John Niglas to Richard Yates


John Niglas to Richard Yates


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[probably late 1861) Early 1862]

R Yates

Governor of the State of Illinois


By report of Mayor Grissdon of the 6th Cavalry Gov. Legion who happened to hear the language used by the Chaplain of the same in your presence for the purpose of vindicating Col Th H Cavanaugh's character in regard to a certain female of the City of Springfield I learned that it was such as must needs impress upon your mind an opinion unfavorable to me. In order to do justice to myself I feel compelled to direct these lines to you.

Some time in the month of December, when the number of sick was unusually large Col Cavanaugh, to whom my reports went every morning asked me, whether the Nurses engaged were able to stand such amount of labor and whether two Ladies in the Wards, and one in the kitchen, as they continued to work ever since November 1st 1861, should not have some assistance? My reply was, yes they ought to have assistance, but having failed to secure the services of suitable persons when I had the honor of seeing your Excellence in the former part of said month, and obtained a pass for them

I returned to Shawneetown without relief for my Lady-Nurses, and found them willing to go cheerfully on in the performance of their hard work and task of self sacrificing.

Now when the Colonel himself acknowledged they were overtaxed, and when he offered to me the services of a Lady whom he recommended in presence of the Chaplain if I am not mistaken, and sure I am not, I accepted of his offer confident in his recommandation and wrote at his request a letter to Adjutant General Fuller in behalf of this Lady, whom he told me to be an Orphan and worthy in every way and respect of his protection.

The letter was written, and contained the statement, that I had failed to procure assistance in Peoria amongst Ladies whom I was a acquainted with and that I would ask the favor of issuing a free pass to the person thus recommanded to me by a Gentleman superior in Command, and much more the recommendation being suported by the very Chaplain. The pass was refused and yet the Lady made her appearance in Shawneetown having her expenses defraied by the Colonel.

Being not prepared to give her accomodations at the Hospital where my Lady Nurses slept behind a lumber partition in the kitchen, the Colonel brought her to the Hotel

took charge of her, and tried to get her a place in the family of Mr. Fred. Houghston's where he boarded himself with his son the Adjutant. For reasons unknown to me he could not keep her there, but the next morning after the old Post office was destroyed by fire, Houghston's house was vacated, she was seen back in the Hotel, and Mr. Edmund Tyler before morning call confidentially communicated to me, that said lady was of doubtful character and well known to some of the Gentlemen in town. Whereupon I forthwith positively expressed that she never should disgrace my Corps of Ladies assistants, and instantly I went to the Colonel reporting to him what I learned, telling him that it is utterly impossible for me to let her pass the threshold of my Hospital. He was perplexed, wanted to know, who I heared this by, what I unhesitatingly communicated to him. He was in [ira?] against Mr. Tyler, yet at once he said if things be so she must go back. This ends in so far the matter as I had to do with it. What further happened I did not notice, as during my whole sojourn with the regiment, I had no other care but the charge confided to my hands the sick keeping betweext the parties, and wishing to do justice to either for the best and wellfare of the Regiment.

A testimony in behalf of Mrs. Eliza [Arken?], Mrs. Anna Sturgis and Miss Mary Sturgis all of Peoria and recommended to me by D. D. Irons Esq. Mark [Arkin?] of the same City and the best of Ladies there, besides known to me personally issued by the Officers of Governors Legion, will show to your Exellency that my first selection was good and worthy a man and a mason, and have some weight, in correcting an opinion about me which when keept up would make me unhappy in so far as I should know to have lost the esteem of a Gentleman, whom I ever honored and whose good opinion I feel proud of. Sir never believe me to be accessary to a mean act.

I am your Excellence

most Obedient

John N. Niglas


6th Ills Cavalry Governors Legion

Dr. J. N. Niglas as to a certain "female woman"

Write him that my estimate of him was too high to be weakened by any casual remarks from any source and that I think Mr. [Gagner?] did not mean to cast any censure upon him



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“John Niglas to Richard Yates,” Chronicling Illinois, accessed January 24, 2019,