Official Documents

Joint Resolutions Of The Iowa Legislature

"BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Iowa, That the senators in Congress from this State be requested to use their utmost exertions to procure the establishment, at the earliest possible time, by the Government of the United States, of an Arsenal and Armory, for the distribution of arms to the states of the northwest, on the Island of Rock Island, in the State of Illinois.

"RESOLVED That the Secretary of State be requested to forward to each of the Sena-tors and representatives in Congress a copy of these resolutions."

`Approved March 24, 1861."

No session of the legislature of Illinois had been held immediately prior to this action, but Governor Yates and the other state officers, both civil and military, ad-dressed a letter to the Secretary of War, urging the location of the Armory upon Rock Island.




Certificate From The Government Agent

"I, T. J. Pickett, Government Agent for the Island of Rock Island, hereby certify that the lands owned by the Government on said island are free from the claims of squatters, and that the only occupants thereon are eight in number, who hold leases under and acknowledge themselves tenants of said Government, in which lease it is specifically agreed that the lessors are to vacate the premises in thirty days from the date of receiving notice requiring them to leave

T. J. PICKETT, Government Agent.

Rock Island. Ill., Oct. 25, 1861."

Copies of the above memorial were freely distributed among the members of Congress and laid on the desk of every senator and representative. An act of Congress providing for the Arsenal and Armory, and making an appropriation of $100,000, was passed July 11, 1862. In May of the following year a commission, composed of Major F. D. Callander, Major C. P. Kingsbury and Captain F. J. Treadwell, was sent by the Ordnance Department to locate the proposed Arsenal building on Rock Island. Sites also for magazines on the island were recommended by the commission. The report was adopted and Major Kingsbury was ordered to take charge of the work of construction. He arrived in August, 1863, and on the 3d day of September broke ground for the government building at the lower end of the island.

From an article prepared by Captain L. M. Haverstick, and published in the Chicago Inter-Ocean at the time we quote the following, with a few changes adapting it to our purpose:

"An arsenal merely for the storage and repair of arms was not what the Ordnance Department contemplated, nor what the country needed at Rock Island. Therefore in August, 1865, General T. J. Rodman was assigned to the command of the island, with instructions to prepare plans for an armory and arsenal combined, where small arms and other munitions of war could be manufactured as well as repaired and stored. The great scientific knowledge and long experience of General Rodman peculiarly fitted him for this work, and the result was an elaborate plan, equal to the wants and interests of the country."

Rock Island Arsenal 

 

Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908

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