The Life, Public Services and State Papers of Abraham Lincoln

By Henry J. Raymond

Chapter 14



THE condition of affairs in Missouri had been somewhat  peculiar, from the very outbreak of the rebellion. At  the outset the Executive Department of the State Government was in the hands of men in full sympathy with  the secession cause, who, under pretence of protecting  the State from domestic violence, were organizing its  forces for active co-operation with the rebel movement.  On the 30th of July, 1861, the State Convention, originally called by Governor Jackson, for the purpose of  taking Missouri out of the Union, but to which the  people had elected a large majority of Union men, declared all the Executive offices of the State vacant, by  reason of the treasonable conduct of the incumbents, and  appointed a Provisional Government, of which the Hon.  H. R. Gamble was at the head. He at once took measures to maintain the national authority within the State.  He ordered the troops belonging to the rebel Confederacy  to withdraw from it, and called upon all the citizens of  the State to organize for its defence, and for the preservation of peace within its borders. He also issued a proclamation, framed in accordance with the following suggestions from Washington:--

WASHINGTON, August 3, 1861.

To His Excellency Gov. GAMBLE, Governor of Missouri:

In reply to your message, addressed to the President, I am directed to  to say, that if, by a proclamation, you promise security to citizens in arms, who voluntarily return to their allegiance, and behave as peaceable  and loyal men, this Government will cause the promise to be respected.

SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.

Two days after this, Governor Jackson, returning from  Richmond, declared the State to be no longer one of the  United States; and on the 2d of November, the legislature, summoned by him as Governor, ratified a compact,  by which certain commissioners, on both sides, had  agreed that Missouri should join the rebel Confederacy.  The State authority was thus divided--two persons  claiming to wield the Executive authority, and two  bodies, also, claiming to represent the popular will-one adhering to the Union, and the other to the Confederacy in organized rebellion against it. This state of  things naturally led to wide-spread disorder, and carried  all the evils of civil war into every section and neighbor  hood of the. State.

To these evils were gradually added others, growing  out of a division of sentiment, which afterwards ripened  into sharp hostility, among the friends of the Union  within the State. One of the earliest causes of this  dissension was the action and removal of General Fremont, who arrived at St. Louis, to take command of the  Western Department, on the 26th of July, 1861. On the  31st of August he issued a proclamation, declaring that  circumstances, in his judgment, of sufficient urgency,  rendered it necessary that "the Commanding General of  the Department should assume the administrative power  of the State," thus superseding entirely the authority of  the civil rulers. He also proclaimed the whole State to  be under martial law, declared that all persons taken  with arms in their hands, within the designated lines of  the Department, should be tried by court-martial, and, if  found guilty, shot; and confiscated the property and  emancipated the slaves of "all persons who should be  proved to have taken an active part with the enemies of  the United States." This latter clause, transcending the  authority conferred by the Confiscation Act of Congress, was subsequently modified by order of the President of  the United States. 1

On the 14th of October, after a personal inspection of  affairs in that Department by the Secretary of War, an  order was issued from the War Department, in effect  censuring General Fremont for having expended very  large sums of the public money, through agents of  own appointment, and not responsible to the Government; requiring all contracts and disbursements to be  made by the proper officers of the army; directing the  discontinuance of the extensive fieldworks which the General was erecting around St. Louis and Jefferson City, and  also the barracks in construction around his head-quarters; and also notifying him that the officers to whom he  had issued commissions would not be paid until those  commissions should have been approved by the. President. On the 1st of November, General Fremont entered into an agreement with General Sterling Price,  commanding the rebel forces in Missouri, by which each  party stipulated that no further arrests of citizens should  be made on either side for the expression of political  opinions, and releasing all who were then in custody on  such changes.

On the 2d of November, General Fremont was relieved  from his command in the Western Department, in consequence of his action in the matters above referred to, his  command devolving on General Hunter, to whom, as  soon as a change in the command of the Department had  been decided on, the President had addressed the following letter:--

WASHINGTON, October 24, 1861.

Sir:--The command of the Department of the West having devolved  upon you, I propose to offer you a few suggestion, knowing how hazard ous it is to bind down a distant commander in the field to specific lines of  operation, as so much always depends on the knowledge of localities and  passing events. It is intended, therefore, to leave considerable margin  for the exercise of your judgment and discretion.

The main rebel army (Price's) west of the Mississippi is believed to  have passed Dade County in full retreat upon Northwestern Arkansas, leaving Missouri almost free from the enemy, excepting in the southeast  part of the State. Assuming this basis of fact, it seems desirable--as you  are not likely to overtake Price, and are in danger of making too long a  line from your own base of supplies and re-enforcements--that you should  give up the pursuit, halt your main army, divide it into two corps of  observation, one occupying Sedalia and the other Rolla, the present  termini of railroads, then recruit the condition of both corps by re establishing and improving their discipline and instruction, perfecting  their clothing and equipments, and providing less uncomfortable quarters.  Of course, both railroads must be guarded and kept open, judiciously  employing just so much force as is necessary for this. From these two  points, Sedalia and Rolla, and especially in judicious co-operation with  Lane on the Kansas border, it would be very easy to concentrate, and  repel any army of the enemy returning on Missouri on the southwest.  As it is not probable any such attempt to return will be made before or  during the approaching cold weather, before spring the people of Missouri  will be in no favorable mood for renewing for next year the troubles  which have so much afflicted and impoverished them during this.

If you take this line of policy, and if, as I anticipate, you will see no  enemy in great force approaching, you will have a surplus force which you  can withdraw from those points, and direct to others, as may be needed  --the railroads furnishing ready means of re-enforcing those main points,  if occasion requires.

