The inhabitants were a large breed for the most part, tall and angular, dressed sometimes in buckskin, coonskin caps. Now and then I saw a hunter carrying a long rifle. The wild geese were flying.... Some of the passengers were dressed in jeans; others in linsey-woolsey dyed blue. As we stopped along the way I had an opportunity to study the faces of the Illinoisians.
Immediately the popular excitement gave measure of the estimate placed upon the two men by those who most accurately knew their qualities. All Illinoisians looked forward eagerly to the fine spectacle of a battle royal between real leaders. The general political condition was extremely confused.
All minds were turned to the war, at Dixon as elsewhere. In Illinois the men boasted that, as regards the war, they were the leading State of the union. But the same boast was made in Indiana, and also in Massachusetts, and probably in half the States of the North and West. They, the Illinoisians, call their country the war-nest of the West.
Crossing over into Bureau County, I find splendid gravelled roads, and spend a most agreeable hour with the jolly Bicycle Club, of Princeton, the handsome county seat of Bureau County, Pushing on to Lamoille for the night, the enterprising village barber there hustles me into his cosey shop, and shaves, shampoos, shingles, bay-rums, and otherwise manipulates me, to the great enhancement of my personal appearance, all, so he says, for the honor of having lathered the chin of the "great and only " In fact, the Illinoisians seem to be most excellent folks.
Fortunately the Illinoisians knew their fellow citizen better; yet in so strange a jumble no one could deny that it was a doubtful conflict in which these two rivals were joining. Lincoln had expected to be nominated, and during several weeks he had been thinking over his speech of acceptance.
He had sent General Ampudia to climb the mountain and fall upon our troops at the left. The battle began in the afternoon and lasted till night. At dawn Santa Anna advanced his troops in three columns in front of us. And the battle began to rage. The Indiana troops retreated in disorder. But the Illinoisians stood their ground, pouring forth sheets of flame upon the Mexicans. We had to retreat.