Lincoln and Blackhawk

Lincoln and Blackhawk (HM134A)

Location: Beardstown, IL 62618 Cass County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 1.282', W 90° 25.717'

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Abraham Lincoln and his men were among the 1,500 or so volunteers who had poured into Beardstown for basic military drills. These men had answered Gen. John Reynolds' call to drive Black Hawk and his people out of Illinois. The military camp was spread out through this part of Beardstown, now known as Schmoldt Park. During that brief time of military camp, young boys and old men spent their days keenly watching the citizen soldiers train. Young ladies, no doubt, also flirted with the volunteers. Lincoln's company and the other mounted units rode north from Beardstown on April 29, 1832. They expected a fight, but as it turned out, none of them saw any action. They were discharged on May 27 at Ottawa. However, Lincoln reenlisted twice, but now as a private. He would later comment: "I was out of work...and there being no danger of more fighting, I could do nothing better than enlist again." Lincoln's service finally came to an end on July 10. He received $110 for his service, plus an enlistment bonus of $14, returning to New Salem in time to wage his first political campaign.

The rations pictured here symbolize those issued to Lincoln's men. Individual rations included corn, flour, salt, salt pork, soap, candles, flints, and lead to make bullets. Because the troops were on foot, provisions were kept light. It was expected that these men, hunters and fishermen, would forage for their own meat. Common supplies issued to a company of about thirty men were tin buckets, coffee boilers, tin pans and cups. Whiskey was a part of the rations. Rowdy volunteers were said to have descended upon commissaries demanding: "Damn the fat-back! Where's the whiskey?" Provisioning these troops was perhaps the best handled aspect of the Black Hawk War effort.

When Abraham Lincoln's military service ended on July 10, he intended to ride home with George Harrison. Their horses, however, were stolen. They traveled to Peoria with Capt. Jacob Early's company, riding part of the way thanks to their friends. At Peoria, they purchased a canoe, stopping at Pekin, where Lincoln fashioned an oar and Harrison bought supplies. They continued, with one pulling the oar while the other steered. They were later invited onto a raft for a hot meal of fish, corn bread, eggs, butter and coffee. They reached Havana on July 17, sold the canoe, and set off to New Salem by foot. Harrison wrote: "The long strides of Lincoln after slipping back in the burning sand six inches every step were just right for me. And he was greatly diverted when he noticed me behind him stepping in his tracks to keep from slipping."

HM NumberHM134A
Series This marker is part of the Black Hawk War series, and the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series.
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 1st, 2014 at 1:42pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 719436 N 4433296
Decimal Degrees40.02136667, -90.42861667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 1.282', W 90° 25.717'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 1' 16.92" N, 90° 25' 43.02" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2 Sangamon St, Beardstown IL 62618, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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