Doubtless local uprisings for a time will continue to occur, but those  can be met by detachments of local forces of our own, and will ere long  tire out of themselves.

While, as stated at the beginning of this letter, a large discretion must  be and is left with yourself, I feel sure that an indefinite pursuit of Price,  or an attempt by this long and circuitous route to reach Memphis, will be  exhaustive beyond endurance, and will end in the loss of the whole force  engaged in it. Your obedient servant,


The Commander of the Department of the West.

General Hunter's first act was to repudiate the agreement of General Fremont with General Price, and, on  the 18th of November, General Halleck arrived as his  successor.

The action of General Fremont had given rise to very  serious complaints on the part of the people of Missouri;  and these, in turn, had led to strong demonstrations on his  behalf. His removal was made the occasion for public  manifestations of sympathy for him, and of censure for the  Government. An address was presented to him, signed by large numbers of the citizens of St. Louis, those of  German birth largely predominating, in which his removal  was ascribed to jealousy of his popularity, and to the fact  that his policy in regard to emancipation was in advance  of the Government at Washington. "You have risen,"  said this address, "too fast in popular favor. The policy  announced in your proclamation, although hailed as a  political and military necessity, furnished your ambitious  rivals and enemies with a cruel weapon for your intended  destruction. The harbingers of truth will ever be crucified  by the Pharisees. We cannot be deceived by shallow  and flimsy pretexts, by unfounded and slanderous reports.  We entertain no doubt of your ability to speedily confound and silence your traducers. The day of reckoning  is not far distant, and the people will take care that the  schemes of your opponents shall, in the end, be signally  defeated." The General accepted these tributes to his  merits, and these denunciations of the Government, with  grateful acknowledgments, saying that the kind and affectionate demonstrations which greeted him, cheered and  strengthened his confidence--"my confidence," he said,  "already somewhat wavering, in our republican institutions."

The sharp personal discussions to which this incident  gave rise, were made still more bitter, by denunciations  of General Halleck's course in excluding, for military  reasons, which have been already noticed,2 fugitive slaves  from our lines, and by the contest that soon came up in  the State Convention, on the general subject of emancipation. On the 7th of June, 1862, a bill was introduced  into the convention by Judge Breckinridge, of St. Louis,  for gradual emancipation, framed in accordance with the  recommendation of the President's Message. By the  combined votes of those who were opposed to emancipation in any form, and those who were opposed to the  President's plan of gradual emancipation, this bill was  summarily laid on the table. But on the 13th, the subject  was again brought up by a message from Governor Gamble, calling attention to the fact that Congress had  passed a resolution, in accordance with the President's  recommendation, declaring that "the United States ought  to co-operate with any State which might adopt a gradual  emancipation of slavery, giving to such State, at its discretion, compensation for the inconvenience, public and  private, caused by such a change of system." This message was referred to a special committee, which reported  resolutions, recognizing the generous spirit of this proposal, but declining to take any action upon it. These  resolutions were adopted, and on the 16th a Mass Convention of Emancipationists, consisting of one hundred  and ninety-five delegates from twenty-five counties, met at  Jefferson City, and passed resolutions, declaring it to be the  duty of the next General Assembly to pass laws giving effect  to a gradual system of emancipation on the basis proposed.

At the State election, in the following November, the  question of emancipation was the leading theme of controversy. Throughout the State the canvass turned upon  this issue, and resulted in the choice of a decided majority  of the Assembly favorable to emancipation. But the division in the ranks of this party still continued, and crave  rise to very heated and bitter contests, especially in St.  Louis. During the summer, the main rebel army having  been driven from the State, and the Union army being of  necessity in the main withdrawn to other fields, the State  was overrun by reckless bands of rebel guerrillas, who  robbed and plundered Union citizens, and created very  great alarm among the people. In consequence of these  outrages, Governor Gamble ordered the organization of  the entire militia of the State, and authorized General  Schofield to call into active service such portions of it as  might be needed to put down marauders, and defend peace  able and loyal citizens. The organization was effected  with great promptness, and the State militia became a  powerful auxiliary of the National forces, and cleared all  sections of the State of the lawless bands which had inflicted so much injury and committed so many outrages.

On the 19th of September, the States of Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas were formed into a military district,  of which the command was assigned to General Curtis,  who was thoroughly in sympathy with the friends of immediate emancipation and the supporters of General  Fremont in his differences with the Government. He had  control of the National forces in his district, but Governor  Gamble did not give him command of the State militia.

The differences of political sentiment between the two  sections of the Union men of the State came thus to be  represented, to some extent, by two organized military  forces; and the contest between their respective partisans  continued to be waged with increasing bitterness, greatly  to the embarrassment of the Government at Washington,  and to the weakening of the Union cause. This continued  until the spring of 1863, when the President removed  General Curtis from his command, and appointed General  Schofield in his place. This gave rise to very vehement  remonstrances and protests, to one of which, sent by telegraph, the President made the following reply:--

Your dispatch of to-day is just received. It is very painful to me that  you, in Missouri, cannot, or will not, settle your factional quarrel among  yourselves. I have been tormented with it beyond endurance, for months,  by both sides. Neither side pays the least respect to my appeals to your  reason. I am now compelled to take hold of the case.


