Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Grenville M. Dodge [1]

Major General Dodge. Executive Mansion
St. Louis, Mo. Washington, January 15, 1865

It is represented to me that there is so much irregular violence in Northern Missouri as to be driving away the people and almost depopulating it. Please gather information, and consider whether an appeal to the people there to go to their homes, and let one another alone, recognizing as a full right of protection for each, that he lets others alone, and banning only him who refuses to let others alone, may not enable you to withdraw the troops, their presence itself a cause of irritation and constant apprehension, and thus restore peace and quiet & returning prosperity. Please consider this and telegraph or write me. A. LINCOLN

Annotation

[1]   ALS, DNA WR RG 107, Presidential Telegrams, I, 291. On January 16, General Dodge replied:

``I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of the 15th inst.

``Since I assumed command here the troubles in North Missouri have increased from the fact that the troops that were in those Counties, infested by guerilla bands, were nearly all withdrawn . . . to send to General Thomas; but there is no doubt that this country is now more quiet than it has been before for three years.

``Where these troubles exist the people are to a great extent disloyal and it is the protection, aid, and sympathy that they give to the enemy and to outlaws that causes these troubles. . . .

``Allow me to assure you that the course you propose would be protested against by the State authorities, the legislature, the convention and by nearly every undoubtedly loyal man in North Missouri, while it would receive the sanction of nearly every disloyal, semi-loyal, and non-committed person there, all such could, under that course live and should want to stay in that country, while every loyal man would have to leave these counties when the disloyal sentiment is in the ascendancy. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).

Representative William A. Hall of Huntsville, Missouri, was apparently shown Dodge's letter, and wrote Lincoln on January 19:

Page  218``Gen Dodge is misinformed as to the state of things in North Missouri. The statements I made to you were within my own knowledge.

``Gov. King will lay before you many facts of the same character which I presented.

``Gen. Dodge probably derives his information through officers who are themselves in some degree to blame.

``I wish to be distinctly understood as not in any thing I have stated cast any censure on Gen. Dodge.'' (I bid.).