Arkansas so far as regards its civil affairs, and I stand ready to carry out any instructions which may be thought judicious with all zeal and energy.
Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, April 10, 1865.
His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States:
SIR: I returned a day or two since from Arkansas, which has recently been added to my command. An examination into the condition of civil matters in that State has satisfied me that speedy measures should be adopted to preserve it from abandonment to utter lawlessness. The military authorities can enforce martial law within the immediate reach of the troops, but at the best such remedies are insufficient and being necessarily arbitrary depend upon the judgment or the whim of military commanders. Military men, acting purely in their professional capacity, may preserve order by iron rule, but can never by such means inaugurate the process necessary to bring back the State to its civil status.
As I propose to begin a policy which, I trust, recall the people to a sense of duty and to a feeling of security and stability, it seems proper that I should lay my purpose before you that you may consider and decide upon it before I undertake to put it into operation.
In order that the course I wish to pursue in Arkansas may be more clearly understood it will be necessary for me perhaps to ask your patience while I give you my general views of the manner of reviving civil government in the States bordering he Mississippi River, and what have seemed to me to be the reasons why we have had so little success in our efforts to accomplish this object.
I have watched with care and interest the administration of affairs in the Valley of the Mississippi and the attempts to restore civil government in several of the States. It has seemed to me that these attempts have failed from two causes, the very opposite of each other. Either too much zeal or too little has been manifested, and the result has been failure in both cases.
Whilst in some cases military commanders have been exceedingly anxious to restore the States compilitary departments to their civil status, their very anxiety has occasioned them to do and say what inevitably led to failure. So solicitous were they for the success of the civil governments established under their supervision that whenever they thought any act or measure would lead to good results they immediately issued arbitrary military orders in that view, and attempted to execute such measures by military authority and force. The result, of necessity, was to exhibit to the people concerned the fact that their State government was a mere creature of the military authority; that behind they State executive and civil officers there was an appeal to military commanders, and that their civil affairs were administered by military officers. Of course such a belief at once impaired or destroyed whatever confidence they may have left in their State government, created opposition among the very supporters of a return to civil administration, and justified and demanded constant appeals from their State executive and civil officers to the military power. They