October 3, 1863, Statement on behalf of delegates representing counties of Missouri Seventh Congressional District, Ben Loan, chairman.
Additional statement made on behalf of the delegates representing the counties composing the Seventh Congressional District in Missouri in relation to the condition of affairs in that State.
Mr. PRESIDENT: In pursuance of your suggestion made at the first audience given to the Missouri delegates the following is furnished, premising, however, that it is absolutely necessary for a full appreciation of the relevancy and bearing of the facts hereinafter stated that a brief reference be made to prior action in relation to military affairs in Missouri. It is believed that the Provisional Governor of Missouri has never by any official or other public act placed himself upon the record as an unconditional Union man. He has always qualified his loyalty and has ever subordinated his patriotism to his devotion to the institution of slavery. As early as November, 1861, he appointed Captain Schofield brigadier-general of the Missouri State Militia, with the understanding that General Halleck, then in command of that department, would authorize him to discharge the duties of major-general of the State troops. This was done. He was also assigned to duty as commander of the District of Missouri. During General Halleck's absence at Corinth and elsewhere, General Schofield, as district commander and as major-general of the Missouri State Militia, had unlimited control and the direction of military affairs in Missouri. In the summer of 1862 he permitted the State to be overrun by guerrillas. Porter in the northeast was allowed to raise more than 5,000 armed men, who ravaged that part of the State for a long time, killing great numbers of Union men and stealing large quantities of property. Poindexter, in the central part of the State north of the Missouri River, with more than 1,500 men, was committing like depredations there. Coffee and others from Northwest Arkansas were permitted to march a large force to within a few miles of the Missouri River, and after defeating the Federal troops at Lone Jack with great loss, to retreat in safety with not less than 3,000 men and a large amount of plunder of great value. Most of our territory in the southeast and on the southern border was overrun by our enemies. Thus, after a fair trial of more than nine months, with ample means at his command, General Schofield signally failed to maintain peace within the State or to give protection to the inhabitants. When General Halleck was relieved of his command in that department General Curtis succeeded him in Saint Louis. His vigorous policy and energetic action soon dispersed these organized bands of rebels and guerrillas and infused into their aiders and abettors a wholesome fear that prevented them giving further assistance to these outlaws. Comparative peace and quiet was restored to the country; the loyal people again felt that they were protected and that disloyalty was being punished.
The effect of this policy on General Schofield was to transfer him to a command in another department, and on Governor Gamble to declare that the policy pursued by the department commander did not harmonize with his views. All unconditional Union men in the State gave an active support to the department commander, whilst disloyalty, in every shape, phase, and degree, from the conditional Union man of the school of Governor Gamble up or down to the worst guerrilla or assassin in the State, opposed it. A fierce controversy ensued, which ended in the removal of General Curtis and for which it is not known that any other reason has been assigned than that in Missouri Governor Gamble was at the head of one faction and General Curtis was at the head of another, and that as Governor Gamble could not be removed General Curtis was, and his place was supplied by the only officer in the service concerning whom there were conclusive reasons why he should not have been assigned to duty there: for instance, he had not the rank necessary to command there, having failed in the Senate to be confirmed as major-general. His administration as district commander in Missouri in 1862, as before stated, proved a signal failure, which the loyal people believe was chiefly occasioned by his disposition to" harmonize" with the Governor's views and to conform his action to the Governor's will, His want of sympathy with the loyal people and for their cause, and because of his assignment to duty there, was construed to be a concession to the disloyal element of the State. Whilst General Curtis was in command Governor Gamble issued orders to the militia prohibiting them from assisting in enforcing certain orders emanating from Federal authority, nor would he permit Federal officers any control over them. But finding in General Schofield an officer whose views of policy "harmonized" with his own, he by general order transferred to General Schofield full power and authority to command the Enrolled Militia, which he has assumed to do With the approbation of Governor Gamble General Schofield appointed as a staff officer and assigned to duty as provost-marshal-general one James O. Broadhead, who, it is said, declared recently in Saint Louis that every damned abolitionist in the country ought to be hung, with Chase and Stanton at their head. Under this new administration, faithful, diligent, and competent assistant provost-marshals were arbitrarily removed without any cause being assigned and their places supplied by those whose sympathies were with the Conservatives.
