HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF OREGON,
Fort Vancouver, Wash. Ter., May 28, 1863.
Headquarters Department of the Pacific, San Francisco, Cal.:
COLONEL: I have to acknowledge the reception on the 25th instant of the telegram, and this morning of your letter of the 20th instant, saying that the arms cannot be supplied to Oregon militia. With my dispatch of the 21st instant I inclosed to you a copy of my instructions of the 13th instant to the military store-keeper of the Vancouver Arsenal directing the issue of arms to the Governor of Oregon. The drift of that dispatch and my letter of the 7th instant have already explained the reasons which induced me to comply with his request. I also herewith inclose to you a copy of his letter of the 10th instant, urging the importance of complying with the request. * You will notice that in my instructions of the 13th instant above referred to I was careful to say that this should be "considered as an issue on account of quotas due or to become due to State of Oregon under the laws for arming the militia. " As I wrote you on the 7th instant, I felt persuaded that Samuel E. May, Secretary of State of Oregon, who had seen General Wright, must have ascertained correclty his views. I so judged, as Mr. May is to command the volunteer militia company being raised in Salem, the capital of Oregon, and was well posted as to the condition Salem, the capital of Oregon, and was well posted as to the condition of the State, which renders this step a wise precaution. I desire respectfully to call the attention of the general commanding the department to my letter of the 21st instant. The language of that letter will explain why I did not await a response to my letter of the 7th. I was making arrangements to enable me to put the troops in the field. I therein stated what I am sure is true, that the revolutionary plot exposed by the opportune seizure of the J. M. Chapman had its ramifications in OregHonorable Though defeated and disconcerted, vigilance and caution on our part are still necessary.
On the 1st of June the three companies leave here for Fort Boise, leaving behind not quite ten companies at this post. Though reluctant to thus reduce this command, I have concluded to do so, as the state of the frontier demands the carrying out of our plans for the establishment of Fort Boise and the protection of the incoming emigration. Armed with the authority given me in your letter of the 29th ultimo, and with theseed in the bands of the Union men of the State, or ready at the seat of government to be used, I think that I am justified in sending off Major Lugenbeel's command, and they will start on the 1st proximo. When I saw named as connected with the Chapman affair Mr. R. Greathouse, of Yreka (whom I had met in 1855), I felt satisfied that the plot extended to Oregon. Yreka was well selected for schemes looking in this direction, as well as to California. My conjectures have been since fully confirmed by accounts from Middle and Southern Oregon. The issue of arms was made by me not as a measure in the time of peace, but as a necessary measure in time of war, and I shall hope that the general and the War Department will approve of my course. In this connection I embrace this opportunity to say that I was gratified to learn from the papers that it was proposed to purchase four or five steamships in California and fit them up as war vessels. I trust that this intelligence will be confirmed as true, and that one of the vessels will be placed on the Columbia River. This river and all of its valuable commerce (constantly increasing) are at the mercy of any privateer. There is not even a revenue cutter at the
* See p. 429.