September 12, 1863,
”What It Means”
In the absence of any explanation from responsible sources of the movement by which hundreds of our citizens are being forced away from their homes and business, put into the ranks with muskets in their hands, and marched off into camp, the Missouri Republican undertakes to clear up the mystery. Its account of the matter is, that General Steele is hard pressed in Arkansas, and the movement among the militia here looks to his relief. But, if so, why is it that some time has elapsed since this fact was known to the military authorities, for preparations for calling out the militia were instituted days ago, and the public should have no inkling of the news? Why is it that we are told by the telegraph, through channels which appear to be reliable, that the rebels have already evacuated Little Rock and are in full retreat before Steele and Davidson? How happens it that the enemy were defeated in a very strong position at the Bayou Metaire [Meto], which is understood to command Little Rock, by Davidson alone? In case General Steele is in danger, why is it that re-enforcements are not sent up by Grant from Vicksburg and Helena, which are points much more accessible to Steele than Saint Louis, and where large forces are understood to be lying idle? Why, in that condition of things, is General Schofield, who commands the Enrolled Missouri Militia, and from whom the order for the draft must have come, not down on the Arkansas line looking after the real point of danger and weakness, instead of spending his time to no profit on the Kansas line? Why is all this silence and mystery preserved? If a Union army is really in peril, and our help is needed for its safety, it seems to us the true policy would be to say so, and appeal to the patriotism of Union men to the rescue. There would be no difficulty in that case. The citizens of Saint Louis would then turn out cheerfully and do their duty to a man. The course of concealment and mystification, which our military authorities are pursuing in this matter, is just the thing to prevent that result and breed difficulty.
This story about Steele may be true. It has been given out in an irresponsible way for several days--ever since the draft began. We confess it looks very much like a mere pretext.
Another very singular thing is that the militia are not called out in regiments and companies, as they are already organized and prepared for service, as would be the case were the emergency pressing, but they are called out by draft to form provisional regiments, a force yet to be organized.
These are things to which our State and military authorities cannot expect the people to shut their eyes. There are several things about these provisional regiments which need ventilation, and they will get it.
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