Category Archives: Missouri

Fremont Finally Removed

November 2, 1861 – Major General John C. Fremont finally received the order removing him from command of the Federal Army of the West and replacing him with Major General David Hunter.

Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Fremont had incurred the ire of the Lincoln administration ever since he issued his unauthorized proclamation declaring martial law in Missouri and freeing all slaves belonging to disloyal masters. Since then, various investigations had uncovered vast amounts of corruption and fraud in Fremont’s department, which bore either Fremont’s complicity or his ignorance. Either way, President Abraham Lincoln decided in late October that Fremont had to go.

When Fremont learned that Lincoln had made the order removing him from command official, he worked to prevent messengers from delivering it by posting guards and issuing orders not to allow anyone into his Springfield, Missouri, headquarters without his authorization.

Leonard Swett and Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis, the men entrusted with delivering the order, had anticipated Fremont’s move. They enlisted a Captain McKinney to disguise himself as a farmer and enter Fremont’s headquarters on the premise that he had information about the secessionist Missouri State Guards.

McKinney arrived just outside Fremont’s lines at 5 a.m. after traveling 200 miles from St. Louis. Noting the stipulation that he was not to deliver the order if the army was about to go into battle, McKinney scouted the forces for five hours before determining that a battle was not imminent. One of Fremont’s aides halted McKinney as he approached, and after hearing the nature of the “farmer’s” visit and consulting with Fremont, the aide allowed McKinney to enter.

McKinney presented the order to Fremont, who frowned upon reading it. He pounded the table and exclaimed, “Sir, how did you get admission into my lines?” Fremont dismissed McKinney, who was arrested by aides to prevent him from notifying Hunter of the change. But McKinney explained that a second messenger had been dispatched, and Hunter had most likely already been informed already. Later that evening, McKinney escaped the aides’ custody.

Fremont called a meeting of all his division commanders (except Hunter) and announced that he would keep command by immediately confronting General Sterling Price’s Missouri Guards. However, the Guards had fallen back 60 miles, well beyond Fremont’s immediate reach. Brigadier General John Pope, one of Fremont’s critics, said, “It might be best, before deciding upon a plan of battle, to know whether there was any enemy to fight.” Hunter then arrived and announced his intention to carry out the order replacing Fremont. This ended both the meeting and Fremont’s reign as Western Department commander.

The news of Fremont’s removal soon spread through the army, causing resentment and outrage among his loyal followers, especially the German immigrants. General Franz Sigel, one of his division commanders, threatened to resign in protest, and some troops suggested staging a mutiny. But cooler heads ultimately prevailed as Fremont issued a farewell address that began, “Soldiers! I regret to leave you,” and asking them to be faithful to Hunter. He then left Springfield and returned to his wife at St. Louis.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com (November 2); Crocker III, H.W., The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War (Washington: Regnery Publishing, 2008), p. 6; Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government: All Volumes (Heraklion Press, Kindle Edition 2013, 1889), Loc 21320; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 91-92; Donald, David Herbert, Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, Kindle Edition, 2011), Loc 6641; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fort Sumter to Perryville (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), p. 98-99, 149; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 77-78; Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005), p. 391; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 133-35; Wert, Jeffry D., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 814-15

The Missouri Secession

October 28, 1861 – Remnants of the popularly elected Missouri legislature gathered at Neosho to consider leaving the Union, even though a new Unionist government claimed to be the legitimate governing body over Missouri.

Missouri State Flag | Image Credit: All-Flags-World.com

Missouri State Flag | Image Credit: All-Flags-World.com

A group of ousted legislators met in the Masonic Hall at Neosho, 70 miles southwest of Major General John C. Fremont’s Federal Army of the West at Springfield. One of the few Unionist legislators in attendance claimed that only 10 senators and 39 representatives were present, short of the required 17 senators and 67 representatives for a quorum under Missouri law. Nevertheless, exiled pro-secession Governor Claiborne F. Jackson addressed the body:

“It is in vain to hope for a restoration of amicable relations between Missouri and the other United States of America under the same government, and it is not desirable if it could be accomplished… Men, women and children, in open day and in the public thoroughfares, were shot down and murdered by a brutal soldiery with the connivance of Government officers. Our citizen soldiers were arrested and imprisoned, State property was seized and confiscated without warrant of law, private citizens were insecure in their persons and property; the writ of Habeas Corpus had been nullified and the brave Judges who had attempted to protect by it, the liberties of the citizens had been insulted and threatened and a tyrant president revealing in unencumbered powers had crowned all these acts of unconstitutional aggression by declaring war against a number of the States comprising the former Union.”

Both houses approved an “Act Declaring the Political Ties Heretofore Existing Between the State of Missouri and the United States of America Dissolved.” Jackson signed the Ordinance of Secession into law three days later, officially taking Missouri out of the Union.

Since the legislators had been popularly elected, the Confederacy joined the U.S. in claiming that Missouri was one of its states. Anticipating admission into the Confederacy, the exiled legislature approved a motion appointing two senators and seven representatives to the Confederate Congress.

However, a second state government also operated in Missouri, having been created by Unionist delegates to the Missouri constitutional convention in July. The convention reassembled this month to approve further measures to ensure that the provisional government remained loyal to the U.S.

Delegates approved a measure suspending the upcoming popular elections until the following August. This gave provisional Governor Hamilton R. Gamble time to replace elected officials suspected of favoring secession with Unionists. Another measure permitted administering “test oaths” to disqualify anti-Unionist voters or elected officials.

The delegates also approved organizing a provisional state militia, with men between the ages of 18 and 45 who passed the “test oath” eligible for duty; the Federal government would fund this new militia. In addition, delegates adopted measures to raise revenue by issuing bonds, and they voted to cut the salaries of state employees by 20 percent.

