War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0640 OPERATIONS IN ARK., IND. T., AND MO. Chapter VII.

Search Civil War Official Records

LITTLE ROCK ARSENAL,

Little Rock, Ark., February 6, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to inclose a copy of a communication just received from H. M. Rector, governor of the State of Arkansas, demanding the surrender of this arsenal to the State authorities.

As I have already written and telegraphed you for the information of the President, I am perfectly in the dark as to the wishes of the administration, from the want [of] instructions haw to meet such a crisis as at present. If I had positive orders to cover the case in point I should obey them implicitly; but I have nothing whatever, within my knowledge, indicative of the course the Government wishes its agents to pursue, and I am therefore left to act as my judgment and my honor as a Federal officer dictate under the present trying circumstances.

I inclose also copies of certain resolutions, passed by the citizens of Little Rock, and of the common council of said city, explanatory of the circumstances under which the matter above referred to had been brought about.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. TOTTEN,

Captain, Second Artillery, Commanding Post.

Colonel S. COOPER,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

[Inclosure A.]

EXECUTIVE OFFICE,

Little Rock, Ark., February 6, 1861.

SIR: There is now in this city a considerable number of the citizens of this State who have come here, under arms, with the avowed purpose of taking possession of the U. S. Arsenal.

Reliable information has been received that a large force of citizens are on the march to this place for the same purpose. This movement is prompted by the feeling that pervades the citizens of this State that in the present emergency the arms and monitions of war in the arsenal should be under the control of the State authorities, in order to their security. This movement, although not authorized by me, has assumed such an aspect that tit becomes my duty, as the executive of this State, to interpose my official authority to prevent a collision between the people of the State and the Federal troops under your command.

I therefore demand in the name of the State the delivery of the possession of the arsenal and monitions of war under your charge to the State authorities, to be held subject to the action of the convention to be held on the 4th of March next. This course is the only one which can possibly prevent the effusion of blood and the destruction of the property of the citizens and the Government. I beg leave to assure you that the steps which the citizens have seen fit to take is not prompted by any personal distrust of you, but the jealousy which naturally exists towards the authorities of the United States under the present unhappy condition of the country.

This communication will be handed you by T. D. Merrick, general of First Division of the Arkansas Militia, who will call on you personally, accompanied by his staff, and who will receive from you your response.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

HENRY M. RECTOR,

Governor of Arkansas.

Captain TOTTEN,

Commanding U. S. Arsenal, Little Rock, Ark.