[Indorsement of President Lincoln.]
DECEMBER 27, 1861.
An excelleny letter; though I am sorry General Halleck is so unfavorably impressed with General Lane.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF KANSAS,
Fort Leavenworth, Kans., December 19, 1861.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,
Commanding U. S. Army;
GENERAL: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your communication, " unofficial," dated the 11th instant; and, as a main part of my reply thereto, herewith is transmitted a copy of the letter sent to me by the Adjutant-General of the Army and referred to in your letter.*
From his copy you will perceive that the instructions as to the proposed expedition against Northeastern Texas and to secure the Indian territory west of the Arkansas were vague in the extreme; and that far from having requested to "indicate the necessary force and means for the undertaking," with a promise, or even suggestion, that these should be fortcoming when called for, I was asked by General Thomas "what troops and means at your (my) disposal you (I) could bring to bear on that point."
To this question it seemed that my telegram stating the utter inadequacy of the force and means at my command even to guard Kansas against an organized attack was an abundant and proper answer. Your letter conveyes the first intimation received that it was expected of me then to state what additions of men and material to my present force would be sufficient for the execution of the service named.
In reference to that portion of your letter in which you state that the step of placing General Halleck in command of the Western Department "was taken from the evident necessity of placing some one there who was in no manner connected, for or against, with the unfortunate state of affairs previously existing in that department," I must protest that I never was, in the sense here apparently used, either "for or against" Major-General Fremont; nor can I admit the expediency of a principle which would practically punish an officer for having truly, though reluctantly, answered certain questions of a professional nature put to him by the Secretary of War and Adjutant-General of the Army.
I can assure you, however, that General Halleck's appointment was accepted by me without a murmur, there having been in that case at least some semblance of political expediency in my non-continuane as the successor of General Fremont. But when in Kentucky I saw Brigadier-General Buell placed in command of neary 100,000 men (as stated), and with splendid prospects of usefulness to our country laid open before him, I could not but ask myself what fault I had committed or in what duty failed to be thus overslaughed by an officer whom I rank, and sent to command an immense wilderness of a department with scarcely 3,000 troops for its defense. General Sheman, too, whom you should know, I find in an important command in South Carolina and Georgia. In relation to these matters I must confess that I was hurt, and still feel that my treatment has not been in accordance
* See Thomas to Hunter, November 26, p.379.