John Newman Edwards Bio




From John N. Edwards: Biography, Memoirs, Reminiscences and Recollections,

edited by Jennie Edwards, 1889

Major John Newman Edwards, CSA, was General Jo. Shelby’s adjutant and chronicler. At war’s end Edwards chose to share Mexican exile with Shelby as well. When they returned to the U.S. in 1867, Edwards rapidly published three large volumes of wartime experiences. Two dealt specifically with Shelby, “Shelby and his Men”, 1867 and “Shelby’s Expedition to Mexico”, 1872. In 1873, he published a long piece in the St. Louis Dispatch —”A Terrible Quintette”—about the James Boys, two of the Youngers, and Arthur McCoy. Some of this piece was reused for his 1877 book “Noted Guerrillas”, a broad handling of the Confederate irregulars in Missouri during the war. Edwards also founded the Kansas City Times and was its editor for many years.

Make no mistake, Major John N. Edwards was a Confederate and proud of it. You will not find more than passing reference to the other side of the coin in his pages. His flamboyantly purple prose is sometimes entertaining and sometimes tiresome, but is always used in defense of Confederate Missouri and its view of the world and “the late unpleasantness”.

Historians almost universally pillory Edwards for his exaggerations and blatant defense of all things Confederate, no matter the individual facts of the case. Yet at the same time, they must deal with him. In many instances he is the only source available. While it would be a grave mistake to rely solely on Edwards for your understanding of the Civil War and Reconstruction in Missouri, you cannot be well read on the war in Missouri without having read Edwards, and you cannot understand the way the Missouri Confederates understood themselves without reading Edwards. In addition, many western historians credit Edwards with almost single-handedly starting the myth of the “noble outlaw” in this country with his defense of the Jameses, Youngers, and their cohorts after the war.

By John Newman Edwards: Noted Guerrillas and, the extremely rare, A Terrible Quintette for the first time available on a searchable CD-ROM:

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“Noted Guerrillas, or the Warfare of the Border”, John N. Edwards, 1877, 488 Pages, 26 illustrations.

Quantrill (“Quantrell”), Bloody Bill Anderson, George Todd, Arch Clements, Fletch Taylor, Jesse James, Frank James, Cole Younger, John Jarrette, Arthur C. McCoy, John Thrailkill  —they’re all here, described by a man who knew them.

“A Terrible Quintette”, John N. Edwards, St. Louis Dispatch, Nov. 22, 1873. 21,000 words.


“Edwards had for the first time put together some of the most important ingredients of the James Legend.” –William A. Settle, Jr, author of “Jesse James Was His Name”, describing “A Terrible Quintette”

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The subject of this brief sketch, John Newman Edwards, was born in Warren County, Va., January 4, 1839. Whilst a mere boy he learned type-setting at the town of Front Royal, a place now of great and heroic memories, in the Gazette office, a paper at this writing called the Sentinel. Even at that time he was regarded as a boy of extraordinary powers, having, at the immature age of fourteen years, as testifies a contemporary, written a story that gave him “wide celebrity.” While yet a boy, through the influence of his relation, Thomas J. Yerby, of Lexington, now of Marshall, Mo., he was induced to come to the State of Missouri in 1854 or 1855. Arriving in Lexington, he soon thereafter entered upon his avocation of printer in the office of the Expositor, by whom conducted I do not now recall. Here, really, began the education of this singularly gifted boy, whose manhood was to be so rich in strange adventures and romance. Of schools Major Edwards knew but little, his advantages of this kind were limited and poor in character. As a boy, he loved solitude—this peculiarity in manhood made him shy to the verge of girlish timidity. He loved the fields, sweet with “the breath of kine” and the new-mown hay. He lingered in the dim vistas of the woods, and from out their slumberous shadows, dreamily watched the ceaseless swirl of the great river. This love of nature and its communion, made him fond of the hunt and the pastime of gentle Izaak Walton.

His life during these years, in and about Lexington, was of the ordinary uneventful character, belonging to extreme youth and peaceful times. But the storm was brewing. The distant and sullen muttering of a great political upheaval was breaking ominously upon the nation’s ears. Great questions lying radically at the very base of the two antagonistic conceptions of the American system of government, were loudly and hotly contested by the sections of the country. The slavery question was not the cause, but the occasion of the threatened rupture. Whatever men may say, or however much they may deplore sectional controversy, there were, as there are, but two great drifts of thought as to the true theory of our institutions, the one, denominated, “State Rights,” the other, the steady trend toward centralization. Leaving the truth or falsity of these contested theories out of the question, the fact remains that out of them came one of the mightiest struggles known to the annals of the race. The rupture came. The “golden bowl was broken,” the “silver cord was loosened,” and there came an era of hate and blood that all good men ought gladly to wish to be forgotten.


It is at this juncture that Major Edwards began his active career. In the year 1862, Gen. Jo. O. Shelby organized a regiment near Waverly, Lafayette County, Mo. Of this regiment Frank Gordon was Lieutenant-Colonel. Colonels Shanks and Beal G. Jeans, with Capt. Ben Elliott in command of a battalion, joined and united with Shelby at this point. This command moved on the day of the Lone Jack fight with a view of forming a junction with Cockrell and Coffee. The forces of Shanks, Jeans, and Elliott, with his own regiment, constituted the original force under Shelby. Of this command, after the expiration of several months, upon the retirement of Captain Arthur, John N. Edwards received the appointment of Brigade-Adjutant, with the rank of Major. This occurred in the month of September, 1863. When finally Shelby was promoted to the command of a division, Edwards shared the fortune of his generous and chivalrous leader and became the Adjutant of the division, I think with the rank of Colonel, though of this I have no positive evidence at hand. In this position he continued until the disbanding of the whole command after Lee’s surrender.

Shelby’s force, as we have seen, left Waverly to form a junction with Cockrell and Coffee, but on reaching Columbus in Johnson County, he heard of the Lone Jack battle, and was compelled to revise his plans. He began to work his way south, invironed by almost indescribable difficulties, and never at any time were the experiences and dangers of this illustrious body of men greater or graver. Care, prudence and courage of the highest order were manifested in successfully making this junction, with the men that fought at Lone Jack, an accomplished fact. This was done at or near Newtonia, from which point the united force fell back to McKissock’s Springs, in Arkansas. Of this force, as Senior Colonel, Shelby took command, Lieut.-Col. Frank Gordon being at the head of the old regiment. From McKissock’s they fell back to Cane Hill, a place made memorable years before by one of those tragedies so incident to frontier life of almost indescribable horror. Here they rested, Hindman at that time having his headquarters at Van Buren. To Shelby was given the arduous and dangerous duty of watching and contesting, step by step, the Federal advance from Fayetteville. It was necessarily Shelby’s additional duty to cover Hindman’s movements at Van Buren, Blount performing alike service for Curtis. During this period the splendid soldierly qualities of this whole command were daily exhibited. The soldier alone knows the hardships, and the demand for an almost superhuman endurance in this form of military service, of such varied fortune of defeat and victory. During the whole period immediately prior to the battle of Prairie Grove, Shelby held the position in front of Hindman’s advance, and finally, on a frosty December morning, he opened the hard contested fight of Prairie Grove. The sad December night before the battle is thus described by Major Edwards himself, and as he alone could do it: “The moon this night had been eclipsed, too, and upon many of the soldiers the weird, mysterious appearance of the sky, the pale, ghost-like phantom of a cloud across its crimson disc, had much of superstitious influence. At first, when the glowing camp fires had burned low and comfortable a great flood of radiance was pouring over the mountains and silvering even the hoary white beard of the moss clustering about the blank, bare faces of the precipices. The shadows contracted finally. The moon seemed on fire, and burned itself to ashes. The gigantic buckler of the heavens, studded all over with star-diamonds, had for its boss a gloomy, yellowish, struggling moon. Like a Wounded King, it seemed to bleed royally over the nearest cloud, then wrapt its dark mantle about its face, even as Caesar did, and sink gradually into extinction. There was a hollow grief of the winds among the trees, and the snowy phantasm of the frost crinkled and rustled its gauze robes under foot. The men talked in subdued voices around their camp-fires, and were anxious to draw from the eclipse some happy augury. Relief exhibited itself on every face when the moon at least shone out broad and good, and the dark shadows were again lit up with tremulous rays of light.”

And e’er the great sun’s white splendors kissed the rime-robed earth, Shelby’s voice, clear as a bugle’s note, came to gallant Shanks, “Forward, Major!” And since the day that men first learned war, they never rode with more splendid courage into battle; not one of all these men but deserved the golden spurs of chivalrous knighthood. From this field, stained with such precious blood on this chill December day, Shelby again occupied the post of honor and danger, covering Hindman’s retreat. Falling back slowly, on reaching Van Buren he found that General Hindman had abandoned his position at Van Buren, and had fallen back to Little Rock. Shelby finally went into camp at Lewisburg, on the Arkansas River, and became virtually an outpost of Hindman’s command at Little Rock. Shelby in all this service acted independently, although shortly prior to the Prairie Grove battle Shelby’s and Marmaduke’s Brigades had been united, forming Marmaduke’s Division; the latter becoming Division Commander by virtue of a Brigadier’s commission at that time in his possession. At this camp was organized an expedition into Missouri, the leading event of which was the capture of Springfield, January 8, 1863. But being unable to hold the position won, they moved on in an easterly direction to the town of Hartsville, where a disastrous defeat was sustained. From this point a retreat was effected, and the force went finally into camp at Batesville, on the White River in Arkansas. Here, probably in the month of April, subsequent to the events described, was organized what is known as the “Cape Girardeau Expedition,” as the attack upon this town was the leading event of the campaign, where the subject of this sketch was wounded and taken prisoner. Sometime prior to that measureless blunder of a most pitiful senility, the disastrous assault upon Helena, Arkansas, Major Edwards was exchanged and had rejoined his command, taking part in the fateful scenes of that dark day when so many gallant and fearless men were slaughtered upon the altar of a boundless stupidity. Shelby was wounded in this battle. His command then moved to Jackson Port, where he remained until the Federal advance under that humane soldier, General Frederick Steele, was made on Little Rock. Shelby was commanded to take position on Bayou Metoe, to watch Steele’s advance from points on the White River. Price’s whole force was then occupying an intrenched position on the Arkansas River immediately opposite Little Rock. Colonel Frank Gordon’s regiment was occupying a position on the extremity of a spur of Big Rock, in full view of the city. In all the scenes before Little Rock Shelby’s division was a very large part, and finally covered Price’s retreat from the city. At Arkadelphia another expedition into Missouri was organized, at the earnest solicitation of General Shelby, and so the raid of 1863 was inaugurated. He gained permission to select a number of men from each regiment of his division, to the number of 800. After a single day’s march they came within the enemy’s territory. Marching day and night, engaged in countless skirmishes, they reached and captured Boonville; from thence they came to Marshall, where they were surrounded by not less than 5,000 men under Ewing, Crittenden and Pleasonton. The two formed in front, the latter in the rear. After three or four hours’ fighting, Shelby determined to cut his way out, and an order to this effect was borne to Colonel Shanks by Major Edwards. The plan was successfully accomplished despite the mighty odds against them. The inequality of the forces gave especial glory to the deed.

But it is not possible in a brief sketch like this to follow the fortunes of this band of noble soldiers under so dashing and fearless a leader, in a long war. Of the scenes so tragic of this vast conflict each soldier might say with Aeneas as he recounted the miseries and the fall of Troy, to Dido and her Tyrians, until the sinking stars invited to repose “Magna Pars Fui.” Of the great contest and its strangely varied fortunes they were a great part. It was at this point in the history of this great internecine struggle that Major Edwards began to receive that military prominence he so richly deserved. As a soldier, he was not only brave and fearless, and wise in council, but gentle, tender, courteous to the humblest soldier beneath him. As he was whole-hearted in the cause he espoused, so dealt he kindly with the men that shared his convictions and the fortunes of a common cause.

I here employ the beautiful tribute of Major J. F. Stonestreet, who shared with him the vicissitudes of a long and bitter struggle. It is better said than I could say it:


The achievements of Shelby and his men are matters of history. Of them all Major Edwards was the hero. The individual instances of his bravery in battle, his wisdom in council, his tender solicitude for his men, his self-sacrificing spirit, would fill a volume. Major J. F. Stonestreet, of this city, who was with him until he crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico, tells well the story of his part in the great struggle.

“I cannot speak of John Edwards without emotion,” he said. “He was the noblest man of the many noble men who took part in the great struggle in the West. I can not begin to tell of all the instances of his valor in .battle, his kindness in camp, his care for his comrades, his noble self-sacrifice, his great brain and noble heart. No one but those who were with him in those dark hours can appreciate his magnificent spirit. He was only a boy when he joined Gordon’s regiment, but he soon became the hero of Shelby’s old brigade. It was a grand sight to see him in battle. He was always where the fight was thickest. He was absolutely devoid of fear. The men had the confidence in him that they would have had, had he been a God. Their trust in him was sublime. He had a genius for war. While he was as brave as a lion, his courage was not of the rash, impetuous sort that led him into foolhardy under takings. His wisdom was as great as his bravery. No one appreciates more the character and achievements of General Shelby than I; but when the dark days came, it was John Edwards who, more than anybody else, inspired hope in the hearts of the men, cheered and encouraged them, and spurred them on to renewed exertions.

“This self-sacrifice was noble. I have seen him dismount and give his horse away to a tired trooper. In the hospital once I saw him take off his shirt and tear it up for bandages for the wounded, not knowing when or how he was to get another one. I have seen him take off his coat and give it to a soldier who, he thought, was more in need of it. His spirit was so gentle that it hurt him more to see others suffer than to suffer himself. What heroism he displayed in that awful retreat from Westport! Small-pox broke out among the men. John Edwards feared it as little as he did the bullets of the enemy. He would take a soldier with the small-pox in his arms, carry him to the most comfortable place that could be secured, and nurse him with the care of a woman. He would brave anything to secure a delicacy for a sick soldier. When we were eating horseflesh on that awful march, and the men were starving, naked and ready to give up, it was he who cheered and encouraged them and held them together. His heart was so big that he thought of everybody before himself.

“In battle he was a very Mars; in camp he was as gentle as a woman. The men loved him, and little wonder. He could never do enough for them. Brave men, all of them, they recognized him as the bravest and the brainiest. ‘Follow me, boys,’ I have heard him cry, ‘and I will take you where the bullets are the thickest and the sabers the sharpest,’ and then, his sword flashed in his hand, he would be off to where the fight was the hottest. And the men would be after him with a confidence and devotion that insured victory. He was the bravest man in war and the gentlest in peace that I ever saw. He was the soul of honor. He was one man in a million. He was the Chevalier Bayard of Missouri.”

Notwithstanding his intrepid bravery, Major Stonestreet says he was badly wounded but once. That was in Marmaduke’s raid on Springfield, when he was shot and taken prisoner in the fight near Hartsville. He was afterward exchanged and rejoined his regiment at Jacksonville, Ark. He especially distinguished himself for bravery and strategy in the 4th of July fight at Helena, which was in progress when Vicksburg surrendered. It was said of him that he had more horses shot from under him, and gave more horses away to those whom he thought needed them more than himself, than any man in Shelby’s brigade.

So testifies one who knew John Edwards through all the trying scenes of a contest all too bitter, and who loved him well. John Edwards was a born soldier. The genius of war and the genius of poetry alike presided at his birth. The courage of the Knight and the poesy of the Troubadour were alike his. He crowned the brow of war with golden nimbus of the poet. For his deft fingers the brand of the grizzled grenadier and the minstrel’s lute were alike fashioned. He brought the chivalry and song of the thirteenth into the Titanic struggles of the nineteenth century.

An officer once bore a report of General Shelby’s to General Holmes, who on reading it exclaimed with an impious expletive: “Why, Shelby is a poet as well as a fighter!” “No,” replied the officer, “but his Adjutant is a born poet.” It was this remarkable combination of elements in Major Edwards that made him as brave and fearless as he was tender and gentle. It also accounts for the strong, religious sentiment of his nature mentioned in a brief speech at his grave. Belief in the supernatural elements of religion and poesy go hand in hand. Goethe stated a very large and a very fundamental truth when he wrote, “Der Aberglaube ist die Poesie des Lebens“—the “overfaith, the supernatural, is the ground of life’s highest political forms.


After the close of the war Major Edwards followed the fortunes of his old leader with others of his fellow’ soldiers into Mexico, where he spent two years, a deeply interested spectator of the affairs of Maximilian’s Empire. With this amiable, but unfortunate Prince, and with his wife the “Poor Carlotta,” he became a favorite, and through him was negotiated and obtained the grant which enabled Shelby, and perhaps fifty others, to establish the Cordova Colony of Carlotta. He and Governor Allen, of Louisiana, a man of beautiful spirit and richly stored mind, established a newspaper, The Mexican Times, devoted to the restoration of an era of peace, prosperity, and good government for this sadly distracted people. Whilst here, the material of one of his books, “An Unwritten Leaf of the War,” was produced and gathered, which appears in this present volume. What a strangely romantic period these two years must have been to the dreamy, poetic soldier of the North. The rich, tropical foliage, the skies luminously blue, the warm airs, the voluptuous climate, the romantic people inheriting the glorious traditions of Old Spain, the memories of the Cid, songs of Calderon and Lope de Vega, chanted in the sweet the Castilian tongue must have been things of ceaseless charm to the imaginative temperament so strongly marked in Major Edwards. It was a period of romantic adventure, and from time to time he has related to me singular episodes that occurred during his association with Governor Allen, but brevity denies indulgence to the reminiscent mood.

In the year 1867, having returned from Mexico, Major Edwards went on the Republican as a reporter, then under the editorial control of Col. William Hyde, a noble gentleman and an able writer, whose contributions to that great paper have rarely been equaled in western journalism. In the year 1868, in connection with the brilliant and versatile Cola John C. Moore, now of the Pueblo Dispatch, he inaugurated the Kansas City Times, with the financial support of R. B. Drury & Co. It was at this time that he was married. This marriage took place on March 28, 1871, to Mary Virginia Plattenburg, of Dover, Lafayette County, Missouri. A woman scarce less brilliant than himself, of high impulses, poetic sentiment and of an uncommon literary faculty, she was a fit companion for this molder of “fiery and delectable shapes.” They were married at the residence of Gen. John O. Shelby, near Aullville, in Lafayette County. This marriage took place away from the home of the bride because of an interposed objection on the part of the parents, grounded solely upon the near family relationship of the parties. The fruit of this marriage is two boys and one girl. The boys are John aged seventeen and James fourteen years, the girl Laura eight.


Major Edwards remained on the Times until 1873, two years after it passed into its present management, and greatly aided in building it up into its present commanding position as director of western thought and enterprise. In this same year, he went upon the St. Louis Dispatch, owned and controlled by Mr. Stilson Hutchins, whom he followed into the St. Louis Times. It was while at work on the Times that his duel with Col. Emory S. Foster took place. The difficulty grew out of certain questions incident to the great civil struggle whose memories were yet fresh in the minds of all, and its passions still unallayed. These matters were discussed with great acerbity of temper and sharpness of expression. The acrimony engendered by a long, bitter contest, was still more or less dominant in the minds of men in all sections. It can serve no good purpose here to dwell on the questions themselves or their mode of treatment; they belong to the dead past, and there let them remain. I know that the acrimony so rife at the time of this occurrence with Major Edwards, in common with the better class of men in both sections, was a thing to be deplored and forgotten. The friends and admirers of Major Edwards are of all parties. There are no more tender or appreciative tributes to his memory than those written by the men in blue. Mrs. Edwards informs me that she has received as many expressions of sympathy and admiration from Federal as from Confederate soldiers. The perpetuation of the rancor of the war is left to the camp-follower and coward. I shall here enter on no defense of Major Edwards’ ideas on the duello. With his education, and sensitive perception of the worth of personal honor, it is easily accounted for. Omitting the offensive paragraphs we give this statement from a morning paper the day after the rencounter:

BELOIT, Wis., Sept. 4, 1875.

A duel was fought at five o’clock this afternoon, six miles north of Rockford, in Winnebago County, Illinois, between Maj. John N. Edwards, of the St. Louis Times and Dispatch, and Col. E. S. Foster, of the St. Louis Journal. The origin of the affair grew out of the recent invitation to Jefferson Davis to address the Winnebago Fair. The St. Louis Times of August the 25th contained an article written by Major Edwards, commenting upon the treatment of Mr. Davis, and reflecting upon the intolerant spirit manifested. To this the Journal replied that the writer of the Times article had lied, and knew he lied, when he wrote it.

Major Edwards took exception to this and demanded a retraction of the offensive language. Colonel Foster, the editor of the Journal, disavowed any personal allusion to Major Edwards, but declined to retract the language. A lengthy correspondence ensued, Col. H. B. Branch acting as the friend of Major Edwards, and Col. W. D. W. Barnard as the friend of Colonel Foster, the result of which is embodied in the last letters of the principals, which show the difference between them:

St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 30, 1875.


“Sir: In reply to your letter of this date I have to state that your reply to the reasonable request I made of you, to-wit, to withdraw and to disavow all language in your editorial of the 25th inst., personally offensive to myself, is evasive and not responsive to my request. In my letter to you I referred solely to what was directly personal to myself, without inquiring whether my editorial, or yours in answer to it, exceeded the usages of the press in discussing a subject generally or referring to bodies of persons. I can not admit your right to introduce these questions into this controversy which refer solely to your allusion to the writer of the Times editorial.

“The disclaimer in the first four paragraphs of your letter would be satisfactory had you followed it up by a withdrawal of the offensive terms of your editorial, so far as they referred to me personally. But as you decline to do so I must, therefore, construe your letter of this date, and its spirit, as a refusal on your part to do me an act of common justice, and so regarding it, I deem it my duty to ask of you that satisfaction which one gentleman has a right to ask of another.

“My friend, Col. H. B. Branch, who will deliver this, is authorized to arrange with any friend you may select, the details of further arrangements connected with the subject. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


St. Louis, Aug. 31, 1875.


