ERIE, PA., November 12, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON:
Your communication is received. Vigilance shall be observed at this point and any developments communicated.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST,
Milwaukee, Wis., November 12, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
MY DEAR SIR: I transmit, inclosed, a letter to General Halleck, with inclosures, and address you this letter direct, in order that some immediate action be had in a matter more immediately under the charge of officers on duty in the War Department.
I understand a decision has been made (by whom I know not, but presume with your authority) that mustering and disbursing officers in the States are not in any respect under the control of the department commander. The manner in which such an arrangement works, and the inexhaustible sources of difficulty to which it gives rise, are doubtless not known to you.
The order assigning me to the command of this department placed under my command "all troops raising, or to be raised, within its limits." At the time I assumed command the Indian war was in progress, and I think there was not a single regiment in the State whose organization had been completed. I accordingly sent out parts of regiments and companies to the front and completed the organization as fast as possible. So, too, at present in the State of Iowa there is not now a single organized regiment, and in this State only eight companies of an organized regiment.
There are several regiments, batteries, & c., in each State now in process of organization, and upon these partly organized forces I must depend for guards for public property, prisoners, and deserters, and for furnishing the necessary force to provost-marshals for the execution of the draft and the retention and safe-keeping of drafted men. Yet, by decisions made and implied in the Adjutant-General's Office, in the War Department, mustering officers in the States in this department are in no sense under my control. These same mustering officers, however, claim to have exclusive charge of all recruits, both for old and new regiments, to command all troops in process of organization, and all camps where these forces are assembled.
Such an "imperium in imperio" is subversive of all proper military control or discipline, and, if enforced, absolutely deprives me of any military force to use for any of the purposes named above, unless ord regiments are ordered back from the field, a thing neigher necessary nor desirable.
The difficulty in which the inclosed charges originated resulted from the fact that Lieutenant-Colonel Grier, mustering officer in Iowa, attempted to supersede the commanding officer at Camp McClellan, Davenport, by ordering another officer to command, claiming that it was a recruiting station and therefore under his control.
When I tell you that this camp is the military post in this department at which 300 condemned Sioux prisoners are confined, you will