For the time being, Missouri would operate with two governing bodies, with the U.S. recognizing the provisional government at Jefferson City and the Confederacy recognizing the elected government at Neosho.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com (multiple dates); Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 77; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 133; Robbins, Peggy, Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 501-02; White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Q461

Federals Reclaim Lexington and Springfield

October 25, 1861 – Major General John C. Fremont touted the Federal recapture of Lexington and Springfield as great victories, but they did little to change the military situation in Missouri.

Gens John C. Fremont and Sterling Price | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Gens John C. Fremont and Sterling Price | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

General Sterling Price had withdrawn his secessionist Missouri State Guards from Lexington under pressure from Fremont’s larger force. Price moved southwest, seeking to join forces once more with the secessionist army under General Ben McCulloch in Arkansas. Price had no more than 12,000 ill-equipped men in his command. Fremont, whose Federals were also ill-equipped and trained, had nearly 40,000.

Price left a small garrison at Lexington, which was overrun by Major Frank J. White’s First Squadron Prairie Scouts on the early morning of October 16. White reported that “the rebels ran in every direction” while his Federals freed their imprisoned comrades and seized arms, 25 horses, two steamboats, and several Guards who could not escape.

While the Federals resumed their occupation of Lexington, Fremont’s main force continued southwestward toward Springfield. Price fell back to Neosho, where a “rump session” of the popularly elected Missouri legislature was scheduled to take place. This was on the way to join McCulloch, whose men were 20 miles south at Pineville.

McCulloch wrote Price that he sought to advance on Springfield while directing “Col. Stand Watie, with one regiment of Cherokees, to move into the neutral land and Kansas, and destroy everything that might be of service to the enemy.” McCulloch urged Price to destroy Federal resources around Carthage and concluded, “If the enemy should not advance beyond Springfield, we might with our cavalry lay waste Kansas.”

Price responded that although he agreed Kansas’s support for the Federals “should be broken,” he would not “destroy that which is absolutely necessary for the subsistence–I may almost say the existence–of the surrounding inhabitants.” Price proposed destroying the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad, which would cut Fremont’s supply line from the east.

He argued that Kansans were aiding the Federals along the Missouri River: “It is there that abolition reigns; it is there her wealth is held; it is there her fighting men are raised; in short, it is the center from which all her depredations upon Southern rights and Southern property radiate.” If McCulloch’s “gallant men” advanced there, they would bring the “thorough establishment of Southern independence to the Mississippi Valley.”

While Price and McCulloch debated strategy, Major Charles Zagonyi’s Federal cavalry under Major Charles Zagonyi of Leuchtenburg routed a token secessionist force and occupied Springfield on October 25. The Federals consisted of Fremont’s Kentucky bodyguard; the men rode bay chargers and wore colorful feathers in their hats. They drove through the Confederate pickets and into the courthouse square before the secessionists knew they were being attacked. The Federals sustained about 100 casualties.

Fremont’s main force arrived at Springfield two days later, with Fremont setting up headquarters in the same red brick building that Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon had used as headquarters before his death at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Fremont sent a message to Washington boasting that retaking Springfield was “an atonement for Bull Run, Wilson’s Creek and Lexington.”

He further declared that he would “clear the state entirely of the enemy.” Fremont based this on false information that Price’s Guards were just nine miles away and advancing on Springfield from the southwest. In reality, Price was still at Neosho, over 50 miles away, having put a considerable distance between himself and the Federals due to Fremont’s lethargy.

Back at Springfield, an apparently insane man hurrahing alternately for Jefferson Davis, Jesus Christ, and Satan burned down the court house in the town square, where Federals had jailed several alleged secessionists. As Federals tried extinguishing the blaze, the man clapped his hands and prayed to God for “burning up a million devils and destroying the souls of 10,000 bodies.” This bizarre event somewhat embodied the tumultuous Missouri situation, of which Fremont was quickly and unwittingly losing control by month’s end.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com (multiple dates); Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 89; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 73. 76; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 127, 131-32; Nevin, David, The Road to Shiloh: Early Battles in the West (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 33

Lincoln Fires Fremont

October 24, 1861 – President Lincoln issued formal orders replacing John C. Fremont with David Hunter. However, complications in executing the order would arise.

President Abraham Lincoln and Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

President Abraham Lincoln and Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

On the day that Fremont left St. Louis to join his army in pursuing Price, Secretary of War Simon Cameron and Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas left Washington to inspect Fremont’s department. Before leaving, Lincoln handed Cameron General Orders No. 18, written by General-in-Chief Winfield Scott:

“Major-General Fremont, of the U.S. Army, the present commander of the Western Department of the same, will, on the receipt of this order, call Major-General Hunter, of the U.S. Volunteers, to relieve him temporarily in that command, when he (Major-General Fremont) will report to General Headquarters, by letter, for further orders.”

Cameron was authorized to decide whether to present this order to Fremont, based on the inspection results.

At the same time, Lincoln wrote to Brigadier General Samuel R. Curtis, one of Fremont’s subordinates, asking, “Ought Gen. Fremont to be relieved from, or retained in his present command?” Curtis’s answer would be “entirely confidential,” with Lincoln hoping to receive advice from “an intelligent unprejudiced, and judicious opinion from some professional Military man on the spot.”

Cameron and Thomas arrived at St. Louis on the 11th, where they visited Benton Barracks under Curtis’s command. They were impressed by the facility, but when told that it cost just $15,000 to build, Cameron concluded, “The actual cost should be ascertained.”