“Sir: Yours of the 30th inst. was handed to my friend, W. D. W. Barnard, Esq., at 11 o’clock this A. M., by your friend, Col. H. B. Branch, and is now before me. In reply, I have to state that I emphatically disclaimed in my note of yesterday any intention of referring to you, or in any way offering to you, a personal offense in the matter in which you have raised the issue.

“My friend Mr. Barnard will have charge of my honor in the premises. I am, very respectfully. your obedient servant, EMORY S. FOSTER.”

It being found impossible, as appears from the above correspondence, to accomplish a reconciliation between the parties by a withdrawal of the offensive language, the matter passed into the hands of the seconds, Col. H. B. Branch, on the part of Major Edwards, and W. D. W. Barnard on the part of Colonel Foster.

They were to meet on the 4th day of September, 1875, between the hours of 6 and 7 A. M., or as soon thereafter as the parties could reach the grounds, in the county of Winnebago, State of Illinois. The weapons, Colt’s navy revolvers calibre 38, the distance twenty paces. Each party entitled to one shot, unless both demanded a second. The firing was to be at the words, thus: “Are you ready; one, two, three”—the firing to occur after the word “two” and not after the word “three.” The seconds were to be similarly armed, and any violation of the rules agreed upon entitled the second of the one to shoot down the offending second of the other.

Upon arriving at Rockford both parties drove to the Holland House and partook of dinner.

About 3 o’clock the seconds completed their arrangements. It was decided to drive five miles north on the Beloit road, and have the meeting in some secluded spot. Both principals agreed, and Col. Edwards’ party started off in a hack at half-past three, the understanding being for them to await the other party for half an hour after arriving as far out as designated. If the challenged party did not arrive on time it was to be regarded as an evidence of cowardice.

The Foster party caught up with the other party just as they were halting at an estimated distance from the city of five miles.

The spot where the halt was called was a shaded valley, with a winding stream called Turtle Creek, running through it. The seconds held another consultation, and, the site suiting them, they went in search of a place sufficiently far from the Beloit road to be safe from intrusion. After an absence of five minutes they were successful in their search, and on their return the whole party left the carriages. The hackmen, who were wondering what was in the wind, but had not the enterprise to gratify their curiosity, were told to wait in the neighborhood for a few minutes, which instructions they filled to the very letter. The names of the parties who went on the field were: Col. John N. Edwards, the challenging principal; Col. H. B. Branch, second; Dr. Montgomery, surgeon; Dr. Munford, of the Kansas City Times, friend; Major Foster, principal; W. D. W. Barnard, second; Dr. P.S. O’Reilly, surgeon, and the representative of the Tribune, friend.

The spot selected was a couple of hundred yards to the west of the road, a beautifully shaded valley in which horses and cattle were grazing. The seconds took up position near a tree and commenced to examine the weapons. The principals were a few yards apart, Foster reclining on a bank, coolly smoking a cigar, Edwards resting with his back against a tree and conversing with Dr. Munford, with whom he served in the Confederate army. The surgeons took their cases of instruments to the hill-side, where they sat watching the preparations for the encounter. Some time was occupied in the examination and loading of the pistols, and while the necessary part of the work was in progress, the principals each divested himself of his watch and other articles which might turn off a bullet. The next procedure was to measure the ground, a matter which was gone through with business-like dispatch and coolness. Twenty paces was the distance. The positions were north and south, and were marked by a short stake driven into the ground. Branches of trees were cleared out of the way to prevent injury from falls, and other details attended to which might render things comfortable for the parties immediately interested. The next important step was to toss up for position and the call. Branch, Edward’s second, won the choice of position, and Barnard the call. This fact was communicated to the principals, who expressed themselves satisfied with the result. The principals and seconds then walked up the ground. Edwards asked Foster’s opinion as to position, but the latter said he had no choice. They both received their weapons from the seconds and Edwards chose the south end of the ground. Before the final arrangements were completed, the friends were requested to relieve themselves of their pistols, a precaution against a general skirmish should either party feel aggrieved. Dr. Munford was the only one who had a pistol on his person, and he at once placed it in his valise. The conditions of the fight were then read. Edwards requested Barnard to articulate the words, “Are you ready? one, two, three,” in a distinct manner, so as to prevent unpleasant haste. Both men at this point displayed marvelous nerve, Foster smoking his cigar in an unconcerned way. Positions were then taken up, the seconds shaking hands with their principals, and receiving instructions in case they should fall. At length all was ready. The seconds had pistols in their hands ready to revenge any infringements of the code. There was an ominous pause. At exactly 5 o’clock the men faced each other and took mental aim; then came the words, “Are you ready?” in clear, distinct tones: “one, two.” Before the word three the duelists fired almost simultaneously. The surgeons anxiously looked each to his man, expecting him to fall, but neither was wounded. “A little high!” exclaimed Foster, as soon as he had fired. Edwards demanded another fire, in an excited tone. His second asked if he would adhere to that resolution. “Yes,” he replied, “it is just as I told you before we came on the field. I will go on if it takes a thousand fires; “and with this remark he sat down on the grass. Foster declined another fire. He was the challenged party, and felt no bitterness against his antagonist. Therefore he was not anxious for blood. His honor had been sustained as the challenged party. Shots had been exchanged, and that was all that was necessary. Barnard went to talk with Edwards, who was heard to say: ” I have admitted as much as I can do—have received no satisfaction to take with me.” After the interchange of a few words, Edwards concluded to make the thing up. He approached Foster and shook hands. There was mutual congratulation all round, and it was interesting to see the brotherly love displayed by the men, who two minutes before, had faced each other with death in their eyes. The genial Bourbon was produced, and the agreeable termination to the affair toasted. A short time was spent on the grass in mutual explanation, and everything was forgotten and forgiven. The parties then returned to their hacks, one shaping toward Beloit and the other to Rockford, which place they left in the evening, but for what point the reporter failed to ascertain.

Apprehending a possible fatal result, Major Edwards wrote the following note to his friend, Dr. Morrison Munford, who was present. It was written at the Tremont House, Chicago, and bears no date, and written in pencil on a leaf torn from a note-book which he carried in his pocket. The note needs no comment—it carries its own:

Dear Morry: A little farewell I want to speak to you. I have but three thoughts: my wife, my two children. When you can help my wife in her pride—help her. It aint much—only it is so much to me. Your friend,


This note is a revelation of the character of the relations between these two men, and shows how implicitly he relied upon the loyalty and steadfastness of Dr. Munford’s friendship—the one man of all others upon whom he called in his supposed extremity. John Edwards knew the man he calls “Dear Morry” as perhaps no other man did, and he trusted him. And now, the “little farewell” has been spoken, and the memory of a brave soul is left to men.


After his withdrawal from the St. Louis Times he started to Santa Fe, to engage in sheep-raising, but visiting Dover to make his farewells, he was dissuaded from the undertaking, and remained at the home of his wife’s father, Judge J. S. Plattenburg, and wrote the “Noted Guerrillas,” a wonderful record of the border warfare. Subsequently he went to Sedalia, taking editorial charge of the Democrat. Retiring from this paper he started the Dispatch, which had a brief, but singularly brilliant career. He was then called to the editorial management of the St. Joseph Gazette, by the late Col. J. N. Burnes, the owner of the paper. Again, in 1887, he was recalled to the editorial chair of the Kansas City Times, which place he held at the time of his death. One needs but to read the numerous press tributes to know how exceedingly brilliant his editorial career has been. His style, bright and full of poetic forms, was forceful, vigorous and convincing; as flashing and as keen as the scimitar of Saladdin. Many of the passages in this book bear critical comparison with the most beautiful passages of classic English. The exuberance of expression and prodigality of beautiful words in the compositions of Major Edwards have occasionally led men to overlook or underestimate the more solid aspects of his mind. His historical and general knowledge was very great; his familiarity with the best specimens of Classic English in both prose and poetry was something wonderful in both accuracy and comprehensiveness. The opportunities of a student’s life were never within his reach, and yet he knew vastly more of books than most men who had been patient toilers over their pages through continuous years. To the ordinary mind it was wholly inexplicable, how or when he obtained such stores of rich and varied knowledge. His work was a remarkable blending of fact and fancy, of cogent reasoning and vivid poetic expression. A rare combination of powers. There are many gradgrinds, but few poets to clothe the hard facts of life in the aureole of imperishable beauty. The words necessary to describe fitly the dauntless courage, the greatness of soul, the tenderness surpassing that of woman, characterizing the life of John Edwards, would, to those who little knew him, seem fulsome and extravagant. But not so to his friends who knew him. Some of the virtues of Major Edwards were so intense in their expression as to seem almost weaknesses. He never talked of himself. There was not a single shred of the braggart in his nature. He was reticent of his own deeds to the verge of eccentricity. He seemed to be wholly unambitious, free, even from a suspicion of egotism. A strongly marked instance of this is shown in the fact in three books of which he is the real hero, not once is illusion made to himself. I fully agree with his devoted friend, Dr. Munford, that such a repression of self, under such circumstances, is simply without a parallel. I have known but one other man well, in Missouri, who even nearly equaled the modesty, the unselfish self-forgetfulness of John Edwards. That man was the prince of orators, whose soldiery skill wrote his name beside that of Xenophon, viz. Gen. A. W. Doniphan. For all meretricious methods, for every form of pretense, for merely dramatic effect, John Edwards entertained the harshest scorn. Sham and cant that sniveled, stirred his gentle nature into holiest and hottest wrath, and he wove around its victim the network of scathing lampoon that burned like the shirt of Nessus. Trickery, deceit and cowardice alone made him pitiless. That he was unselfish is clearly manifested in this fact, that his great influence, and surely no single man in all the State had so large a personal following whose devotion was a passion, was never employed to advance his own financial interest or to win place for himself. His influence was always for his friends. The witnesses are everywhere, in every walk of life. Men in high places; and low alike, bear testimony to his unselfish work for every comer. He showed me once a letter from a poor Irishman, asking his assistance to procure a position on the police force of St. Louis, and it was granted as readily as to a seeker of the highest place and power. Of his carelessness of self-advancement and his unceasing thought of other people, this circumstance is recalled. He, the writer, and an old soldier, grim and gray, in stature a very son of Anak, stood together. These two men had ridden into battle as joyously as the groom seeks his bride. And now in the days of peace, the grizzled soldier asks: “John, wouldn’t you make a good governor?” Promptly the answer came: “No, but I know who would.” The swart grenadier asks: “Who?” It is not needful to give the party named, beyond this: that he represented his district in Congress, and wore for years stainlessly the judicial ermine of his State. I reconsider, and give the name of Elijah Norton, the able jurist, the distinguished publicist and reproachless gentleman.


Major Edwards was ill as early as the Wednesday prior to his death, but his demise at last was sudden and unexpected by his friends. The immediate cause of his death was inanition of the cardiac nerves. In the morning early he read part of a late paper. No one witnessed his death, but Thomas, a colored servant, and his little daughter Laura, aged eight years. His sons were at St. Mary’s College, Kansas, and Mrs. Edwards, worn out from loss of rest, had retired to another room. He seemed to have some premonition that the end was near, as three different times he asked Thomas to call Mrs. Edwards. The boy not realizing the Major’s condition, said, “no let Mrs. Edwards rest.” The child was playing with a bubble-pipe, and about ten minutes before death he blew a bubble, and said “Laura, always remember that papa bought you that pipe” evidently from this he knew the end had come. The little girl stood by the bedside wiping the chill death dew from her father’s brow, as his soul took its mysterious flight to that “bourne whence no traveler returns.” Mrs. Edwards and Major Bittinger entered the room together, just as life’s bound was reached. Soon it was noised abroad, and produced a profound sensation in all parts of the city. Says one:

The news soon spread throughout the city, and there was universal expression of profound sorrow. Major Edwards had been a frequent visitor to the capital, attending all the sessions of the Legislature for the past eighteen years, and all Democratic conventions held during that time. He was known to a majority of the members of the General Assembly, to the State officials and to the people generally. As soon as his death was announced, groups of men could be seen on the principal streets, discussing the sad event, and at the capitol half of the members of the Senate and House at once left their seats and gathered in the lobby and adjoining rooms. Republicans and Democrats alike expressed the deepest sorrow for his sudden and untimely death, and the highest sympathy for his bereaved family. During the recess at noon nothing else was talked about among the crowds at the various hotels but the death of the brilliant journalist.


At the afternoon session of the Senate, Senator McGrath, of St. Louis, offered the following resolution:

WHEREAS, The Senate of Missouri, with profound regret, have learned of the death of one of Missouri’s greatest and most distinguished citizens, Major John N. Edwards; therefore, be it

Resolved, That in respect to his memory the Senate now adjourn.

After a few appropriate remarks by Senator Moran, of St. Joseph, the resolution was unanimously adopted and the Senate adjourned. In the House, Hon. Lysander A. Thompson, of Macon, offered a similar resolution, which was unanimously adopted and the House adjourned. This evening a great number of the members of the Senate and House visited the McCarty House to take a last look at the features of the dead journalist.

In addition to the action of the Senate and House of Representatives as a mark of respect to the memory of the dead journalist, the local newspaper men and newspaper correspondents met at the Tribune office this afternoon, and a committee consisting of Walter M. Monroe, of the Tipton Times, W. A. Edwards, of the St. Joseph Gazette, and C. B. Oldham, of the Jefferson City Tribune, were appointed to draft suitable memorial resolutions to the memory of the deceased journalist. The committee reported the following:

Maj. John N. Edwards was born in Virginia about fifty-one years ago. His parents moved to Lexington, Mo., when he was of tender age. He received a common school education and afterward learned the printing trade in an office at Lexington. At the commencement of the Civil War he enlisted in the Confederate army and belonged to Gen. Jo. O. Shelby’s command. He was promoted time and again for skill and personal bravery, and won his military titles in the most honorable manner possible. He was engaged in more than fifty battles and skirmishes, and was severely wounded on more than one occasion. As the war drew to a close he followed Shelby and Price to Texas, and about the time peace was declared a small fragment of Shelby’s command, known as the “Iron Brigade,” sank the flag—the blood-stained flag which they had carried through the war—in the Rio Grande River, crossed the line into Mexico, and for thirteen months served in the French army. Later, Major Edwards returned to Missouri and published several books, one relating to the border warfare in Missouri, Texas and Arkansas, another entitled “Shelby and his Men.” He soon after engaged in newspaper editorial work, first in St. Louis, next in Sedalia, then in St. Joseph and Kansas City, respectively. He was for a time editor of the Dispatch and Times in St. Louis, edited the Sedalia Democrat and Dispatch, later the St. Joseph Gazette, and at the time of his death was editor of the Kansas City Times. No writer in the West was better known than Major Edwards. He followed no man. Every idea he advanced was original, and every thought he expressed in. print was copied far and wide. He had no superior in the newspaper field and but few peers. He was honest and fearless, and never published a line in public prints which he did not believe to be the truth, and for which he would not answer personally at all times. We, representatives of the western press, recognize in his death an irreparable loss. He was brave and generous in war, and fearless and honest in civil life, and liberal to a fault—an affectionate husband and a kind father. We believe that his death has left a vacancy in Missouri journalism that can never be filled. His death is a calamity to the press of the State. As an original writer and conscientious literary man, he never had a superior. He was brave and magnanimous in health, and fearless and resigned when the final summons came. Resolutions can not express our opinion of his ability and fearlessness. He lived the life of a patriotic American, and died the death of a brave, conscientious newspaper man.

Augustine Gallagher, Kansas City Journal, president.

W. A. Edwards, St. Joseph Gazette, secretary.

C. B. Oldham, Tribune, chairman committee.

Walt M. Monroe, Tipton Times.

Walter Sander, Westliche Post.

John Meagher, St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

A. C. Lemmon, Post-Dispatch.

W. M. Smith, St. Louis Republic.

W. N. Graham, Sedalia Gazette.

J. H. Edwards, Tribune.

W. A. Curry, Kansas City Times.

W. J. Cambliss, Higginsville Advance.

John W. Jacks, Montgomery Standard.

A. A. Lesueur, Lexington Intelligencer.

Walter Williams, Boonville Advertiser.

Immediately on the announcement of Major Edwards’ death, Col. A. C. Dawes telegraphed General Manager Clark of the Missouri Pacific, and received a reply that he would place his special car at his disposal to convey the remains of the dead journalist and his family to Dover, Lafayette County, where it had been decided he should be buried. The pall-bearers are: ex-Governor Charles P. Johnson, Dr. Morrison Munford, Maj. J. L. Bittinger, Darwin W. Marmaduke, J. F. Merryman and Col. Thomas P. Hoy.

Captain Lesueur, Secretary of State, gives the following account of the journey from Jefferson City to Dover:


The death of Maj. John N. Edwards, from heart disease, took place at the McCarty House, in Jefferson City, at 9:40 A. M., Saturday, May 4th. It is not too much to say that it created a profound sensation throughout the city. No man in Missouri was so well known as he to its

public men. In Jefferson City he was known by everybody, and his friends were numbered by the limit of his acquaintance. Republicans as well as Democrats were his warm admirers, and the humblest negro that knew him loved him.

It is safe to say that no funeral that has occurred at Dover for many years has created a more profound impression upon the public mind than did that of Major Edwards. There he learned to know his beloved commander, Gen. Joseph O. Shelby, and many of the brave and daring soldier boys whose firmness in battle and endurance on the march gained for the old brigade that renown which he afterward immortalized in most poetic prose. There, too, he wooed and won his bride, a fair, gray-eyed Southern lassie, as full of impulse and romance as himself, a woman of ideals and poesy perhaps, but a brave and true-hearted woman who stood by him always, in weal and in woe, in joy and affliction, and was ever his ministering angel, his comfort and his solace. O, yes, Dover had many ties upon the heart of Major Edwards, and to the good people of the vicinity, a steady, God-fearing people, but a people of leisure, who read and preserve a touch of the romance of the days of Coeur de Lion, of Bruce and of McGregor, John Edwards was the embodiment of all that was chivalric and poetic. They ever followed from journal to journal his gifted pen, and he was nearer and dearer to them than he was to many with whom he came in daily contact out in the busy, active world. And they were there to put all that was mortal of him away in its last resting place with their own loving hands. Their wives and daughters were there, too, to add their tears to those of the stricken wife and children. As the numerous. assemblage encircled the grave, grief and sorrow written upon every face, the scene was one to immortalize the painter who could have seized it and put it on canvas. There was the evidence of an unusual depth of feeling and regret even for such an occasion.

From the moment of his death until his remains were taken from the train, there was a constant stream of sad and sorrowing friends passing in and out of the corridor, all intent upon hearing the particulars of his dying hours, upon looking just once more at his familiar features, upon expressing grief at his loss and of sympathy with his bereaved wife and children. At 12:30 on Sunday the funeral procession formed at the hotel to go to the depot, where the train was waiting. First, came a long line of gentlemen on foot, led by Governor Francis, and composed of senators, members of the house of representatives, and many others. By the side of the hearse were the pall-bearers—Dr. Morrison Munford, Col. D. W. Marmaduke, Hon. J. Frank Merriman, Maj. John L. Bittinger, Col. T. P. Hoy and Capt. A. A. Lesueur; after them came the family and other friends in carriages. At Tipton a special train furnished by the courtesy of S. H. Clark, Esq., at the request of Col. A. C. Dawes, awaited the funeral party, which was composed of Mrs. Edwards, Miss Ella McCarty, her near friend, all of the pallbearers (except Col. Marmaduke), Rev. Peter Trone, and Messrs. George and Walter Plattenburg. At Boonville they were joined by Hon. Thomas Cranmer, and at Marshall by Elder George Plattenburg and Mr. Yerbey. The train reached the Dover depot at about 6:30 p. m., where it was met by a number of the citizens of the place, and by the following named gentlemen, who acted as actual pall-bearers: John Allen Harwood, E. S. Van Anglen, Dr. E. R. Meng, R. T. Koontz, James F. Winn and George B. Gordon. The casket was deposited at the Plattenburg mansion, Mrs. Edwards’ girlhood home, until 10 o’clock the next morning, when the burial took place in the village cemetery. The whole country-side had turned out.

The train arrived as above, at Dover, 6:40 p. m. Sunday, May 5th. The following day, May 6th, he was borne to his last resting place. The burial is thus described by the Kansas City Times, the paper he started, and at whose helm he gallantly and dauntlessly stood through many a storm:


[Special to the Kansas City Times.]

HIGGINSVILLE, Mo., May 6th.—In the old cemetery, just at the outskirts of the little town of Dover, ten miles from here, the body of John N. Edwards was buried this morning. It is a quiet, secluded spot, where the rumble of wagon wheels in the road near by are the only sounds, save the singing of birds, heard from one year’s end to the other—just the place where one with Major Edwards’ love of nature and the beautiful would desire to lie in his last long sleep. And it was his wish, frequently expressed, that he should be buried there. It is within easy view from the old Plattenburg homestead, where his wife spent her girlhood and he wooed and won her, and from which his body was carried to its last resting place this morning. From the windows the tombstones which mark the graves of the former residents of Dover are plainly visible. The whole scene is a pretty rural one, the scattering houses of Dover giving it just enough of an urban aspect to soften its outlines without destroying its primitive beauty. It was no wonder that one with the poetic temperament and chivalrous ideals of Major Edwards should choose the old Dover cemetery as his burial place, even if his early days had not endeared it to him.

The special train—which was kindly furnished by the Missouri Pacific—bearing the body, the wife and little daughter of Major Edwards, the pall-bearers and friends, arrived at Dover from Jefferson City, Sunday night at 6:40. The pall-bearers were Maj. John L. Bittinger of St. Joseph; Dr. Morrison Munford, Hon. J. F. Merryman, Rev. Peter Trone of Clinton; Col. T. P. Hoy and Secretary of State A. A. Lesueur. Miss Ella McCarty of Jefferson City; Messrs. George and Walter Plattenburg of Kansas City; brothers of Mrs. Edwards, and Mr. Thomas Cranmer, sheriff of Cooper County, were among the party that came from Jefferson City.

