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Chapter VI

  • 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 [90] 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 [91] 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:

executive Mansion, Washington, D. C., Oct. 1, 1863.
General John M. Schofield.
Sir: There is no organized military force in avowed opposition to the General Government now in Missouri; and if any such shall reappear, your duty in regard to it will be too plain to require any special instructions. 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 [92] in that State, as well as to rely upon it for a fair contribution of support to the establishment generally. Your immediate duty in regard to Missouri now is to advance the efficiency of that establishment, and to use it, as far as practicable, to compel the excited people there to leave 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 matters 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 enrolled 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 restriction 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 pretense of doing this, they become marauders and murderers themselves.

To now restore peace, let the military obey orders, and those [93] not of the military leave each other alone, thus not breaking the peace themselves.

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

Your obt. servt.,

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. [94] 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:

executive Mansion, Washington, D. C., October 5, 1863.
Hon. Charles D. Drake and others, Committee.
gentlemen: Your original address, presented on the 30th ultimo, and the four supplementary ones, presented on the 3d inst., have been carefully considered. I hope you will regard the other duties claiming my attention, together with the great length and importance of the documents, as constituting a sufficient apology for my 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 [95] 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 first 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 cover for the occasion.

These causes amply account for what has occurred in Missouri, without ascribing it to the weakness or wickedness of any general. The newspaper files—those chronicles 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 had also greater forces 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, when it had not been placed under the command of General Curtis.

That, I believe, is true; but you do not point out, nor can I conceive, how that did or could injure loyal men or the Union cause. [96]

You charge that upon 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 commanders for the department.

To restrain contraband intelligence and trade, a system of searches, seizures, permits, and passes had been introduced by General Fremont. When General Halleck came, he found and continued the system, 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 anything 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 motives of 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 [97] 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 consequences 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, afterward surreptitiously published,1 in which I directed him to act solely for the public good, and independently of both parties. Neither anything you have presented me, nor anything 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 remedial raid into Missouri was the only safe 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 charges 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. [98] 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 those 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 instructions to General Schofield, a copy of which I inclose 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 forces 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 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 Herron 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 all. It obliges nobody to follow me, and I trust it obliges me to follow [99] 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 obt. servt.,

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. [100] 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:

Headqrs., Department of the Missouri, St. Louis, Oct. 24th, 1863.
Hon. C. Drake, St. Louis.
Sir: After full consideration of the subject of our conversation this morning, I am of the opinion that no further orders upon the subject of the election are necessary. The law which provides the manner in which soldiers shall vote, and directs how the judges of election shall be appointed, is as binding upon all persons to whom it relates as any order would be.

Genl. Order No. 120 also alludes to the subject of soldiers voting, I think, in sufficiently strong terms, although it is taken for granted in that order that officers will do their duty under the law in appointing judges of election and in giving their men an opportunity to vote. Moreover, any failure on their part to do their whole duty in this regard would be a clear violation of Genl. Order 101. I believe there is no ground for apprehension that officers will neglect their duty regarding the election. If anything is needed, it is that the troops be given full information through the daily papers, which they all read, of their duties and privileges under the laws.

From the short examination I have been able to give, I am of the opinion that the Act of the General Assembly changing the mode of voting does not apply to soldiers voting at the company polls; that the ordinance of the convention remains unrepealed.

This, however, is a question which I will not presume to decide or to refer to even in an order.

I return herewith the copy of Laws of Missouri which you were so kind as to lend me.

Very respectfully your obt. servt.,

J. M. Schofield, Major-Genl.


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:

St. Joseph, Mo., Oct. 21st, 1863.
General: It is with very great pleasure that I can inform you of the satisfactory condition of things in this section of Missouri. There is more security for men and property in northwestern Missouri than there has been since the rebellion began. There is not a spark of rebellious feeling left here, and all citizens seem to be, and I believe are, ready to discharge all the duties of loyal men.

The people are truly grateful to you for your efforts to protect them, and you may rest assured will never fail you in any emergency.