Curtis received Lincoln’s letter and responded that although Fremont was accessible, he never sought Curtis’s advice or divulged his plans. Regardless, Curtis stated that he would never offer his opinion to Fremont based on Fremont’s arrest of Colonel Frank P. Blair, Jr. Overall, Curtis asserted that Fremont was “unequal to the command of an army.”

That evening, Cameron and Thomas visited a camp south of St. Louis commanded by a cavalry major who expressed concern that department officials might be using funds meant to supply his garrison for other purposes. Lieutenant Colonel I.P. Andrews, the department’s deputy paymaster-general, told Cameron and Thomas of “irregularities in the Pay Department” requiring him “to make payment and transfers of money contrary to law and regulations.”

Andrews contended that Fremont had sent a “file of soldiers” to arrest him unless he honored a questionable payment. Andrews also alleged that Fremont had commissioned a St. Louis theater musician as a “captain of engineers” and “director of music,” and this musician had twice demanded pay. Cameron overrode Fremont’s order to pay him.

The department quartermaster informed Cameron and Thomas that many of Fremont’s staff officers were contractors who arranged for the army to hire their businesses and pay the prices that they set for their goods, without competitive bidding and without considering whether the goods were necessities. Even Cameron, a man known for vast corruption himself, considered Fremont’s expenditures offensive.

On October 12, Lincoln received independent reports from Congressman Elihu Washburne of Illinois and friend Ward H. Lamon, who recently met with Fremont. Washburne reported: “The disclosures of corruption extravagance and peculation are utterly astounding… A gang of California robbers and scoundrels rule, control and direct everything.” Lamon reported, “Things are in a terribly unorganized state here… There is about as much likelihood of his catching (Price’s Missouri Guards) as there is of his being struck by lightning.”

Cameron and Thomas finally met with Fremont at Tipton, where Fremont gave them a tour of his best division. However, both Cameron and Thomas agreed that even Fremont’s best troops were in no condition for battle. The men met with Hunter that same day, who stated that the army was mired in confusion because Fremont was “utterly incompetent.” Hunter complained that Fremont had ordered him to move his 10,000 troops without rations, supplies, or arms. Only 20 of Fremont’s 100 cannon imported from Europe functioned properly, though Hunter alleged that Fremont received a kickback for purchasing them. Hunter also asserted that even though he was second in command, Fremont shared none of his military plans with him.

Cameron confronted Fremont with the order to replace him with Hunter. Fremont pleaded for a chance to lead the Army of the West in battle. Cameron agreed, but only if Fremont used all the money being used to pay contractors to improve the army’s condition. Fremont was to send all future bills to Washington for examination, and stop paying officers he had commissioned. The administration had to approve all future appointments.

In a discussion about Fremont with his cabinet, Lincoln read a letter from Gustave Koerner, Fremont’s aide-de-camp, to “His Excellency the President,” complaining that Deputy Paymaster-General Andrews had been put in charge of approving department expenditures:

“Deputy Paymaster-General Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews refuses to honor General Fremont’s commissions, which have heretofore invariably been accepted by him. Officers of the Army who have sacrificed their all to take up arms for their country are thus left destitute, and their families in want of the most urgent necessities of life. Very many of these officers are now in the field and in face of the enemy. Their efficiency and the spirits of many of the troops serving under them will be most seriously affected by this course. Unless you will provide a remedy to insure these men in their well-deserved remuneration a portion of the army will necessarily disband… as no officers will or can serve without a valid commission.”

Six days later, Lincoln finally wrote to Curtis asking him to formally deliver General Orders No. 18 to Fremont. Curtis was instructed not to deliver the orders if Fremont had “fought and won a battle, or shall then be actually in a battle, or shall then be in the immediate presence of the enemy, in expectation of a battle.”

Republicans expressed shock and dismay when Lincoln’s order was leaked to the press; Fremont had been their first-ever presidential candidate and a hero to abolitionists. Lincoln explained that Fremont was being removed because of charges that he had been “incompetent, wasteful, extravagant, and under the influence of fraudulent contract manipulators.” Nevertheless, Horace White of the Chicago Tribune wrote, “Our President has broken his own neck if he has not destroyed his country.”

But Fremont would stay in command until the order was personally delivered to him. Learning from the press that the order had been issued, Fremont worked to avoid receiving the order by posting troops as guards, prohibiting any unauthorized persons from accessing his headquarters.

On October 29, Leonard Swett arrived at St. Louis with the order removing Fremont from command. Swett, who had worked with Lincoln on the Illinois circuit court in the 1850s, was assigned to hand the order to Curtis, and Curtis was then to effect the transfer of power from Fremont to Hunter.

Swett met with Curtis that evening and expressed concern that Fremont might already know about the order since it had been published in some newspapers. The men decided to make two copies of the order and send them with two different officers in the hope that at least one of them would get through the lines and reach Fremont’s headquarters. This farcical operation continued into November.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com (multiple dates); Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 85-86, 89; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fort Sumter to Perryville (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), p. 98; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 71, 75; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 124-25, 131; White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Q461

Thompson’s Guards in Missouri

October 12, 1861 – Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson led 3,000 secessionist Missourians in disrupting Federal operations and engaging in several skirmishes in southeastern Missouri.

Gen M. Jeff Thompson | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Gen M. Jeff Thompson | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Meriwether Jeff Thompson became known as the “Swamp Fox” for commanding the First Military District of the Missouri State Guards, which covered the state’s swampy southeastern region. Thompson had received orders from General Albert S. Johnston, commanding Confederate Department No. 2 (the Western Theater), to “relieve the pressure of the Federal forces on General Price (in southwestern Missouri) … and if possible to embarrass their movements by cutting their Ironton Railroad.”

In compliance, Thompson began a preliminary movement on October 2 by dispatching 120 Guards to destroy railroad bridges near Charleston and Bird’s Point along the Mississippi River. Federal Colonel James M. Tuttle, dispatched by Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant, searched for the Guards around Charleston but could not pin them down.

