double the force you estimate, and I think you do not fully appreciate the character and effect of the gatherings at Lexington and lower down the river. I think they would form a dangerous force in your rear if you were to move south. It is much better to break them up first. It is always a fatal error to underestimate your enemy. I therefore think you had better look out well for your own security than to advance now upon the Osage. After we have scattered the insurgents on the river this may be practicable, should the enemy not place himself in a more favorable position for striking him.
Yours, in haste,
H. W. HALLECK,
SAINT LOUIS, December 25, 1861.
Brigadier General JOHN POPE,
Commanding, &c., Otterville, Mo.:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 21st, in answer to mine of the 14th, is received. I remarked in that letter that I was willing to believe that your correspondence relating to La Mine Cantonment, &c., was not written in the spirit of fault-finding, although it was calculated to give that impression. I am satisfied from your letter that such was not your object. I shall always be happy to receive suggestions as to operations or dispositions of any kind, but to criticise them after they are ordered does not accord with my ideas of military discipline and subordination. Your disavowal of such intention of course removes the impression made by your letters.
You are under a misapprehension as to my want of confidence in you. My assigning you to the largest command and the most important position in this State should be sufficient proof of the contrary. But you refer to two facts as indicative of such want of confidence on my part: 1st, that General Sherman was authorized to assume command temporarily, if he deemed it necessary; and, 2nd, that my order putting you in the command of the district "expressly states that [I] you are to do so simply because [I] you are senior officer, &c.
In regard to your first alleged cause of complaint I will remark that at the time General Sherman received his orders you were on leave of absence in Saint Louis; and, moreover, that if you had been present you were then in command of only one division, and not of the entire force of that district. General Sherman was your senior officer and was entitled to command you. I revoked the authority given to him, and placed you in command of three divisions, and the most important military district in the State. Was this an evidence of a want of confidence in you?
Again, with regard to your second cause of complaint you have not correctly stated the purport and language of my orders of December 2. I there direct you "as the ranking officer," to "take the general command of all the troops in the district," &c. I use no such language as that stated in your letter, that you are to do so "simply because," &c., nor ill the words used by me bear such a construction. It is precisely the form commonly used in such orders. If you had not been the ranking officer you would not, under ordinary circumstances, have been entitled to such command. I cannot conceive how you can construe such an order into a reflection on you or an insinuation as to your personal capacity.