The body was at once taken from the station to the residence of Mrs. L. C. Plattenburg, Mrs. Edward’s mother.


At 8:30 this morning the casket was opened, and the citizens of Dover and the people from the country for miles around, filed in to take a last look at the face which was loved throughout the length and breadth of Lafayette County, where he passed his early life, and from which he went to make a name that was honored and loved wherever it was known. Moist eyes of strong men gave evidence of the sincere affection with which the dead soldier and journalist had been regarded. Many of the men who passed had seen him go out to battle in the pride of his youthful strength, and they said that after many years the face was not changed as much as might have been expected. The features were life-like and the expression peaceful. “He looks as if he were sleeping,” many remarked.

The greater part of the five or six hundred people who viewed the corpse came from Lexington, Higginsville, Corder and the neighboring towns. There had been a misunderstanding as to the time the funeral would take place, and many persons from Higginsville, Corder and other

places had driven over Sunday. This and the comparative inaccessibility of Dover kept many persons away who had desired to be present. Nevertheless the little town could not have accommodated many more strangers.

There were no services at the house. At 10 o’clock the casket was closed. In addition to the pall-bearers who had accompanied the body from Jefferson City, Mr. John Allen Harwood, E. S. Van Anglen, E. R. Meng, R. I. Koontz, James F. Winn, and George B. Gordon of Dover, had been selected. They carried the casket to the hearse, which had been sent from Lexington. Besides Mrs. Edwards and her two sons and daughter, the members of the family who were present were J. Q. Plattenburg, H. W. Plattenburg, H. Y. Plattenburg, George Plattenburg, and W. L. Plattenburg, brothers of Mrs. Edwards; Mrs. L. C. Plattenburg, her mother and Miss

Eula Plattenburg, her sister. Mrs. Thomas Yerby, with whom Major Edwards lived when he was a boy, and learned to set type, also followed the body to the grave. Mr. Wiley O. Cog, of Kansas City, was in one of the carriages. The procession was a long one, but the distance from the house to the cemetery was short.


The services at the grave were simple, as Major Edwards had wished them to be. They were conducted by Rev. George Plattenburg, a cousin of Mrs. Edwards. He spoke feelingly and every word was listened to intently. His address was substantially as follows:

Twenty-eight years ago, when General Shelby was the captain of a single company, composed largely of the flower of the youth of this immediate vicinity, Major Edwards came to my home in Little Rock, Arkansas, accompanied by Yandell Blackwell, a soldier and gentleman from spur to plume. From that day to this my intercourse with Mayor Edwards has been of a most intimate character. I have never met a more rarely gifted or nobler man. His knowledge of men and books was simply wonderful. When and how he gained this great and varied knowledge was to me, a close student of books for more than forty years, still more wonderful, engaged as he was continuously in great active interests, and involved in the stress of vast political contests. A great journal of yesterday morning spoke of him as only a poet. If by this was meant that he was only a maker of rhythmic phrases, or the framer of melodious sentences, the statement was scarcely just. His was the wonderful and acute insight of the true poetic faculty into the great problems of human life and action and destiny—the faculty that intuitively penetrates the reason of things. In this sense he was a poet. These things he clothed in the poet’s glowing words, in striking and ofttimes surprisingly beautiful forms of speech. In his best moods he threw off passages of rare charm, not surpassed, if equaled, anywhere in the vast field of American journalism.

It was not the splendor of his intellect, the marvelous grace of his diction, or the unequaled mastery of scintillant and forceful words, that bound John Edwards to his friends, but his greatness of heart, his sweet, gentle and unselfish nature. In a long intercourse with men of all ranks and conditions, professions and trades, I have met no man so free from all ignoble and selfish impulses. His wide influence was never used for his own gain or personal advancement, but always for that of others. Those debtor to John Edwards in this regard may be counted by hundreds. A journalist, and now a State official said to me years ago, “he asks for himself, never; for others, always.” A great, loyal, loving and unselfish heart was his. God rarely makes a man like him. Fitly might the Recording Angel write of him, Abou Ben Adhem’s prayer, “write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

Whatever the infirmities of gentle and gifted John Edwards, there was in him a strong religious sentiment. I do not mean religious as defined by books, or as formulated in creeds, but in the acceptance and reverent holding of those great truths that lie behind all formulated systems and of which organized religions are the product. That Infinite Being, forming the primary religious concept of primitive peoples, the Jehovah of the Hebrew records, the “Heaven-Father” of the Vedic hymns, which Max Muller says formed humanity’s first poem and first articulate prayer, and as exalted by the great Master in that universal prayer: “Our Father who art in Heaven,” he

recognized and looked up to with the trust of a child. In addition to this as a necessary sequence, he accepted unfalteringly the doctrine of the soul’s immortality as the sole basis of a hope that can gladden and sweeten the labor of stricken men. Once as I sat by his bedside at the McCarty House, late in the night, turning suddenly to me after a lull in our talk, he asked: “Do you ever go down to the great river that flows near your home, and sitting beneath the midnight stars listen to the solemn swish of the onsweeping mysterious stream, and think of the vast things that lie beyond the river and beyond the stars?” From this we drifted into a discussion of the largest problems with which the soul has to do; the questions of action and destiny. Then, more than ever before or after, John Edwards revealed to me the secrets of his immost life. He felt as the Laureate sings:

My own dim-life should teach me this,

That life shall live forever more,

Else earth is darkness at the core,

And dust and ashes all that is.

This round of green, this orb of flame,

Fantastic beauty, such as lurks

In some wild poet as he works

Without a conscience or an aim.

To-day, from every part of the great Southwest, the scarred veterans of the “lost cause,” will turn with tearful eyes to this village graveyard, where we reverently and lovingly lay their old companion in arms, so brilliant in intellect, so noble in heart, so gentle and generous, so pure and chivalrous in every impulse. May the smile of God rest upon this village grave as a perpetual benediction.

In the quiet, quaint little village of Dover, whose people removed, “Far from the maddening crowd’s ignoble strife,” pursue the even tenor of their way, on a gentle declivity leaning to the kiss of southern suns, a sheltered, sequestered spot, fit place of rest after life’s “fitful fever,” lies the village graveyard. Here:

“The sacred calm that reigns around,

Bids every fierce tumultuous passion cease;

In still small accents whispering from the ground

A grateful earnest of eternal peace.”

In this retired spot reverent hands laid all that remained of gifted John Edwards. The voice, that oft within the “battle’s red rim,” shouted, “Steady, Men,” is hushed. The eye that flashed with steely glitter, as it saw the setting and onset of squadrons, but so gently limpid in repose, is closed forever. The blare of bugles, the cannon’s roar, the rush of armed fleet and the voice of love are now alike unheard. The fearless soldier, the brilliant journalist, the loyal friend, the dreamer of sweet dreams, by his own request lies quietly among the village dead, apart from the stress of enterprise and the coldness of greed. Above the narrow, dreamless abode of the great heart now pulseless, the leaves shimmer in soft light, the fragrance of flowers lingers above the turf lovingly, and the sweet May stars distill their dews to keep the grasses green. In his own words, written of “Prince” John B. Magruder’s lone Texas grave, we may say, “If roses are the tear drops of angels as the beautiful Arab belief puts forth in poetry, then is this lowly mound a hallowed spot, and needs not the sculptured stone, the fretted column and the obelisk.” Few men have been so admired, or so mourned. At his grave, old, scarred soldiers, unused to tears wept like girls. Friends, kindred, his children grieved, but a larger grief was hers, whom he wooed and won with knightly devotion in the summer days long ago. She, sitting within the mysterious shadow of the “Spheral Change, by men called death,” can only sing with Dante Rossetti, in mournful questioning:

“O nearest, furthest! Can there be

At length some hard-earned, heart-won home,

Where exile changed for sanctuary.

Our lot may fill indeed its sum,

And you may wait and I may come.”

Aftermath of the Lawrence Massacre

The Aftermath of the Lawrence Massacre
by Lt. Gen. John M. Schofield, USA

Excerpted and introduced by G. E. Rule

from “Forty-Six Years in the Army”, by John M. Schofield, 1897

Lt Gen SchofieldJohn M. Schofield had a busy war, rising from lieutenant on leave of absence in the spring of 1861 to Lieutenant-General by the end of the war. Schofield was Nathaniel Lyon’s mustering officer in April of 1861, adjutant at Wilson’s Creek, commander of the Department of Missouri, corps commander under Sherman on the drive to Atlanta, army commander at the battle of Franklin, TN, and then rejoined Sherman in time to help negotiate the surrender of Joe Johnston’s army after Washington had rejected the original terms.

“The Aftermath of the Lawrence Massacre” is Schofield’s rather odd account of the Union reaction in Missouri and Kansas immediately following the bushwhackers’ sack of Lawrence. There is no actual account included of the attack on Lawrence, and Schofield introduces the topic as an aspect of the internecine strife in Union circles in Missouri and Kansas between the “claybanks” (conservatives) and “charcoals” (radicals). Schofield seems to be taking pains to show that he did what he could to blunt the worst of the retribution that Unionists were demanding after Lawrence. He even implies near the end that his moderating of the radicals planned revenge nearly resulted in a civil war within the Civil War –this one between radical and conservative Unionists.

Perhaps the most eye-opening aspect of the whole account is his take on the cause of the Lawrence Massacre. While he does not go into the details that any good Missouri Rebel can recite by heart—including the horror of the Kansas City jail collapse that killed or injured many southern ladies and children, driving their bushwhacker men-folk wild with a flaming desire for retribution—Schofield clearly attributes Lawrence to the recent change in Union policy towards these southern hostages. Even more, he reports to his superiors that he warned Ewing that something of the like might happen. Schofield says: “Accordingly I directed General Ewing to adopt and carry out the policy he had indicated, warning him, however, of the retaliation which might be attempted, and that he must be fully prepared to prevent it before commencing such severe measures. Almost immediately after it became known that such policy had been adopted, Quantrill secretly assembled from several of the border counties of Missouri about 300 of his men.” While not as fulsome an admission as a Confederate partisan would prefer, Schofield is essentially agreeing with them.

Further Reading:

Available at

Forty-Six Years in the Army by John McAllister Schofield

Lyon’s adjutant at Wilson’s Creek, and Union commander of Missouri for much of the war, Schofield’s memoirs are an important addition for anyone interested in Missouri during the war.

My impression is that the nature of this quarrel in Missouri was not fully understood at the time in Washington, as General Halleck wrote me that neither of the factions was regarded as really friendly to the President. But my belief is that they were then, as they subsequently proved to be, divided on the Presidential question as well as in State politics; that the conservatives were sincere in their friendship and support of Mr. Lincoln, and desired his renomination, while the radicals were intriguing for Mr. Chase or some other more radical man.

This struggle between extreme radicalism and conservatism among the Union people of Missouri was long and bitter, but I have nothing to do with its history beyond the period of my command in that department. It resulted, as is now well known, in the triumph of radicalism in the Republican party, and the consequent final loss of power by that party in the State. Such extremes could not fail to produce a popular revulsion, and it required no great foresight to predict the final result.

The factions in Missouri gave the military commander trouble enough in 1863; but to that was added the similar and hardly less troublesome party quarrel in Kansas. I cannot give a more accurate account of the complicated situation there than by quoting from my correspondence and journal of that period. On August 28 [1863] I wrote to President Lincoln as follows:

In reply to your telegram of the 27th, transmitting copy of one received from two influential citizens of Kansas, I beg leave to state some of the facts connected with the horrible massacre at Lawrence, and also relative to the assaults made upon me by a certain class of influential politicians.

Since the capture of Vicksburg, a considerable portion of the rebel army in the Mississippi valley has disbanded, and large numbers of men have come back to Missouri, many of them doubtless in the hope of being permitted to remain at their former homes in peace, while some have come under instructions to carry on a guerrilla warfare, and others, men of the worst character, become marauders on their own account, caring nothing for the Union, nor for the rebellion, except as the latter affords them a cloak for their brigandage.

Under instructions from the rebel authorities, as I am informed and believe, considerable bands, called “Border Guards,” were organized in the counties of Missouri bordering on Kansas, for the ostensible purpose of protecting those counties from inroads from Kansas, and preventing the slaves of rebels from escaping from Missouri into Kansas. These bands were unquestionably encouraged, fed, and harbored by a very considerable portion of the people of those border counties. Many of those people were in fact the families of these “bushwhackers,” who are brigands of the worst type.

Upon the representation of General Ewing and others familiar with the facts, I became satisfied there could be no cure for this evil short of the removal from those counties of all slaves entitled to their freedom, and of the families of all men known to belong to these bands, and others who were known to sympathize with them. Accordingly I directed General Ewing to adopt and carry out the policy he had indicated, warning him, however, of the retaliation which might be attempted, and that he must be fully prepared to prevent it before commencing such severe measures.

Lawrence Ruins from HarpersAlmost immediately after it became known that such policy had been adopted, Quantrill secretly assembled from several of the border counties of Missouri about 300 of his men. They met at a preconcerted place of rendezvous near the Kansas line, at about sunset, and immediately marched for Lawrence, which place they reached at daylight the next morning. They sacked and burned the town and murdered the citizens in the most barbarous manner.

It is easy to see that any unguarded town in a country where such a number of outlaws can be assembled is liable to a similar fate, if the villains are willing to risk the retribution which must follow. In this case 100 of them have already been slain, and the remainder are hotly pursued in all directions. If there was any fault on the part of General Ewing, it appears to have been in not guarding Lawrence. But of this it was not my purpose to speak. General Ewing and the governor of Kansas have asked for a court of inquiry, and I have sent to the War Department a request that one may be appointed, and I do not wish to anticipate the result of a full investigation. . . .

I am officially informed that a large meeting has been held at Leavenworth, in which a resolution was adopted to the effect that the people would assemble at a certain place on the border, on September 8, for the purpose of entering Missouri to search for their stolen property. Efforts have been made by the mayor of Leavenworth to get possession of the ferry at that place, for the purpose of crossing armed parties of citizens into north Missouri.

I have strong reasons for believing that the authors of the telegram to you are among those who introduced and obtained the adoption of the Leavenworth resolution, and who are endeavoring to organize a force for the purpose of general retaliation upon Missouri. Those who so deplore my “imbecility” and “incapacity ” are the very men who are endeavoring to bring about a collision between the people of Kansas and the troops under General Ewing’s command.

I have not the “capacity” to see the wisdom or justice of permitting an irresponsible mob to enter Missouri for the purpose of retaliation, even for so grievous a wrong as that which Lawrence has suffered.

I have increased the force upon the border as far as possible, and no effort has been, or will be, spared to punish the invaders of Kansas, and to prevent such acts in the future. The force there has been all the time far larger than in any other portion of my department, except on the advanced line in Arkansas and the Indian Territory. . . .

P. S. Since writing the above I have received the “Daily Times” newspaper, published at Leavenworth, containing an account of the meeting referred to, and Senator Lane’s speech, which I have the honor to inclose herewith for your information.

In a letter of that same date (August 28), Governor Carney informed me, among other things, that “after the fearful disaster at Lawrence and on the return of our troops who had pursued Quantrill and his murderous band, General Ewing and General James H. Lane met at Morristown and spent the night together. The latter returned to Lawrence and called a mass meeting, at which he defended General Ewing and made an intensely bitter speech against you. Yesterday he arrived in this city, and soon after caused to be issued a placard stating he would address the citizens on war matters. There are two parties here—one for and the other against Ewing. That against him is headed by Mr. Wilder, member of Congress, and by Mr. Anthony, mayor of this city. This division put General Lane in this dilemma here, that he could not defend Ewing as he had done in Lawrence, and hence he devoted his whole attention to you. The more violent of the men opposing you are for independent raids into Missouri. How far General Lane encouraged this class you must judge from the facts I have stated and from the inclosed speech. To give tone and distinction to the meeting, General Lane offered a resolution calling upon the President to relieve you, affirming that there could be no safety in Kansas, no help for Kansas, unless this was done. . . . You will judge from the facts stated, from the course pursued by General Lane at Lawrence, and from his speech here, how far General Ewing is your friend or fit to command this district?”

On August 31, I started for the scene of the agitation. The following extracts from my journal reveal the situation:

Sept. 2.— Reached Leavenworth at five o’clock A. M. Stopped at the Planters’ Hotel; was called upon by Governor Carney and several of his political friends. Discussed at much length the condition of affairs in the District of the Border. Carney is an aspirant for the United States Senate. Intends to run against Lane. Desires to kill off Ewing, considering him a formidable rival, or at least a supporter of Lane. Ewing has determined not to be a candidate at the next election, and will not commit himself in support of either Carney or Lane. Desires to keep on good terms with Lane because he thinks Lane will probably be reelected. Carney understands Ewing as supporting Lane, or at least as having withdrawn in Lane’s favor. In fact, Ewing refuses an alliance with Carney. Carney therefore desires to kill Ewing. Lane finds it to his interest to sustain Ewing so long as Schofield commands the department. Ewing is a better man for Lane than any other Schofield would be likely to give him. Lane’s desire is to remove Schofield and get in his place a general who would place Kansas under command of one of Lane’s tools, or a man who could be made one by Lane; therefore Lane defends Ewing and concentrates his attack upon Schofield.

Asked and obtained a long private interview with Lane. Went over the whole ground of his hostility to Genl. S[chofield] during the past year. Showed him the injustice he had done Genl. S., and how foolish and unprofitable to himself his hostility had been. He stated with apparent candor that he had bent the whole energies of his soul to the destruction of Genl. S.; had never labored harder to accomplish any object in his life. Said he had been evidently mistaken in the character and principles of Genl. S., and that no man was more ready than he to atone for a fault. We then approached the subject of the invasion of Missouri by people of Kansas. Genl. Lane still adheres to his design of collecting the people at Paola and leading them on an expedition “for the purpose of searching for their stolen property.” He professes his ability to control the people; that he would be answerable, and offered to pledge himself to Genl. S. and the government that they should do nothing beyond that which he declares as the object of the expedition.

Lane was informed that Genl. S. would go to Kansas City the next day, and Lane replied that he intended to go also. It was agreed that both should go the next morning and converse with Genl. Ewing on the subject. The same evening Genl. Lane made a public speech in Leavenworth, in which he urged the people to meet at Paola, and assured there that the department and district commanders would not interfere with the proposed expedition; on the contrary, that both would countenance and cooperate with it. He also proclaimed the object to be to lay waste the border counties of Missouri and exterminate the disloyal people. This statement, following an interview on that subject, was calculated to mislead a large number of well-disposed people who would not for a moment think of acting in opposition to military rules, and to greatly increase the number of people who would assemble at Paola, and seriously complicate the difficulty.

In the evening had another interview with Gov. Carney and some of his friends. My main object was to secure the full cooperation of the State government in preventing the invasion of Missouri. For this purpose I had to consult to a considerable degree the political views and aims of the governor and his friends. Their object was, of course, to make out of Lane’s project as much capital as possible against him. It was held by many of them that Lane had no serious design of entering Missouri; that he expected, of course, that the military authorities would forbid it; and that he would yield as a military necessity, and thus gain with his people additional ground for condemnation of the department commander, while he had the credit of having done all he possibly could to enable them to “recover their stolen property.” . . . Viewing matters in this light, the governor and his advisers were strongly inclined to the opinion that the surest way of making capital for themselves out of Lane’s move was to let him go on with it, without any interference on their part, confident that it would turn out a grand humbug. . . . After reaching Kansas City and talking with Genl. Ewing, I replied to the governor, accepting the services of as many of his troops as he and Genl. Ewing should deem necessary for the protection of all the towns in Kansas near the border, stating that with Kansas so protected, Genl. Ewing would not only carry out his order for the expulsion of disloyal persons, but also in a short time drive out the guerrillas from his district and restore peace. In addition to this, I wrote the governor a private letter urging him to issue his proclamation discouraging the Paola meeting and warning his people against any attempt to go into Missouri, and informing him I would issue an order forbidding armed men not in the regular military service from crossing the line.

Sept. 4.—I received the governor’s reply that he would issue his proclamation as requested, and also asking permission to publish a letter which I had written him on August 29, in reply to one from him regarding these matters. This permission was granted.

My order was also published declaring that the militia of Kansas and Missouri would be used only for the defense of their respective States; that they should not pass from one State into the other without express orders from the district commander; that armed bodies of men not belonging to the United States troops, or to the militia placed under the orders of the department commander by the governors of their respective States, should not, under any pretext whatever, pass from one State into the other.

In the evening of the 3d I sent a despatch to the general-in-chief [Halleck], informing him that the Paola movement was under the control and guidance of Lane, and that I should not permit them to enter Missouri; that Lane said he would appeal to the President; that I did not apprehend a hostile collision; but that a despatch from the President or the Secretary of War (to Lane) would aid me much in preventing difficulty.

If such despatch should be sent, I requested to be informed of its purport. No reply received from the general-in-chief up to this time (1 p.m., Sept. 5).

Sept. 6.—Lane failed to meet me at Kansas City, according to agreement. My correspondence with Governor Carney relative to the Lawrence massacre and the Paola movement appeared in the Leavenworth papers of yesterday; also my order forbidding armed citizens from crossing into Missouri.

The governor’s proclamation did not appear according to promise; probably he may have decided to defer it until after the Paola meeting, as a means of making capital against Lane.

A private letter from one of Governor Carney’s advisers was received yesterday (5th), dated the 3d, but evidently written in the evening of the 4th or morning of the 5th, which indicated that Carney does not intend to publish a proclamation, for the reason that Lane desires to force him to do it.

Went to Westport yesterday. Met several of the leading loyal citizens; all agree that Genl. Ewing’s order No. 11 is wise and just—in fact a necessity. I have yet to find the first loyal man in the border counties who condemns it. They are also warm in their support of Genl. Ewing, and deprecate his removal. I am satisfied he is acting wisely and efficiently. . . .

