September 24, 1863, The Weekly Conservative,
"General Orders No. 96"


Ninety-six. That is very different from '76. Seventy-six was in the interest of freedom. Ninety-six is given below. It came by telegraph yesterday. It is Schofield's last blow at the Republicans of Missouri and Kansas. Quantrill, with the blood of 227 Kansas loyalists reeking from his fingers, will give a hideous and joyous shriek as he reads this order:


No. 96.
Saint Louis, September 17.

 The proclamation of the President, dated Washington, September 15, suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the cases of persons belonging to the land and naval forces of the United States, and other persons therein described, will be held to apply to all Missouri militia called into service under the orders of the department commander.

Hereafter martial law will be rigidly enforced throughout this department against all persons who may in any manner encourage mutiny, insubordination, or disloyal conduct, and endeavor to create dissatisfaction among the troops, and against all persons who shall publish, or utter publicly, words calculated to incite insurrection or lawless acts among the people, or who shall publish falsehoods or misrepresentations of facts calculated to embarrass or weaken the military authorities, or in any manner to interfere with them in the discharge of their duties.

Any person guilty of the offenses above mentioned shall be punished by fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the military commission; and any newspaper which shall contain publications in violation of this order will be suppressed.

Special mention is called to paragraph 220 of the Revised Army Regulations, which will hereafter be strictly enforced.

By order of Major-General Schofield:


 Assistant Adjutant-General.

That order is aimed at Union men, and not at rebels; it is aimed at Union men, and not at bushwhackers; at the Saint Louis Democrat, and not at the Saint Louis Republican. And that is just the trouble with Schofield. However good his intentions, his acts always help the other side.

This matter is a very serious one. Not that Schofield is of any importance, but the tone, tendency, and spirit of the administration at Washington is all-important. Schofield is the agent of the Commander-in-Chief, the author of the proclamation of emancipation--the President who revoked Burnside's order suppressing the rebel Chicago Times. It is a very grave matter if Schofield is sustained in suppressing loyal papers, and Burnside is overruled in suppressing the organs of Jeff. Davis.

Order 96 is an edict to fine and imprison men and newspapers who "weaken or embarrass the military authorities," and the great military authority of this department is J. M. Schofield. Quantrill is not touched. Nobody will be interfered with but Republicans, loyalists, Union men. We want every man arrested, and every newspaper stopped, that works against the Union cause. Let everything in the way of loyalty be removed. Treat radicals no more leniently than you do Chicago Times rebels. Put out of the way all men opposed to the subjugation of Jeff. Davis and Quantrill, even the major-generals. The freedom of the country is more important than the freedom of the press. If the Union is lost, men and papers will go with it. This ought to be the keynote of the national policy, but it is not. The New York World and Chicago Times are still published.

The President allows Copperheads to condemn him. Schofield threatens to fine and imprison the loyal men who object to his weak and inefficient policy. Schofield is an inefficient commander. We say of him what the New York Herald said of Fremont and Sigel, and was not suppressed for so doing. His orders to Blunt have proved to the country the fatal effect of his military commands. Blunt was too wise a general to obey Schofield's orders; therefore he has succeeded. The retreating policy was not pursued, and because it was not, Western Arkansas and the Indian country are now in our possession. Had the desire of General Schofield been followed, we should not have taken possession of Western Arkansas in 1862, or of Fort Smith in 1863. In the same year of 1863, and under Schofield as commander, we have suffered this barbarous Lawrence massacre. In other words, the incompetency and imbecility of Schofield are so deplorable as to need no discussion. His whole rule has been a failure. He tries now to stop discussion of his course by despotic orders. He attempts to maintain his position by tyrannically shutting the mouth of every man opposed to him. Who is this Schofield, that he cannot be talked about? Is he more loyal and true than we are? Has he done more for his country? He may be a lunatic, but his order prevents us from asking a question in regard to the matter. If he was a rebel, we should have no remedy against Star Chamber order. But he will not stop free thought or free speech. When he does it in his own department, it will break out elsewhere. You can bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, but you cannot bind free thought. It cannot be done by Schofield or Quantrill. The free people of Kansas will not be restrained or repressed by any tyrannical edicts of any commander, no matter how high his station or how mean his principles.

We have said, and we still say, that Schofield is the worst major-general in command; worst for Union men, best for rebels. He is not fit for the position. Silencing edicts will not help him. Despotic orders will not help him. Arbitrary arrests will not help him. He must be removed.


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