troops, the forces on the Potomac, Rappahannock and about Washington would have been a mob long since. There is contagion in example. The pride of Western men has kept them from following the lead of Eastern army styles - we hope the pride of Eastern men will enable them to emulate the glorious example of Western soldiers from this time on. Hair-oiled Bostonians, black-coated New Yorkers and white-necktied Philadelphians may turn up their noses at the brusqueness of the Hoosiers, Badgers, Pukes, Buckeyes, &c, of the western prairies - they may laugh at western style and smile at prairie manners, but when it comes to making a country, to whipping rebels, or otherwise proving title to the name of MAN, the "uncouth" sons of the west take front seats.
(Thanks to my friend Mike Thorson)