War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0597 Chapter XXXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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desire and ability to correct the existing evils, so far as can be done with the troops under his command. I shall, as soon as possible, replace the Kansas and Missouri which now occupy the border with troops from other States, who will be free from the local prejudices which have caused so much trouble; but it is nearly impossible to find volunteer troops that can be relied upon to perform the delicate duties required on the border of Missouri and Kansas. I believe there is no part of the country in which a regiment of regular cavalry could render so valuable service to the Government, and I respectfully request that a regiment may be sent me for that service, if possible.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding Department.


Saint Louis, October 3, 1863.

Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: In connection with the report of Colonel Du Bois, aide-de-camp, herewith forwarded for the consideration of the War Department, I have the honor to request that, for the benefit of the service in my command, authority may be vested in me to dismiss from the service, subject to the approval of the President, such commissioned officer in this department as are well known to be worthless or incompetent, and, generally, such delinquents as would in my judgment be infallibly dismissed if brought before a court-martial.

In a command necessarily scattered over so large an extent of country as the department I have the honor to command, there must be, and there are, some district commanders and many other subordinate commanders with whom, either through ignorance or neglect or failure to appreciate the due instances thereof, the reins of discipline are loosely held, or even in some instances utterly neglected. In consequence, officers are absent from their appropriate duties without due authority, upon frivolous pretexts or without pretexts; drunkenness, disregard of duty, and demoralization ensue in the ranks. If courts-martial be ordered to try each case of delinquency deserving or requiring dismissal, a large proportion of the good, reliable officers would be on such duty away from their commands. The application of this correction would, in my opinion, aggravate the evil. I cannot but think the effect upon the discipline and morale of a command constituted as mine is, of granting to its commander the power of summary dismissal for aggravated offenses, would be extremely beneficial, if exercised with sound judgment and discretion.

If other instances of the like power being granted to department commanders have not proved unsatisfactory to the War Department, I most respectfully urge the application upon the consideration of the honorable Secretary of War. In conclusion, I should state, that should the desired authority be granted, I should only propose to exercise it in ordinary cases of well-established delinquencies, where the culprits are manifestly unworthy of the consideration of a court-martial, and where the benefit arising from the effect of an example to be obtained through a court might not be expected.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,