Ten days later, Thompson broke camp in Stoddard County near Piketon with 2,500 infantry and 500 dragoons (mounted infantry). His objective was to destroy the railroad bridge spanning the Big River and capture Ironton by the 20th. Thompson issued a proclamation to the people of Washington, Jefferson, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, and Iron counties, urging them to “drive the invaders from your soil or die among your native hills.”

His Guards arrived at the Big River bridge two days ahead of schedule, ostensibly because of Thompson’s report that they were “more anxious to fight” than expected. They charged a small Federal force guarding the span, killing some and capturing 45 while losing eight (two killed and six wounded). The Guards then burned the bridge as planned.

Another Federal force launched a surprise attack on the Guards, and the ensuing fight became, according to Thompson, “one of those bush whacking fights which proved the mettle of my men.” Ordering his men “to go in on their own hooks,” the Missourians sent the Federals fleeing. They sustained several casualties including four killed, but Thompson reported that “we killed another lot of the enemy and took 10 prisoners.” Because Thompson could not accommodate the 55 prisoners he now held, he “swore them to refrain from fighting the Missourians or our allies until regularly exchanged.” Thompson then vowed to capture Ironton.

Major General John C. Fremont, overall Federal commander in Missouri, learned of Thompson’s raid while his Federal Army of the West was advancing into southwestern Missouri to confront General Sterling Price’s Missouri Guards. Through his “acting aide-de-camp,” Fremont asserted that “the effect of the special Washington dispatches to the New York Tribune on Missouri affairs has been to stimulate the rebels to great activity and aggression in the city and State.”

By this flawed logic, Fremont blamed the rise of partisan activity in Missouri on critical subordinates (particularly Colonel Frank P. Blair, Jr., who had lobbied to remove Fremont from command), and not Fremont’s controversial edict declaring martial law and freeing the slaves of disloyal masters. Fremont detached two regiments from his army to go suppress Thompson’s Guards, vowing that his Federals “will whip them.”

The next day, Thompson’s 2,500 infantry clashed with Federal cavalry near Fredericktown, with Thompson leading 500 cavalry in support. Thompson reported that just as the Federals began advancing:

“My horsemen came with me at full gallop, yelling like Indians. My infantry received us with three cheers, and, as we thundered over the bridge with 500 horses, it had the effect of a Chinese fight, and the enemy retired at a double-quick. My horses were entirely too much worn-out to take advantage of their retreat, but we nevertheless followed them for several miles.”

The Federals fell back, but they received infantry support and set a trap for Thompson’s advancing Guards. In the ensuing ambush, the Guards “suffered severely and rode back with heavy loss.”

Grant followed up by dispatching two Federal forces totaling 4,500 men to confront Thompson’s Guards at Fredericktown. Grant directed Colonel J.B. Plummer to move out immediately: “It is desirable to drive out all armed bodies now threatening the Iron Mountain Railroad, and destroy them if possible.”

The Federals converged on Thompson outside Fredericktown on the 21st and attacked. Thompson withdrew after a spirited fight, pulling back 26 miles through the night to Greenville. The Federals sustained 66 casualties (six killed and 60 wounded) while the Missourians lost 60. This virtually ended Thompson’s raid toward St. Louis, but he issued a proclamation that was printed in local newspapers:

“Soldiers from Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Go Home! We want you not here and we thirst not for your blood. We have not invaded your states, we have not polluted your hearthstones, therefore leave us, and after we have whipped the Hessians and Tories, we will be your friendly neighbors if we cannot be your brothers.”

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References

Allardice, Bruce, More Generals in Gray (Louisiana State University Press), p. 220; CivilWarDailyGazette.com (multiple dates); Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 88; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 70, 72-73; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 126-27

Fremont Finally Confronts Price

October 7, 1861 – Major General John C. Fremont left St. Louis to lead his Federal Army of the West against the pro-secession Missouri State Guards under General Sterling “Pap” Price.

Gens John C. Fremont and Sterling Price | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Gens John C. Fremont and Sterling Price | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Nearly two weeks after Price’s Guards captured Lexington, Fremont finally assembled his scattered army to confront them. However, Fremont’s subordinates found his organizational skills hardly satisfactory. Brigadier General John Pope, ordered to command the Federal right wing and join his men with those at Boonville, found no troops at Boonville to join with. Pope complained to his father-in-law: “Fremont shows his inefficiency more and more every day and walks about at Jefferson City with his hands to his head as if he were on the verge of insanity. There are no plans and no home of any that are intelligible.”

Unbeknownst to Pope, Fremont did have plans, as unrealistic as they were. Before leaving on the 7th, he wrote to his wife Jessie from Tipton, “My plan is New Orleans. I think it can be done gloriously.” But the army needed to be unified just to get through Missouri. At that time, Fremont’s 40,000 troops were spread out over 70 miles in five divisions. Fremont planned to concentrate his men into a 10-mile line from Leesville to Warsaw, with Federals from Kansas City forming the army’s right flank, and Pope and Major General David Hunter commanding the two wings.

Concentrating the army was one thing; training and equipping it was another. Most of the troops were inadequately fed, trained, and armed, despite the enormous expenditures incurred within Fremont’s department. Moreover, Lincoln administration officials were on their way from Washington to personally inspect Fremont’s army and report on whether Fremont should keep his job.

In spite of this, the army moved forward to face Price, whose Missouri State Guards had withdrawn from Lexington and were headed southwest toward Arkansas. Heavy skirmishing with Guard remnants occurred at Clintonville and Pomme de Terre on the 12th.