The radicals in Missouri condemn him (Ewing) as one of my friends; the conservatives, because he is a Kansas man, and more especially because of his order No. 11, and similar reasons and radical measures. For a time this will weaken me very much, and possibly may cause my overthrow. This risk I must take, because I am satisfied I am doing the best for the public good, and acting according to my instructions from the President. I seem in a fair way to reach one of the positions referred to in the President’s letter of instructions, viz.: that in which both factions will abuse me. According to the President’s standard, this is the only evidence that I will ever have that I am right. It is hardly possible that I will ever reach a point where both will commend me. . . .

Sept. 8.—Went to Independence yesterday, in company with Genl. Ewing; . . . made a few remarks to quite a large assemblage of people, which were well received; was followed by Genl. Ewing in an appropriate speech, which produced a good effect.

Have determined to modify General Ewing’s order, or rather he will modify it at my suggestion, so that no property shall be destroyed. I deem the destruction of property unnecessary and useless. The chief evil has resulted from the aid given to guerrillas in the way of information conveyed by disloyal people, and by preparing their food for them. This evil is now removed. Forage and grain cannot be destroyed or carried away to such extent as materially to cripple them. I will as far as possible preserve the property of all loyal people, with the view of permitting them to return as soon as the guerrillas shall be driven out. Property of known rebels will be appropriated as far as possible to the use of the army and loyal people who are made destitute. None will be destroyed.

Had a long interview this morning with Mayor Anthony of Leavenworth and a number of influential citizens of that place. Anthony was arrested and sent to this place yesterday by a detective in the employ of Genl. Ewing. The arrest was without authority, and Genl. Ewing promptly discharged the mayor. The object of the citizens was to obtain a revocation of martial law in Leavenworth, and come to a correct understanding as to the relation between the military and civil authorities in that town, so as to prevent difficulty in future. The whole matter was satisfactorily arranged. . . .

So far as can be learned, no people have gone from Leavenworth to the Paola meeting, and it is probable the whole affair will amount to nothing. Believing that the trouble here is substantially over, I propose to start for St. Louis to-morrow morning.

A regiment of enrolled militia ordered to New Madrid to relieve the 25th Missouri, in order that the latter might go to reinforce General Steele in Arkansas, mutinied after they had gone on board the steamer, brought the boat ashore, and went to their homes. The provost guard of St. Louis was sent to arrest them. News having come of the capture of Little Rock, the two enrolled militia regiments in St. Louis were dismissed, except the mutineers, who were kept at hard labor for some time, and the leaders tried for mutiny.

This mutiny was caused by the efforts of the radical papers and politicians, who had for some time openly opposed the organization of the provisional regiments, and encouraged the men to mutiny.

I published an order enforcing martial law against all who should incite mutiny among the troops, and through General Halleck obtained the President’s approval of this order, but did not find it necessary to make that approval public until it was made known by the President himself.

In writing to General Halleck on September 20, I said:

I inclose herewith a copy of an order which I have found it necessary to publish and enforce. The revolutionary faction which has so long been striving to gain the ascendancy in Missouri, particularly in St. Louis, to overthrow the present State government and change the policy of the national administration, has at length succeeded so far as to produce open mutiny of one of the militia regiments and serious difficulties in others.

I inclose a number of slips from papers published in Missouri, to show the extent to which this factious opposition to the government has been carried. The effect already produced is but natural; and the ultimate effect will be disastrous in the extreme, unless a strong remedy be applied speedily.

Out of consideration for popular opinion and the well-known wishes of the President relative to freedom of speech and of the press, I have forborne until, in my belief, further forbearance would lead to disastrous results. I am thoroughly convinced of the necessity for prompt and decided measures to put down this revolutionary scheme, and my sense of duty will not permit me

to delay it longer. It is barely possible that I may not have to enforce the order against the public press. They may yield without the application of force; but I do not expect it. The tone of some of their articles since the publication of the order indicates a determination to wage the war which they have begun to the bitter end. This determination is based upon the belief that the President will not sustain me in any such measures as those contemplated in the order. A distinct approval by the President of my proposed action, and a knowledge of the fact here, would end the whole matter at once. I desire, if possible, to have such approval before taking action in any individual case. Indeed, I believe such approval would prevent the necessity for the use of force. It is difficult, I am aware, for any one at a distance to believe that such measures can be necessary against men and papers who claim to be “radically loyal.” The fact is, they are “loyal” only to their “radical” theories, and are so “radical” that they cannot possibly be “loyal” to the government. . . .

These men were styled “revolutionists,” not without sufficient cause. It was currently reported that they had in 1861 conceived the elevation of Fremont to a dictatorship. In 1862, and again in 1863, they invented a scheme for the violent overthrow of the provisional State government and the existing national administration in Missouri. The first act of the program was to seize and imprison Governor Gamble and me. In 1862 some of them committed the indiscretion of confiding their plans to General Frank P. Blair, Jr., who at once warned me of it, but refused to give me the names of his informers or of the leaders. He said he could not do so without breach of confidence, but that he had informed them that he should give me warning and expose the individuals if any further steps were taken. Here the matter ended. In 1863 I received warning through the guard stationed at my residence in the suburbs of the city, with which the revolutionists had the folly to tamper in their efforts to spread disaffection among my troops. This discovery, and the premature mutiny of the regiment ordered to New Madrid, nipped the plot in the bud. I refer to the circumstances now only to show that I was not unjust in my denunciation of the “revolutionary faction” in Missouri.

In General Halleck’s letter of September 26, inclosing the President’s written approval of my general order, he said:

. . . Neither faction in Missouri is really friendly to the President and administration; but each is striving to destroy the other, regardless of all other considerations. In their mutual hatred they seem to have lost all sense of the perils of the country and all sentiment of national patriotism. Every possible effort should be made to allay this bitter party strife in that State.

In reply, September 30, I expressed the following opinion:

. . . I feel compelled to say that I believe you are not altogether right in your information about the factions in Missouri. If the so-called “claybank” faction are not altogether friendly to the President and administration, I have not been able to discover it. The men who now sustain me are the same who rallied round Lyon and sustained the government in the dark days of 1861, while the leaders of the present “charcoal” faction stood back until the danger was past. I believe I have carried out my instructions as literally as possible, yet I have received a reasonable support from one faction and the most violent opposition from the other. I am willing to pledge my official position that those who support me now will support me in the execution of any policy the President may order. They are the real friends of the government. It is impossible for me to be blind to this fact, notwithstanding the existence, to some extent, of the factional feeling to which you allude.

The improvement produced by the order was so decided that publication of the President’s approval was thought unnecessary. It only became public through his letter of October l, 1863, of which he gave a copy to the radical delegation.

In September the governor of Missouri placed all the militia of the State, including those not in active service, under my command. I published orders intended to control their action and prevent interference with political meetings; also to secure freedom of voting at the coming election in November. Several militia officers guilty of such interference were dismissed, which produced a wholesome effect.

The 140 Year Debate Over the Number of Guns at the Arsenal

The 140 Year Debate Over the Number of Guns at the Arsenal

by G. E. Rule

See also: Solving the Mystery of the Arsenal Guns by Randy R. McGuire, Ph. D- groundbreaking original work answering the long-disputed, and vital, question of the number of guns at the St. Louis Arsenal in early 1861 and their importance to the outcome of the Civil War – new June 20, 2003

Without a doubt, the central facet of the struggle for St. Louis, and Missouri, in 1861 was the story of the maneuvering for control of the United States Arsenal. He who controlled the Arsenal controlled St. Louis. He who controlled St. Louis, because of its central location as transportation hub of both rivers and railroads, controlled Missouri. Some, like Minute Men leader Basil Duke, went even further and claimed that he who controlled Missouri would win the war. According to Duke, holding Missouri would have allowed the South to go on the offensive in the West.  Imagine what a different world we might be living in if the title of the acerbic John McElroy’s 1909 book was The Struggle for Illinois.

Practically every work on the Civil War in Missouri at least mentions this showdown, some at great length. You would think that there would be something very close to unanimity on the central ascertainable fact of just how many arms were in the Arsenal that each side was willing to run the most daring risks to control. This isn’t a matter of opinion or political persuasion –it is a number that is immune to whether you are the most radical Abolitionist or the most fiery States-Rights man.

Yet the recent publication of St. Louis University archivist Randy R. McGuire’s St. Louis Arsenal: Armory of the West reminds us that history has given us two answers to this question. The older answer, but decidedly the minority report, is roughly 30,000 small arms (muskets, rifles and carbines). This answer starts with a Chicago Tribune article of April 29th, 1861, reporting the successful mission of Captain James H. Stokes to take all the guns not immediately needed by Union Captain Nathaniel Lyon’s troops to Illinois in order to keep them safe from the secessionists of St. Louis. Stokes was said to “empty the arsenal” of all the extra arms. This article is then printed in Frank Moore’s Rebellion Record in 1862, and from there “the 30,000 answer” shows up in Galusha Anderson’s The Story of a Border City in the Civil War (1908), Hans Christian Adamson’s Rebellion in Missouri, 1861: Nathaniel Lyon and His Army of the West (1961), and finally in McGuire’s book just last year.

The strongest argument against the 30,000 answer is the collection of participants and experts that have rejected using it. A single newspaper article in 1861 is a thin reed indeed against the likes of Peckham, Snead, Duke, Phillips, Parrish, et al.

The second answer, by far the more prevalent and backed by the more impressive list of participants and historians, is 60,000 small arms. This answer starts life with James Peckham’s General Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri in 1861 (1866), and continues with Thomas L. Snead’s The Fight for Missouri (1886), John Fiske’s The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War (1900), John McElroy’s The Struggle for Missouri (1909), Robert J. Rombauer’s The Union Cause in St. Louis in 1861 (1909), Basil Duke’s The Reminiscences of General Basil Duke (1911), Edward Conrad Smith’s The Borderland in the Civil War (1927), James W. Covington’s “The Camp Jackson Affair” (Missouri Historical Review, April 1961), Christopher Phillips’ Damned Yankee: The Life of General Nathaniel Lyon (1990), William C. Winter’s The Civil War in St. Louis: A Guided Tour (1994), William Parrish’s Frank Blair: Lincoln’s Conservative (1998), and Louis S. Gerteis’ Civil War St. Louis (2001).

Here the problem is stark –despite the illustrious list of adherents, the simple fact is that the math just does not work. You can not start with 60,000, subtract the 20,000 that Stokes transferred to Illinois, and end up anywhere near the 10,000 that Lyon actually needed for his five Missouri Volunteer and five U.S. Reserves (Home Guard) regiments.

Does it really matter which number is correct? As events actually turned out –with the Union maintaining control of the Arsenal and its armaments—perhaps not. But if you like playing with hypothetical questions, and you wonder if just maybe Basil Duke could have been right that the South lost the war right there in St. Louis in the first months of 1861, it becomes more important. 30,000 small arms would have been enough to arm the Missouri State Guard quite nicely, but not so many as to make Governor Claiborne Jackson willing to share more than a few thousand with the Confederate government. With 60,000 arms, Jackson could have easily given half of them to the CSA government at a time when each was worth its weight in gold. According to Thomas L. Snead, the entire South (including the Missouri secessionists) had only 150,000 muskets in the Spring of 1861, so an additional 60,000 would have been an increase of over one-third. While the North was much better off, it suffered from a relative shortage as well. Losing 30,000 small arms would have been a serious blow to the Union, but losing 60,000 might have been calamitous.

Is there any way to reconcile the two accounts? Assuming that Stokes took something close to 20,000 muskets (instead of, say, 50,000) to Illinois on the night of April 26th, then it is hard to see how the 60,000 number could be correct. That would leave 40,000 guns at the Arsenal, only 10,000 of which were immediately needed by Lyon for the troops he was authorized by Washington to raise. The other 30,000, if they existed, would still be a powerful magnet for the secessionists of St. Louis. None of the historians mention this other mystery 30,000 guns after Stokes’ mission, so unless new evidence is presented their presence must be considered speculative at best.

They would, however, nicely explain what has puzzled so many observers since 1861 –why did Governor Jackson and General Frost go ahead with their planned Militia “camp of instruction” at Camp Jackson on May 3rd, 1861, even after Stokes had supposedly cleaned out all the extra guns from the Arsenal? The meeting of the Militia had been planned as a smoke-screen for an assault on the Arsenal, using siege guns acquired from the CSA on Jefferson Davis’ personal orders and shipped secretly to St. Louis under the direction of Basil Duke. Theoretically, that plan had become moot if Stokes had left nothing worth having (the 30,000 answer). But half of a larger loaf (the 60,000 answer) would still be much better than none, more than enough to get the Missouri State Guard off to a fine start, and possibly change the course of the Civil War.

This is merely speculation, however. More than 140 years after the events in question the debate continues, with neither side having yet offered convincing evidence that their numbers are the correct ones.

The 30,000 Answer

The Story of a Border City During the Civil Warby Galusha Anderson available on the Missouri Civil War Reader Volume I

St. Louis Arsenal: Armory of the West

by Randy R. McGuire, Ph.D. available at

Source: Rebellion Record Vol. 1, Frank Moore, editor (1862)

What It Says: “When the 10,000 were safely on board, Capt. Stokes went to Capt. Lyon and Major Callender, and urged them, by the most pressing appeals, to let him empty the arsenal. They told him to go ahead and take whatever he wanted. Accordingly, he took 10,000 more muskets, 500 new rifle carbines, 500 revolvers, 110,000 musket cartridges, to say nothing of the cannon and a large quantity of miscellaneous accoutrements, leaving only 7,000 muskets in the arsenal to arm the St. Louis volunteers.”

Citation Given: Chicago Tribune, April 29, 1861

Source: The Story of a Border City During the Civil War, Galusha Anderson (1908)

What It Says: “It contained nearly thirty thousand percussion-cap muskets, about one thousand rifles, some cannon unfit for use, a few hundred flint-lock muskets, and a large quantity of ammunition. Snead in ‘The Fight for Missouri,’ p. 110, says there were in the Arsenal sixty thousand muskets. For this I find no authority.”

Citation Given: Rebellion Record Vol. 1, pg 147-148

Source: Rebellion in Missouri: 1861, Hans Christian Adamson (1961)

What It Says: “The largest of these housed about 30,000 rifles, carbines and muskets. Also in storage were 150,000 ball cartridges; scores of fieldpieces; dozens of siege guns; heavy supplies of cannon ammunition; about 50 tons of gunpowder; and machinery for making shot, shells, bombs, canister, and other ammunition.”

Citation Given: None

Source: St Louis Arsenal: Armory of the West, Randy R. McGuire (2001)

What It Says: “On April 24, 1861 Captain James Stokes of Chicago arrived at the arsenal with a requisition from Governor Yates for 10,000 muskets to arm Illinois volunteers. Captain Lyon more than complied with the order, issuing 20,000 muskets, 500 carbines, 500 revolvers, 110,000 cartridges, and a number of cannons, leaving only enough muskets for the new recruits at the arsenal.”

Citation Given: None

The 60,000 Answer

Source: General Nathaniel Lyon and Missouri in 1861, James Peckham (1866)

What It Says: “60,000 stand of arms (mostly Enfield and Springfield), 1,500,000 ball cartridges, several field pieces and siege guns, together with a large amount of machinery in the several shops, and munitions of war in abundance. In the main magazine there were 90,000 pounds of powder.”

Citation Given: None

The Fight for Missouri by Thomas L. Snead, 1886

The Struggle for Missouri by John McElroy, 1909

Basil Duke in Missouri by Gen. Basil Wilson Duke, 1911,

available on the Missouri Civil War Reader Volume I

available at

Source: The Fight for Missouri, Thomas L. Snead (1886)

What It Says: “It contained about sixty thousand stand of arms and a large supply of other munitions of war, and the workshops were extensive and well equipped.”

Citation Given: None

Source: The Mississippi Valley in the Civil War, John Fiske (1900)

What It Says: “60,000 stand of arms with a great store of other munitions of war.”

Citation Given: Snead

Source: The Struggle for Missouri, John McElroy (1909)

What It Says: “In these were stored 60,000 stands of arms, mostly Enfield and Springfield rifles, 1,500,000 cartridges, 90,000 pounds of powder, a number of field pieces and siege guns, and a great quantity of munitions of various kinds.”

Citation Given: None

Source: The Union Cause in St. Louis in 1861, Robert J. Rombauer (1909)

What It Says: “60,000 stand of arms, great store of powder and war material.”*

Citation Given: None

Source: The Reminiscences of General Basil Duke, Basil W. Duke (1911)

What It Says: “That arsenal contained sixty thousand stand of small arms, thirty-five or forty pieces of artillery, and a vast store of ammunition and military equipments.”

Citation: None.

Source: The Borderland in the Civil War, Edward Conrad Smith (1927)

What It Says: “Sixty thousand muskets, a million and half ball cartridges, ninety thousands pounds of powder, several field pieces and siege guns, and machinery for the manufacture of arms.”

Citation Given: Peckham

Source: “The Camp Jackson Affair” (Missouri Historical Review, April 1961), James Covington

What It Says: “The 60,000 Springfield and Enfield rifles, 1,500,000 cartridges, 90,000 pounds of powder, and other materials stored in the Federal arsenal at St. Louis seemed to be the key for the control of Missouri and nearby states.”

Citation Given: “The Old St. Louis Arsenal”, unpublished manuscript, Mathew Reasoner (Camp Jackson box, MHS, 1934)

Source: Damned Yankee: The Life of General Nathaniel Lyon, Christopher Phillips (1990)

What It Says: “Its sixty thousand muskets, ninety thousand pounds of powder, one-and-a-half million ball cartridges, forty field pieces, siege guns, and machinery for the manufacture of arms represented the largest federal arsenal in the South.”

Citation Given: Smith, Duke

Source: The Civil War in St. Louis: A Guided Tour, William C. Winter (1994)

What It Says: “In 1861 it housed sixty thousand muskets, ninety thousands pounds of powder, one-and-a-half million cartridges, forty cannon, and equipment for the manufacture of arms.”

Citation Given: Phillips

Source: Frank Blair: Lincoln’s Conservative, William E. Parrish (1998)

What It Says: “All agreed that control of St. Louis was critical to their cause, especially since the U.S. arsenal there contained some sixty thousand stand of arms, two hundred or more barrels of powder, and other implements of war.”

Citation Given: Peckham, Snead, Duke

Source: Civil War St. Louis, Louis S. Gerteis (2001)

What It Says: “60,000 muskets, 90,000 pounds of gunpowder, more than 1 million cartridges, 40 cannon, and machinery for the manufacture of weapons.”

Citation Given: Snead, Winter, Parrish

[*] Citation provided courtesy of Randy R. McGuire, PhD., St. Louis University

Sabotage of the Maria – Hell and Maria

Sabotage of the Maria…

“Hell and Maria”


G. E. Rule

Way's Packet DirectoryWay’s Packet Directory

by Fredrick Way, Jr.

Courtenay Torpedo

the coal bomb

More on Thomas E. Courtenay and the Courtenay Torpedo (this is at a website by a descendant)

When your name gets memorialized by generations of rivermen (see “Ways”, entry #3744) with “Hell and” in front of it, something bad indeed has happened. Dec 11, 1864, at Carondelet, Mo, the steamer Maria, carrying parts of two Union cavalry regiments, entered river lore with this dubious distinction.

Lying at the landing, making moderate steam, her boilers blew at the forward (furnace) end, and at least 25 people, mostly Union soldiers, lost their lives. She had left St. Louis, after coaling, the night before. The front end of the furnace was destroyed, burning coal shot out starting a fire, the deck above crashed down onto the boilers, and men slid down onto the partially destroyed furnace. The engineer on duty swore that there was plenty of water and no excess of steam. Within half an hour she was a mass of flames, eventually burning to the waterline. At least some members of the crew were convinced that “some fiend has placed a shell, or other explosive missive, among the coal used for fuel, which was thrown into the furnace and produced the disaster”.

Sound familiar? The similarities to Sultana are striking, with none of the risk factors that have lead many to doubt that sabotage was the cause of Sultana’s demise. No overloading, no reports of careening, no excessively muddy lower Mississippi water, no recently repaired boiler. Indeed, Maria and her boilers were only on their third trip since being built. This would be enough use to prove their soundness, while not yet having sustained significant wear.

Like Sultana, Maria was a commercial steamer in government employ, carrying Union troops and supplies when she was destroyed. Also like Sultana, she had coaled at a port known to have an active and effective Confederate secret service/OAK presence.

Was it a Courtenay Torpedo that destroyed Maria? While it may never be known for sure, it certainly must be considered a prime possibility. The report that one of the victims was “confident he smelled burning powder” at the time of the explosion, combined with the circumstances, the damage to the boilers and furnace, and the crew’s reports, strongly suggests that Maria may indeed have been another successful operation of the “organized boat-burners”.

While the death count was reported the day after the disaster at twenty-five, by the descriptions of the injuries, it is likely that within a few days that count was significantly higher. Luckily for the Union troops on board, she was lying at the landing at Carondelet when the explosion occurred. The account below makes clear that the loss of life would have been much worse if she had been underway –as a saboteur slipping a Courtenay Torpedo in her bins at St. Louis would have expected– when the explosion occurred.

It is interesting to note that Maria does not appear on any of the lists prepared by J.H. Baker, Provost Marshal General of the Department of the Missouri. For whatever reason, Baker relied on the distinction, explicitly made, of “owned in St. Louis” in making his lists of boats he suspected were sabotaged. Maybe because that was his area of responsibility, or maybe because the owners were right there to complain bitterly to him about their losses. At any rate, Maria, a Cincinnati-owned boat, may have been left off his lists for this reason.

We will continue to work on uncovering the story of Maria. . .a boat and disaster that today, in spite of her adding to the store of river expletives, is practically unknown. Since this story has been practically lost, we’ve included the complete text of the article, including the casualty list, for those who may be searching for family history. The details of the explosion and theories as to its cause can mostly be found in the second paragraph and below the casualty list, and have been marked in bold that did not appear in the original.

Missouri Republican

Dec. 12, 1864



The Boat Blown Up and Burned.

Some Twenty-five Lives Lost.