To General Schofield himself, the President soon after addressed the following letter:--


General J. M. SCHOFIELD:

DEAR SIR:--Having removed General Curtis and assigned you to the  command of the Department of the Missouri, I think it may be of sorre  advantage to me to state to you why I did it. I did not remove General  Curtis because of my full conviction that he had done wrong by commission or omission. I did it because of a conviction in my mind that the  Union men of Missouri, constituting, when united, a vast majority of the  people, have entered into a pestilent, factious quarrel, among themselves,  General Curtis, perhaps not of choice, being the head of one faction, and  Governor Gamble that of the other. After months of labor to reconcile  the difficulty, it seemed to grow worse and worse, until I felt it my duty  to break it up somehow, and as I could not remove Governor Gamble, I had to remove General Curtis. Now that you are in the position, I wish  to undo nothing merely because General Curtis or Governor Gamble  did it, but to exercise your own judgment, and do right for the public interest. Let your military measures be strong enough to repel the invaders  and keep the peace, and not so strong as to unnecessarily harass and persecute the people. It is a difficult role, and so much greater will be the  honor if you perform it well. If both factions, or neither, shall abuse  you, you will probably be about right. Beware of being assailed by one  and praised by the other. Yours truly,


This action gave special dissatisfaction to the more radical Unionists of the State. They had been anxious to  have the Provisional Government, of which Governor  Gamble was the executive head, set aside by the National  authority, and the control of the State vested in a Military  Governor clothed with the authority which General Fremont had assumed to exercise by his proclamation of  August 31st, 1861; -- and the Germans enlisted in the  movement had made very urgent demands for the restoration of General Fremont himself. Several deputations  visited Washington, for the purpose of representing these  views and wishes to the President--though they by no  means restricted their efforts at reform to matters within  their own State, but insisted upon sundry changes in the  Cabinet, upon the dismissal of General Halleck from the  position of Commander of the Armies of the United States,  and upon other matters of equal magnitude and importance.

The following report of President Lincoln's reply to  these various requests was made by a member of a committee appointed at a mass meeting, composed mainly of  Germans, and held at St. Louis on the 10th of May:  although made by a person opposed to the President's  action, it probably gives a substantially correct statement  of his remarks:--


GENTLEMEN:--During a professional visit to Washington City, I presented to the President of the United States, in compliance with your instructions, a copy of the resolutions adopted in mass meeting at St. Louis  on the 10th of May, 1863, and I requested a reply to the suggestions therein  contained. The President, after a careful and loud reading of the whole report of proceedings, saw proper to enter into a conversation of two hours' duration, in the course of which most of the topics embraced in the resolutions and other subjects were discussed. As my share in the conversation is of secondary importance, I propose to omit it entirely in this report, and, avoiding details, to communicate to you the substance of noteworthy remarks made by the President.

1. The President said that it may be misfortune for the nation that he  was elected President. But, having been elected by the people, he meant  to be President, and perform his duty according to his best understanding,  if he had to die for it. No General will be removed, nor will any change  in the Cabinet be made, to suit the views or wishes of any particular  party, faction, or set of men. General Halleck is not guilty of the charges  made against him, most of which arise from misapprehension or ignorance,  of those who prefer them.
2. The President said that it was a mistake to suppose that Generals  John C. Fremont, B. F. Butler, and F. Sigel are "systematically kept out  of command," as stated in the fourth resolution; that, on the contrary,  he fully appreciated the merits of the gentlemen named; that by their  own actions they had placed themselves in the positions which they occu pied; that he was not only willing, but anxious to place them again in  command as soon as he could find spheres of action for them, without  doing injustice to others, but that at present he "had more pegs than  holes to put them in."
3. As to the want of unity, the President, without admitting such to be  the case, intimated that each member of the Cabinet was responsible  mainly for the manner of conducting the affairs of his particular depart ment; that there was no centralization of responsibility for the action of  theCabinet anywhere, except in the President himself.
4. The dissensions between Union men in Missouri are due solely to a  factious spirit, which is exceedingly reprehensible. The two parties  "ought to have their heads knocked together." "Either would rather  see the defeat of their adversary than that of Jefferson Davis." To this  spirit of faction is to be ascribed the failure of the legislature to elect  senators and the defeat of the Missouri Aid Bill in Congress, the passage  of which the President strongly desired.

The President said that the Union men in Missouri who are in favor of  gradual emancipation represented his views better than those who are in  favor of immediate emancipation. In explanation of his views on this  subject, the President said that in his speeches he had frequently used as  an illustration, the case of a man who had an excrescence on the back  of his neck, the removal of which, in one operation, would result in the  death of the patient, while "tinkering it off by degrees" would preserve  life. Although sorely tempted, I did not reply with the illustration of the  dog whose tail was amputated by inches, but confined myself to argu ments. The President announced clearly that, as far as he was at present advised, the radicals in Missouri had no right to consider themselves the  exponents of his views on the subject of emancipation in that State.

5. General Curtis was not relieved on account of any wrong act or great  mistake committed by him. The system of Provost-Marshals, established  by him throughout the State, gave rise to violent complaint. That the  President had thought at one time to appoint General Fremont in his  place; that at another time he had thought of appointing General Mc Dowell, whom he characterized as a good and loyal though very unfortunate soldier; and that, at last, General Schofield was appointed, with a  view, if possible, to reconcile and satisfy the two factions in Missouri.  He has instructions not to interfere with either party, but to confine him self to his military duties. I assure you, gentlemen, that our side was as  fully presented as the occasion permitted. At the close of the conversation, the President remarked that there was evidently a "serious misunderstanding" springing up between him and the Germans of St. Louis, which  he would like to see removed. Observing to him that the difference of  opinion related to facts, men, and measures, I withdrew.

I am, very respectfully, &c., JAMES TAUSSIG.

On the 1st of July the State Convention, in session at  Jefferson City, passed an amendment to the Constitution,  declaring that slavery should cease to exist in Missouri  on the 4th of July, 1870, with certain specified exceptions.  This, however, was by no means accepted as a final disposition of the matter. The demand was made for immediate emancipation, and Governor Gamble and the members of the Provisional Government who had favored the  policy adopted by the State Convention, were denounced  as the advocates of slavery and allies of the rebellion. In  the early part of August a band of rebel guerrillas made  a raid into the town of Lawrence, Kansas, and butchered  in cold blood over two hundred unarmed citizens of the  place. This brutal act aroused the most intense excitement in the adjoining State of Missouri, of which the opponents of the Provisional Government took advantage  to throw upon it and General Schofield, who had command  of the State militia as well as of the National forces, the  responsibility of having permitted this massacre to take  place.

