Well, because my time had been spent on our efforts for the White House I had not spent the necessary time to shore up support for my bid for the Senate. My seat was up in January 1885 and to my dismay the Democrats had claimed enough seats in the Illinois State Legislature to ensure a close vote. Surely you know that the federal senate is chosen not by a vote of the people, by by a vote in the state house. I had fought along side of the democratic candidate, William Morrison, in the battle of Fort Donaldson, but upon our return to civilian life we were political rivals. When the vote came in it was tie, a dead heat. They took more than 100 ballots and the results were always the same. Two democrats died, but they were in staunchly democratic districts so the special election that was held returned democrats to the house. The next series of votes was again as you would expect, a tie. A third democrat died. His was an even more secure democratic district, so much so that there was complacency and the republicans did not even offer up a candidate, publicly. We counted on a low voter turnout. But we sent a large crew of loyal men into the district in the days leading up to the special election. Posing as insurance agents and wandering peddlers, each man had secret instructions to find a few loyal republicans and insist they in turn secretly talk to a few loyal republicans, telling them not to vote until after 3 pm, but before the polls close at 5 pm. How this was kept a closely guarded secret was itself a miracle! But at the last minute the republicans showed up in droves and we claimed that seat in the Illinois General Assembly, which in turn gave me the 103 votes I needed to reclaim my seat in the United States Senate.

When my wife and I returned to our home in Washington, after my Senate seat victory, we were greeted by more than a few thousand colored men and women who sang the old Negro Spirituals long into the night. Imagine 5000 former slaves singing, 

“Swing Low sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home. 

Swing Low sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.

I looked over Jordan and what did I see? Coming for to carry me home. 

A band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home."

 

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