THE WRITINGS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN - V7
THE WRITINGS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN - V7
OPINION ON THE LOSS OF
GENERAL R. H. MILROY'S DIVISION.
October 27 1863.
In June last a division was substantially lost at or near Winchester
Va. At the time it was under General Milroy as immediate commander
in the field General Schenck as department commander at Baltimore
and General Halleck as general-in-chief at Washington.
General Milroy as immediate commander was put in arrest and
subsequently a court of inquiry examined chiefly with reference to
disobedience of orders and reported the evidence.
The foregoing is a synoptical statement of the evidence together
with the judge-advocate-general's conclusions. The disaster when it
came was a surprise to all. It was very well known to Generals
Shenck and Milroy for some time before that General Halleck thought
the division was in great danger of a surprise at Winchester; that it
was of no service commensurate with the risk it incurred and that it
ought to be withdrawn; but although he more than once advised its
withdrawal he never positively ordered it. General Schenck on the
contrary believed the service of the force at Winchester was worth
the hazard and so did not positively order its withdrawal until it
was so late that the enemy cut the wire and prevented the order
reaching General Milroy.
General Milroy seems to have concurred with General Schenck in the
opinion that the force should be kept at Winchester at least until
the approach of danger but he disobeyed no order upon the subject.
Some question can be made whether some of General Halleck's
dispatches to General Schenk should not have been construed to be
orders to withdraw the force and obeyed accordingly; but no such
question can be made against General Milroy. In fact the last order
he received was to be prepared to withdraw but not to actually
withdraw until further order which further order never reached him.
Serious blame is not necessarily due to any serious disaster and I
cannot say that in this case any of the officers are deserving of
serious blame. No court-martial is deemed necessary or proper in the
TO GENERAL SCHOFIELD.
Private and confidential
WASHINGTON October 28 1863.
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 dates respectively October 12 and 13 1863 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: [The names are 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 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.
TELEGRAM TO GOVERNOR JOHNSON.
EXECUTIVE MANSION WASHINGTON D. C. October 28 1863.
HON. ANDREW JOHNSON Nashville Tenn.:
If not too inconvenient please come at once and have a personal
conversation with me.
TO VICE-PRESIDENT HAMLIN.
AN ACT TO REGULATE THE DUTIES OF THE CLERK OF THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES IN PREPARING FOR THE ORGANIZATION OF THE HOUSE.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled that before the
first meeting of the next Congress and of every subsequent Congress
the clerk of the next preceding House of Representatives shall make a
roll of the Representatives elect and place thereon the names of all
persons and of such persons only whose credentials show that they
were regularly elected in accordance with the laws of their States
respectively or the laws of the United States.
Approved March 3 1863.