A Mass Convention was held at Jefferson City on the 2d  of September, at which resolutions were adopted denouncing the military policy pursued in the State and the delegation of military powers to the Provisional Government.  A committee of one from each county was appointed to  visit Washington and lay their grievances before the  President; and arrangements were also made for the appointment of a Committee of Public Safety, to organize and  arm the loyal men of the State, and, in the event of not obtaining relief, to call on the people in their sovereign capacity to "take such measures of redress as the emergency  might require." In the latter part of September the committee appointed by this convention visited Washington  and had an interview with the President on the 30th, in  which they represented Governor Gamble and General  Schofield as in virtual alliance with the rebels, and demanded the removal of the latter as an act of justice to  the loyal and anti-slavery men of the State. The committee visited several of the Northern cities, and held  public meetings for the purpose of enlisting public sentiment in their support. At these meetings it was claimed  that the radical emancipation party was the only one  which represented the loyalty of Missouri, and President  Lincoln was very strongly censured for "closing his ears  to the just, loyal, and patriotic demands of the radical  party, while he indorsed the disloyal and oppressive demands of Governor Gamble, General Schofield, and their  adherents."

On the 5th of October President Lincoln made to the  representations and requests of the committee the following reply:--


Hon. CHARLES DRAKE and others, Committee:

GENTLEMEN:--Your original address, presented on the 30th ult., and  the four supplementary ones presented on the 3d inst., have been care fully considered. I hope you will regard the other duties claiming my  attention, together with the great length and importance of these documents, as constituting a sufficient apology for not having responded  sooner.

These papers, framed for a common object, consist of the things demanded, and the reasons for demanding them.

The things demanded are--

First. That General Schofield shall be relieved, and General Butler be  appointed as Commander of the Military Department of Missouri.

Second. That the system of enrolled militia in Missouri may be broken  up, and National forces be substituted for it; and

Third. That at elections, persons may not be allowed to vote who are  not entitled by law to do so.

Among the reasons given, enough of suffering and wrong to Union  men is certainly, and I suppose truly, stated. Yet the whole case as  presented, fails to convince me that General Schofield, or the enrolled  militia, is responsible for that suffering and wrong. The whole can be  explained on a more charitable, and, as I think, a more rational hypothesis.

We are in civil war. In such cases there always is a main question;  but in this case that question is a perplexing compound--Union and  slavery. It thus becomes a question not of two sides merely, but of at  least four sides, even among those who are for the Union, saying nothing  of those who are against it. Thus, those who are for the Union with, but  not without slavery; those for it without, but not with; those for it with  or without, but prefer it with; and those for it with or without, but prefer it without.

Among these, again, is a subdivision of those who are for gradual, but  not for immediate, and those who are for immediate, but not for gradual  extinction of slavery.

It is easy to conceive that all these shades of opinion, and even more,  may be sincerely entertained by honest and truthful men. Yet, all being  for the Union, by reason of these differences each will prefer a different  way of sustaining the Union. At once, sincerity is questioned, and motives are assailed. Actual war coming, blood grows hot, and blood is  spilled. Thought is forced from old channels into confusion. Deception  breeds and thrives. Confidence dies, and universal suspicion reigns.  Each man feels an impulse to kill his neighbor, lest he be killed by him.  Revenge and retaliation follow. And all this, as before said, may be  among honest men only. But this is not all. Every foul bird comes  abroad, and every dirty reptile rises up. These add crime to confusion.  Strong measures deemed indispensable, but harsh at best, such men  make worse by maladministration. Murders for old grudges, and murders for pelf, proceed under any cloak that will best serve for the occasion.

These causes amply account for what has occurred in Missouri, with out ascribing it to the weakness or wickedness of any general. The  newspaper files, those chroniclers of current events, will show that the  evils now complained of were quite as prevalent under Fremont, Hunter,  Halleck, and Curtis, as under Schofield. If the former had greater force  opposed to them, they also had greater force with which to meet it.  When the organized rebel army left the State, the main Federal force had  to go also, leaving the department commander at home, relatively no stronger than before. Without disparaging any, I affirm with confidence  that no commander of that department has, in proportion to his means.  done better than General Schofield.

The first specific charge against General Schofield is, that the enrolled  militia was placed under his command, whereas it had not been placed  under the command of General Curtis. The fact is, I believe, true; but  you do not point out, nor can I conceive how that did, or could, injure  loyal men or the Union cause.

You charge that General Curtis being superseded by General Schofield,  Franklin A. Dick was superseded by James O. Broadhead as Provost Marshal General. No very specific showing is made as to how this did  or could injure the Union cause. It recalls, however, the condition of  things, as presented to me, which led to a change of commander of that  department.

To restrain contraband intelligence and trade, a system of searches,  seizures, permits, and passes, had been introduced, I think, by General  Fremont. When General Halleck came, he found and continued the sys tem, and added an order, applicable to some parts of the State, to levy  and collect contributions from noted rebels, to compensate losses, and  relieve destitution caused by the rebellion. The action of General Fremont and General Halleck, as stated, constituted a sort of system which  General Curtis found in full operation when he took command of the department. That there was a necessity for something of the sort, was  clear; but that it could only be justified by stern necessity, and that it  was liable to great abuse in administration, was equally clear. Agents to  execute it, contrary to the great prayer, were led into temptation. Some  might, while others would not, resist that temptation. It was not possible to hold any to a very strict accountability; and those yielding to the  temptation would sell permits and passes to those who would pay most  and most readily for them, and would seize property and collect levies  in the aptest way to fill their own pockets. Money being the object, the  man having money, whether loyal or disloyal, would be a victim. This  practice doubtless existed to some extent, and it was a real additional  evil, that it could be, and was plausibly charged to exist in greater extent  than it did.

