"In 1864 I was staying with my brother in Niles and saw more of the campaign. Torchlight processions of Little Saints and Wide Awakes, as the marchers of Democrats and Republicans were respectively called, made the town alive night after night, and the mass meetings of each party brought the whole population in from miles around on certain days. I did my share of cheering when I saw a company of uniformed rider [riders] from my own neighborhood in the parade, all carrying small hickory saplings resting on their stirrups, and held up like lances, and at their head a banner with the title of their company; “Howard Hickory Sprouts.” This indicated their stern Jacksonian Democracy. In 1864 I was one of the Junior riders who followed the banner that read:“We come from the glens of the brave and the free. To tyrants and despots we don’t bow the knee.”
We marched for “Little Mac,” and got a lot of fun out of it, but the opposition was too strong at the polls and “Honest Abe” was re-elected. At Dowagiac we nearly had a riot when someone cut the halyards of the U S flag floating over the public square where the speaker’s stand was erected. It was found that a half-witted young man had been paid to cut down the flag by persons unknown. However, the flag was raised again and the speaking went on without further interruption."
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