About 7 o’clock Sunday morning, the steamboat Maria, loaded with Government troops, horses, mules, wagons, etc, was blown up while lying at the landing at Carondelet, and afterwards burned to the water’s edge. About 6 o’clock Saturday evening, the Maria, Lillie Martin, and the Ella Faber, having on board a considerable number of cavalry, principally belonging to the 3rd Iowa and the 4th Missouri cavalry, left the levee at St. Louis, and dropped down to Carondelet, about seven miles below, where they were lying when the disaster took place –the Maria between the other two. She had on board Col. Benteen, commanding brigade, with his staff and escort, Col. B. S. Jones, 3rd Iowa cavalry, a portion of his command, and detached troops, amounting in all to about one hundred men, besides the crew of the boat, en route for Cairo. She had no freight, except 200 sacks oats, 40 bales of hay, one ambulance, nine army wagons, about sixty four mules, and one hundred and twenty horses, with the necessary equipments.

The explosion, by whatever means caused, threw the forward end of the boilers apart, landing them on the deck, without disturbing the after ends, and dashed the front of the furnaces and a quantity of burning coal forward, setting fire to bales of hay, twelve of which only were on deck, the remainder, with the oats, being in the hold. At the moment the explosion took place, the floor of the cabin was burst up, and falling back, precipitated a number of the soldiers down upon the boilers and burning wreck. The office floor also gave way, carrying with it the first clerk, Mr. W. B. Dravo, of Pittsburgh, Pa., together with the safe and other contents of the office. Mr. Dravo fell upon one of the boilers, and is burned in the hands and feet, and scalded about his face, arms and body generally. He is seriously, though not dangerously injured, and is well cared for on board the steamer Bertram, laid up at Carondelet. Jerry Fowler, steward of the Maria, is on the Bertram, having severely injured his ankle by jumping from the boat after she had taken fire. A negro deck hand was struck on the head by some missile, besides being severely burned by the coal thrown on him as he stood at the furnace. He died about noon. With these exceptions, none of the boat’s crew was injured.

The names of the soldiers injured and missing belonging to the 3rd Iowa cavalry are:

Lieut. C.L. Hartman, co. F, burned in side and hip severely.

Sergt. James Pain, co. B, burned in hands and face severely.

John Balbach, co. H, in hands and chest severely.

Chas. M. Hume, co. A, one leg broken and the other badly crushed.

A. L. Curtis, co. H, leg bruised slightly.

Francis E. Robb, co. F, hands and hip burned severely.

W.W. Blair, co. H, breast and head burned slightly.

J. Famulener, co. H, foot burned severely.

O. B. Parker, co. H, legs and arms burned severely.

Bazel Gurwell, co. H, burned severely.

James Owens, co. H, wounded slightly.

David Hurlbert, co. H, wounded slightly.

James W. McCormick, co. F, shoulder dislocated.

Volney Henry, co. G, hand and leg burned slightly.

Sergeant Perry Newell, Bugler Jacob C. Boone, and privates Martin Sigler, J.W. Vandeventer, co. H, and Jacob Worley, co. E, are all missing, and supposed to be dead.

Patrick McCormick, co. F, 10th Missouri, is badly burned in the hands and face.

J.W. Frank, co. D, 4th Iowa, has both legs broken.

Patrick Highland, co. E, 3rd New Jersey, badly burned on the legs, one hand and face.

Coleman, a negro servant of Col. Benteen, was severely burned, and Dick, a negro belonging to the 4th Iowa, was badly burned and otherwise hurt, and is dead.

When the Maria left St. Louis, she was in advance of the Ella Faber, who had aboard men recently belonging to the 4th Missouri cavalry. Eight of the men of this regiment, left behind, got on board the Maria. Two only of those are known to have got off unhurt. What has become of the others is not known. It seems to be thought they may have come up to the city on the cars, immediately after the disaster occurred. Fourteen of the privates of this regiment have been reported “absent without leave,” among whom are those who went down to Carondelet on the Maria. Their names are Kirber, company B, Henipke and Hengel, company D; Ahrens, Gerhardt and Mitzger, company H; Arntman, Gieber, Heicleman and Thoma, company G; Hetzel, Schneider and Sonbauers, company K, and Schlepper, company M. Their officers seem to think these men safe and “straggling”.

Of the freight on board nothing was saved except two horses and two or three mules, which broke their halters and managed to get ashore. The soldiers lost all their arms and equipments, except a few who had their side arms on when the disaster occurred. Several of them did not even save a suit of clothes. The officers and men of the boat’s crew lost everything, except a portion of their clothing in three or four trunks saved. Everything belonging to the boat was lost. Col. Benteen lost a fine mare, valued at $1,000, and a horse worth $500. Had the disaster occurred with the boat under way, every soul on board must have perished, as the water was so intensely cold that no one could have remained in it any length of time without perishing. A number of mules that got into the water perished among the floating ice, on account of the cold chilling them before they could swim out.

Immediately after the accident occurred, the Lillie Martin, which had steam up, fell down and took off the men on board on the after part of the boat, and also three ladies. Col. Jones, his Surgeon and other officers and men of the 3rd Iowa, speak in high terms in praise of Capt. John Hare, of the Lillie Martin, for his promptitude in rendering assistance, and for the generous treatment rendered the wounded men conveyed on board his boat.

In half an hour after the explosion, the boat was a mass of flame, allowing time to save nothing but the load of human life aboard. As the flames got well under way, it was stated there was a quantity of ammunition in the hold. To avoid the danger that would result from its explosion, Mr. Andrew Acker, second mate, cut the cable with an axe, and let her loose. The high wind prevailing from the west, drove her out into the river, and she floated off, the hull lodging about two miles below, at the point of the island. It turned out there was no ammunition on board.

All the officers spoken to, excepting the first clerk, are very positive there was no explosion of the boilers, or of the flues. The second engineer says he had examined the water a few minutes before, and found it in plenty. The steam was only up to 115 pounds, while the boilers were capable of carrying 145, with safety. The second mate had been on the watch, and had just retired to the room of the Texas. When the explosion took place, some body was projected upward through the Texas, and he is confident he smelt burning powder. The mate of the Ella Faber, lying a few rods below, at first thought the noise produced was that of a cannon discharged to the west of where his boat lay, while the Maria was directly North. A person on the Lillie Martin, lying a few rods above, mistook the sound for the discharge of a cannon, signaling the three boats to cast off. No one says he observed steam, as would have been produced, had the boilers exploded. They, therefore, have come to the conclusion that some fiend has placed a shell, or other explosive missive, among the coal used for fuel, which was thrown into the furnace and produced the disaster.

The only evidence to rebut this conclusion, as yet discovered, is the opinion of the first clerk, (who thinks [emphasis in original] the boilers must have burst because his feet are scalded on the top of them, which might have been done without the explosion) and the statement of the second engineer, that a moment previous he heard an unusual hissing, a sound that is sometimes heard immediately preceding an explosion of steam. He, however, is very positive no explosion of steam took place. An examination of the boilers, which has not yet been had, may determine the cause of the disaster.

The Maria is a new boat, built at Cincinnati, her trip to St. Louis being her third since built. Her cost was $35,000. She is insured in Cincinnati, but for what amount we did not learn.

The officers of the Maria are: Captain, Alex. Montgomery; Wesley D. Dravo and Wm. Dravo, clerks; Washington Couch and Frank Canger, engineers; Thomas Bours and Andrew Acker, mates: Sol. Catterlin and David Blashfield, pilots.

Confederate Secret Service Attack on St Louis Levee

The Confederate Secret Service Attack on the St. Louis Levee, September, 1864

By John B. Castleman

Excerpted and introduced by G. E. Rule

from “Active Service”, John B. Castleman, Major CSA, General USA, 1917

John B CastlemanMajor John B. Castleman had an active career. First as captain of one of John H. Morgan’s cavalry companies, and later as Thomas H. Hines’ junior partner in the Northwest Conspiracy. In late September of 1864, Castleman was captured in Indiana and spent the rest of the war in a Union prison wondering if he was to be executed. He was finally released on the condition that he leave the country and never return.

A few years later his exile was rescinded and he returned to his native Kentucky where he had a very successful career. Castleman was a U.S. General in the Spanish-American War, and many observers credit his cool actions for preventing another Civil War in Kentucky in 1900 when a disputed election for governor, and assassination of one of the candidates, threatened anarchy there.

Did The Confederate Secret Service Attack on the St. Louis Levee, September, 1864 actually occur? The documentation is sketchy. While Castleman’s account does not claim a specific number of boats burned, it certainly leaves the impression that at least some were destroyed. That he was in Missouri about the time in question seems proven by the Charges and Specifications brought against him by the Federals and by his own account. James D. Horan, working from Hines’ and Castleman’s papers in his account of Thomas H. Hines career (“Confederate Agent”, 1954), claims 5-10 boats destroyed at St. Louis by Castleman and his comrades in September of 1864.

The levee at St. Louis was a favorite target of the Confederate secret service and their copperhead allies, OAK (Order of American Knights). Not counting Castleman’s action, there are at least four documented instances of multiple-boat burnings at St. Louis during the course of the war. These accounted for the destruction of 18 boats. While one of them, in 1862, may (or may not) have been accidental rather than intentional, the other three were almost certainly the work of the Confederate secret service and/or OAK.

St. Louis was the top of the supply chain in the theatre. Men and supplies were funneled from the northern states down the river network to St. Louis and then distributed from there. In 1862-1864, Grant’s and then Sherman’s armies were both principally supplied from St. Louis. Each so-called “civilian” boat was a military asset to the Union, and recognized by the authorities as such. One government witness at Robert Louden’s trial testified “I consider every boat on the river to be in the government service, directly or indirectly.” The Confederates were quick to take notice of the state of affairs and act accordingly.

But did Castleman’s attack result in the destruction of any boats? Did it really take place in September of 1864 at all? We have not been able to find any documentary evidence outside of Castleman’s and Hines’ accounts that any attack took place in the timeframe claimed. Even the Charges and Specifications against Castleman only claim that his mission was to destroy public property, including in Missouri, not that he and his comrades had actually done so. Neither Castleman nor the charges name a specific boat either. Other sources that make no mention of this attack are the newspapers of the time, other memoirs, various official records, and “Way’s Packet Directory 1848-1994”. This last source is considered “the bible” for steamboats on the western waters (someday we’d like to share our research with the current editors to make it even more complete), and is a truly impressive achievement of 6,000 listed boats and their fates. Mr. Frederick Way, Jr. (now deceased) spent roughly 80 years of his life collecting this information. While we have identified approximately 100 “suspicious” steamboat burnings on the western waters during the war from Way’s, there are none at the levee at St. Louis later than July of 1864.

It is highly unlikely that if 5-10 boats had been destroyed at once at St. Louis it could have gone without notice from all these separate sources. Unless further evidence appears, it must be considered either Castleman had his dates wrong or his “Greek Fire” was even more ineffective than he complained –so much so the St. Louis papers disdained to even notice the attack. If several boats really were destroyed, then the other candidate dates for Castleman’s attack would be September of 1863 and July of 1864. The traditional timeline would have Castleman in Canada on the latter date, but September of 1863 is a mystery as to Castleman’s whereabouts. He was with Morgan on his Ohio raid that summer, but was not amongst those captured after the Battle of Buffington’s Island. Castleman’s memoirs leave this period entirely to Hines account of events –Castleman himself does not appear in the narrative from approximately April of 1863 until December of 1863. Another hint that September of 1863 might be the true date is Castleman’s description of “embarrassing the United States Army at Vicksburg”. While this would certainly be true in September of 1863, one year later that army was at Atlanta.

Our interpretation of “Military Direction” led to the contemplation of embarrassing the United States Army at Vicksburg by partially destroying its means of supply. It was known that the army at Vicksburg was with commissary stores, quartermaster stores, ordnance, forage, supplied chiefly from St. Louis by steamboats.

From Marshall [Illinois], George B. Eastin was sent to inspect and report in particular detail. Where such inspections were made, immediate report was required. Within twenty-four hours verbal information was brought of the approximate number of boats lying at the St. Louis wharf, between what streets, the names and approximate size of the steamboats, character of cargoes and probably sailings.

The same date ten of us went back to St. Louis to attempt partial destruction of this government service and embarrass the supply to the Vicksburg army.

We stopped separately at the Olive Street Hotel, where we arrived early in the morning. Directly after breakfast, without seeming concert of action, each one went aboard of the boats, previously assigned, lying between the foot of the streets allotted and each quickly knew his boats by name and location, and where was to be found the most combustible or most easily ignited feature. Citizens were not denied permission to go at will about the boats.

By eleven-thirty this was done. We took our luncheons separately and proceeded to make the best use of the information obtained by the personal inspection, advices of which had been considered by our little “conference of war”, held in my room.

We had had the misfortune to have had made a quantity of small bottles of liquid designated “greek fire” [typically made of turpentine and phosphorous]. “Greek fire” was a combination of chemicals which, when exposed to the air, ignited and had, or was designed to have, the advantage of ignition after a minute had elapsed in which time the user of the liquid could move from the scene.

It is probable that had the little band of fearless Confederate soldiers used a few boxes of matches, there would have been none of the seventy-three steamboats left on that day or landed at the St. Louis wharf.

But “greek fire” was not reliable and in most instances the self-ignition did not occur. We dared not go back to complete the work and, as previously arranged, we quietly left–taking passage separately—on the train that afternoon.

One cannot, in the fifty years that have passed, forget the deliberate courage of that little body of men. It is a picture still vivid in memory that made lasting the quiet demeanor of those boys, each taking life in hand, and going with nonchalance in performance of service.

Those boys are now all dead, but one –God bless those fearless boys.

On the first of October I had an engagement at Sullivan, Indiana, to meet some men who were trusted by Hines and me. The chief of those men was Mr. Humphrey.

I drove across from Marshall, Illinois, and instructed my comrades to come via railroad to Sullivan. To do this they went to Terre Haute, and thence over the Evansville Road. I was arrested at Sullivan, and afterwards, after detention, was taken to Terre Haute on a train that arrived there in the early morning.

Charges and Specifications Preferred Against John Breckenridge Castleman,

Major of the Second Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry of the Rebel Army.

Charge 1st: Lurking and Acting as a Spy.

Specification 1st: In this, that the said John Breckinridge Castleman, Major of the Second Regiment, Kentucky Rebel Cavalry, did, on or about the 26th day of August, 1864, secretly, in disguise and under false pretenses, enter and come with the lines of the regularly authorized and organized military forces of the United States, and within the states of Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, and did secretly and covertly lurk and travel about as a spy in the dress of a citizen, and under and assumed name, and did seek information with the intention of communicating it to the enemy, and remained within said military lines until arrested as a spy at Sullivan, Indiana, on or about the 30th day of September, 1864. All this within the states of Michigan, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, during the months of August and September, 1864, and within the military lines and the theater of military operations of the Army of the United States, at a period of war and armed rebellion against the authority of the United States.

Specification 5th: In this, that the said John Breckinridge Castleman, Major of the Second Regiment, Kentucky Rebel Cavalry, was found lurking and acting as a spy in the state of Missouri, at or near the city of St. Louis on or about the 14th day of September, 1864, within the military lines and the theater of military operations of the Army of the United States, at a period of war and armed rebellion against the authority of the United States.

Charge 6th. Conspiring to Destroy Government Property in Violation of the Laws of War.

Specification: In this, that the said John Breckinridge Castleman, Major of the Second Regiment, Kentucky Rebel Cavalry, did, on or about the 26th of August, 1864, enter the states of Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana, in pursuance of an agreement with Jacob Thompson, Clement C. Clay, Jr. [Confederate commissioners in Canada], James A. Barrett [Missouri OAK leader], Captain Hines, and others unknown, to burn and destroy government arsenals, depots, and storehouses, and steamboats in government employ, and incite others thereto, with the purpose and intent of hindering and impeding the efforts of the lawfully constituted authorities of the United States in suppressing an armed rebellion against its authority.

[All emphasis added by editor]

Shelby’s Missouri Raid


By Bennett H. Young

Excerpted and introduced by G. E. Rule

from “Confederate Wizards of the Saddle”, 1914

Bennett H. Young was a dashing young cavalryman who served under John Hunt Morgan in Kentucky, and then under Thomas H. Hines in the Northwest Conspiracy. Young never did disclose all the details of his secret service in the latter part of the war, but would occasionally drop hints here and there.

Shelby’s Missouri Raid, September, 1863 is an example of why this Missourian is considered by many to be the equal of Nathan Bedford Forrest as a leader of cavalry. Given that Young rode with another cavalry legend in Morgan, he had as much right as anyone to make such judgments.

General JO ShelbyCertain parts of Missouri were settled, almost entirely, by Kentuckians. In the earlier days there had been a tremendous emigration from Kentucky to Indiana and Illinois, and when these States had received a large quota of inhabitants from Kentucky, the overflow from that State then turned to Missouri. Its counties and towns were designated by Kentucky names which were brought over by these new people from their home State. In and around 1850 this tide of emigration flowed with a deep and wide current. Among those who left their homes to find an abiding place in the new State, marvelous accounts of the fertility and splendor of which were constantly being carried back to Kentucky, was Joseph O. Shelby. He was born at Lexington in 1831, and when only nineteen years of age joined in the great march westward and found a home on the Missouri River at Berlin, one hundred and fifty miles west of St. Louis. These Missouri-Kentuckians carried with them one of the important manufacturies of the State –hemp, which for many years was chiefly a Kentucky product. In the rich, loamy lands of Missouri, this staple grew with great luxuriousness, and the introduction of hemp seed from China both improved the quality and increased the production per acre. Not only did the fertile land and the salubrious climate turn these people westward, but a love of change also aroused this spirit of emigration.

Young Shelby was fairly well educated. He was a born leader, and no braver heart ever beat in human bosom. Warrior blood coursed through his veins. His grandfather was a brother of Isaac Shelby. This guaranteed patriotism and valor. He had great dash, a spirit of unlimited enterprise, willing and ready to work, with a vigorous body and a brave soul, he became a Missourian and was an ideal immigrant. He had come from the very center of hemp manufacture in Kentucky. This product was made into bagging and bound with hemp ropes. The cotton country of the South was largely dependent upon Kentucky and Missouri for these two things so essential in marketing cotton. It was a most profitable and remunerative manufacture, and was largely carried on by the use of negro labor. Modern machinery had not then been invented for the use of weaving the bagging or of twisting the ropes. To produce these products so important in cotton growing, it was necessary to rely upon the crudest implements.

Further Reading: General Jo Shelby

General Jo Shelby: Undefeated Rebel
by Daniel O’Flaherty

Confederate Wizards of the Saddle: Being Remininscences and Observations of One Who Rode With Morganby Bennett H. Young
Bennett YoungBennett H. Young was one of Morgan’s men from Kentucky. Later in the war he was a secret service operative with Hines and Castleman. The stories he tells in this book are not of his own adventures but of the cavalrymen, like Morgan, with whom he rode. Included are Morgan, Forrest, J.E.B. Stuart, Mosby, Marmaduke’s Cape Girardeau, Missouri raid, and Shelby’s September 1863 Missouri raid.

Sixty miles east of Kansas City, Shelby selected a location at Waverly, Lafayette County, and there began his operations as a bagging and rope manufacturer. It was easy to ship the product down the Mississippi and from thence to scatter it throughout the cotton districts by the waterways over Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama. Shelby was successful from the very inception of his new enterprise. He was hardly well settled in his new home before the difficulties in Kansas began. Strongly believing in slavery, his views as well as his interests and his proximity to the Kansas line intensified his opinions. Loving adventure, brave in war, he returned to Kentucky to recruit there for the Kansas imbroglio. In these days it was not difficult to find in Shelby’s native State men who loved adventure, who were always ready for war, and were overjoyed at the chance to get into a fight. With Clark, Atchison and Greene, Shelby did his full share in the Kansas fighting. It gave him experience that was valuable to him a few years later in the great war. He won reputation with his Kentucky fighters, and when the truce was patched up he went back to the peaceful surroundings of his rope walk in Waverly. This place was noted for its uncompromising Southern sentiments. The antislavery settlers who went by it, ascending the Missouri River, always steered away from it. They knew there was neither comfort to be obtained nor security to be assured when they passed this point. They could not buy anything they wanted there, and they were likely to find trouble.

When the troubles of 1860 began to develop, no one was more enthusiastic for the South or more willing to fight for its rights than Joseph O. Shelby. There was no section, even in Confederate States, more loyal to the South than the immediate territory about Waverly. With sentiments fixed and embittered by the Kansas War, the young men of that portion of Missouri were not only brave and ambitious, but they were anxious to go to war. With his prejudices quickened and enlarged by his nearness to Kansas, which was even then a bitter State, in so far as slavery was concerned, Shelby organized and equipped a company of cavalry at Waverly. It was easy to fill up its ranks with enthusiastic, dashing young fellows who were only too happy in taking the chances of battle, and they were charmed to find a leader of Shelby’s experience, of his enthusiasm, and of his intrepidity.

Independence, Missouri, the county seat of Jackson County, was only twelve miles from Kansas City. A vast majority of its people were intensely southern, and when Independence was threatened with the presence of Federal dragoons, Shelby and his company lost no time in marching forty miles from Lafayette County to see that their friends and sympathizers at Independence had a square deal from the Union soldiers. It soon was spread abroad that if the dragoons did come there was trouble ahead and they stayed away. Shelby, now in for the war, rode to join Governor Jackson and General Price in defense of Missouri.

In these days it did not take long for fighting men in Missouri to find people who were. willing to fight them. The southern part of the State was much divided in political sentiment, and the bitterness of a civil war found full development in that territory. At the Battle of Carthage, July 5th, 1861, Shelby and his men did splendid service, and their excellent discipline, their superb courage, did a great deal, not only to create, but to intensify the spirit and steady the arms of the entire Missouri contingent. Beginning as a captain, rising to brigadier-general in three years, Shelby had an activity and experience that few enjoy. He fought in the Army of the Tennessee, and he fought in the Trans-Mississippi Department, and he was never more delighted than when fighting.

