your proposal to substitute national force for the Enrolled Militia implies that, in your judgment the latter is doing something which needs to be done, and, if so, the proposition to throw that force away, and to supply the place by bringing other forces from the field, where they are equally needed, seems to be very extraordinary. Whence shall they come? Shall they be withdrawn from Banks or Grant or Steele or Rosecrans? Few things have been so grateful to my anxious feelings as when, in June last, the local force in Missouri aided General Schofield to so promptly send so large a general force to the relief of General Grant, then investing Vicksburg and menaced from without by General Johnston. Was this all wrong? Should the Enrolled Militia then have been broken up and General Herron detached from Grant to police Missouri? So far from finding cause to object, I confess to a sympathy for whatever relieves our general force in Missouri and allows it to serve elsewhere. I therefore, as at present advised, cannot attempt the destruction of the Enrolled Militia of Missouri. I may add that the force being under the national military control it, is also within the proclamation in regard to the habeas corpus.
I concur in the propriety of your request in regard to elections, and have, as you see, directed General Schofield accordingly. I do not feel justified to enter upon the broad field you present in regard to the political defenses between radicals and conservatives. From time to time I have done and said what appeared to me proper to do and say. The public knows it all. It obliges nobody to follow me, and I trust it obliges me to follow nobody. The radicals and conservatives each agree with me in some things and disagree in others. I could wish both to agree with me in all things, for then they would agree with each other, and would be too strong for any foe from any quarter. They, however choose to do otherwise, and I do not question their right. I, too, shall do what seems to be my duty. I hold whoever commands in Missouri or elsewhere responsible to me, and not to either radicals or conservatives. It is my duty to hear all, but at last I must within my sphere judge what to do and what to forbear.
Your obedient servant,
OFFICE OF CHIEF QUARTERMASTER,
Saint Louis, October 5, 1863
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Washington D. C.:
GENERAL: The continued destruction of steamboats, by fire, on these waters is assuming a very alarming feature. Unquestionably there is an organized band of incendiaries, members of which are stationed at every landing. It is a current report here that the Confederate Government has secretly offered a large reward for the destruction of our steamers. Already some fourteen first-class boats have been burned, and this is equivalent to 10 per cent. of the whole river transportation. Increase of watchmen and extra vigilance do not seem to arrest this insidious enemy. The incendiary, when it serves his purpose, becomes one of the crew, and thus secures himself from detection. I apprehend that there are disloyal men in disguise in the employ of every steamer, and it will be difficult to eliminate them. General Schofield is alive to the importance of some extra official action. What would you advise?
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,