The next day, elements of Fremont’s army routed a detachment of Guards on the 13th, capturing 40 and sending the rest fleeing toward Lebanon. Federal Colonel Grenville Dodge, who directed care for the wounded in Rolla, estimated that the Missourians sustained 46 casualties (16 killed and 30 wounded). This battle, which was more of a running fight, became known as “Dutch Hollow,” “Wet Glaze,” or “Monday Hollow.”

Both the Federal army movement and questions over whether Fremont should keep his command continued as the month progressed.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com (various dates); Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 85-86; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fort Sumter to Perryville (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), p. 98; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 71-72; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 124-25

The Confused Missouri Situation

September 23, 1861 – Despite the recent loss of Lexington and the scattering of his forces, Major General John C. Fremont notified his superiors that his troops were somehow “gathering around the enemy” in Missouri.

Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Fremont’s Department of the West consisted of nearly 40,000 Federal officers and men in Missouri. However, they were scattered among various posts, and as President Lincoln predicted, Fremont’s declaration of martial law and emancipation proclamation had incited Missouri State Guards and partisans into stepping up their attacks on the Federals.

Fremont commanded several major Federal forces in northern and western Missouri, as well as a force under Brigadier-General Ulysses S. Grant that operated in the southeastern Missouri-southern Illinois-western Kentucky sector. Grant learned from “a negro man (who) tells a very straight story” that partisans were gathering at New Madrid, Missouri, and prepared to confront them. However, Fremont pulled two regiments from his command in response to an urgent call from Washington to send reinforcements east. This temporarily halted Grant’s offensive.

In western Missouri, Unionist Kansans led by James H. Lane operated along the Kansas-Missouri border. Lane’s Jayhawkers burned the Missouri town of Osceola and committed other depredations that gained no military advantage. They only continued the brutal combat that had taken place along the border before the war began, when Missourians and southerners fought to make Kansas a slave state and northern abolitionists fought to make it free.

In northern Missouri, Federals under Colonel Jefferson C. Davis (no relation to the Confederate president) clashed with Missourians in the Boonville area, while a force under Brigadier-General Samuel D. Sturgis pulled back from Rolla to St. Charles. Fremont sent Brigadier-General John Pope, commanding another Federal force in the region, to Iowa to recruit more volunteers.

Brig-Gen John Pope | Image Credit: Wikispaces.com

General John Pope | Image Credit: Wikispaces.com

Fremont’s failure to effectively coordinate the movements of Davis, Sturgis, and Pope allowed a large Missouri partisan force under Martin Green to operate around Florida and then escape pursuit. It also helped lead to the fall of Lexington. Pope learned of the dire situation at Lexington while en route to Iowa and informed Fremont that he would send reinforcements there, “presuming from General Sturgis’ dispatches that there is imminent want of troops in Lexington.” However, Fremont instructed Pope to continue recruiting efforts in Iowa, and none of the other nearby Federal forces could reach the town in time.

Despite all this, Fremont sent a favorable message to Washington on September 23, to which Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott replied: “The President is glad that you are hastening to the scene of action. His words are, ‘He expects you to repair the disaster at Lexington without loss of time.’”

Fremont set about reorganizing his army into five divisions, with Pope commanding the right wing. Major General David Hunter would command the left, but his forces were dispersed throughout various points. Fremont initially planned to have Hunter concentrate at Jefferson City, but that would leave the region west of Rolla open for Missouri State Guards to operate with impunity. Repositioning all the elements of the Army of the West caused many logistical problems for Fremont.

Meanwhile, General Sterling Price, whose State Guards had captured Lexington, received word that Confederates under Generals Gideon Pillow and William Hardee had withdrawn from southeastern Missouri, and General Ben McCulloch’s Confederates had fallen back into Arkansas. This left Price alone while a force led by Fremont himself advanced from St. Louis to take back Lexington. Price resolved to abandon the town.

General Albert Sidney Johnston, the new commander of Confederate Department No. 2 (i.e., the Western Theater), had his sights set on Missouri as part of a bigger picture that also included Arkansas and Kentucky. Johnston ordered McCulloch “to muster into service as many armed regiments of Arkansas and Missouri troops” as possible. Johnston also ordered M. Jeff Thompson to lead his Missouri State Guards to the “vicinity of Farmington, on the route to Saint Louis” to “relieve the pressure of the Federal forces on General Price… and if possible to embarrass their movements by cutting their Ironton Railroad.” Thompson quickly dispatched troops to destroy railroad bridges around Charleston and Birds Point by month’s end.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (Kindle Edition 2008, 1889), Loc 6873; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 72-74, 78; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 61-64, 67; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 113, 120-21; Pollard, Edward A., Southern History of the War (New York: The Fairfax Press, 1990), p. 156-57

The Fall of Lexington

September 20, 1861 – The pro-secessionist Missouri State Guards captured a Federal force and a strategically important town in northwestern Missouri.

Confederate General Sterling Price | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Confederate General Sterling Price | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

After the secessionists won the Battle of Wilson’s Creek in August, General Ben McCulloch led his contingent back to Arkansas. This left the Missouri State Guards under General (and former Missouri governor) Sterling “Pap” Price, which camped near Springfield in southwestern Missouri. On September 10, Price decided to move north and attack Federals seeking to enforce Major General John C. Fremont’s slave emancipation decree in Johnson County.

The Missourians arrived at Warrensburg the next day, but the Federals had already left town. On the 12th, Price advanced on Lexington, Missouri’s largest commercial town between St. Louis and Kansas City, on the Missouri River. About 3,600 Federals under Colonel James A. Mulligan were stationed around the Masonic College, north of town. The troops kept the Missouri state seal and nearly $1 million from town banks buried under Mulligan’s tent.