Wilson’s Creek, one of the sanguinary battles of the war, was fought on the tenth day of August, 1861, and there Shelby again demonstrated that the only thing necessary to make a reputation and fame as a great cavalryman was the opportunity.

General John H. Morgan, in Kentucky, and Shelby were close friends. They began their careers in much the same way, Morgan had his company of Kentucky riflemen: Shelby his company of Missouri cavalrymen. Morgan died in the struggle: Shelby lived thirty-six years after the close and died in 1897. These two soldiers had grown up in Lexington, and while Morgan was five years Shelby’s senior, they were intimates. Shelby’s career did not close until May, 1865. At the end, unwilling to accept the results of the war, he marched into Mexico with five hundred of his followers and undertook to found an American colony. This project soon failed. The wounds of the war began to heal, and Shelby and his colonists were glad to come back and live under the flag they had so bravely and tenaciously fought. No man in the Confederate army marched more miles, and, with the possible exception of General Joe Wheeler, fought more battles. His activities were ceaseless as the seasons, and his capacity for riding and fighting had no limit. The Trans-Mississippi Department had more difficulties to face than any other part of the Confederacy. They were styled “The Orphans.” They were the step-children in supplies of provisions and munitions of war, and, but for the trade in cotton which was arranged through Mexico, its conditions would have been difficult and well-nigh hopeless. Far removed from Richmond, the seat of the government, it was the scene of jealousies and disputes as to the rank of officers. Covering a territory greater than the remainder of the Confederate States, separated by the Mississippi River from the armies of the East, assailable by the ocean on the south, pierced by many navigable streams, with few manufactories, and with contentions caused by conflicting claims, it was the theatre of much mismanagement; but, through all, its soldiers were brave, loyal and patriotic, and lose nothing in comparison with the best the Confederacy produced. Considering the means at hand, the men in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Indian Territory did much to win the garlands with which fame crowned the brows of those who immortalized the gray.

In 1862 and the beginning of 1863, when the call became more urgent from the East, Shelby was among the Missourians and other soldiers from the Trans-Mississippi who crossed the Mississippi River. Leaving their own territory unprotected, these thousands of Arkansas, Missouri and Texas men cheerfully and bravely took their lives in their hands and went over to help their brethren in Mississippi and Tennessee who stood with hands uplifted, crying, “Come over and help us.” Shelby, with his company, gladly crossed the stream. They left their horses behind them and went to aid Beauregard and Bragg, Hardee, Van Dorn and Polk, who, with their armies, were so sorely pressed by the descending avalanche, which, coming down through Kentucky and Tennessee and along the Mississippi and up the Tennessee River, was surely and quietly destroying the life of the Confederacy. The pressure, in the absence of these men who had been transferred into Mississippi and Tennessee, became so tense in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas and Northern Louisiana, that additional measures were taken to enlist soldiers who would prevent the occupation of the western bank of the Mississippi, and among the men commissioned to raise regiments, Shelby was the first named. It was not much to do for a man to tell him that he might raise a regiment when he was a thousand miles away from anybody he could hope to enlist. He had a hundred trained, disciplined and gallant men, and with these, hope made the future attractive. Difficulties in those days did not discourage Shelby, and so, taking his one hundred men whose terms of enlistment had expired, they found their way by railway and on foot to the Mississippi River, at a point opposite Helena, Arkansas. At this time, that part of the Mississippi River was under control of the Federals, except Vicksburg and Port Hudson. It required an unusual man to meet the conditions that now faced Shelby. He was a wonderful man, and by January, 1863, he had entered the State of Missouri, then within the grip of Federal forces, and almost entirely under Federal control, with garrisons in every center over the State. With fifty thousand Federal soldiers controlling that Commonwealth, he passed through all these; he safely evaded the enemies in the southern part of the State, carrying his one hundred men for two hundred and seventy-five miles through territory thoroughly occupied by his enemies. In a very brief while, he was not only able to get together a regiment, but a brigade. He was unwilling to take any more chances on twelve months’ enlistments, and he swore his recruits in for the war. The men who had been with him gave him the best possible credentials among the young men along the Missouri River. Threatened Federal conscription and persecution by their foes had made them desperate, and they were only too glad to find a leader who had come from Corinth, Mississippi, with fame in battle, to organize and lead them. It was splendid material, and Shelby’s success was not only surprising to him but to all the commanders further south in Arkansas. Such an experience was an unusual one in the life of any man, and only one of great resources and iron will could have succeeded when going into the enemy’s country garrisoned on every hand and made liable to arrest and even death, and secure three regiments of a thousand men each and march them three hundred miles into friendly territory. Having no arms, except such as they could find at home, consisting of shotguns and revolvers, they furnished their own mounts and gladly went where Shelby asked them to go.

Only a man who had the essential qualities of a cavalry leader could have won in the face of such difficulties. Shelby improved every opportunity that came his way. There were constant jealousies which opposed his promotion. After he had organized and disciplined. his brigade, it was nearly twelve months before his commission as brigadier-general came. This he was to win by his raid into Missouri in September, 1863, but he got it later. Waverly, the most northerly point which Shelby was to reach on this raid, was, as the crow flies, two hundred and seventy-five miles from the Arkansas line. From Arkadelphia, where Shelby started, it was two hundred and fifty miles to the Arkansas line. He had been long teasing his superiors to let him make a raid. There were many inducements for him to take the chances of such an expedition. He felt sure in the first place he could carry his men in and safely bring them out. He felt extremely confident that he could enlist a large number of recruits, and he was not devoid of ambition, so he longed to demonstrate his power and his capacity as a leader. He had been a colonel for nearly two years. He had self-confidence, he had marvelous resources, and he always won the admiration of his associates. General Schofield was in command of the department of Missouri. The State covered an area of sixty thousand square miles. To defend this, he had fifty thousand soldiers, and Missouri herself had enlisted many of these, which, while in the employ of the State, were subject to Federal jurisdiction.

On the 10th of September, 1863, Little Rock had been evacuated and a few days later taken possession of by the Federals. This was a great blow to the men of the Confederacy. Fort Smith also had fallen, and these two towns on the Arkansas River gave control to the Federals of one-half of the State. Through the White and Arkansas Rivers it opened up means for transporting men and supplies four hundred miles south of St. Louis. To Arkansas the loss of the Arkansas River was what the loss of the Mississippi River was to the Confederacy. It was yet, however, a great task for the Federals to move supplies from the White River or the Mississippi River when the stages of the Arkansas River prevented the passage of boats along its waters. The loss of Little Rock and Fort Smith and the shutting off of the Confederate troops from easy access to Missouri had done much to depress the spirit of the men who, west of the Mississippi, were struggling for Southern independence. For months Shelby had entertained the idea that if he were but turned loose with one thousand men he could ride to the banks of the Missouri River, do much damage to the property of the Federals, and bring out a large number of recruits. In Missouri the conditions had rendered it unsafe for men who sympathized with the South to express their sentiments, and anxious again to turn his face towards his adopted home and meet his friends and family, and longing for the glory which he felt would come to the successful prosecution of such an expedition, he pleaded with Generals Holmes and Price and Governor Reynolds and the other officials in the Trans-Mississippi to give him this permission. The Confederate authorities looked at the thing, more calmly than the young military enthusiast. He assured them that recruits would be abundant and that he could fill up his ranks, dismay his enemies, and inflict severe loss in every way upon his foes. They felt that he was taking a tremendous risk to make such an expedition. Some suggested that he was hot-headed, that he lacked the experience as well as the poise for so grave an undertaking. He had been a colonel for twenty-two months. None could deny that he was courageous, that he had faith in himself, that he was possessed of unlimited enthusiasm. These were a splendid equipment for the work he essayed to do. Shelby’s persistence at last availed, and on September 10th, 1863, consent was given for him to make the attempt to carry out his plans. He was allowed eight hundred men, twelve ammunition wagons, and two pieces of artillery. Only six hundred of his men started with him from Arkadelphia, two hundred recruits he was to pick up later further north. Arkadelphia, in Clark County, Arkansas, was one hundred and fifteen miles south of Ozark, at which point Shelby had determined to cross the Arkansas River. From Fort Smith, as well as from Little Rock, scouting parties had gone sixty miles south of Ozark, so that in fifty miles from where Shelby started it was certain he would meet opposition, and that the Federals would attempt to thwart his plans. Once permission was given, there was nothing short of death could stop Shelby’s march. He had pleaded to go, and no dangers, no opposition, could deter him from his purpose. It was true that gloom and doubt had settled in the hearts and minds of many of the leaders who at that time were gathered in and about Arkadelphia, but this spirit, either of hesitation or fear, never touched the soul of Shelby. The people who permitted Shelby to go had forebodings of the outcome, and permission was only granted when it became apparent that nothing would satisfy Shelby but an opportunity to work out his plans. The limited number of soldiers allowed him showed that the Confederate leaders were not willing to risk very much on his undertaking. Marmaduke, always ready to take risks, assented, but he gravely doubted the result. The men who were to go with Shelby were as enthusiastic as he. It was “Home-going,” it was an opportunity to try out chances with the militia over in Missouri, whom Shelby and his men hated with greatest bitterness. The autumn sun was shining brightly when Shelby aligned his small force, placed himself at their head, and waved adieu to Governor Reynolds. The other troops, watching the departure of these gallant and dashing raiders, experienced deepest sorrow when they realized that they were to be left behind. There was no man among the thousands who witnessed the going of these brave boys who would not have willingly taken chances with them. There were no fears of what the future would bring forth. One man in every six of those who rode away would not come back, when at the end of thirty-six days Shelby would return.

Two hundred men taken each from four regiments lacked in some respects homogeneity, but all shouted and waved their hats and guns as the command to march passed down the line. From that moment they became brothers with a common purpose and common courage. The fact of going had by some subtle telepathy, which always marked cavalrymen, gone out among the entire brigade, and from that moment there was universal eagerness to ride with Shelby, and when the assignments were made and the columns formed there were two thousand disappointed men who felt most keenly the dealings of fate which deprived them of a place in the moving column.

If the selection had been left to Shelby he would most likely have taken his entire regiment. These had become with him so dependable, and between themselves and Shelby there had grown up not only affection but completest trust. They believed in him and he believed in them, and they felt that no emergency could arise and that he would make no call upon them that was not demanded by duty. As these six hundred brave men mounted into their saddles and the column started, cheer after cheer greeted each company as it passed by. Governor Reynolds and General Price forgot the formality of military etiquette, and with those who went and those who stayed they joined in vociferous cheers. Benedictions came from every heart as out into the unknown dangers and experiences of the expedition these men rode, souls all aglow with patriotism, joy and soldierly valor. When Shelby held the hand of Governor Reynolds, the expatriated governor prayed him to be cautious, begged him to save as far as possible the lives of the young heroes under him and to be watchful even unto death. As this kindly admonition ended the governor pulled the leader close to him and whispered into his ear, “Joe, if you get through safely, this will bring you a brigadier general’s commission.”

An ugly wound received eighty days before at the assault upon Helena, July 4th, still gave Shelby intense suffering. It was unhealed and suppurating. A minie ball had struck his arm and passed longitudinally through the part from the elbow down. It was still bandaged and supported with a sling. With his free hand he gathered up the reins of his bridle and ignoring pain and danger, he looked more the hero, as thus maimed and yet courageous he started on so long a ride and so perilous a campaign. With his great physical handicap, the admiration was all the more intense, for the spirit and the grit of the man who was undertaking one of the most dangerous and difficult expeditions of the war. Shelby’s body was subordinated to the beckonings of glory and the splendor of the opportunity which had now come in obedience to his pleadings to serve his State, his cause, his country. Other men, less brave or determined, would have hesitated. Some men, possibly equally chivalrous, would have taken a furlough rather than have sought new dangers and more difficult service.

None of these boys marching away cared to peer into the future. Along the roads and the paths of the ride and in the midst of battles they were to fight, one in six was to find a soldier’s grave, or, struck down by wounds or disease, might meet death under the most distressing circumstances at the hands of the bushwhackers and home guards who then filled the garrisons of Missouri towns. The joy of home-going eliminated all thought of misery of the future. These men were to ride two hundred and twenty-five miles to the Arkansas State line and two hundred and fifty miles from the Arkansas State line through Missouri to Waverly, in all four hundred and seventy-five miles. The return made nine hundred and fifty miles, even if they marched by an air line.

A little way out on his journey Shelby met Colonel David Hunter with a hundred and fifty men, recruits who were coming out from Missouri to join the Confederates in Arkansas. Hunter and Shelby were kindred spirits. The persecution of some of Hunter’s family had rendered him an intense fighter. He was considered one of the rising infantry officers, but cavalry work suited him better, and so he gave up his rank of colonel with a regiment of infantry in order to take the chances of recruiting a cavalry command. Hunter was bringing out with him several hundred women and children who had been driven from their Missouri homes. Turning these over to a portion of his command, he chose the more promising of his followers and fell into line with Shelby. At Caddo Gap, on the fourteenth day, it was learned that a company of Confederate deserters and Union jayhawkers were in the mountains close by. With a horror and deepest hatred born of the crimes of these men, outlaws from both armies, it was resolved that the first work of the raid should be their extermination. Major Elliott, commanding one of the battalions under Shelby, discovered the lair of these men later in the afternoon, and as soon as it was dark he attacked them with great vigor. Seventy-nine of them were killed and thirty-four captured. Their leader was as brave as any soldier in either army. Puritan blood coursed through his veins. Condemned to death for his crimes, he was left with Major Elliott while the remainder of the force marched forward. The captain of the firing party with a small squad was left to finish up reckonings of justice with this bloody robber and murderer. There had been no court martial. These men were to be killed by common consent. They had been taken in the act, and their crimes were known. The captain in charge of the execution thought it would not be unreasonable to allow any of those who were to be put to death a brief time for prayer. Lifting up his voice, so that all his captors and executioners could hear, the condemned captain prayed-“God bless the Union and all its loyal defenders. Bless the poor ignorant rebels; bless Mrs. McGinniss and her children; bless the Constitution which has been so wrongly misinterpreted, and eradicate slavery from the earth.” The increasing distance between the command induced the captain to cry out, “Hurry up, hurry up, old man, the command has been gone an hour and I will never catch up,” to which the captain, so soon to die, responded, “I am ready, and may Heaven have mercy upon your soul.” The order was given, and the death of twenty old men who had been murdered by this man in the immediate neighborhood shortly before, was avenged, in so far as human law could mete out punishment for horrible crimes. Both sides hated these outlaws, and Federal reports are full of similar condign punishment inflicted upon this class of marauders, who plundered and killed without the least regard for the laws of God or man.

When near Roseville, a short distance south of the Arkansas River, Shelby encountered the 1st Arkansas Federal Cavalry. In northern Arkansas, by the summer of 1863, Union generals had been able to induce enlistments among the residents of that part of the State, and naturally the feeling between these so-called renegades and the Missouri and Arkansas Confederates was extremely bitter, and whenever they faced each other in battle there was no great desire to hear the cries or calls of surrender. These Federal Arkansians and a battalion of the 3rd Illinois Regiment undertook to dispute Shelby’s right of way. They were speedily ridden over and the road cleared of this impediment. The river was forded near Ozark, and here again Shelby. found some old acquaintances of the 6th Kansas Cavalry. This regiment had seen much service in southwest Missouri and northern Arkansas. It had hunted Shelby and Shelby had hunted it, and neither avoided an opportunity to measure swords with the other. Shelby disposed of this new menace in short order. He had now gotten far up among the mountains, and he traveled a hundred and forty miles, with two fights to his credit, and. concluded to give his men one day’s rest.

On the 21st of September, Shelby received authority to make the expedition, and on the 22nd he promptly started on this tremendous march of fifteen hundred miles. Cutting the telegraph wires north of the Arkansas River, Shelby planned to enter the Boston Mountains, from which, northwardly, no intelligence of his coming could be disseminated. It did not take Shelby long to find Federal forces. Within four days from the time he left Arkadelphia, he had learned that his advance would be fiercely contested. His chief concern was to pass the Arkansas River. He found it fordable, but treacherous, and by the 29th, seven days after starting, reached Bentonville, Arkansas. By the 4th of October, Shelby had marched two hundred and fifty-five miles to Neosho, Missouri, where there were three hundred Federal cavalry. These were quickly surrounded and forced to surrender. Their equipment was tremendously valuable, but their horses were a real godsend.

So soon as Shelby passed Neosho, his enemies were fully aware not only of his presence but of his plans. They argued reasonably that he would seek to reach his own home at Waverly and that he would not diverge from a straight line more than twenty or thirty miles. The Federal forces then in Missouri were concentrated at points between Neosho and Waverly over a space twenty or thirty miles wide. By this time, the passions of the war had been fully aroused. Life became no longer a certain thing, the law having been suspended and the southern part of Missouri having been greatly divided; hates had been aroused, excesses committed, men killed, families driven from their homes. McNeil’s disgraceful order for the deportment of Southern sympathizers from a large portion of the State had been savagely enforced, and so, on reaching Bower’s Mills, a place where the militia had been particularly offensive, the town was sacked and then burned. Along the route Shelby traveled the next day, after leaving Bower’s Mills, every house belonging to a Southern family had been burned and, in many instances, the inhabitants put to death. On the 7th of October Shelby captured Warsaw in Benton County, far up towards the point he was attempting to reach. Here, too, Federal forces attempted to dispute his passage of the Osage River. By this time a spirit of highest enthusiasm had taken deepest hold upon the men. Nothing could chill their spirits. Soldiers dashed into and across the river. Neither nature nor man could stay their progress. At Warsaw vast quantities of all kinds of stores and supplies, including horses, had been concentrated and these all fell prey to the hungry raiders, and what they could not use were turned over to the remorseless touch of the flames.

By the 10th of October, Tipton was reached. On an air line, this left Shelby only fifty miles from Waverly, to which place, the abode of his dearest friends, he purposed in his heart to go. From Tipton for thirty miles in every direction rails were torn up, bridges destroyed, wires cut, and cattle guards and water tanks obliterated. When leaving Tipton, Shelby found opposed to him Colonel T. T. Crittenden, a Kentuckian, whom Shelby had known in earlier days, and who had a thousand well-armed and well-drilled mounted men. Shelby had two reasons for destroying Crittenden first, he hated him, because lie was a renegade Kentuckian, according to Shelby’s standard; second, because he stood across his pathway to Booneville. The artillery was brought into line with the cavalry, and Shelby’s whole command, with his artillery in the center, made a galloping charge at Crittenden’s regiment. The Federal regiment melted away, leaving the killed and wounded behind and a few prisoners as hostages.

Booneville, on the south side of the Missouri River, had been a place from which many expeditions had been sent out and from which many orders had been issued for the persecution of the Southern people. The town authorities, pleading for mercy, gladly surrendered. It looked as if Shelby had disregarded all prudence and brought himself into a trap from which it would be impossible for him to escape.

Hardly had Booneville been passed when General Brown, a Federal commander, with four thousand men, came up. Brown was a vigilant general, an impetuous fighter and a soldier of both renown and courage. He was not afraid of Shelby. In this respect he was better off than some of his associates. Game, ambitious and enterprising, he thought it would be a splendid stroke to bag Shelby in his territory and take him a prisoner to Jefferson City –Missouri’s capital. To accomplish these ends, he carefully laid his plans and bent his utmost energies. He well understood this meant real fighting. He lost no time in assailing Shelby’s pickets. He resolved to push his foes at every point, and fight whenever he could find a Confederate.

Shelby had broken an axle of his rifled gun. This he felt would be extremely useful to him later on. He ordered Colonel Hunter to hold the enemy in check until he made the necessary repairs on his cannon. By ten o’clock at night, stores had been removed and the gun repaired. The night before had been one of a great downpour of rain. This prevented much sleep. Shelby, not unmindful of the tremendous work that was immediately before him, determined to give his troopers a night’s rest, so that they might be better prepared for the strenuous experiences, that the morrow and the next three days had in store for them. General Brown was fiercely persistent and assailed Shelby’s rear furiously and incessantly. The Federal authorities were clamoring for Shelby’s destruction or his capture. At the crossing of the Lamine River, Shelby ambushed the Federals and inflicted serious loss and routed the assailants; but only momentarily, and then they came back more savagely. To reach Waverly, it was necessary to pass through Marshall, and, as Shelby approached that place, he found four thousand more Federal soldiers under General Ewing, drawn up ready for the gage of battle. With Brown in the rear and Ewing in the front, it looked gloomy for the Confederates. Shelby was now five hundred miles from any real hope of succor. General Sterling Price and Governor Reynolds at Arkadelphia, Arkansas, however much they might desire to help the dashing raider, could do naught for his rescue. A few scattered companies far down in Missouri had neither the will nor the chance to help him. He was four hundred miles inside the enemy’s lines, and these enemies were hunting him with extremest vigor. His capture meant fame for the captor, and his destruction meant temporary peace in war-torn Missouri. Every available man was being thrown across Shelby’s pathway, and every possible obstacle put along the road he was of necessity compelled to travel. His march from Marshall and Waverly, from a military standpoint, was both audacious and reckless, and appeared to be the act of a man trifling with fate. To his enemies, it seemed that Shelby’s impetuosity and the longing for home-going had destroyed all sense of safety, and they were congratulating themselves that he had gone into places from which escape was impossible. Measured by the ordinary standards of military prudence and foresight, Shelby had pursued a most unwise course, and the omens were bad for biro and his small brigade. Shelby conceived the idea of destroying Ewing before Brown could come up in his rear, and then take his chances with Brown, and so, with his twelve hundred cavalry he attacked four thousand infantry. In a short while Ewing had been roughly handled, and his rout was inevitable. Fate seemed propitious, and hope rose high in Shelby’s breast. The battle with Ewing was almost won, and with him out of the way, with shouts of victory on their lips, Shelby would, he believed, make short work of Brown. An evil destiny now intervened. Brown had overwhelmed Shanks’ two hundred and fifty men left to delay his crossing the Lamine River, and he had rushed on to help Ewing at the moment when Shelby’s genius and vigorous attack had nearly completed victory. Shelby needed no interpreter to tell him that; the firing in his rear demonstrated that he had miscalculated the rate of Brown’s approach and that six pieces of artillery and four thousand fresh troops were upon him.

