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

To John Pope [1]

Major General Pope Executive Mansion,
St. Louis, Mo. Washington, March 19, 1865

Understanding that the plan of action for Missouri, contained in your letter to the Governor of that State, and your other letter to me, is concurred in by the Governor, it is approved by me, and you will be sustained in proceeding upon it. A. LINCOLN


[1]   ALS, DNA WR RG 107, Presidential Telegrams, I, 373. On March 2, Governor Thomas C. Fletcher had written Pope for his views as to ``the best uses of the military forces in this Department, and their relation to the present and prospective condition of this State.'' (DLC-RTL). Pope's lengthy reply of March 3 may be found in OR, I, XLVIII, I, 1070-77. In substance it sets forth that the civil authority should recognize its responsibilities and perform its duties.

On March 8, Pope had written Lincoln:

``I . . . transmit . . . a printed copy [clipping from the Missouri Republican, March 8, 1865] of a letter addressed by me to the Governor of Missouri. . . .

``In addition to what is set forth in the letter . . . I . . . submit for your consideration a few . . . suggestions, which it was perhaps well not to make public in my letter to Gov. Fletcher. I ask your consideration of these suggestions and of those contained in the printed letter, and if they meet your approval I . . . request that I may be so notified. . . .

``It is . . . desirable that . . . the General Government be relieved from all concern in the civil affairs of the State, and be required only to defend it against armed invasion. So long as United States troops remain in Missouri . . . they will be a constant source of embarassment and a difficult obstacle to the renewal of civil administration. . . . So long as the troops remain and . . . Martial Law obtains the people will feel a constant desire to appeal from the State Executive and the Civil laws, to the Military Authorities and to the General Government; and no step will be taken toward a resumption of local civil administration. . . . Remove that source of difficulty, and they will soon learn, that they must depend upon themselves and their state government, as their final resort for justice.

``I do not propose to change the present condition of the military suddenly, but . . . cautiously and gradually, as follows.

Page  366``The term of the Missouri State Militia . . . paid by the General Government and . . . under officers of the United States is about to expire. . . . Under no circumstances should these troops be reorganized or employed in the same manner. . . . No authority should be given to raise troops for service in Missouri. If these recommendations be adopted, we shall be left . . . within a few months, with nothing but a few regiments of Volunteers from other States. These . . . I will push down to the Southern border of the State. . . .

``In many counties . . . the civil courts are in full operation. In those . . . I propose to suspend Martial law, not by any public order, but simply by private instructions to commanding officers to withdraw their Provost Marshals and to refrain . . . from any interference with citizens. . . . Slowly, county by county, the military forces of the United States can thus be withdrawn from all connection with the . . . civil affairs of the State. If troops or Martial Law are afterwards required . . . let the Governor take the responsibility of declaring Martial Law and enforcing it by his State Militia. . . .

``There is a loyal State executive and civil officers and a large loyal majority in the State and I cannot see why it is not abundantly able to settle all controversies between its own citizens, without referring them to the Administration at Washington. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).