When General Curtis took command of the department, Mr. Dick,  against whom I never knew any thing to allege, had general charge of this  system. A controversy in regard to it rapidly grew into almost unmanageable proportions. One side ignored the necessity and magnified the  evils of the system, while the other ignored the evils and magnified the  necessity; and each bitterly assailed the other. I could not fail to see  that the controversy enlarged in the same proportion as the professed  Union men there distinctly took sides in two opposing political parties.  I exhausted my wits, and very nearly my patience also, in efforts to convince both that the evils they charged on each other were inherent in the  case, and could not be cured by giving either party a victory over the other.

Plainly, the irritating system was not to be perpetual; and it was  plausibly urged that it could be modified at once with advantage. The  case could scarcely be worse, and whether it could be made better could  only be determined by a trial. In this view, and not to ban or brand  General Curtis, or to give a victory to any party, I made the change of  commander for the department. I now learn that soon after this change  Mr. Dick was removed, and that Mr. Broadhead, a gentleman of no less  good character, was put in the place. The mere fact of this change is  more distinctly complained of than is any conduct of the new officer, or  other consequence of the change.

I gave the new commander no instructions as to the administration of  the system mentioned, beyond what is contained in the private letter  afterwards surreptitiously published, in which I directed him to act solely  for the public good, and independently of both parties. Neither any  thing you have presented me, nor any thing I have otherwise learned, has  convinced me that he has been unfaithful to this charge.

Imbecility is urged as one cause for removing General Schofield; and  the late massacre at Lawrence, Kansas, is pressed as evidence of that imbecility. To my mind that fact scarcely tends to prove the proposition.  That massacre is only an example of what Grierson, John Morgan, and  many others might have repeatedly done on their respective raids, had  they chosen to incur the personal hazard, and possessed the fiendish hearts  to do it.

The charge is made that General Schofield, on purpose to protect the  Lawrence murderers, would not allow them to be pursued into Missouri.  While no punishment could be too sudden or too severe for those murderers, I am well satisfied that the preventing of the threatened remedial  raid into Missouri was the only way to avoid an indiscriminate massacre  there, including probably more innocent than guilty. Instead of condemning, I therefore approve what I understand General Schofield did in  that respect.

The charge that General Schofield has purposely withheld protection  from loyal people, and purposely facilitated the objects of the disloyal,  are altogether beyond my power of belief. I do not arraign the veracity  of gentlemen as to the facts complained of, but I do more than question  the judgment which would infer that these facts occurred in accordance  with the purposes of General Schofield.

With my present views, I must decline to remove General Schofield  In this I decide nothing against General Butler. I sincerely wish it were  convenient to assign him a suitable command.

In order to meet some existing evils, I have addressed a letter of  instruction to General Schofield, a copy of which I enclose to you.  As to the "Enrolled Militia," I shall endeavor to ascertain, better than I  now know, what is its exact value. Let me say now, however, that  your proposal to substitute National force for the "Enrolled Militia,"  implies that, in your judgment, the latter is doing something which needs to be done; and if so, the proposition to throw that force away, and to  supply its place by bringing other forces from the field where they are  urgently needed, seems to me very extraordinary. Whence shall they  come? Shall they be withdrawn from Banks, or Grant, or Steele, or  Rosecrans?

Few things have been so grateful to my anxious feelings, as when, in  June last, the local force in Missouri aided General Schofield to so  promptly send a large general force to the relief of General Grant, then  investing Vicksburg, and menaced from without by General Johnston.  Was this all wrong? Should the Enrolled Militia then have been broken  up, and General Heron kept from Grant to police Missouri? So far from  finding cause to object, I confess to a sympathy for whatever relieves our  general force in Missouri, and allows it to serve elsewhere.

I therefore, as at present advised, cannot attempt the destruction of  the Enrolled Militia of Missouri. I may add, that the force being under  the National military control, it is also within the proclamation in regard  to the habeas corpus.

I concur in the propriety of your request in regard to elections, and  have, as you see, directed General Schofield accordingly. I do not feel  justified to enter upon the broad field you present in regard to the political differences between Radicals and Conservatives. From time to time I  have done and said what appeared to me proper to do and say. The  public knows it well. It obliges nobody to follow me, and I trust it  obliges me to follow nobody. The Radicals and Conservatives each  agree with me in some things and disagree in others. I could wish both  to agree with me in all things; for then they would agree with each  other, and would be too strong for any foe from any quarter. They,  however, choose to do otherwise, and I do not question their right. I,  too, shall do what seems to be my duty. I hold whoever commands in  Missouri or elsewhere responsible to me, and not to either Radicals or  Conservatives. It is my duty to hear all; but, at last, I must, within my  sphere, judge what to do and what to forbear.

Your obedient servant, A. LINCOLN.




There is no organized military force in avowed opposition to the Gen eral Government now in Missouri, and if any shall reappear, your duty in  regard to it will be too plain to require any special instruction. Still,  the condition of things, both there and elsewhere, is such as to render  it indispensable to maintain, for a time, the United States military establishment in that State, as well as to rely upon it for a fair contribution  of support to that establishment generally. Your immediate duty in  regard to Missouri now is to advance the efficiency of that establishment, and to so use it, as far as practicable, to compel the excited people there  to let one another alone.

