- A memorandum for Mr. Lincoln -- the President's instructions -- his reply to the radical delegation -- the matter of colored Enlistments -- modification of the order respecting elections refused -- a letter to the President on the condition of Missouri -- former Confederates in Union militia regiments -- summoned to Washington by Mr. Lincoln -- offered the command of the army of the Ohio -- anecdote of General Grant.
on October 1, 1863, I furnished the following memorandum to the Hon. James S. Rollins, M. C., for the information of the President. It was doubtless seen by the President before the date of his letter to the radical delegation, quoted further on.
The radicals urge as evidence of Genl. Schofield's misrule that Missouri is in a worse condition than at any time since the rebellion; that he has failed to use the troops at his disposal to put down the rebellion. This charge is false, unless it be admitted that the radicals are rebels. It is true that the State is in a bad condition, and it is equally true that this condition is directly brought about by professed Union men—radicals. There has been no time since the beginning of the war when there were so few armed rebels or guerrillas in Missouri as at the present time. The only trouble at all worth mentioning in comparison with what the State has suffered heretofore is the lawless acts of radicals in their efforts to exterminate or drive out all who differ from them in political sentiment. This lawlessness is instigated, encouraged, and applauded by the radical press and leaders. Every effort to put down this lawlessness is  denounced by the radicals as persecution of loyal men. When Genl. Curtis relinquished command he had in Missouri and Kansas 43,000 men; Genl. Schofield retained in these States only 23,000. Of the remaining 20,000, he sent some reinforcements to Genl. Rosecrans and a large force to Genl. Grant, to assist in the capture of Vicksburg; and with the remainder and a force equivalent to the one sent to Genl. Grant, returned by him after the fall of Vicksburg, he has reclaimed all Arkansas and the Indian Territory. The radicals denounce Genl. Schofield because of his relations to the State government. It is true that those relations have been most cordial, but it is not true that his policy has been controlled or materially influenced by Gov. Gamble. Gov. Gamble has not sought to exercise any such control. He, without hesitation, placed all the militia in active service under Genl. S.'s command, and yielded to him the control of all military operations. As an example to illustrate the truth of this statement: Genl. S. required the militia to obey the 102d Article of War; although they were not in the service of the United States, and although they constituted the only force in the State capable of arresting fugitive slaves with any certainty, no complaint was made by the State government. No military force is used in this department for the return of fugitives. All assertions to the contrary are false. On the contrary, it has been invariably held by Genl. Schofield and Col. Broadhead that free papers given under Genl. Curtis were to be held valid, even though wrongfully given, the negroes having been the slaves of loyal men. So also when the slaves of loyal men have, by mistake or otherwise, been enlisted in colored regiments, Genl. Schofield has invariably held that they have been made free by their enlistment, and cannot be returned to their masters or discharged from the service. It cannot be denied that Genl. Schofield's whole influence has been in favor of emancipation. He did all in his power to secure the passage of an ordinance of emancipation by the late State Convention. The leaders of the present ‘charcoal’ faction, who now war on Genl. Schofield, are not the men who sustained the government at the beginning of the war. The men who now support Genl. S. are the identical ones who stood around Lyon and sustained the government in the dark days of 1861. They are the true friends of the government; men  who stand between the rebels on one side and the radical revolutionists on the other; the men who maintain the Constitution, uphold the laws, and advocate justice to all men. If sustained by the President, they will rally to their standard all the best men of the State, of all parties. Secession is dead in Missouri. As a party the secessionists are utterly without influence. The degree of support which they will hereafter give to the government will depend upon its policy. If the radicals triumph, the enemies of the government will be increased both in numbers and bitterness. If a wise and just policy be pursued, every respectable man in the State will soon be an active supporter of the government, and Missouri will be the most loyal State in the Union. This, in fact, is the cause of the present fierce action of the radicals. They know they must get the power at once, or there will soon be an overwhelming loyal party opposed to them. The ‘claybank’ leaders control all the conservative elements in the State, and give to Genl. S., as the representative of the President, an honest support. They will continue to support him in the execution of any policy the President may order to be carried out. They sustain him, and will sustain him in future, although they may not approve all his acts, because it is their duty to the government.About the last of September a radical delegation of about one hundred members from Missouri and Kansas went to Washington to urge my removal from command in Missouri. The President sent me the following instructions, and made a reply to the delegation, also given below:
I wrote in my journal, under date of October 2:
Colonel Du Bois, Captain Benham, and Captain Howard, who were sent to inspect in Genl. Ewing's and Genl. Blunt's districts, have returned. They report affairs in Blunt's district in a disgraceful condition. I have determined to relieve Blunt, and propose to send McNeil to Fort Smith. I telegraphed my intentions to Genl. Halleck this morning, and asked for a general officer to command one of the two districts. Soon after I received a despatch from the President saying Genl. Halleck had shown him my despatch, and adding: ‘If possible, you better allow me to get through with a certain matter here before adding to the difficulties of it. Meantime supply me with the particulars of Maj.-Genl. Blunt's case.’ I replied: ‘I will forward the papers in Genl. Blunt's case, and defer action until I know your pleasure regarding it. I desire, if possible, to diminish and not increase your difficulties. This is one reason why I informed Genl. Halleck what I thought it necessary to do.’ Have since received a despatch from Genl. Halleck saying that he had ordered Brig.-Genl. J. B. Sanborn from Vicksburg to report to me for duty. Have received a letter from Atty.-Genl. Bates, dated Sept. 29, saying I need have no fear of the result of the efforts of the radical delegation. On Sept. 30 I received a despatch from the President transmitting the false report from Leavenworth that Col. Moss, of the militia, was driving out Union families from Platt and Union counties. After full inquiry from Col. Guitar, Genl. Ewing, and Col. Williams at St. Joseph, have replied to the President, informing him the report is false, and a base attempt of my enemies to influence his action.Under date of October 4, I wrote in my journal:
The address presented to the President by the radical delegation from Missouri was published in the ‘Democrat’ last evening.  I telegraphed the President last night that ‘so much of it as relates to me is not only untrue in spirit, but most of it is literally false. If an answer or explanation is on any account desirable, I shall be glad to make it.’ To-day I received from the President a despatch saying: ‘Think you will not have just cause to complain of my action. . . .’The next day the President made this reply to the radical delegation:
On October 13, I wrote in my journal:
The radical delegation has returned from Washington very much crestfallen. It is generally conceded that they have accomplished nothing. Nothing official is yet known on the subject. . . . Lane spoke at Turner's Hall last evening; no disturbance; was silent on the subject of the department commander. He informed me yesterday, through Major Vaughan, that he had stopped the war upon me, and intended hereafter not to oppose me unless circumstances rendered it necessary. Said the President told him that whoever made war on General Schofield, under the present state of affairs, made war on him—the President. Said he never had made war on General S., ‘except incidentally.’ Oct. 14.—Received yesterday an order from Genl. [Lorenzo] Thomas appointing officers for the 1st Regt. Mo. Volunteers, of African descent, and directing that they be detailed to raise the regiment. Have telegraphed to the War Department for instructions as to the mode of raising these troops, referring to a letter I wrote to Col. Townsend on the subject on the 29th of September. In that letter I explained the difficulty of raising such troops in Missouri, unless it be done without regard to the claims of loyal slave-owners. I also recommended that all able-bodied negroes be enlisted, receipts given as a basis for payment to loyal owners, and suggested that those of unquestioned loyalty might be paid at once from the substitute fund. No answer has been received to that letter. Some months ago I wrote to the Secretary of War, asking instructions about the negro question. No answer. The Hon.  Secretary seems determined to make me deal with that question on my own responsibility. It is very natural, but hardly just to me.I had issued an order respecting elections, in accordance with the President's instructions. A personal request was made to me for a modification of the order. The following letter was written in reply to that request:
 On October 25 I wrote to Mr. Lincoln in regard to a reorganization of the militia of northwestern Missouri which had been made for the purpose of suppressing the lawlessness that had prevailed there under the name of ‘loyalty,’ saying:
I take the liberty of sending you a letter which I have this day received from Hon. Willard P. Hall, Lieut.-Governor of Missouri. It may be of interest to you, as showing the good effect of the stringent measures which I felt compelled to adopt in some portions of Missouri, and of the firm support you have given me. The immediate effect, as might have been expected, was a terrible storm, but it has passed away, I hope never to return. The State is now in far better condition than it has been at any time during the war. I have issued an election order in compliance with your instructions, with which all parties express themselves well satisfied. It seems I have at last succeeded in doing one thing which nobody can find fault with. Shelby's raid has terminated with a loss of about one half of the men with which he entered the State, and he received no recruits except the robbers under Quantrill and Jackman. These left the State with him. This fact is gratifying as showing that the rebel power in Missouri is completely broken. Whatever may be the secret feelings of the former secessionists of Missouri, their influence now, so far as it is exerted at all, is for peace and submission to the national authority. All that is now necessary to secure peace to Missouri, with the possible exception of occasional raids from Arkansas, is union among the loyal people. I shall spare no effort to reconcile their differences as far as possible, or at least to restrain their quarrel within peaceable limits. The additional strength your support has given me will enable me to do this far better than before. My radical friends now exhibit some disposition to stop their war upon me, and I shall certainly not give them any good reason for continuing it. The honest enthusiasts on the subject of liberty, who compose the respectable portion of this party, are already well disgusted with their lawless brethren who have brought
such odium upon them, and now begin to realize the necessity of sustaining me in enforcing the laws. Whatever may be the result of the pending election, I believe the most serious danger is already past. I shall not fail to exercise great forbearance in enforcing restrictions upon speech and the press. I have enforced my order in only one case, and that so clear that the offender fully confessed and asked pardon on any terms. It will not probably be necessary for me to exercise any control over the press hereafter. Your accurate appreciation of the real difficulty here, and the strong and generous manner in which you have sustained me, will do more good in Missouri than to have doubled the troops under my command. This I hope soon to show you by sending additional forces to the front.With the above letter to the President I inclosed the following:
The following was written by me, November 1, 1863, to Mr. James L. Thomas of St. Louis, in answer to what was understood to be an attempt to obtain some expression of partizan preference as between the ‘pestilent factions’:
In reply to your letter of Oct. 30th, I will state that in some important particulars you entirely misapprehended my remarks  made during our conversation on the 29th. I spoke of the lawless acts committed in some portions of Missouri by men claiming to be radicals and acting in the name of radicalism; and asserted that leading men and papers of the party had failed to do their duty by disavowing and frowning down this lawlessness; that in this course they had been guilty of great folly, and had brought odium upon their party in Missouri and throughout the country; that they had injured rather than advanced the cause of emancipation. I made no remarks relative to the radical party, nor to radicals as a party or class of citizens. I spoke of those men and papers who by tolerating and encouraging lawlessness in the name of radicalism had done so much towards producing trouble in the State. It is perhaps natural that any honest man should feel, as you propose, to disown a party in which such abuses are tolerated, but I cannot see the propriety of so doing. Would it not be much wiser and more patriotic to endeavor to purify the party, to bring it back to the high principles upon which it was founded, and to rid it of the elements whch have disgraced those principles? Our conversation on the 29th was regarded by me as confidential, and I still desire it to be so regarded by you, and also this letter. No possible good can result from a public discussion by me of such matters. You are aware that as department commander I have nothing to do with politics, nor with offenders as members of any party. I shall unquestionably, upon proper proof, punish all who have been, or may hereafter be, guilty of the crimes you mention, without regard to the party they may belong to; but I do not propose to condemn any party or class of men because of the guilt of one or any number of its members. When I find men acting wrongfully or unwisely to the prejudice of the Union cause, I endeavor, within my proper sphere, to correct or restrain them by appropriate means according to circumstances. Whether my influence thus exerted inures to the benefit of one party or another is a question which I cannot take into consideration. My dealing is with individuals, not with parties. Officially I know nothing of radicals or conservatives. The question with me is simply what individuals obey the laws and what violate them; who are for the government and who against it. The  measures of the President are my measures; his orders, my rule of action. Whether a particular party gains strength or loses it by my action must depend upon the party, and not upon me.At this time occurred the following exchange of letters with the President:
I had abundant reason to be satisfied with the result of this controversy, so far as it concerned me, and with the condition of the department when it terminated, near midwinter. Yet I was satisfied some change was impending, and cared not how soon it might come, now that my administration had been fully vindicated. In fact, such a command was not at all to my taste, and I had always longed for purely military service in the field, free from political complications. It was therefore with sincere pleasure that I received, in December, a summons from the President to come to Washington. But before relating the circumstances of my visit to the President, I must refer to an incident which occurred a short time before I left St. Louis, and which I was afterward led to suspect was the immediate cause of the President's desire to see me.  The Missouri legislature was in session and balloting for a United States senator. The legislature was divided into three parties—radicals, conservative Republicans, and Democrats, or ‘copperheads,’ neither strong enough to elect without a fusion with one of the others. A union of the radicals and the conservatives was, of course, most desired by the administration; but their bitterness had become so great that either would prefer a bargain with the Democrats rather than with the other. The Hon. E. B. Washburne, representative in Congress from Illinois, made an opportune visit to St. Louis about this time, procured an interview with me at the house of a common friend, and led me into a frank conversation relative to this political question. I told him candidly that in my opinion the desired union of radicals and conservatives was impossible, for they were more bitterly opposed to each other than either was to the Democrats. Mr. Washburne went to Washington, and reported to the President that I was opposed to the much-desired radical and conservative union in Missouri, and was using my influence to prevent it. So opposite was this to the truth that I had even written a letter to my friend Colonel J. O. Broadhead, the conservative candidate, asking him to withdraw in favor of the radical candidate, as a means of bringing about the harmony so much desired by the President. This letter was not sent, because the telegraphic reports from Jefferson City showed that it was too late to do any good; but it was handed to Colonel Broadhead on his return to show him my wishes in the matter. Upon my first visit to the President, he repeated to me this Washburne story, without, however, intimating that he attached much weight to it. I at once replied by giving him the simple facts about my conversation with Washburne, and what my true position was on that question. Mr. Lincoln promptly dismissed the subject  with the words: ‘I believe you, Schofield; those fellows have been lying to me again.’ Mr. Lincoln undoubtedly referred here to a previous incident which was related to me by the Hon. James S. Rollins, member of Congress from Missouri, one of the truest and most truthful men in the world, as having occurred in his presence. Some men from Missouri had prevailed upon Mr. Rollins to introduce them to the President, to whom they wished to represent the condition of affairs in Missouri as viewed from their standpoint. After listening to their story, the President opened the little right-hand drawer of his desk, took out a letter from me, and read it to them. He then said: ‘That is the truth about the matter; you fellows are lying to me.’ Determined to leave no room for doubt in the President's mind, I telegraphed to St. Louis and got the Broadhead letter; but by the time it arrived I had become so satisfied of Mr. Lincoln's confidence that I did not think it worth while to show it to him. I remained at the capital several weeks, and had full conversations with the President on public affairs. The political situation was a perplexing one. The state of parties in the West seemed that of inextricable confusion, which Mr. Lincoln and his friends were anxious to unravel, if possible, before the next Presidential nomination. In Missouri the faction which had been friendly to me was also a supporter of Mr. Lincoln, while the radicals were opposed to him. In Kansas, on the contrary, the so-called Lane and Carney factions, while vying with each other in professions of radicalism, were divided in the opposite manner. The former supported the President, but was bitterly hostile to me, while the latter was friendly to me and opposed to Mr. Lincoln. I frankly told the President that it was impossible for me to reconcile those differences—indeed, that I did not believe any general in the army could, as department commander,  satisfy the Union people of both Kansas and Missouri; neither the man nor the policy that would suit the one would be at all satisfactory to the other. Mr. Lincoln had evidently already arrived at much the same conclusion, and soon determined to divide the old Department of the Missouri into three departments, and try to assign to each a commander suited to its peculiarities. But Mr. Lincoln declared decidedly to me, and to my friends in the Senate, that he would make no change until the Senate united with him in vindicating me by confirming my nomination as major-general, then in the hands of the Military Committee of the Senate, and that he would then give me a more important command. A large majority—indeed, all but some half-dozen—of the Senate were known to be favorable to the confirmation; but this small minority had control of the Military Committee, and were consequently able to delay any report of the case to the Senate, and thus to thwart the President's wishes. The matter stood thus for nearly a month, and seemed no nearer solution than at first, when a despatch was received in Washington from General Grant, then commanding the Military Division of the Mississippi, saying it was necessary to relieve General Foster, on account of ill-health, from the command of the Department and Army of the Ohio, and to appoint a successor. Upon being asked whom he wanted for that command, Grant replied: ‘Either McPherson or Schofield.’ Among the changes then known in Washington to be in the near future was Grant's elevation to the command of ‘all the armies,’ to be naturally followed by Sherman's succession to that of the Division of the Mississippi, and McPherson's to that of the Army of the Tennessee. But Grant alone, perhaps, had no right to anticipate those changes, hence he gave his just preference to my senior, McPherson.  Halleck handed me Grant's despatch, and asked me how I would like that. I replied: ‘That is exactly what I want; nothing in the world could be better.’ He then told me to take the despatch to the President, which I immediately did, and in handing it to him said: ‘If you want to give me that, I will gladly take all chances for the future, whether in the Senate or elsewhere.’ Mr. Lincoln replied in his characteristic way: ‘Why, Schofield, that cuts the knot, don't it? Tell Halleck to come over here, and we will fix it right away.’ I bade the President adieu, and started at once for St. Louis, to turn over my command and proceed to my new field of duty. I saw Mr. Lincoln only once after that time. That was when, just a year later, I was passing through Washington with the Twenty-third Corps, and called merely to pay my respects. The President greeted me with the words: ‘Well, Schofield, I have n't heard anything against you for a year.’ Apparently, the great trouble to him with which I had been so closely connected, if not the cause, was uppermost in his mind. With Mr. Lincoln I had no personal acquaintance, having met him but once, previous to the visit above described. But in assigning me to the command in Missouri he had, contrary to the usual custom, written for me his own instructions, thus inviting my fullest confidence. I had availed myself of this to tell him everything without reserve, and he appeared never to doubt the exact truth of my statements. My personal acquaintance with General Grant was equally limited—we having met but once, and for only a moment. He knew me only by reputation. I never had any conversation or correspondence with him on the subject, but presume he knew something about the trouble I was in, had not forgotten the aid I sent him at Vicksburg, and believed I would do what was right to the best of my ability. I have had abundant reasons  for believing that he never felt disappointed in his trust and confidence. General Halleck knew me much better, having been my immediate commander in Missouri in 1861 and 1862. Although on one or two occasions he seemed a little harsh in respect to unimportant matters, he was uniformly kind, considerate, and unwavering in his personal and official support. The Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, expressed his confidence and approval; said he was opposed to any change; that it was the President's affair, with which he had nothing to do. I got the impression that he regarded the whole scheme as a political one, in which he took no interest, and with which he felt no sympathy. In St. Louis I met General Grant, who was then so soon to be assigned to the command of ‘all the armies of the United States,’ and for the first time really became acquainted with him. We were together much of the time for several days and nights. The citizens of St. Louis entertained the general in a most magnificent manner. At a grand banquet given in his honor, at which I sat on his right, he did not even touch one of the many glasses of wine placed by the side of his plate. At length I ventured to remark that he had not tasted his wine. He replied: ‘I dare not touch it. Sometimes I can drink freely without any unpleasant effect; at others I cannot take even a single glass of light wine.’ A strong man, indeed, who could thus know and govern his own weakness! In reply to the toast in his honor, he merely arose and bowed without saying a word. Then turning to me, he said it was simply impossible for him to utter a word when on his feet. As is well known, the great general finally overcame his reserve. It was very difficult for me to comprehend the political necessity which compelled Mr. Lincoln to give his official countenance to such men as Lane and Blunt in  Kansas, but such necessity was thought to exist. I suppose a great statesman should use in the best way he can the worst materials as well as the best that are within his reach, and, if possible, make them all subserve the great purposes he has to accomplish. The old department was cut up, the Lane faction in Kansas was given the man of its choice—General Curtis; Missouri was placed alone under General Rosecrans—not Butler, as the radicals had asked; Arkansas, having no voice in the matter, was left under the soldier, General Steele, then in command there; and I left them all without regret and with buoyant hopes of more satisfactory service in a purely military field.