PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.] EXECUTIVE MANSION,
Washington, October 28, 1863.
General JOHN M. SCHOFIELD:
There have recently reached the War Department, and thence been laid before me, from Missouri, three communications, all similar in import and identical in object. One of them addressed to nobody, and without place or date, but having the signature of (apparently) the writer, is a letter of eight closely written foolscap pages. The other two are written by a different person, at Saint Joseph, MO., and of the dates, respectively, October 12 and 13, 1863, and each inclosing a large number of affidavits. The general statements of the whole are that the Federal and State authorities are arming the disloyal and disarming the loyal, and that the latter will all be killed or driven out of the State unless there shall be a change. In particular, no loyal man who has been disarmed is named, but the affidavits show by name 42 persons as disloyal who have been armed. They are as follows:*
A majority of these are shown to have been in the rebel service. I believe it could be shown that the Government here has deliberately armed more than ten times as many captured at Gettysburg, to say nothing of similar operations in East Tennessee. These papers contain altogether thirty-one manuscript pages, and one newspaper in extenso, and yet I do not find it anywhere charged in them that any loyal man has been harmed by reason of being disarmed, or that any disloyal one has harmed anybody by reason of being armed by the Federal or State Government. Of course, I have not had time to carefully examine all; but I have had most of them examined and briefed by others, and the result is as stated. The remarkable fact that the actual evil is yet only anticipated-inferred-induces me to suppose I understand the case; but I do not state my impression, because I might be mistaken, and because your duty and mine is plain in any event. The locality of nearly all this seems to be Saint Joseph and Buchanan County. I wish you to give special attention to this region, particularly on election day. Prevent violence from whatever quarter, and see that the soldiers themselves do no wrong.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF ARKANSAS,
Little Rock, Ark., October 28, 1863.
Major General STEPHEN A. HURLBUT,
Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps, Memphis, Tenn.:
GENERAL: Your letter dated 21st instant# is just received. I have not found any one yet who can decipher the dispatch from Schofield, but you intimate the purport of it. To have True's brigade taken from me before the Arkansas troops can be organized will not only cripple my operations, but in all probability place me on the defensive, and compel me to concentrate my forces. It has frequently been reported to me that the rebels contemplated an attack upon this place. On the 24th instant (Sunday), Marmaduke attacked the post of Pine Bluff with about 2,000 men, and bombarded the town about four hours. He was, however, repulsed with considerable loss, having burned part of the city and destroyed considerable public and private property. The place was defended by the Fifth Kansas and First Indiana Cavalry, not over 700
*Names omitted from copy received at Ware Records Publication Office.
#See p. 670.