[OCTOBER 11, 1864. - For correspondence between Secretary of War, Governor of Kansas, and General Curtis relating to calling out and arming the militia of Kansas to resist Price, see Series I, Vol. XLI, Part III, pp. 791, 792.]
SAINT LOUIS, October 11, 1864.
His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States, Washington, D. C.:
The Western Boatmen's Benevolent Association, an institution duly incorporated under the laws of the State of Missouri and exclusively composed of licensed pilots navigating the Western rivers, very respectfully invite your consideration to the following reasons why its members ought to be exempt from the draft now in progress.
These reasons you will perceive appertain as well to the real and substantial interests of the Government in the prosecution of the war to crush the rebellion and for the restoration of the Union as well as to the personal rights and immediate interests of the members of the association.
From the incipiency of the rebellion the members of the association have been called upon to render continually important services to the Government, and without which the war could not have been prosecuted with efficiency and success. Their services have been indispensable to navigating vessels engaged in the transportation of troops from place to place or loaded with supplies and munitions for the Army, or in navigating the fleet of gun-boats which so suddenly appeared upon our rivers, and the operations of which have been attended with such uniform success.
All that has ever been necessary to secure the prompt and faithful attendance of the members of this association to the arduous and dangerous duties required of them was for the officers in charge of the various departments to notify the secretary, and the necessary number of bold and skillful pilots have promptly been detailed to discharge the required duty. No order issued or request made has ever been disregarded or delayed. Of this fact numerous testimonials are in possession of the association, one of which, the following, is a copy, which is here inserted to show the manner in which requisitions have been from time to time made:
Saint Louis, September 3, 1864.
Secretary of Pilots" Association:
SIR: I am putting several boats in service for the purpose of proceeding to Memphis, Tenn., thence north, and shall require a number of pilots. I expect to be fully assisted by you in the matter of steamers procuring pilots. Captain Hendricks informs me you have always been very vigilant in this matter. This movement is one of great importance, and I desire that pilots do not delay the steamers from leaving port one moment.
L. S. METCALF,
Captain and Assistant Quartermaster.
These orders are imperative and must be obeyed, and it is immaterial what may be the engagements of the pilot whose services are required.
In this way it has been that the members of the association have been drafted into service from the incipiency of the rebellion. They have been constantly subject to the orders of the several commanders presiding over Western departments.