Calling in the Troops

Wednesday, October 11, 1871

Mayor Roswell Mason states that the distribution of relief will be the responsibility of a Special Relief Committee, with headquarters in the temporary city hall that has been set up in the First Congregational Church.  This committee will also issue free railroad passes for those wishing to leave the city. Mason issues instructions on how the efforts of the regular police, the special police, and the federal troops now in the city will be coordinated.  The police are to act “in conjunction with General Sheridan, to whom Mason officially (if not entirely legally) entrusts overall responsibility for the “preservation and good order and peace of the city.”  A number of leading bankers meet at the home of C. T. Wheeler and choose William F. Coolbaugh as their chair.  He calls for the adoption of a plan to provide relief to the business community and reaffirms the commercial eminence and prospects of Chicago in spite of the catastrophe.  South Division businessmen hold a similar meeting.