Under your recent order, which I have approved, you will only arrest  individuals, and suppress assemblies or newspapers, when they may be.  working palpable injury to the military in your charge; and in no other  case will you interfere with the expression of opinion in any form, or  allow it to be interfered with violently by others. In this you have a  discretion to exercise with great caution, calmness, and forbearance.

With the matter of removing the inhabitants of certain counties en  masse, and of removing certain individuals from time to time, who are  supposed to be mischievous, I am not now interfering, but am leaving to  your own discretion.

Nor am I interfering with what may still seem to you to be necessary  restrictions upon trade and intercourse. I think proper, however, to.  enjoin upon you the following: Allow no part of the military under  your command to be engaged in either returning fugitive slaves, or in  forcing or enticing slaves from their homes; and, so far as practicable,  enforce the same forbearance upon the people.

Report to me your opinion upon the availability for good of the en rolled militia of the State. Allow no one to enlist colored troops, except  upon orders from you, or from here through you.

Allow no one to assume the functions of confiscating property, under  the law of Congress, or otherwise, except upon orders from here.

At elections see that those, and only those, are allowed to vote, who  are entitled to do so by the laws of Missouri, including as of those laws  the restrictions laid by the Missouri Convention upon those who may  have participated in the rebellion.

So far as practicable, you will, by means of your military force, expel  guerrillas, marauders, and murderers, and all who are known to harbor,  aid, or abet them. But in like manner you will repress assumptions of  unauthorized individuals to perform the same service, because under pretence of doing this they become marauders and murderers themselves.

To now restore peace, let the military obey orders; and those not of  the military leave each other alone, thus not breaking the peace them selves.

In giving the above directions, it is not intended to restrain you in  other expedient and necessary matters not falling within their range.

Your obedient servant, A. LINCOLN.

The condition of affairs in this department continued to  be greatly disturbed by political agitations, and the personal controversies to which they gave rise; and after a  lapse of some months the President deemed it wise to  relieve General Schofield from further command in this  department. This was done by an order from the War Department, dated January 24th, 1864, by which, also,  General Rosecrans was appointed in his place. In his  order assuming command, dated January 30th, General  Rosecrans paid a very high compliment to his predecessor, for the admirable order in which he found the business  of the department, and expressed the hope that he might  receive "the honest, firm, and united support of all true  national and Union men of the Department, without  regard to politics, creed, or party, in his endeavors to  maintain law and re-establish peace, and secure prosperity through out its limits."

Before closing this notice of the perplexities and annoyances to which the President was subjected by the  domestic contentions of Missouri, we may mention, as an  illustration of the extent to which they were carried, the  case of Rev. Dr. McPheeters, who had been silenced by  General Curtis for preaching disloyalty to his congregation in St. Louis. The incident gave rise to a good deal  of excitement, which was continued throughout the year.  Towards the close of it the President wrote the following  letter in reply to an appeal for his interference:--


I have just looked over a petition signed by some three dozen citizens  of St. Louis, and their accompanying letters, one by yourself, one by a  Mr. Nathan Ranney, and one by a Mr. John D. Coalter, the whole rela ting to the Rev. Dr. McPheeters. The petition prays, in the name of  justice and mercy, that I will restore Dr. McPheeters to all his ecclesiastical rights.

This gives no intimation as to what ecclesiastical rights are withdrawn.  Your letter states that Provost-Marshal Dick, about a year ago, ordered  the arrest of Dr. McPheeters, pastor of the Vine Street Church, prohibited him from officiating, and placed the management of affairs of the  church out of the control of the chosen trustees; and near the close you  state that a certain course "would insure his release." Mr. Ranney's  letter says: "Dr. Samuel McPheeters is enjoying all the rights of a civilian, but cannot preach the Gospel!" Mr. Coalter, in his letter, asks:  "Is it not a strange illustration of the condition of things, that the question who shall be allowed to preach in a church in St. Louis shall be decided by the President of the United States?"

Now, all this sounds very strangely; and, withal, a little as if you  gentlemen, making the application, do not understand the case alike: one affirming that his doctor is enjoying all the rights of a civilian, and  another pointing' out to me what will secure his release!, On the 2d of  January last, I wrote to General Curtis in relation to Mr. Dick's order  upon Dr. McPheeters; and, as I suppose the doctor is enjoying all the  rights of a civilian, I only quote that part of my letter which relates to  the church. It was as follows: "But I must add that the United States  Government must not, as by this order, undertake to run the churches.  When an individual, in a church or out of it, becomes dangerous to the  public interest, he must be checked; but the churches, as such, must  take care of themselves. It will not do for the United States to appoint  trustees, supervisors, or other agents for the churches."

This letter going to General Curtis, then in command, I supposed, of  course, it was obeyed, especially as I heard no further complaint from  Doctor Mc. or his friends for nearly an entire year. I have never interfered, nor thought of interfering, as to who shall or shall not preach in  any church; nor have I knowingly or believingly tolerated any one else  to interfere by my authority. If any one is so interfering by color of my  authority, I would like to have it specifically made known to me.

If, after all, what is now sought, is to have me put Doctor Mc. back  over the heads of a majority of his own congregation, that, too, will be  declined. I will not have control of any church on any side.


The Presbytery, the regular church authority in the  matter, subsequently decided that Dr. McPheeters could  not return to his pastoral charge.

The victories of the Union arms during the summer of  1863--the repulse of the rebels at Gettysburg, the capture of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and the consequent  restoration of the Mississippi to the commerce of the  nation--produced the most salutary effect upon the public  sentiment of the country. There was a good deal of  partisan opposition to specific measures of the Administration, and in some quarters this took the form of open  hostility to the further prosecution of the war. But the  spirit and determination of the people were at their  height, and the Union party entered upon the political  contests of the autumn of 1863, in the several States,  with confidence and courage.

