ask for in Washington?" Colonel Woods answered, "Twelve million dollars." Of course I assume no personal responsibility in respect to the amount, as I have had no connection with business transactions in Saint Louis.
I am instructed also to procure arms, which are greatly needed both for the infantry and cavalry. Several thousand soldiers are now in Saint Louis without arms, and such is the perilous condition of the State, that they ought to be sent with the least possible delay. They are required by no less than three regiments of cavalry and six of infantry, and the enemy having gathered in large force in several places, we have not a man to lose from the want of a gun.
Having said thus much in relation to arms and money for General Fremont as a representative of the people as well as a special friend of the Army in the West, I think it my duty to call your attention in this place to some other matters that have an important bearing upon the prospects of the campaign in Missouri.
A great deal of trouble and confusion is springing up in the Western Military Department from a seeming conflict of authority between General Fremont and the authorized agents of the Government, which I trust a statement of facts may help to remove. He has given commissions to colonels and other staff officers, which I find are not recognized in Saint Louis or Washington. On this subject I herewith submit a statement of facts received this morning from Colonel C. J. Wright, of Cincinnati. If the authority here given, and in numerous like cases, by the general, be not promptly recognized by the Government, the utmost confusion will prevail among the officers and volunteers now in the service in the West. A large number of persons from Ohio have received, and others have been promised, commissions under him; but if his facts in such cases are not respected in Washington, there will be no end to vexation and trouble growing out of these transactions.
The same remark is applicable when applied to the contracts that have been made in Cincinnati, New York, and Boston for cannon, clothing, and arms in general. The contractors are pressing their claims for payment, and it is for the Department here to say whether innocent persons shall suffer from a non-recognition of General Fremont's authority to make such contracts.
The perilous condition of Missouri seems to require that all trouble of this character should at once be removed by such instructions as the President may be pleased to give. The serious disasters that have befallen our army there; the surrender of Lexington, taken in connection with the battle in which General Lyon lost his life; the scattered condition of a portion of our forces, and other unfortunate circumstances which need not here be mentioned, have filled the Union men with alarm and consternation.
It is believed by our best men that nothing but the most prompt, wise, and powerful action of our forces will save the State from the control of the rebel army. It is generally admitted that its fate depends upon an impending battle at Lexington, and I cannot but ask, Is it wise to hazard everything there as well as in Kentucky? For if one State is lost, the other probably will be, upon a single battle, with the odds now very much against us.
In connection with others, I have sent at General Fremont's request several thousand volunteers into Missouri from Ohio, and I cannot remain indifferent to their wants and dangers. I am fully satisfied that if arms, men, and money are not speedily and liberally supplied, and