Price’s numerically superior Missourians drove back the Federal pickets and pursued them to within two and a half miles of Lexington before Price ordered a halt for the night. The next day, Price’s men pushed the Federals back to the college, where Mulligan ordered his troops to hold “at all hazards.” The Federals withdrew to their garrison, a 12-foot-by-12-foot earthwork defended by seven cannon.

Although outnumbered about two-to-one, Mulligan counted on Fremont, commanding all Federals in Missouri, to send reinforcements from one of three forces stationed nearby. Although he received no indication that Fremont would help him, Mulligan held out hope that his commander would come through.

Meanwhile, as Price paused to wait for his artillery train to arrive from Springfield, the rest of his Guards as well as local volunteers joined him, raising his total force to about 10,000 men. The Missourians fired their cannons at the Federal works while preparing to launch a full-scale attack once the main artillery train arrived.

Fremont quickly learned of Mulligan’s predicament from both his subordinates and Hamilton Gamble, Missouri’s provisional Unionist governor. Gamble wrote Fremont that losing Lexington “would be a great disaster, giving control to the enemy of the upper country.” He proposed transporting nearby Federals under Brigadier-Generals John Pope and Samuel D. Sturgis by train to Hamilton, and then march them the remaining 40 miles to Lexington. Gamble wrote, “It may be too late now, but it is worth the effort.”

Missourians rushing to reinforce Price, led by General D.R. Atchison (former president of the U.S. Senate) clashed with James H. Lane’s Jayhawkers on the northern bank of the Missouri at Blue Mills, about 35 miles above Lexington, on the 17th. The Kansans ultimately withdrew, losing 150 killed and 200 wounded; the Missourians lost five killed and 20 wounded. This ensured that Mulligan would receive no help from the Kansas Federals.

Price’s ammunition arrived on the 18th, and the Missourians attacked Mulligan’s defensive perimeter that morning. They destroyed homes and buildings in the line of fire and relocated several residents, including Mulligan’s wife. They also took up positions along the Missouri River west of town and captured the only steamboat that the Federals could use to escape.

An artillery exchange opened the engagement, followed by the Missourians charging and seizing the Anderson house, a two-story brick building about 125 yards from the Federals ramparts. The house had strategic significance because it sat atop a hill and served as a hospital. Federals has planted land mines to protect the building, but the Missourians seized it nonetheless.

The Federals took back Anderson house in a counterattack, bayoneting captured Missourians for violating the rules of war by attacking a hospital (though the bayoneting violated the rules as well). When thirsty Federals in the building began fighting over water, the Missourians surged forward again and regained Anderson house for good. Fugitive slaves found hiding in the basement were returned to their masters.

The fight ended at nightfall, with the Federals retaining their defense works but the Missourians holding Anderson house, which gave them high ground from which to fire into the Federal camps. The Missourians also controlled the water supply, as the two wells still within the Federal lines had gone dry. Mulligan would have to surrender if he did not receive reinforcements to break out of town immediately. Price awaited more ordnance while preparing for a final, decisive assault.

The Missourians resumed their artillery bombardment on the 19th, having evacuated the 1,000 or so residents from Lexington. The cannonade combined with the hot weather and lack of water to take its toll on the besieged Federals. Sturgis arrived across the Missouri River with 1,000 Federals to reinforce Mulligan, but the Missourians had seized all ferryboats, making it impossible for Sturgis to cross.

Price sent a detachment of 3,000 men to drive Sturgis’s Federals off. After a brief skirmish from across the river, Sturgis withdrew toward Kansas City. Neither Lane nor Pope received Fremont’s orders to help Mulligan. Unaware that Sturgis had been turned back, Mulligan held out until the next day.

By that time, Price had nearly 18,000 men surrounding the Federal garrison. They advanced around 8 a.m., pushing dampened hemp bales in front of them to protect against enemy fire. The Federals, demoralized by thirst and overwhelming numbers, only offered a token resistance.

Firing stopped when one of Mulligan’s officers raised a white flag. Price sent a party to ask why the firing had stopped. Mulligan, who had not been consulted before his subordinate offered to surrender, replied, “General, I hardly know, unless you have surrendered.” Price ordered the attack to resume, and as the Missourians and their hemp bales drew closer, Federal troops began waving white flags of their own.

Mulligan called a meeting of his officers. The Federals were not only out of water, but their food and ammunition supply was running dangerously low. Convinced that Fremont would not help them, the subordinates voted to surrender. Mulligan finally agreed.

The Federal commander dispatched a messenger at 2 p.m. asking Price for capitulation terms. Price answered that surrender would be unconditional; the men would be paroled and sent home, and the officers would be held as prisoners of war. He gave Mulligan 10 minutes to respond, during which time the Federals marched out of their defenses and laid down their arms.

Mulligan and his officers offered their swords to Price, who said, “You gentlemen have fought so bravely that it would be wrong to deprive you of your swords. Keep them.” A band played “Dixie” as the Federal troops marched past the Missourians.

Exiled pro-secession Missouri Governor Claiborne F. Jackson, who was with Price’s State Guards, delivered a speech to the prisoners admonishing them for invading Missouri and, noting that many of them were from Illinois, he said that “when Missouri needed troops from Illinois, she would ask for them.” Jackson then announced that they were free to go home. Only Mulligan and his wife stayed with Price as prisoners, where they were treated as respected guests.

