Governor Richard Yates

Illinois Governor Richard Yates. From the Library of Congress.  http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/brh2003000700/pp/

Illinois Governor Richard Yates. From the Library of Congress.
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/brh2003000700/pp/

Illinois politician Richard Yates was the governor of Illinois from 1861-1865, serving the entire duration of the Civil War. Prior to being governor Richard Yates was a lawyer, born in Warsaw Kentucky, but serving as an Illinois Whig Party Congressional representative from 1842-1845, and 1848-1849. (U.S. Congress) While serving as Governor, Yates was faced with the challenge of gathering volunteers for the Union, and preparing the state of Illinois for war. One of Governor Yates greatest challenges was securing Southern Illinois loyalty, while developing a foothold at Cairo to begin military operations. As a member of the newly formed Republican Party, Governor Yates was afraid of rebellion in the southern, heavily democratic portion of the state. He is quoted saying, “secession is deeper and stronger than you have any idea. Its advocates are numerous and powerful, and respectable.” (Cole p.267) As Governor, his military actions in Little Egypt could have become a source of agitation for its residents, many of whom were opposed to a war altogether. Governor Yates recognized the need of getting prominent Democrats on his side, if Little Egypt was to fight for the Union.