In such an emergency there was only one course left open and that was to retreat. Shelby had left a valiant lieutenant to dispute the crossing of the Lamine River with Brown, and to hold him while he whipped Ewing. Well did this gallant soldier, Colonel Shanks, perform this task. He stood the test as only a brave man could, but the storm he faced was more than any two hundred and fifty men could withstand. There was nothing left for Shelby but to cut his way through the lines of Ewing. This was a dangerous undertaking. Even to so brave a man as Shelby, it was a hazardous task. He looked and saw a weak place in the Federal line. Only instantaneous action could save him. A Federal regiment stationed in a corn field with skirmishers well to the front, and safely ensconced behind corn shocks, seemed to be the best chance for a hard drive and successful onslaught. He, was too far from his base to give up his ammunition. He hated to abandon his meagre supply of cannon. If he stood still between the two advancing Federal armies of four thousand men each, annihilation or surrender was the only fate that could befall him and his men, however brave they might be. The flash of the eye and the resolve of a practiced warrior decided the course he would follow. Escape he would or die in the attempt. Widening the front of regiments and placing a rider on each horse of the ammunition wagons and artillery, he dashed furiously at the Federal forces. The Federals met the shock with courage and stout resistance, but the fierce riding Confederates were too much: they yielded sufficiently to allow Shelby to pass through with his wagons and his cannon. Hunter’s regiment, becoming entangled in the thick woods, did not keep well closed in, and the Federals rallied and cut off Hunter while Shelby rode triumphantly away. Hunter, true to the necessities of the occasion, turned squarely to the right and galloped through another part of the Federal line and made his escape. Shelby’s force was now divided, but it had left the enemy behind. It was impossible for any troops to out-march them. Shelby, hoping against hope, waited two hours for his separated forces to join him. Prudence told him longer waiting meant destruction, and he retreated to Waverly. For eight miles the Federals pressed his rear with relentless zeal. By three o’clock in the morning Shelby passed through his home town. The desire of his heart was gratified. A few moments were spent in greeting, and now he was ready to find his own again, and so, turning squarely south, he started on his long and ever-lengthening march to the place from whence he had come.

A little way from Waverly, at Hawkins’ Mills, Shelby concluded that his wagons and his artillery would be troublesome, and so he sunk them in the Missouri River and reduced everything to the lightest possible weight. It was of the highest importance that he should safely pass the Osage River. It was a long march from Waverly to this river. Sleep and rest were out of the question. The tired beasts were allowed to feed a little and the men took an hour or two for repose. Even an hour’s delay might bring disaster. Nature pleaded for repose and rest, but safety pointed her finger forward, and fate, willing to extricate the bold horseman, bade him stay not his hand nor speed. Leaving Waverly, on the morning of the 14th, to the evening of the 16th, he had marched more than one hundred miles. He had gone through from the Missouri to the Osage River in two days. This was a tremendous spurt. Nothing now, short of bad management, could prevent Shelby’s escape, and so he began to move somewhat more leisurely. Along by the road at Warrensville, there were two thousand Federals waiting to hold him up; but he passed a few miles west without alarming them, and proceeded on to Johnson County, to which point they pursued him. One of the Federal commanders reported that Shelby’s men were “running like wild hogs,” and another, that, bareheaded and demoralized, they were making their escape in detached parties through the woods, thickets and byways. Even though hard pressed, and with no time to spare, Shelby could not refrain from one effort to punish those who had so vigorously and so sorely pressed upon him. He ordered a dash at his foes, and they, quickly realizing that it was not wise to press Shelby, even if he was running, fled at his coming. On the 17th, 18th and 19th of October, men and horses were put to the utmost limit. The Federals were loth to permit Shelby’s escape, and they hung on to the Confederate rear with the grip of death. With such odds in their favor, they held it a great misfortune to let him get away, and they judged that all sorts of inquiries and criticisms would follow, if, with fifty thousand Federal soldiers in Missouri, even so resourceful and dashing a cavalryman as Shelby could march nearly through the entire State in the face of so many pursuers, and then safely ride away. Energies were redoubled, orders of concentration kept the wires warm; but warm wires, circulating orders and relentless pursuit could not stop the mad speed and the ceaseless tramp of Shelby and his men. They had better reason to urge them escape than those who were following had to run them down. On the 20th of October, he was safely on the Little Osage River in Arkansas, and there, to Shelby’s gratification and surprise, he found the remainder of his command under Colonels Hunter, Hooper and Shanks. Reunited, their spirits rose to the highest pitch of enthusiasm. They had been battered and hammered and pursued, but they were all safe. One hundred and fifty of the eight hundred men who started were either wounded or dead along the line of march; but the expedition was completed, and the apparently impossible was accomplished.

Fate dealt more generously with Hunter and Hooper and Shanks than with Shelby. At Florence and Humansville and Duroc, on the Osage, they had had their troubles with the First Arkansas cavalry. They had a fight with McNeil’s two thousand men at Humansville, but he was held in check. The Federal forces were fierce in their attacks, and they marched with the greatest strenuosity to block the way these men were taking to avoid capture. Artillery with cavalry in a forced march is never a thing to be desired. Guns and caissons make heavy pulling, and no horses can for many miles keep pace with horsemen who are pushed to their highest speed. The help of the cannon had now lost much of its value and as it might retard the speed in some slight degree, it was destroyed and abandoned and the last of Shelby’s battery went down before the aggressive pursuers. It was abandoned at Humansville, and the fleeing horsemen were glad to get rid of such a grievous burden.

The greatest sufferers on the tremendous march had been the horses. They were goaded, tired and driven to the greatest effort. Half starved, with reduced flesh, their speed was ever-decreasing. Mercy was so incessant and so insistent in her appeals that the beasts were given three days’ rest.. Not a single soldier was willing to scout except when absolutely necessary to keep in touch with the movements of the enemy. The Federals, under John Cloud, hearing that Shelby had escaped from Missouri, left Fayetteville and went out to hunt him, but Cloud was not very anxious to find Shelby. He followed slowly and at a safe distance and pursued Shelby to Clarksville on the Arkansas River where Shelby crossed the stream twelve miles east of Ozark, where he had passed thirty days before.

A great march was ended, and Shelby, in his reports, claimed that he had in the thirty days killed and wounded six hundred Federals; he had taken and paroled as many more; he had captured and destroyed ten forts, about eight hundred thousand dollars’ worth of property and he had captured six hundred rifles, forty stand of colors, three hundred wagons, six thousand horses and mules, and destroyed a million dollars’ worth of supplies. At one place in Arkansas he had dispersed eight hundred recruits and destroyed fifty thousand dollars’ worth of ordnance. At the time Shelby left Arkadelphia, Rosecrans was calling for help, and one day after Shelby started, the Battle of Chickamauga had been finished and Rosecrans, with his army driven back and discouraged, was at Chattanooga, crying for help. Ten thousand men were kept from reinforcing Rosecrans. All this was accomplished by eight hundred men. Shelby’s superiors had led him to believe that this was a forlorn hope. The young Confederate colonel had shown them they were mistaken in their estimate of him and that he was worthy of the wreath on his collar which would make him a brigadier-general.

Charcoals and Claybanks

Charcoals and Claybanks


Galusha Anderson

Excerpted and Introduced by G.E. Rule

from “The Story of a Border City During the Civil War”, Galusha Anderson, 1908

Galusha Anderson 1861

Bio of Galusha Anderson

Galusha Anderson was a Baptist minister in St. Louis from 1858-1866. His decidedly pro-Union “The Story of a Border City During the Civil War” has many faults. Anderson’s opinion of his own importance in events is exaggerated, and at times the reader would be forgiven for thinking that Blair, Lyon, Fremont, Schofield, Rosecrans, et al could have just stayed in bed –it was really Galusha who held the fate of the Union cause in Missouri in his strong hands. At one point he has an agitated southerner blame his preaching for the Union seizure of Camp Jackson. One suspects Anderson would not want to discourage his readers from reaching the same conclusion. Describing his first blast from a St. Louis pulpit against the heresy of secession, Galusha reports the event with a freighted solemnity and attention to minute detail most historians would reserve for the third day at Gettysburg or the final scene at Appomattox.

On the plus side, Anderson does have a fine eye for detail and his book is filled with many interesting anecdotes of life in St. Louis during the Civil War. Galusha’s Union sources (men like James O. Broadhead were his parishioners) seem to be excellent and allow the reader a valuable insight into the thinking of the pro-Union population of St. Louis. For those interested in the topic, Rev. Anderson’s book has many revealing stories of the stresses –and sometimes fractures– that can occur in “Christian fellowship” during a time of political upheaval.

The “Charcoals” and “Claybanks” were the local Missouri variant of the national struggle between Radical Republicans on the one hand and moderate Republicans and War Democrats on the other.  The former were for total abolition of slavery –the sooner the better—and harsh treatment of the Rebels.  The latter tended to be for “The Union as it Was” prior to 1861, with slavery continuing to exist in those states where it was already established and relatively lenient treatment of any Rebel who was willing to give up disunion.  Much like “Yankee Doodle” a century before, the names were chosen by their enemies, but accepted with pride.  The intramural fighting caused difficulties for every Union commander of Missouri.  Anderson gives considerably more space for the arguments of the Charcoals, and one suspects that he considered himself –at least ideologically– one of their number.

Missouri Civil War Reader, Volume I now available

The Fight for Missouri by Thomas L. Snead, 1886

The Struggle for Missouri by John McElroy, 1909

The Story of a Border City During the Civil War by Galusha Anderson, 1908

The Crisis by Winston Churchill, 1901

Basil Duke in Missouri by Gen. Basil Wilson Duke, 1911

The Brown-Reynolds Duel, 1911

Cost per CD ROM is $24.95 + $4.00 priority mail shipping

In our [Union men] hot fight for Missouri and the Union we unhappily split up into factions.  We not only contended against secession but against each other. And the warring factions were significantly called Charcoals and Claybanks. The Charcoals taken as a whole were uncompromising radicals, while the Claybanks were the conservatives. Many of the Claybanks had been born and educated in the North, while some of the blackest of the Charcoals had been reared in the midst of slavery. They were recent converts to Unionism and gloried in their new-found faith.

What gave birth to these party names no one can certainly tell. Apparently, like Topsy, they “just growed”. The clay of Missouri is of a decidedly neutral tint. Perhaps an extremist, indignant at a conservative for his colorless views, called him a claybank; and since the name was descriptive, fitting, and easily understood by Missourians, it stuck. The conservative, stung by the epithet, may have warmly retorted, “You are a charcoal.” And that name, equally descriptive and fitting, also stuck. At all events each faction named the other, and each adopted the name hostilely given and gloried in it. And for many months these names bandied by the opposing factions played an important part in the heated controversies of our State.

Both Charcoals and Claybanks were loyal to the federal government. Upon the main issue, the preservation of the Union, they agreed; but they were at swords’ points upong the statement of the problem in hand and the method of its solution. The Claybanks contended that the foremost question was the maintenance of the Union. They were ready to preserve it either with or without slavery. So their cry was; “Let us first save the Union, and afterwards adjust the matter of slavery.”

On the other hand, the avowed object of the Charcoals was to save the Union without slavery; and perhaps they were unduly impatient with those who would save the Union with slavery, or even with those who would save the Union with or without slavery. But they were always ready to give a reason for the faith that was in them. They said: “Slavery is unquestionably the cause of secession and of this bloody war. If we preserve the Union and with it the cause of its present disruption, then, at no distant day, the same cause will rend it again, and our soil will be drenched with the blood of our children. We believe the doctrine of our great President, that the nation cannot continue half slave and half free. We therefore give ourselves to the extermination of the fruitful cause of all our present distress. We fight and pray for the restoration of the Union, but of the Union purged of human bondage.”

*  *  *

When our military commanders came to us one after another, they were beset, not to say besieged, by the Charcoals and Claybanks in reference to the conduct of the war in Missouri. Each faction tried to forestall the other by getting the ear of the new general first, and telling him just what he ought to do in order to achieve success. Each was absolutely sure that only its way was right. Any other course than the one suggested would lead to utter disaster. Each party was so dead in earnest that when its views were discarded it cursed the idiot that had not heeded them. To do his duty intelligently and fearlessly amid this din of clashing opinions, a commander of the Department of the Missouri needed great clearness of though, coolness of disposition, and firmness of purpose. He did not lie on a bed of roses, but on bumblebees’ nest.

* * *

The extreme [Charcoal] policy of General Curtis soon brought him into collision with our conservative, provisional [Claybank] Governor. The sparks flew. The Charcoals and Claybanks put on fresh war-paint. The one upheld the general and his radical policy; the other the Governor and his more moderate policy. While both parties were for the Union, they denounced each other in the hottest terms. If we had believed what both factions declared, we should have been forced to conclude that there was scarcely a decent man among all the Unionists in the State. Each party again and again appealed to the President for his support, but of course he could not side with either. At last, worn out by this incessant strife, in May 1863, he removed General Curtis from his command and put General Schofield in his place.

* * *

Three days after he had relieved General Curtis, the President wrote him [Schofield] a letter, which is so quaint and so packed with good sense that we feel impelled to reproduce it. It tersely portrays the difficult task that confronted him.

Executive Mansion, Washington,

May 27, 1863

General J. M. Schofield:

My Dear Sir: — Having relieved General Curtis and assigned you to the command of the Department of Missouri, I think it may be of some advantage for me to state to you why I did it. I did not relieve General Curtis because of any full conviction that he had done wrong by commission or omission. I did it because of a conviction in my mind that the Union men of Missouri, constituting, when united, a vast majority of the whole people, have entered into a pestilent factional quarrel among themselves –General Curtis, perhaps not from choice, being the head of one faction, and Governor Gamble that of the other. After months of labor to reconcile the difficulty, it seemed to grow worse and worse, until I felt it my duty to break it up somehow; and as I could not remove Governor Gamble, I had to remove General Curtis. Now that you are in the position, I wish you to undo nothing merely because General Curtis or Governor Gamble did it, but to exercise your own judgment and do right for the public interest.

Let your military measures be strong enough to repel the invader and keep the peace, and not so strong as to unnecessarily harass and persecute the people. It is a difficult role, and so much greater will be the honor if you perform it well. If both factions, or neither, shall abuse you, you will probably be about right. Beware of being assailed by the one and praised by the other.

Yours truly,

A. Lincoln

J W Tucker and the Boatburners

Sabotage of the Sultana…

Joseph W. Tucker and the Boat-Burners

by G. E. Rule

See also Tucker’s War: Missouri and the Northwest Conspiracy by G. E. Rule – original research on J. W. Tucker, one of the most important, yet shadowy, figures in the secret war for Missouri, head of the Boat-Burners a secret service sabotage unit

A South Carolinian by birth, Joseph W. Tucker has been greatly underestimated by historians trying to understand the War in the West.  Methodist minister, pro-secession newspaper editor, lawyer, political ally of Claiborne Jackson and Sterling Price, spymaster—the very diversity of his roles has lead to a fragmentary telling of his story.

You will find Albert Castel and Thomas C. Reynolds talking about “Deacon Tucker” and his role as one of Sterling Price’s most important political lieutenants. Christopher Phillips writes of Tucker the St. Louis newspaper editor tried for treason by U.S. Attorney James O. Broadhead in the spring of 1861. According to Broadhead, Tucker skipped bail when the trial appeared to be going against him, forfeiting a $10,000 bond. Tidwell, Hall, and Gaddy speak of Tucker the boss of the boat-burners in “Come Retribution.” The Official Records of both armies note “Judge Tucker” in this role as well.  Pro-Union Baptist minister Galusha Anderson writes with astonishment of the pro-secession minister who tried to bait him into a duel. David E. Long credits Tucker as a relatively minor Confederate spy in “The Jewel of Liberty.”  It does not help matters that Tucker sometimes identified himself as “J. Wofford Tucker.”

All are the same J.W. Tucker, and all of these authors seem unaware of the totality of Tucker’s role and just how influential he was in Confederate Missouri circles—and by extension to the War in the West. Appreciation for Tucker’s influence wasn’t always so unknown, however. One post-war history of St. Louis goes so far as to credit Tucker with arranging the naming of Sterling Price to head the Missouri State Guard. This meeting was said to have taken place in Tucker’s St. Louis State Journal offices, with most of the important pro-secession leaders—including Governor Jackson—in attendance. While certainly apocryphal in its exact details (Jackson’s aide Thomas L. Snead and Lt. Gov. Thomas C. Reynolds give more reliable accounts of how Price came to be Major General of the Guard), this account shows just how influential Tucker was believed to be at a time when many of the war’s participants were still around to share their memories of events.

Tucker had his bellicose thumb in other important pies than just the effort to interdict Union shipping on the Mississippi. In due course we will be sharing our research in those areas as well.

Below are two letters relating to Judge Deacon J.(oseph) W.(offord) Tucker (take your pick on combination of names—everyone else has) and the boat-burners. The first letter, from the OR, provides the earliest documented evidence of official non-Missouri Confederate support for Tucker’s boat-burners. Johnston’s dating of this encounter suggests that it was probably June of 1863 when he agreed to provide funds to support Tucker and his boat-burners. However, keep in mind that Tucker’s close connections to the highest levels of Missouri Confederates strongly suggests that he and his group could have been drawing financial support from that quarter from well before this date. It isn’t documented—it wouldn’t need to be—but it is a reasonable supposition.

The excerpts from Tucker’s 1864 letter to Jefferson Davis do not paint the boat-burners in a particularly patriotic light. “Filthy lucre” seems to be much more the aim of at least some of them, even by the admission of their paymaster. It is however another indicator of how easily Tucker’s group was able to strike in Union-held Memphis.

While Robert Louden is well-documented to have been a drinker, which can be expensive, and he was not unfond of money, there is no reason to believe that his early career as a spy and saboteur was driven by anything other than his support for the Confederacy. Louden was an early Missouri secessionist, closely associated with the Minute Men and their leaders in the spring of 1861. As “Sultana –A Case for Sabotage” documents, in his later career a warm grudge against the Union probably played an increasingly important role.

* * * *

DALTON, January 31, 1864.

Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have had the honor to receive the letter of the Secretary of the Treasury to the President, dated January 9, with your indorsement, dated 11th.

During the siege of Vicksburg, Governor Pettus proposed to me the adoption of a plan suggested by Judge Tucker, to be executed under that gentleman’s direction, to cut off supplies from the besieging army. He required $20,000 to inaugurate it. I drew a check for that sum on the assistant treasurer in Mobile, in favor of Governor Pettus, who indorsed it to Judge Tucker. After considerable delay, caused by reference of the matter to the Treasury Department, the money was paid. While I remained in Mississippi, Judge Tucker was, I believe, using this money against the enemy’s navigation of the river. About the end of October, I wrote an explanation of the case to the Secretary of the Navy, to be delivered by Judge Tucker, who had large claims against that Department for enemy’s property destroyed on the water.

This sum was not a part of that transferred to me by Commander [Samuel] Barron, all of which was returned by me to the Navy Department.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,


* * * * * * * *

J. W. Tucker to Jefferson Davis.

(From Confederate Memorial Hall.)

(Spotswood Hotel 14th March, 1864.)

Confidential statements; for the President alone

* * *

4. A deputation, under the authority of the order, was sent to confer with me in Mobile in relation to the destruction of the enemy’s marine service, together with armories, arsenals, depots of stores, etc. etc., as a means of weakening and paralysing the military strength of the Federal Government. The Order is desirous of thus aideing our cause. In the Lodge in St. Louis there are seventy-two Engineers serving on the Western Waters, by whom we destroyed ten Federal Transports in ten days. But a doubt arose whether our work was prosecuted by the approval of the Confederate Government; and whether the men employed in this perillous service would be compensated by any provision of law, and especially when officers in the marine service were thrown out of employment by the destruction of the vessels on which they were employed.

5. Our future plans, if sanctioned and aided by the Government, embrace the destruction of that transport service upon which Grant must rely in the great coming struggle of the spring campaign; a week ago we burnt $500,000 worth of hay at the Memphis wharf, to embarrass Sherman; not long since Colt’s pistol and gun Factory became an earnest of what can be done. We design to strike a blow on the same day, at many points, that will paralyze the foe. To do this confidence in the countenance and approval of our government must be inspired. To do this an adjustment for work already done must be had. The final agents are often ignorant, and sometimes vicious men. No argument but money will avail with them. If a settlement now be practicable, and a sum of money, say $100,000, of a character of funds current within the Federal lines, greenbacks, or Foreign exchange, can be placed in the hands of Lieut. Gen. Polk, for disbursement, some in advance, and the rest as the work proceeds, I am most confident we shall be able, through this association, to render important and telling service to our government in the ensuing campaign.

Justus McKinstry and His Enemies

Justus McKinstry and His Enemies

by G. E. Rule

History has not been kind to Justus McKinstry. U.S. Army Quartermaster at St. Louis during the short but lively Fremont era (July-November 1861), McKinstry was arrested by military authorities in November of 1861 and dismissed from the army by President Lincoln in January of 1863. The conventional wisdom, as pronounced confidently by the historians, is that his administration of the U.S. Army Quartermaster’s office at St. Louis was rife with fraud and abuse. Unscrupulous businessmen and adventurers defrauded the public of large sums of money. Often unstated, but clearly implied, is that a goodly portion of that money must have stuck to the palms of the man who approved the expenditures. General William T. Sherman, who visited General Fremont at St. Louis during this time, pithily summarized the popular understanding of what had happened in army contracts in St. Louis during this period by observing in his memoirs that “‘Where the vultures are, there is a carcass close by;’ and I suspected that the profitable contracts of the quartermaster, McKinstry, had drawn to St. Louis some of the most enterprising men of California. I suspect they can account for the fact that, in a very short time, Fremont fell from his high estate in Missouri, by reason of frauds, or supposed frauds, in the administration of the affairs of his command.”

