the Governor of Illinois, without giving me any notice. I am unwilling to believe that this measure was either advised or approved by you.
Another serious difficulty is the organization and character of many of the troops heretofore raised in this State. Some of these corps are not only recognized in a manner entirely contrary to law, but are by no means reliable. On the contrary, being mostly foreigners, officered in m any cases by foreign adventures or perhaps refugees from justice and having been tampered with by political partisans for political purposes, they constitute a very dangerous element in society as well as in the army. I have endeavored to remove the causes of complaint for want of pay and clothing as much as possible by mustering them for pay even in their present illegal organizations, and I am supplying their places as fast as possible by other troops. The Body Guards, Marine already been mustered out of service. The Home Guards at Booneville and Jefferson City have been forcibly disarmed, and a number of other bodies of these irregular troops will be discharged in a few days. Some of these foreign troops are most excellent meanwhile others are without discipline or subordination, and in the field are little better than armed barbarians. Wherever they go they convert all Union men into bitter enemies. The accompanying letter of General Schofield is a fair specimen of what is reported of them in other places. Indeed, strong Union men in Southwestern Missouri (and among them Colonel Phelps, a Member of Congress) have begged me not to permit General Sigel's command to return to that part of the country, as they robbed and plundered wherever they went friends and enemies alike. I shall, however, be obliged to employ his division, as I have no other forces to send against Price. If I could withdraw them entirely from this State and send them to Cairo to operate in the enemy's country in more compact masses, perhaps I might reduce them to better discipline. I purpose doing so as soon as possible.
As a specimen of the kind of reliance which can be placed upon some of the foreign adventurers who have been placed in high positions in our volunteer service I will mention the fact, which has been reported to me from very reliable sources, that a number of officers held a meeting, and agreed that if the Trent affair should result in a war with Great Britain they would leave our service in a body and go to Canada.
The officers and men of these regiments go wherever they please, and although I have issued the most stringent orders on this subject, the colonels will neither enforce discipline nor report their officers and men for trial by courts-martial for military offenses daily committed. The men, if properly officered, would make good soldiers,but with their present commanders they are little better than an armed mob. I do not pretend to doubt their fighting qualities, but they are utterly deficient in the first quality of a good soldier-discipline. I hope, however, in time to infuse a little of this essential element, without which any army is worse than useless.
I have used my best endeavors to reform some of the abuses here in regard to expenditures and the waste of public property, but with such officers as I have to command it is almost a hopeless task. As soon as one leak is stopped a new one is discovered in another place. If the Government will commission such officers, the country must pay for their incompetency and rascality.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,