Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

Lincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 3 of 41)
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thoroughly in sympathy with the friends of immediate eman-
cipation and the supporters of General Fremont in his dif-
ferences 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 sec- ■
tions of the Union men of the State came thus to be repre-
sented, 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 em-
barrassment 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.

A. Lincoln.

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

Executive Mansion, Washington, May 27, 1863.
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 some 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, per-
haps 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 you 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 per-
form 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, A. Lincoln.

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 thev bv 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 Hal-
leck 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 ioth of May: although made by
a person opposed to the President's action, it probably gives
a substantially correct statement of his remarks : —

Messrs. Emile Pretorious, Theodore Olshausen, R. E. Rombaur,

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 ioth 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 sub-
jects were discussed.

As my share in the conversation is of secondary importance, I pro-
pose 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 a misfortune for the nation
that he was elected President. But, having been fleeted 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 Gen-
erals 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 occupied; 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 pres-
ent 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 re-
sponsible mainly for the manner of conducting the affairs of his par-
ticular department; that there was no centralization of responsibility
for the action of the Cabinet anywhere, except in the President him"


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 "tinker-
ing it off by degrees" would preserve life. Although sorely tempted,
I did not reply with the illustration of the dog whose tail was ampu-
tated by inches, but confined myself to arguments. The President
announced clearly that, as far as he was at present advised, the radi-
cals 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-Mar-
shals, 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 McDowell, 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 himself to his military
duties. I assure you, gentlemen, that our side was as fully pre-
sented as the occasion permitted. At the close of the conversation,
the President remarked that there was evidently a "serious misun-
derstanding" 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 1 st 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 emanci-
pation, and Governor Gamble and the members of the Pro-
visional 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 Aug-


ust 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 Gov-
ernment took advantage to throw upon it and General Scho-
field, 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 com-
mittee of one from each county was appointed to visit Wash-
ington and lay their grievances before the President; and
arrangements were also made for the appointment of a Com-
mittee 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 meas-
ures 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 Gover-
nor 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 senti-
ment in their support. At these meetings it was claimed that
the radical emancipation party was the only one which rep-
resented 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 : —

Executive Mansion, Washington, October 5, 1863.
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
carefully considered. I hope you will regard the other duties claim-
ing my attention, together with the great length and importance # oi
these documents, as constituting a sufficient apology for not having
responded sooner. t

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

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 pre-
fer 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 chan-
nels 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 fol-
low. And all this, as before said, may be amongst 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,
without 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 de-
partment commander at home, relatively no stronger than before.
Without disaparaging any, I affirm with confidence that no com-
mander of that department has, in proportion to his means, done
better than General Schofield.

The first specific charge against General Schofield is, that the en-
rolled 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 Gen-
eral Fremont. When General Halleck came, he found and con-
tinued 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, con-
stituted a sort of system which General Curtis found in full operation
when he took command of the department. That there was a neces-
sity 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 tempta-
tion 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 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 other-
wise learned has convinced me that he has been unfaithful to this

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 protec-
tion from loyal people, and purposely facilitated the objects of the
disloyal, are altogether beyond my power of belief. I do not ar-
raign 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 Scho-
field. _ In this I decide nothing against General Butler. I sincerely
wish it were convenient to assign him to 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 some-
thing 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 extra-
ordinary. 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 sym-
pathy 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 difference between Radicals and Conservatives. From
time to time I have done and said what appeared to me proper to
do and say. The public 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 re-
sponsible 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.

Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C, Octobert i, 1863.
General John M. Schofield:

There is no organized military force in avowed opposition to the
General Government now in Missouri, and if any shall reappear, your
duty in regard to it will be too plain to require any special instruc-
tion. 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 upo.n
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,

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondLincoln, his life and times : being the life and public services of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, together with his state papers, including his speeches, addresses, messages, letters, and proclamations, and the closing scenes connected with his life and death (Volume 2) → online text (page 3 of 41)