Yours truly,

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 [103] 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 [104] 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:

executive Mansion, Washington, Oct. 28th, 1863.
Private and confidential.)

General John M. Schofield: There have recently reached the War Department, and thence been laid before me, from Missouri, three communications, all similar in import and identical in object. One of them, addressed to nobody, and without place or date, but having the signature of (apparently) the writer, is a letter of eight closely written foolscap pages. The other two are written by a different person at St. Joseph, Mo., and of the date, respectively, October 12th and 13th, and each inclosing a large number of affidavits.

The general statements of the whole are that the Federal and State authorities are arming the disloyal and disarming the loyal, and that the latter will all be killed or driven out of the State unless there shall be a change.

In particular, no loyal man who has been disarmed is named, but the affidavits show, by name, forty-two persons as disloyal who have been armed. They are as follows: [Names omitted.]

A majority of these are shown to have been in the rebel service. I believe it could be shown that the government here has deliberately armed more than ten times as many captured at Gettysburg, to say nothing of similar operations in East Tennessee. These papers contain altogether thirty-one manuscript pages, and one newspaper in extenso; and yet I do not find it anywhere charged in them that any loyal man has been harmed by reason of being disarmed, or that any disloyal one has harmed anybody by reason of being armed by the Federal or State government.

Of course I have not had time to carefully examine all; but I have had most of them examined and briefed by others, and the result is as stated. The remarkable fact that the actual evil is yet only anticipated—inferred—induces me to suppose I understand [105] the case. But I do not state my impression, because I might be mistaken, and because your duty and mine is plain in any event.

The locality of nearly all this seems to be St. Joseph and Buchanan County. I wish you to give special attention to this region, particularly on Election day. Prevent violence, from whatever quarter, and see that the soldiers themselves do no wrong.

Yours truly,

Hdqrs., Dept. Of the Missouri, St. Louis, Nov. 9th, 1863.
Mr. President: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your confidential letter dated Oct. 28th, and containing the names of men enlisted in the militia of northwest Missouri who are said to have been disloyal.

On my visit to Kansas and northwest Missouri during the troubles there in September last, I examined personally into the difficulties in Platte, Buchanan, and other western counties, and learned fully their nature and origin. I at once ordered the reorganization of the militia, which created so much commotion for a time, but which has restored that portion of the State to a condition of profound peace.

I have watched the progress of affairs there closely, and have kept myself fully advised of all the facts. It is true that about twice as many former rebels as were named by your informants are in the militia organization, amounting to from five to ten per cent. of the whole. It is also true that a very much larger number of returned Missouri rebels have enlisted in the Kansas Volunteers, and, so far as I know, are faithful, good soldiers.

The rule I established for the militia organization in northwest Missouri was that the officers should be of undoubted loyalty, original Union men, and that both officers and privates, as far as possible, should be men of wealth and respectability, whose all depended upon the preservation of peace.

The former sufferings of these men from the lawlessness which has so long existed on the border made them willing to do military duty to save from destruction or loss what property they had left. I have yet to hear the first report of a murder, robbery, or arson in that whole region since this new organization was made. The late election was conducted in perfect [106] peace and good order. There is not the slightest pretense from any source of any interference or other misconduct on the part of any of the troops. I have not deemed it necessary to be very particular about the antecedents of troops that are producing such good results. If I can make a repentant rebel of more service to the government than a man who never had any political sins to repent of, I see no reason for not doing so. Indeed, I take no little satisfaction in making these men guard the property of their more loyal neighbors, and in holding their own property responsible for their fidelity.

I have the satisfaction of reporting to you that the late election in all parts of the State passed off in perfect quiet and good order. I have heard of no disturbance of any kind anywhere. The aggregate vote, I think, shows that the purity of the ballot-box was preserved in a remarkable degree. If the loyal people all voted, few or no rebels did.

The prospects of future peace in this State are highly encouraging.

I am very respectfully your obt. servt.,

J. M. Schofield, Maj.-Genl. To 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. [107]

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 [108] 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, [109] 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. [110]

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 [111] 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 [112] 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.

1 By a radical newspaper.

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