The Missourians captured 3,441 Federals, 750 horses, 100 wagons, 3,000 muskets, and all seven artillery pieces. They seized $100,000 worth of commissary stores, and other property desperately needed by the growing number of Missourians volunteering to expel the Federals from their state. They also recovered the state seal and about $900,000 of the stolen money from the town banks. Federals sustained 159 casualties while the Confederates lost 97 (25 killed, 72 wounded). Price reported:

“This victory has demonstrated the fitness of our citizen soldiery for the tedious operations of a siege, as well as for a dashing charge. They lay for 52 hours in the open air, without tents or covering, regardless of the sun and rain, and in the very presence of a watchful and desperate foe, manfully repelling every assault and patiently awaiting my orders to storm the fortifications. No general ever commanded a braver or better army. It is composed of the best blood and bravest men of Missouri.”

The capture of Lexington worsened the plummeting morale of Unionist Missourians. It also added to the growing Fremont controversy, as many questioned his competence for failing to rescue the garrison with his 38,000 troops stationed throughout Missouri before Mulligan was compelled to surrender. However, Price’s victory did not help the secessionist cause in Missouri in the long-term, as many of the disorganized State Guards believed that their duty had been done and returned to their homes. Meanwhile, the Federal presence in the state steadily increased.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (Kindle Edition 2008, 1889), Loc 7552; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 76-78; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 64-67; Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005), p. 389; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 117-20; McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States Book 6, Oxford University Press, Kindle Edition, 1988), p. 351; Nevin, David, The Road to Shiloh: Early Battles in the West (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 33; Pollard, Edward A., Southern History of the War (New York: The Fairfax Press, 1990), p. 150, 153-55; Schultz, Fred L, Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 435-36

Lincoln Responds to Fremont’s Proclamation

September 2, 1861 – President Lincoln addressed the delicate issue of Major General John C. Fremont’s August 30 proclamation imposing martial law in Missouri and liberating slaves belonging to Confederate sympathizers.

President Abraham Lincoln and Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

President Abraham Lincoln and Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Fremont had not sought approval from his superiors before issuing his decree; in fact, Lincoln learned about it from a newspaper. Southerners immediately expressed outrage and declared that Fremont had revealed the true purpose of the northern aggression: freeing slaves and destroying the southern way of life. An article in the Louisville Courier declared:

“Like a thief in the night the spoiler comes, and today or tomorrow or next day he may be in our midst, our presses may be silenced, and our citizens sent off to share the fate of hundreds of political prisoners who now fill the cells of Fort Lafayette.”

Lincoln, who had better political timing than Fremont, knew that such a proclamation would undermine the war effort by inciting the loyal slave states and disrupting the fragile alliance between northern Democrats and Republicans. Therefore, he dispatched a messenger to deliver a letter to Fremont at his St. Louis headquarters.

Writing “in a spirit of caution, and not of censure,” Lincoln stated, “Two points in your proclamation of August 30th give me some anxiety.” First, Fremont’s threat to execute any armed person suspected of disloyalty could have an unintended consequence: “Should you shoot a man, according to the proclamation, the Confederates would very certainly shoot our best man in their hands in retaliation, and so, man for man, indefinitely.” Lincoln directed Fremont to “allow no man to be shot, under the proclamation, without first having my approbation.”

Second, freeing slaves in Missouri, a state that had not yet joined the Confederacy, “will alarm our Southern Union friends, and turn them against us–perhaps ruin our rather fair prospect of Kentucky.” Lincoln asked Fremont to modify his proclamation to conform to the Confiscation Act, which only allowed for seizing slaves directly aiding the Confederate war effort and then placing them in Federal custody, not freeing them.

Privately, Lincoln feared that the radical wing of the Republican Party had more loyalty to Fremont, an abolitionist and the first Republican presidential candidate, than to Lincoln. And if the radicals sided with Fremont rather than Fremont’s commander in chief, it would cause a major rift between the government and military. Lincoln’s fear was well founded because when Fremont read the president’s letter, he perceived it as an insult and refused to modify the order as Lincoln requested.

Meanwhile, some of Fremont’s subordinates had begun questioning his competence. Colonel Francis P. Blair, Jr. wrote to his brother Montgomery, Lincoln’s postmaster general, that Fremont “should be relieved of his command.” While Blair agreed with Fremont’s anti-slavery stance, he claimed that Fremont’s disorganized leadership demoralized his men. Blair also contended that Fremont’s “gross and inexcusable negligence” had allowed Confederate resistance to grow in Missouri. This marked a significant turnaround because the influential Blair family had lobbied for Fremont to be given the command in the first place.

In the field, Fremont’s proclamation invited Confederate retaliation just as Lincoln predicted. Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson of the Missouri State Guard issued a counter-proclamation to the man “commanding the minions of Abraham Lincoln”:

“For every member of the Missouri State Guard, or soldier of our allies the Confederate States, who shall be put to death in pursuance of said order of General Fremont, I will Hang, Draw and Quarter a minion of said Abraham Lincoln…”

Thompson also pledged “to exceed General Fremont in his excesses, and will make all tories that come within my reach rue the day that a different policy was adopted by their leader.” Thompson alleged that “mills, barns, warehouses, and other private property has been wastefully destroyed by the enemy in this district… Should these things be repeated, I will retaliate tenfold, so help me God!”

At Washington, Lincoln met with General-in-Chief Winfield Scott on a rainy September 5th to discuss the Fremont situation. In addition to the proclamation, Lincoln had recently received more reports attesting to Fremont’s incompetence as department commander. One report alleged that Fremont and his staff had spent nearly $12 million on items such as steamboats, equipment, uniforms, and lavish entertainment.

Lincoln and Scott agreed not to remove Fremont, but rather to send an adjutant and inspector general to help him. Scott wanted to send Major General David Hunter, but Hunter held too high a rank for such a role, so he officially recommended that Lincoln send Brigadier General George Stoneman. Lincoln thought it over for a few days.

