will be extremely dissatisfied, if they find themselves in a new Department, under a Regular Army Officer who will wish to reduce the contest with the Rebels to a regular system and take out of it the largest
part of its moral element by repressing all Anti-slavery sentiment.3
Proslavery sentiment inspires rebellion; let antislavery sentiment inspire
suppression.The stories about Gen. Lane's "outrages" are to be received with
many grains of allowance, for the proslavery sympathies and sentiments
of those who originate or repeat them.4
He may indeed commit some
excesses, but let the enormities of the rebels be considered in extenuation. You can require him to accept a Brigadiers commission & come
under regular subordination to the General commanding the department, or retire. If he accepts and does well you can hereafter create the
Department & give him the command.But just now it seems very clear to me that Gen. Halleck alone
should command the Department & that Gen Hunter if not content to
serve under him should be recalled to the Army of the Potomac & lead
one of its columns.5
I submit these ideas, because I think I ought, and in writing because
my engagements will hardly permit me to call on you personally before
the meeting this evening.Yours most truly S P CHASEPresident Lincoln
|One week earlier, David Hunter had replaced Frémont as commander of the
Western Department. Hunter remained in the West until he took command of the Department of the South in March 1862. DAB, 9:400.|
|A brigadier general of volunteers, James H. Lane and his "Kansas Brigade" had
been fighting Confederates in western Missouri since September. Ibid., 10:577.|
| Lane and his troops had acquired a reputation for indiscriminate seizures of property, destruction, and killing. Ibid.; Leverett W. Spring, "The Career of a Kansas
Politician," American Historical Review 4 ( Oct. 1898): 98.|
| Henry W. Halleck took command of the Department of Missouri on November 18.
The following March he was also given responsibility for the Department of the Mississippi. In July 1862, Lincoln appointed him general-in-chief of Federal forces. DAB, 8:151-52.|
TO RICHARD SMITH
Letterbook copy in clerk's hand. Chase Papers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Washn. Nov. 11th., 1861.
My dear Sir.
There is so much that is both just & timely in yr. letter, that, had you
not closed it with the remark that it was only for my own informn., I
shd. have sent it to Gen. Mc.C. & also the the Prest. for perusal.1 It can
do no harm to anybody to be honestly informed as to publ. sentiment.