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[427] to parties always ready for a fight; consequently, in the beginning of 1862, this force only existed upon paper. Fortunately, the task of bringing it into existence was entrusted to an officer who was at once energetic, intelligent, full of good sense, and a stranger to political passions—General Schofield. He saw that it was necessary before everything to enrol only men devoted to the cause they were to serve, and that by the regular application of the conscription law he would be in danger of recruiting as many traitors and deserters as loyal soldiers.

By the month of April he had organized a small army of fourteen thousand men, to which was confided the exclusive duty of occupying Missouri, the Federal troops lately stationed in that State having been sent to Pittsburg Landing immediately after the battle of Shiloh. His army, which in the month of June had reached the figure of seventeen thousand men, was scattered over the immense surface of the State, and was scarcely sufficient for maintenance of public order. This task became still more difficult when the march of Curtis left the southern frontier unprotected, and Missouri was open to the incursions of the Confederates, who were masters of Arkansas.

Instead of sending columns of troops, whose approach could have been signalled from afar, the Confederate generals adopted a much more skilful plan. They furloughed a few Missouri regiments, sending both soldiers and officers to their homes in citizens' clothes, with directions to canvass for recruits and organize small bands everywhere. These bands, coming together at a given signal, were to constitute, in the very heart of the State, a force capable of surprising and destroying the militia enrolled under the Federal flag. They soon attacked the posts occupied by these troops; sometimes victorious, often repulsed, they nevertheless succeeded in procuring arms and coming together. Schofield spared no effort to put them down; a new appeal was made to the militia; some responded eagerly; others, on the contrary, thought the occasion favorable for joining the Confederate standard; an extraordinary tax was imposed upon the city of St. Louis; requisitions were made upon counties where the civil war was raging as a substitute for the contingent, which could not be expected from them. Owing to these measures, Schofield was

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