During that time, Lincoln’s cabinet and the Blair family urged Fremont’s removal. Sidestepping military etiquette, Lincoln wrote to Hunter asking a favor regarding the Fremont situation:

“He is losing the confidence of men near him, whose support any man in his position must have to be successful… (Fremont’s) cardinal mistake is that he isolates himself, & allows nobody to see him; and by which he does not know what is going on in the very matter he is dealing with.”

Lincoln explained that Fremont needed “to have, by his side, a man of large experience. Will you not, for me, take that place? Your rank is one grade too high to be ordered to it; but will you not serve the country, and oblige me, by taking it voluntarily?” Hunter accepted.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 72-74; Donald, David Herbert, Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, Kindle Edition, 2011), Loc 6618; Faust, Patricia L, Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 291-92; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fort Sumter to Perryville (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), p. 96-97; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 61-62; Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005), p. 389-90; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 114-16; McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States Book 6, Oxford University Press, Kindle Edition, 1988), p. 352-53; White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Q361

The Controversial Fremont Proclamation

August 30, 1861 – Major General John C. Fremont, commanding the Federal Military Department of the West, issued orders imposing martial law throughout Missouri and authorizing Federal troops to confiscate the property of disloyal Missourians, including slaves.

Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Fremont had been struggling to maintain control in Missouri ever since he had taken department command in late July. St. Louis had been a hotbed of resentment against Federal rule ever since the riots in May, and Fremont’s lavish headquarters within that city did not help matters. Defeats at Carthage in July and Wilson’s Creek in early August weakened Fremont’s military authority. Efforts to install an unelected Unionist state government, internal feuding with the politically influential Blair family (staunch Lincoln allies), and reports of corruption and mismanagement further damaged Fremont’s credibility and invited more anti-Unionist activity in his department.

After Wilson’s Creek, Fremont responded to growing resistance to his authority by declaring martial law in the city and county of St. Louis. A Federal provost marshal was assigned to enforce the decree upon residents. Fremont then desperately called upon Secretary of War Simon Cameron to provide reinforcements against the growing Confederate military presence in eastern Missouri: “Let the governor of Ohio be ordered forthwith to send me what disposable force he has; also governors of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Order the utmost promptitude.”

In response to unfavorable reports about him in the St. Louis press, Fremont issued orders closing the Missourian and the War Bulletin, two allegedly pro-Confederate newspapers. Fremont accused them of being “shamelessly devoted to the publication of transparently false statements respecting military movements in Missouri.”

As the military situation worsened, on August 30 Fremont resolved to “demand the severest measures to repress the daily crimes and outrages which are driving off the inhabitants and ruining the State.” Without seeking approval from superiors, he expanded his St. Louis martial law declaration to the rest of Missouri under Federal control. This consisted of the zone extending “from Leavenworth, by way of the posts of Jefferson City, Rolla, and Ironton, to Cape Girardeau, on the Mississippi River.”

Fremont’s order stated that any Missourians suspected of having Confederate or secessionist sympathies “taken with arms in their hands within these lines shall be tried by court-martial, and if found guilty will be shot” by firing squad. This contradicted military tradition, under which captured suspects would be held as prisoners of war, not summarily executed.

But the second part of Fremont’s proclamation went even further. It declared that “those who shall take up arms against the United States, or who shall be directly proven to have taken an active part with their enemies in the field,” would have their property “confiscated to the public use. And their slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared freemen.”

Fremont claimed that this order was needed to combat the “disorganized condition, helplessness of civil authority and total insecurity of life” in Missouri. However, it quickly had the odd effect of uniting both Unionists and secessionists in opposition and outrage.

To Unionists, freeing slaves contradicted the policy that President Abraham Lincoln had pledged in his inaugural address (i.e., he would not interfere with slavery where it already existed). It also contradicted the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution, under which Congress declared that the war was being fought to preserve the Union, not to free slaves. And perhaps most importantly, it far exceeded the Confiscation Act, which authorized Federal commanders to confiscate slaves only when directly aiding the Confederate war effort, and then to place them under Federal supervision, not free them.

Secessionists asserted that Fremont had revealed the Republican Party’s true purpose for waging war–to free slaves. And Fremont’s threat to shoot anyone suspected of disloyalty prompted anti-Unionist guerrillas operating throughout the state to issue threats of their own to retaliate against any actions that Fremont may take. This had the potential to turn Missouri into a state of unending violence and terror.

Only the Radical faction of the Republican Party applauded Fremont’s move, but they still comprised a minority voice in the Federal government. Many Radicals (and even some moderates) maintained greater loyalty to Fremont than Lincoln, as Fremont was an avowed abolitionist and had been the Republicans’ first-ever presidential candidate in 1856.

But the critics far exceeded the supporters, with many in both North and South calling Fremont’s order “dictatorial.” At the very least, the order crept beyond the military realm in which Fremont belonged and encroached upon Lincoln’s political prerogative as commander in chief. However, Fremont’s popularity within the party, which rivaled Lincoln’s, made this a delicate issue for Lincoln to handle.

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References

Angle, Paul M., A Pictorial History of the Civil War Years (New York: Doubleday, 1967), p. 49-50; CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government: All Volumes (Heraklion Press, Kindle Edition 2013, 1889), Loc 12265; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 67, 71; Donald, David Herbert, Lincoln (Simon & Schuster, Kindle Edition, 2011), Loc 6608; Faust, Patricia L., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 291-92; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fort Sumter to Perryville (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), p. 95-96; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 56, 60; Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005), p. 389-90; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 108-09, 112-13; McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States Book 6, Oxford University Press, Kindle Edition, 1988), p. 352; Nevin, David, The Road to Shiloh: Early Battles in the West (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 30-32; Wert, Jeffry D., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 814-15; White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Q361