War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0783 Chapter XXV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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has gone to Cincinnati. No cavalry can be sent you, as nearly the whole of that arm is on detached service. Hardly enough is left for mounted guards. He sends you a company of infantry. Should there be any return of the cavalry now absent, will try and get you a company.

You will please extend reconnaissance and furnish maps, so that we may have a correct idea of the country. Breadstuffs are about gone here. The command with you should be put on half rations if they can get other articles of subsistence. Post these headquarters daily as usual.

Very respectfully,


First Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


Saint Louis, November 9, 1862.

His Excellency President ABRAHAM LINCOLN:

DEAR SIR: Yours of the 6th instant, informing me that charges are preferred against me concerning speculations in cotton, is received. Intimations of this had already reached me, and pain me the more because I know it embarrasses those who command me.

Without any certain knowledge of accusers, but very certain of their emanation and no specific charges, I can only reply to rumors and imputations which I have heard on the subject.

When I arrived at Helena I allowed everybody to engage in the trade of the country; but soon found my camp infested with spies, secessionists, and traitors, dealing in cotton. I therefore changed my course, and ordered none to trade but those whom I licensed. This excluded a great number, who were exasperated, and threatened vengeance. I knew some of them to be rogues and sneaking secessionists; others were wealthy speculators, whom I did not know, and who could not give satisfactory reference. Those who were excluded immediately proclaimed that I only licensed those with whom I was in partnership. I licensed all that I thought safe to go through my lines, probably a hundred, and was in partnership with no one, directly or indirectly.

Negroes claimed cotton which they had saved from the rebel fires. Their masters generally admitted this, and I allowed them to sell. I made rogues take back bad money and give them good. I told the negroes who would be safe to sell to and who would not. I did the same for white people. I adjusted differences between parties who claimed lots of cotton and who came to seek my protection, and by this means a thousand poor and negroes, whose masters had run away, got means to which they were justly entitled, and have been saved from starvation.

The charges that I was speculating in cotton did not prevent me from doing just what I thought right and proper, and I never should have responded to that charge if it had not taken this form. I have lived too long and filled too many private and public places without reproach to be afraid of lies invented by rebel sympathizers and exasperated knaves generally. I do not shrink from any and all fair scrutiny. I can explain any special act of mine to the satisfaction of any honest man.

Conflicts with the rebels in the center of the most violent population of the South were incident to my campaign and unavoidable. I had to deal severely with wealth and intelligence in the heart of secession.