Within the last four weeks Mr. Armstrong Beattie, of Saint Joseph, Mo., has been appointed assistant provost-marshal. His general reputation is that of a disloyal citizen. Sustained by the Federal and State authorities the cause of disloyalty in Missouri has prospered beyond their most sanguine expectations. Those active rebels who under the vigorous rule of General Curtis were banished have been in many instances permitted to return. Others who had fled the country have in general orders been invited to return, and have been promised protection on condition that they would formally renew their allegiance. The consequence of this policy is that the State is again overrun with guerrillas. They are to be found in almost every county in the State. Sympathizers with the rebellion no longer fear to feed and harbor bushwhackers. About the 1st of June last, disloyalists in La Fayette County publicly declared that it was their duty to harbor and protect the guerrillas, as they were the only protection the slave-holders had for their slave property against the action of the citizens of Kansas and other abolitionists. James Hecklin, near Lexington, was one of the persons who made such declarations. In many localities these guerrillas are in very considerable numbers. For instance, Colonel Jackman, C. S. Army, had a force of some 400 or 500 men in the rich and populous counties of Howard and Boone, in the central part of the State. This band has been in those counties for several months, are known to have been there recently, and are supposed to be still there. They have killed Federal soldiers, murdered Union citizens, and stolen large quantities of their property. Those counties are intensely disloyal, and the guerrillas remain with their friends in perfect security. Recently a band of guerrillas belonging, it is believed, to Cobb's command, attacked Wright City, on the North Missouri Railroad, killed one or two men, and burned part of the town. They were repulsed by the citizens. The trains on that road have been stopped by the guerrillas on several occasions. More recently the steam-boat Marcella was stopped near Dover Landing, just below Lexington, on the Missouri River, by guerrillas, and the passengers robbed. Federal soldiers, several being on board, were taken prisoners and were afterward deliberately murdered. It was under this conservative policy that the guerrilla chieftain, Quantrill, returned to his old haunts in Jackson County, and under its benign influence his usual force of some 200 or 300 was increased to some 2,000 armed ruffians, many of whom were farmers by day and robbers by night; and who, after killing or driving out most of the Union families on a territory 40 miles wide and 100 miles long, on the border including the populous counties of Jackson, Cass, and Bates, shocked the whole country in the commission of that unparalleled act of fiendish atrocity, the sacking and burning of Lawrence and the murder of its inhabitants. And the most remarkable incident relating to that sad tragedy is the protection afforded by Federal soldiers to the guerrillas on their retreat. Being closely pursued by the indignant and outraged citizens of Kansas, who were threatening them with annihilation, they fled to the border with all possible speed, and on crossing the State line found themselves fully protected and sheltered from pursuit by a column of troops which General Schofield, who had just reached the disturbed district, had thrown along the State line to check the Kansans in their advance into Missouri.
About this time there was sent to Clay County, which did not have in it as citizens 200 loyal men, but which did have a regiment of Enrolled Militia, who it is to be believed were fully armed, some 300 additional guns with which to arm the citizens. The arms were sent from Saint Joseph by military authority, and are believed to be guns belonging to the United States. In pursuance of orders issued by the officer commanding the District of North Missouri requiring the citizens to be disarmed it is believed that many loyal citizens were disarmed and yet remain so. Under this rule fugitive slaves have been taken out of the lines of Federal troops by rebel masters; guards have been stationed to prevent negroes escaping from their masters. A recent instance is where the guards on the bank of the river at Saint Joseph compelled persons who were crossing the river in a skiff to Kansas to return. The persons were three white men and some negroes. All were taken in charge by the guard; the white men were turned over to the civil authorities to be dealt with for the crime of decoying slaves out of the State. It is supposed the masters obtained possession of the slaves, as they resided in the city. But it is useless to enumerate further; there is no time to read, let alone to write, the history of all the wrongs and injuries inflicted upon the loyal people of the State by the Conservatives. The present unhappy condition of the country speaks in trumpet tones of the misrule and inefficiency of the administration of military affairs in Missouri. From a state of comparative peace, quiet, and prosperity consequent upon the vigorous policy of General Curtis, the blighting influence of a conservative policy has in four months produced a perfect state of confusion, discord, and anarchy. In nine counties out of every ten in the State there is no longer safety for the traveler by day or the citizen by night. Affairs are rapidly approaching a crisis in Missouri when Union men will have to decide, as they did in the days of Governor Jackson's treachery, between voluntary exile and an independent but united armed defense of their homes. And for what is this alternative forced upon them? It is that you, Mr. President, persistently and without any especial reason that is known to us, continue there as department commander one whose policy has only brought discord and anarchy upon our State and ruin to our people; and this you know has been the result of his policy, for it has been told you by the largest delegation that has ever traveled the same distance to ask a redress of grievances of the Chief Magistrate of the nation. The removal of such a commander is to you a very small matter; it involves no question of principle; it occasions no wrong or injury to any one. General Schofield can be assigned to a command where there is no complaint against him and where his services may be valuable to his country, and to do so would bring relief to our suffering and desponding people and at once would fill their hearts with joy and gladness.
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