The President had been invited by the Republican State  Committee of Illinois to attend the State Convention, to be held at Springfield on the 3d of September. Finding  it impossible to accept the invitation, he wrote in reply  the following letter, in which several of the most conspicuous features of his policy are defended against the  censures by which they had been assailed:--



MY DEAR SIR:--Your letter inviting me to attend a mass meeting of  unconditional Union men, to be held at the capital of Illinois, on the 3d  day of September, has been received. It would be very agreeable for me  thus to meet my old friends at my own home; but I cannot just now be  absent from here so long as a visit there would require.

The meeting is to be of all those who maintain unconditional devotion  to the Union; and I am sure that my old political friends will thank me  for tendering, as I do, the nation's gratitude to those other noble men  whom no partisan malice or partisan hope can make false to the nation's  life.

There are those who are dissatisfied with me. To such I would say:  You desire peace, and you blame me that we do not have it. But how  can we attain it? There are but three conceivable ways: First--to sup press the rebellion by force of arms. This I am trying to do. Are you  for it? If you are, so far we are agreed. If you are not for it, a second  way is to give up the Union. I am against this. Are you for it? If you  are, you should say so plainly. If you are not for force, nor yet for dis solution, there only remains some imaginable compromise.

I do not believe that any compromise embracing the maintenance of  the Union is now possible. All that I learn leads to a directly opposite  belief. The strength of the rebellion is its military, its army. That army  dominates all the country, and all the people, within its range. Any offer  of terms made by any man or men within that range, in opposition to  that army, is simply nothing for the present; because such man or men  have no power whatever to enforce their side of a compromise, if one.  were made with them.

To illustrate: Suppose refugees from the South and peace men of the  North get together in convention, and frame and proclaim a compromise  embracing a restoration of the Union. In what way can that compromise be used to keep Lee's army out of Pennsylvania? Meade's army  can keep Lee's army out of Pennsylvania, and, I think, can ultimately  drive it out of existence. But no paper compromise to which the controllers of Lee's army are not agreed can at all affect that army. In an  effort at such compromise we would waste time, which the enemy would  improve to our disadvantage; and that would be all.

A compromise, to be effective, must be made either with those who  control the rebel army, or with the people, first liberated from the domination of that army by the success of our own army. Now, allow me to  assure you that no word or intimation from that rebel army, or from any  of the men controlling it, in relation to any peace compromise, has ever  come to my knowledge or belief. All charges and insinuations to the  contrary are deceptive and groundless. And I promise you that if any  such proposition shall hereafter come, it shall not be rejected and kept a  secret from you. I freely acknowledge myself to be the servant of the  people, according to the bond of service, the United States Constitution;  and that, as such, I am responsible to them.

But, to be plain. You are dissatisfied with me about the negro.  Quite likely there is a difference of opinion between you and myself upon  that subject. I certainly wish that all men could be free, while you, I  suppose, do not. Yet, I have neither adopted nor proposed any measure  which is not consistent with even your view, provided that you are for  the Union. I suggested compensated emancipation; to which you re plied you wished not be taxed to buy negroes. But I had not asked you  to be taxed to buy negroes, except in such way as to save you from greater  taxation to save the Union exclusively by other means.

You dislike the Emancipation Proclamation, and perhaps would have  it retracted. You say it is unconstitutional. I think differently. I think  the Constitution invests its Commander-in-Chief with the law of war in  time of war. The most that can be said, if so much, is, that slaves are  property. Is there, has there ever been, any question that by the law of  war, property, both of enemies and friends, may be taken when needed?  And is it not needed whenever it helps us and hurts the enemy? Armies,  the world over, destroy enemies' property when they cannot use it; and  even destroy their own to keep it from the enemy. Civilized belligerents  do all in their power to help themselves or hurt the enemy, except a few  things regarded as barbarous or cruel. Among the exceptions are the  massacre of vanquished foes and non-combatants, male and female.

But the Proclamation, as law, either is valid or is not valid. If it is  not valid it needs no retraction. If it is valid it cannot be retracted, any  more than the dead can be brought to life. Some of you profess to think  its retraction would operate favorably for the Union. Why better after  the retraction than before the issue? There was more than a year and a  half of trial to suppress the rebellion before the Proclamation was issued,  the last one hundred days of which passed under an explicit notice that  it was coming, unless averted by those in revolt returning to their  allegiance. The war has certainly progressed as favorably for us since  the issue of the Proclamation as before.

I know, as fully as one can know the opinions of others, that some of  the commanders of our armies in the field, who have given us our most  important victories, believe the Emancipation policy and the use of  colored troops constitute the heaviest blows yet dealt to the rebellion,  and that at least one of those important successes could not have been  achieved when it was but for the aid of black soldiers.

Among the commanders who hold these views are some who have  never had any affinity with what is called "Abolitionism," or with  "Republican party politics," but who hold them purely as military  opinions. I submit their opinions as entitled to some weight against the  objections often urged that emancipation and arming the blacks are  unwise as military measures, and were not adopted as such in good  faith.

You say that you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them seem  willing to fight for you; but no matter. Fight you, then, exclusively, to  save the Union. I issued the Proclamation. on purpose to aid you in  saving the Union. Whenever you shall have conquered all resistance to  the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time  then for you to declare you will not fight to free negroes. I thought that  in your struggle for the Union, to whatever extent the negroes should  cease helping the enemy, to that extent it weakened the enemy in his re sistance to you. Do you think differently? I thought that whatever  negroes can be got to do as soldiers, leaves just so much less for white  soldiers to do in saving the Union. Does it appear otherwise to you?  But negroes, like other people, act upon motives. Why should they do  any thing for us if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives  for us they must be prompted by the strongest motive, even the promise  of freedom. And the promise, being made, must be kept.

