trouble, however, intervenes. The Enrolled Militia when in actual service are fed by the United States, and levy contributions from the secessionists to indemnify themselves for losses. It becomes necessary to watch these influences, to prevent feeding unnecessary or false musters, and restrain excesses which avarice or revenge may induce. To check these, I may find it necessary to preserve a small regular volunteer force. As the rebels starve out in Arkansas, they sneak back with recruiting papers into Missouri, and in some instances they have enlisted in Enrolled Militia, who have joined them with muskets furnished by the Governor. General Loan, commanding the Central District (recently elected to Congress), is especially troubled and distrustful in this regard. Our best friends are more afraid of our kindness than our severity. The least clemency shown to prisoners seems to create alarm and remonstrance, and communities require the confinement of several hundred troublesome spirits that have been sent to prison from Northern Missouri. Keep them confined is the sentiments of the people, and the Enrolled Militia are the most desperate in this demand. Force, Mr. President - military - power - is still the main dependence, and whether it be United States or State troops that represent that power it does not matter much, as the expense in one way or another mainly falls on the United States Government.
So far I have got along without much difficulty with mixed forces, but I have required of my officers and acted myself with great caution and courtesy toward State troops, for fear of trouble.
The Governor seems to desire the sole control of the Enrolled Militia, and partial control of the 10,000 Missouri State Militia, organized under Order 96, of last year.
I, and all good Union men, dread the least conflict of sovereignties, which has been the cursed argument that has invoked and fostered this infernal rebellion. As commander of the department, I claim, but have not announced or exercise, the right to control any and all military organizations within my domain whenever they take up arms. In time of war, this paramount sovereignty of the United States should be maintained, to prevent bickerings and possible conflicts.
I suppose Governor Gamble would traverse this, and I inclined to think so, because, in carrying out your arrangement to make the commander of the department a major-general of militia, he inserted words in my commission confining my functions to the volunteers mustered in under Orders 96, thereby attempting to exclude my authority over the Enrolled Militia. The theory of this is pernicious, as it placed forces in my command capable of controlling parts of it; but I have so far had very little trouble, as the general resolve of the masses to stand by the old flag is the battle-cry of all. But as we go on to subdue, and to enroll and arm the militia in the country, the danger of variance will increase, and the question of national sovereignty must, in some way, be so clearly settles as to avoid eternal discord and strife.
The object of all this is to present to Your Excellency the delicacy of my position, and the danger of hasty action favorable to rebels, who seem inspired with ideas of a triumph over acts of generosity. The moment a rebel surrenders I am ready to desist, and wherever a community can maintain the peace with civil laws and the Enrolled Militia, I shall gladly relinquish military authority, and, on all occasions, I shall cordially carry out the wishes of Your excellency to the best of my ability.
I have the honor to remain, Your Excellency's most obedient servant,
SAML. R. CURTIS,