removal of the Winnebagoes and Sioux, and who escaped in anticipation of such removal. I offered to collect them together for shipment to the Upper Missouri, but the Indian Department declines to have anything to do with them, and informs me if I collect them they will be "on my hands," by which, I suppose, is meant all the expenses of moving and feeding them will be thrown on the War Department. I am not willing to accept this arrangement. If these Indians are not proper subjects for the Indian Department I have been mistaken as to the duties of that Department. I can easily protect the settlements by sending troops, but this will involve considerable expense, without hope of any termination to it, and will deprive me of three or four companies, constituting the whole military force of the State. I submit the matter (fully set out in the inclosed papers) for the consideration of the War Department.
I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., July 14, 1863.
His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States, Washington, D. C.:
Mr. PRESIDENT: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch dated July 13, expressing your regret to learn of the arrest of the "Democrat" editor, and your fear that this loses me the middle position which you desired me to occupy; also requesting me to spare you the trouble this is likely to bring. I am satisfied the facts in this case have been misrepresented to you, for the purpose of forcing me, if possible, at least in your estimation, from that middle position which I have thus far maintained, in spite of the efforts of extreme politicians to drive me from it. The politics of Mr. McKee had nothing whatever to do with his arrest, except that his position as editor of a leading Union journal caused me to be much more indulgent than I would have been toward an ordinary offender.
The facts attending the arrest of Mr. McKee are as follows:
While I was temporarily absent from Saint Louis your letter of May 27 appeared in the Democrat. I regard this letter as official and confidential. The publication of it, with my knowledge or consent, would have been a gross breach of your confidence in me. If obtained by the connivance of one of my subordinates, to whose keeping it had been intrusted,a like breach of trust had been committed. If a copy of the letter had been sent by you to General Curtis, and this found its way to the press without his or your authority, a serious offense had been committed by some one. In either case it was my plain duty to ascertain who had been guilty of so great a breach of trust, and to punish the guilty party if within the limits of my command, or, if not under my control, to report the facts to the proper officer for his action. Accordingly, on my return to Saint Louis a few days after the publication of the letter, I sent a note to Mr. Fishback, one of the proprietors of the Democrat, requesting him to call at my office, which he promptly did. In answer to my inquiry from whom the letter was obtained, he said he could tell me nothing about it; that Mr. McKee was responsible for it. I then sent by Mr. Fishback a verbal request to Mr. McKee to call and explain the matter. Mr. McKee paid no attention to this request. After waiting several days, I