The signs look better. The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to  the sea. Thanks to the great Northwest for it; nor yet wholly to them.  Three hundred miles up they met New-England, Empire, Keystone, and  Jersey, hewing their way right and left. The sunny South, too, in more  colors than one, also lent a helping hand. On the spot, their part of the  history was jotted down in black and white. The job was a great national  one, and let none be slighted who bore an honorable part in it. And  while those who have cleared the great river may well be proud, even  that is not all. It is hard to say that any thing has been more bravely and  well done than at Antietam, Murfreesboro', Gettysburg, and on many  fields of less note. Nor must Uncle Sam's web feet be forgotten. At all  the watery margins they have been present, not only on the deep sea, the  broad bay, and the rapid river, but also up the narrow, muddy bayou,  and wherever the ground was a little damp, they have been and made  their tracks. Thanks to all. For the great Republic--for the principle  it lives by and keeps alive--for man's vast future--thanks to all.

Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come soon,  and come to stay; and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future  time. It will then have been proved that among freemen there can be  no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet, and that they who take  such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the cost. And there will  be some black men who can remember that with silent tongue, and  clinched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they have  helped mankind on to this great consummation, while I fear there will be some white ones unable to forget that with malignant heart and deceitful speech they have striven to hinder it.

Still, let us not be over-sanguine of a speedy, final triumph. Let us be  quite sober. Let us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a  just God, in His own good time, will give us the rightful result.

Yours, very truly, A. LINCOLN.

The result of the canvass justified the confidence of the  friends of the Administration. Every State in which elections were held, with the single exception of New Jersey,  voted to sustain the Government; and in all the largest  and most important States the majorities were so large as  to make the result of more than ordinary significance. In  Ohio, Vallandigham, who had been put in nomination  mainly on account of the issue he had made with the  Government in the matter of his arrest, was defeated by a  majority of nearly one hundred thousand. New York,  which had elected Governor Seymour the year before,  and had been still further distinguished and disgraced by  the anti-draft riots of July, gave a majority of not far from  thirty thousand for the Administration; and Pennsylvania, in spite of the personal participation of General  McClellan in the canvass against him, re-elected Governor  Curtin by about the same majority. These results followed a very active and earnest canvass, in which the  opponents of the Administration put forth their most  vigorous efforts for its defeat. The ground taken by its  friends in every State was that which had been held by  the President from the beginning--that the rebellion must  be suppressed and the Union preserved, at whatever cost  --that this could only be done by force, and that it was  not only the right, but the duty, of the Government to use  all the means at its command, not incompatible with the  laws of war and the usages of civilized nations, for the  accomplishment of this result. They vindicated the action  of the Government in the matter of arbitrary arrests, and  sustained throughout the canvass, in every State, the  policy of the President in regard to slavery and in issuing  the Proclamation of Emancipation as a military measure,  against the vehement and earnest efforts of the Opposition.

The result was, therefore, justly claimed as a decided verdict of the people in support of the Government. It was so regarded by all parties throughout the country, and its effect upon their action was of marked importance. While it gave renewed vigor and courage to the friends of the Administration everywhere, it developed the division of sentiment in the ranks of the Opposition, which, in its incipient stages, had largely contributed to their defeat. The majority of that party were inclined to acquiesce in the deliberate judgment of the country, that the rebellion could be subdued only by successful war, and to sustain the Government in whatever measures might be deemed necessary for its effectual prosecution:-- but the resolute resistance of some of its more conspicuous leaders withheld them from open action in this direction.


1 See page 208. 

2 See page 330.

Book Navigation Title Page Preface Illustrations Memorandum Table of Contents   ► Chapter I.   ► Chapter II.   ► Chapter III.   ► Chapter IV.   ► Chapter V.   ► Chapter VI.   ► Chapter VII.   ► Chapter VIII.   ► Chapter IX.   ► Chapter X.   ► Chapter XI.   ► Chapter XII.   ► Chapter XIII.   ► Chapter XIV.   ► Chapter XV.   ► Chapter XVI.   ► Chapter XVII.   ► Chapter XVIII.   ► Chapter XIX.   ► Chapter XX.   ► Chapter XXI. Anecdotes and Reminiscences of President Lincoln.   ► Mr. Lincoln's Sadness   ► His Favorite Poem   ► His Religious Experience   ► His Sympathy   ► His Humor, Shrewdness, and Sentiment   ► The Emancipation Proclamation Appendix. Letters on Sundry Occasions.   ► To Mr. Lodges, of Kentucky   ► To General Hooker   ► To John B. Fry   ► To Governor Magoffin   ► To Count Gasparin   ► The President and General McClellan   ► Warnings Against Assassination Reports, Dispatches, and Proclamations Relating to the Assassination.   ► Secretary Stanton to General Dix   ► The Death-Bed   ► The Assassins   ► Reward Offered by Secretary Stanton   ► Flight of the Assassins   ► The Conspiracy Organized in Canada   ► Booth Killed. Harold Captured   ► Reward Offered by President Johnson   ► The Funeral Official Announcements   ► Acting Secretary Hunger to Minister Adams   ► Acting Secretary Hunter to his Subordinates   ► Orders from Secretary Stanton and General Grant   ► Orders from Secretary "Welles   ► Order from Secretary McCulloch   ► Order from Postmaster-General Dennison   ► Proclamation by President Johnson of a Day of Humiliation and Mourning.   ► Secretary Stanton to Minister Adams   ► Important Letter from J. Wilkes Booth   ► Indictment of the Conspirators   ► The Finding of the Court