Justus McKinstry was born in New York in 1814. His family moved to Detroit, and in 1834 Justus was appointed to West Point from Michigan. The family was a distinguished one, with one brother a justice of the California Supreme Court. McKinstry graduated 40th in a class of 45 in 1838. He served with Winfield Scott in Florida during the Seminole War and in the Mexican War as well. The spring of 1861 found him as Quartermaster in St. Louis.

By the spring of 1861, the formerly booming economy of St. Louis was a basket-case. For a frontier city accustomed to almost uninterrupted growth over the last 40 years, this was a traumatic state of affairs. The secession of the South and closing of the Mississippi suddenly cut St. Louis from its traditional and most lucrative markets. One need only compare the listings of forced Sheriff’s Sales from 1860 editions of the local newspapers to those that began to appear in the early months of 1861 to see the effects of this reality. In 1860, days would often go by when no sales were listed; then a sale or two would appear. In 1861 these sales often covered the better part of a page of the Democrat and the Republican, and were a daily feature.

Into this depressed and increasingly desperate economy of local businessmen came General John C. Fremont and his Quartermaster, Major Justus McKinstry. Fremont had a large army to create and provision in a hurry, and the burden would fall on McKinstry to make the latter happen. As might be imagined, local businessmen grasped after these contracts like a drowning man for a life-jacket. The government had caused their disaster by driving the South to secession; shouldn’t the government bail them out?

Unfortunately for many of the local businessmen, the smaller ones in particular, McKinstry had several problems of his own. His staff —based on a pre-war U.S. Army that was smaller than the one that would now operate just in Missouri— was miniscule, the need was urgent, most supplies would have to be paid for with vouchers (a promise that the government would pay –eventually) rather than cash, and high-ranking individuals were firmly pushing their own favorites at him for special consideration in receiving contracts. Worse for the locals, some of the favorites weren’t even Missourians, let alone St. Louisans!

His commanding officer, Fremont, had his own favorites —mostly those who had been with him in his glory days in California in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. These favorites caused a deep resentment in the locals. John McElroy acidly depicted the Missouri Unionists’ view of Fremont and his favorites in “The Struggle for Missouri”:

Fremont, in the palatial Brandt Mansion, for which the Government was paying the very unusual rent of $6,000 per year, was maintaining a vice regal court as difficultly accessible as that of any crowned head of Europe. His uncounted and glittering staff, which seemed to have received the Pentecostal gift of tongues—in which English was not included—was headed by a mysterious “Adlatus”—a title before unknown in America or to the dictionaries, and since retired to oblivion. Naturally, the Adlatus’s command of English was limited. His knowledge of Missouri was even more so. Though commanding Missouri and dealing intensely with Missouri affairs, the men surrounding Fremont were everything but Missourians or those acquainted with Missouri affairs. It would have been surprising to find one of them who could bound the State and name its principal rivers.

This, too, in the midst of a multitude of able, educated, influential Missourians who were ardent Unionists and were burning with zeal to serve the cause. Not one of them appears in the Fremont entourage.

One can easily imagine the gnashing of teeth and oaths of come-uppance that were sworn by those caught on the outside looking in. The Union Safety Committee, practically omnipotent in St. Louis in the period immediately before the arrival of Fremont, were among those who suddenly found themselves unwelcome at the Brandt Mansion. This did not stop them from doing their best to influence McKinstry’s letting of Quartermaster contracts. Frank Blair (later Major-General under Sherman), head of the Committee, pushed forward more candidates than anyone else. Others of the Committee were even bolder and tried to secure contracts for themselves. Formerly, if temporarily, rulers of St. Louis, it must have been a bitter pill to beg for scraps and often not get them.

And then there was the literal pork barrel. A letter from President Lincoln sweetly suggesting that a fellow Illinoisan was a fine fellow, a loyal Unionist, and that McKinstry should buy as much pork from him as he could.

To complicate matters even further, after a promising start in May and June, the military situation for the Union in Missouri was deteriorating alarmingly as the summer went on. Cries for reinforcements came from everywhere; strategic Cairo in Illinois was threatened; Lyon was greatly outnumbered at Springfield (and eventually defeated and left dead on the battlefield); Lexington was in danger; perhaps even Jefferson City. No matter what the needs elsewhere, it was certainly unthinkable that St. Louis should be left unprotected.

But the Union had two things that the South could never match, and in the end it was those two things that won the war: manpower and the resources to equip it. General Price’s boys might use ancient flintlocks, make their own bullets, and have no two uniforms alike —but not the Unionists.

Lashed on by Fremont who was feeling the heat from Washington himself, McKinstry began to buy in huge quantities. Needing to equip an army of 40,000 for active field service (90,000 if garrisons are included) practically from the ground up, and do it in just a few months with a tiny staff using vouchers rather than cash, McKinstry decided to ignore the small businesses. He didn’t have the time or the people to deal with dozens of suppliers in small quantities, and the little guys didn’t have the resources to accept vouchers instead of cash in payment.

McKinstry made the decision to use a relatively small number of middlemen with contacts and capital to acquire the supplies that Fremont’s army required. One group would buy up with cash all the mules and horses the army needed from the small suppliers and McKinstry would pay them with vouchers. Another group would take charge of accumulating uniforms and camp equipage. Naturally it was understood that such a service would be provided at a profit.

The rumors and the howls of favoritism began to grow. The middlemen were getting rich at the expense of the little guys and the taxpaying public. McKinstry was said to be on the take and directing the government’s business only to those who were willing to pay him bribes. Fremont was in on it and even boondoggling a series of useless fortifications around St. Louis; contracted out to one of his old California cronies no less.

In addition to his Quartermaster duties, Fremont had made McKinstry Provost Marshal of St. Louis. Then, in defiance of the fact that only Congress could make Generals, Fremont had made McKinstry a general of infantry and given him a division of his Army of the West. The two men were closely connected in the minds of St. Louisans, and if it turned out that one was crooked the public would immediately think the same of the other. Fremont would later write his former lieutenant that, “You were charged with acts which you did not commit, for the purpose of holding me responsible for them.” They would remain in contact after their St. Louis adventure, with McKinstry acting as an emissary from Fremont to the McClellan campaign in 1864 (see David E. Long’s excellent account of the 1864 presidential campaign “The Jewel of Liberty” for the details).

The increasingly shrill accusations of the locals were heard in Washington and the government began to stir. Fremont had caused huge embarrassment to the President at the end of August when he declared the slaves of all Southern sympathizers in Missouri free men. The President, with great restraint, pointed out to the General that he didn’t have the legal right to do such a thing and suggested that he rescind his order. The General, rather less gently, suggested to the President that if he didn’t like the order he should rescind it himself. The President did so, and —as both the General and the President knew would happen all along—incurred the wrath of the Radical wing of the Republican Party.

Emissaries were sent to St. Louis. A quick inspection of Quartermaster’s stores was performed, and a load of rotten blankets was found. Worse, examination showed that equipping the army by voucher had resulted in a deficit of $4.5 million dollars in the Quartermaster’s accounts.

But all would be forgiven if Fremont would just whip Price. A letter was sent by Lincoln relieving Fremont of command. By the President’s explicit instruction, this order was not to be delivered if by the time the courier had reached Fremont at the front he should have met and beaten Sterling Price and his Missouri State Guard.

Unfortunately for Fremont –and McKinstry—rather than face the Army of the West on their terms and timetable, Price had withdrawn to Arkansas to fight another day when the situation would be more favorable.

Fremont was relieved of command. McKinstry was arrested and held in close confinement at the St. Louis arsenal without charges. A Congressional committee in Washington and a Claims commission in St. Louis (to pay his vouchers) met and pilloried his administration of the Quartermaster’s office. Those who had been denied contracts, or been forced to work through the middlemen, were the star witnesses. In spite of his pleas, McKinstry was not allowed to be present to defend himself. For months he was not even allowed supervised access to his papers and former staff (who were also under arrest in a different part of the city) to prepare a defense of his actions. The prosecution had a field day and made sure the public was well informed of their findings; the defense was not allowed to reply.

“The Court Martial of Major Justus McKinstry” took place in St. Louis in October of 1862. While not exactly congruent with the charges that had come before the Congressional committee and Claims commission, all of the major players and accusations are here. McKinstry was accused of 61 specifications and found guilty of 26 of them. Most of the charges (40 of 61), and a whopping large percentage of the guilty findings (19 of 26), were the result of McKinstry’s dealings with just three parties. Pay special attention to the names James B. Neill, Joseph S. Pease, and Child, Pratt, & Fox.

There are several oddities about the specifications and findings. Note first that in almost every instance where it occurs, the phrase “and others in collusion with them” is removed by the court martial board. Was this phrasing originally meant to suggest to the public that Fremont was an “unindicted co-conspirator”, and the board refused to go along?

Next, while there are several charges where McKinstry is convicted of “prostituting his office” or the like, there is a startling lack of specific allegations to this effect. The closest one can come is Specification 26, where McKinstry is accused of forcing S.P. Brady on someone as a partner in order to “appropriate a portion of said profits”. The board found McKinstry “Not Guilty” of this charge. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Army could find no credible first-hand witnesses or evidence that McKinstry’s actions had resulted in financial profit for him personally. If you’re going to convict someone of being a prostitute, doesn’t simple fairness demand you prove that they got paid?

Lastly, there is the recommended sentence. Instead of years of hard labor, the board recommends that Major Justus McKinstry be dismissed from the army. Having gone to all these lengths, and spent almost a full year, to prove that McKinstry had defrauded the public of what must have amounted (if the charges were true) to hundreds of thousands of dollars, his only punishment is dismissal from the army? Even more curious, some members of the board suggest that the President should mitigate even this relatively light sentence. What message were they trying to send?

“The Vindication of Brigadier General Justus McKinstry” was published in St. Louis during the summer of 1862. Published prior to the October court martial, it is presented here in the opposite order because its explanations are easier to follow once one is familiar with the accusations against McKinstry. Note that “Vindication” claims him a General, while the War Office commissioned court martial record refers to him as “Major”. One wonders if the higher levels of the Army might not have held it against McKinstry for accepting Fremont’s questionable promotion to general. Certainly, as a career man, McKinstry would have been expected to understand the issues involved.

One of the most striking features of “Vindication” is the detailing of the manner in which McKinstry was held practically incommunicado for several months after his arrest, with no charges preferred against him. The irony of a former St. Louis Provost Marshall being treated in such a manner was probably not lost on the southern sympathizers of the city.

Given that “Vindication” appeared before the court martial, it is possible—even likely—that McKinstry would have included more or different material if he’d known the exact charges against him before it was published. At the same time, McKinstry did such a believable job of demolishing some charges that his “Vindication” resulted in some that had been current before the Congressional committee and the Claims commission not being brought in the court martial at all. One of these was a “smoking gun” type charge that he had received a $5,000 bribe from one supplier. No doubt much to the dismay of his enemies, McKinstry successfully defused this charge with several sworn statements from participants and witnesses to the harmless nature of the transaction.

“The Vindication of Brigadier General Justus McKinstry” does not read like a man who feels he has anything to apologize for. Perhaps this was just skillful bravado, or perhaps he really did feel that way. In either case, it has been more than 130 years since Justus McKinstry has had a chance to strike back at his enemies and defend his name in public in his own words — Civil War St. Louis is pleased to offer this rare manuscript to the world.

The two following manuscripts were made available through the good offices of Justus McKinstry’s grand-niece, Ann McKinstry Micou —who obtained them from Harvard Library and the Missouri Historical Society, and then digitized them. There are more materials related to this case, including transcripts of the court martial from the local newspapers, that may someday be part of this page.
In particular, we would very much like to know if anyone has any materials relating to the reputation or further careers of the principal middlemen whose relationships were the basis of the majority of the charges against McKinstry. These are James B. Neill, Joseph S. Pease, and the firm of Child, Pratt, and Fox (P.A. Child, Elton G. Pratt, and E.W. Fox). Please contact G. E. Rule with any information you have on these five men and their careers before, during or after their involvement with McKinstry.
There are many assertions that McKinstry makes in “Vindication” that should be amenable to testing. Statements on prices of various commodities in other markets and subsequent dealings by his successor with some of the same middlemen should be provable (or not) even at this late date. The documentation for other relevant factors like the comparative cost of equipping similar numbers of troops in other theaters should still exist somewhere. Some young history student hunting for a masters or doctoral thesis could do a lot worse than a thorough reexamination of the case against Justus McKinstry.
Justus McKinstry returned to Missouri after the war and lived there the rest of his life, dying in St. Louis on December 11th, 1897. He is buried in the family plot at Ypsilanti, Michigan.



War Department

FEBRUARY 13, 1863


No. 43}



Washington, February 13, 1863

I. . Before a General Court Martial, which convened in the city of Saint Louis, Mo., September 24, 1862, pursuant to Special Orders, No. 239, dated Headquarters of the Army, September 13, 1862, and Special Orders, No. 260, dated September 25, 1862, and of which Brigadier General P. [Philip] ST. GEORGE COOKE, U.S. Army, is President, was arraigned and tried–

Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, U.S.A.

CHARGE.–“Neglect and violation of duty to the prejudice of good order and military discipline.”

Specification 1st–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry. Quartermaster, at St. Louis, Missouri, in the Department of the West, when on Peter Wiles, of St. Louis, had furnished to his department a number of horses fit and proper for the service, at about the price of one hundred dollars each, and was able and willing to furnish other like horses at the same cost, and offered to do so, refused to purchase said horses unless t a reduced price, and broke off his dealing with said Wiles, while he, said McKinstry, was purchasing from other persons–viz: Charles M. Elleard, B.F. Fox, Almon Thomson, F.J. Flannagan, James B. Neill, and others–horses no better. At the prices of one hundred and nineteen dollars and one hundred and fifty dollars each, to the gross waster and squandering of the public funds, and with the intent to throw the business into the hands of the dealers to whom he was paying the higher prices. This at Saint Louis, Missouri, on or about the tenth day of August, 1861.” [Not guilty]

Specification 2d–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, Saint Louis, Missouri, knowing that by allowing to one Peter Wiles, of the city of Saint Louis, a commission of five percent on the purchase prices of the horses, he could procure a large number of horses fit and proper for the service, and at a cost not exceeding one hundred dollars each, did not and would not purchase said horses, while, about the same tine, he purchased other horses no better and at higher prices, to net one hundred and nineteen dollars each and one hundred and fifty dollars each, from other persons–to wit: Charles M. Elleard, James B. Neill, F.J. Flannagan, Ansyl Philips, and others–with intent to favor the purchases at higher prices and, and to the gross waster and squandering of the public funds. This at Saint Louis, about the tenth day of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-one.” [Not guilty]

Specification 3d–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry Quartermaster as aforesaid, at Saint Louis, Missouri, when one Frederick M. Colburn, of the city of St. Louis, had furnished to his department a number of cavalry horses fit and proper for the service, at the price of one hundred and eight dollars each. And was able and willing to furnish other like horses at the same cost. And offered to do so, refused and failed to inspect or receive said Colburn’s horses, and by neglecting to attend to said Colburn when he offered his horses, by refusing to grant him inspection, and by annoying said Colburn with delays and expenses, in keeping and feeding his horses without inspection, broke off his dealings with said Colburn, while he, Major McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, was purchasing other horses not better than Colburn’s from other persons–viz: James B. Neill, Almon Thomson, Charles M. Elleard, and F.J. Flannagan–at the price of one hundred and nineteen dollars each, to the waste and squandering of the public funds. And with intent to throw the business into the hands of the dealers to whom he was paying the higher prices. This about August twenty-second, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, at St. Louis, Missouri.” [Guilty]

Specification 4th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, at Saint Louis, Missouri, having contracted with one Oliver Lippencott to purchase from him, Lippencott, twelve mules at the price of ninety dollars each, and said Lippincott having brought said mules to the Quartermaster’s office for delivery, failed and refused to have said mules inspected or considered under said contract, but send one Ansyl Philips, from whom he, said McKinstry, was purchasing mules at one hundred and nineteen dollars each, to purchase the said mules from Lippincott; and when said Philips had purchased of said Lippencott seven of said mules at the price of seventy-five dollars each, he, said McKinstry, purchased the same seven mules from said Philips at a higher price, to wit: one hundred and nineteen dollars each, to the gross waste and squandering of the public funds, and with intent to favor the said Philips as a dealer. This about the eighth day of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, at Saint Louis, Missouri.” [Not guilty]

Specification 5th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, at Saint Louis, when one Oliver Lippencott offered to sell him five mules at ninety dollars each, failed and refused to purchase said mules from Lippencott; and when said Lippencott had sold said mules to a Government contractor, whose name is unknown, he, said Major McKinstry, purchased the same five mules from said contractor at the price of one hundred and nineteen dollars each, with intent to favor such contractor, and to the gross waste and squandering of the public funds. This about the twentieth day of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-one.” [Not guilty]

Specification 6th–“In this; Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, when one John H. Morse, of Jefferson County, Missouri, went to him at his office in Saint Louis, Missouri, and offered to sell him a large number of mules fit and proper for the service, and inquired if he was going to purchase any more mules, falsely stated to said Morse that the Government was not in need of any more, which statement, he said McKinstry, knew to be false, thereby intending to compel said Morse to sell his mules to others, from whom he, McKinstry, was then purchasing these animals at exorbitant rates above the market value. This at Saint Louis, about the first day of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-one.” [Not guilty]

Specification 7th–“In this, that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, having need, on or about the tenth day of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, to purchase for his department a large number of cavalry horses, did not and would not purchase them in the market nor for the market value; but authorized one Charles M. Elleard, of Saint Louis, without any advertisement for proposals, to furnish the same to him at one hundred and nineteen dollars each; and between that day and the twentieth day of September, in the same year, said Elleard had sold to said McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, about one thousand eight hundred cavalry horses, the market value of which was about ninety dollars only, each, on the average; he, said Major McKinstry, thereby then and there prostituting his office of Quartermaster, with intent to secure to said Elleard, and others in collusion with him, large gains, to the squandering and waster of the public funds and the disgrace of the service.” [Guilty]

Specification 8th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, on or about the tenth day of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, having need to purchase a number of artillery horses for his department at Saint Louis, Missouri, did not and would not purchase them in the market nor for the market value; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized one Charles M. Elleard, of Saint Louis, to furnish the same to him at one hundred and fifty dollars each; and between that day and the twentieth day of September in the same year, said Elleard sold to said McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, about three hundred artillery horses for one hundred and fifty dollars each, the market value of which, on the average, was about one hundred and ten dollars only, each; he, said Major Justus McKinstry, thereby then and there prostituting his office as Quartermaster, with intent to secure to said Elleard, and others in collusion with him large gains, to the waste and squandering of the public funds and to the disgrace of the service.” [Guilty]

Specification 9th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, on or about the first day of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, at. St. Louis, Mo., having need to purchase for his Department a large number of cavalry horses and mules, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized one James B. Neill to furnish the same at one hundred and nineteen dollars each; and on that day and the first day of October in the same year, said Neill had sold to said Major McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, about one thousand cavalry horses and mules for one hundred and nineteen dollars each, the market value of which was about eighty dollars each; he, the said Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, thereby then and there prostituted his office, with intent to secure to said Neill, and others in collusion with him, large gains, to the waste and misapplication of the public funds and the disgrace of the service.” [Guilty]

Specification 10th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, on or about the first day of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, having need to purchase a large number of artillery horses for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value; but, without any advertisement for proposals, at St. Louis, Missouri, authorized one James B. Neill, of St. Louis, to furnish the same to him at one hundred and fifty dollars, each; and between that days and the sixth day of October, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, said Neill sold to said Major McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, about three hundred artillery horses, at the price of one hundred and fifty dollars each, the market value of which was about one hundred and ten dollars each on the average; he, said Major McKinstry, thereby and then prostituting his office, with intent to secure to said Neill, and others in collusion with him, large gains, to the misapplication and waste of the public funds and the disgrace of the service.” [Guilty]

Specification 11th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, at St. Louis, on or about the twelfth day of September, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, having need to purchase a large number of mules for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market price; but, at St. Louis, Mo., without any advertisement for proposals, authorized one Leonidas Haskell, of St. Louis, late of California, to furnish the same to him at the price of one hundred and nineteen dollars each; and between that day and the twenty-seventh day of September, in the same year, said Haskell sold to Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, about four thousand mules, at one hundred and nineteen dollars each, the market value of which was about one hundred dollars each on the average; he, said Major McKinstry, thereby then and there prostituting his office as Quartermaster, with intent to secure to said Haskell large gains, to the waste and misapplication of public funds and to the disgrace of the service.” [Not guilty]

Specification 12th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, at St. Louis, Mo., about the 20th day of August, 1861, having need to purchase artillery and cavalry horses for the use of his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market for the market value; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized one F.J. Flannagan, of St. Louis county, to furnish the same to him; that is to say, artillery horses for one hundred and nineteen dollars each, and cavalry horses for one hundred and eighteen dollars each; and in the residue of said month of August, and in the month of September, 1861, said Flannagan delivered under said authority about two hundred artillery horses, at the price of one hundred and nineteen dollars each. The market value of which was only about ninety dollars each; he, said Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, thereby intending to secure to said Flannagan large gains, to the waste and squandering of the public funds.” [Not guilty]

Specification 13th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, on or about the 20th day of August, 1861, having need to purchase a large number of artillery horses and cavalry horses for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market not for the market value; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized one Benjamin F. Fox, of Springfield, Illinois, to furnish the same to him at one hundred and nineteen dollars each for cavalry horses, and one hundred and fifty dollars each for artillery horses; and between that day and the first day of October, in that same year, said Fox sold to said Major Justus McKinstry about five hundred cavalry horses for one hundred and nineteen dollars each. The market value of which was about ninety dollars each, and about two hundred artillery horses, the market value of which was about one hundred dollars each; he, the said Major Justus McKinstry, thereby then and there prostituting his office of Quartermaster, with intent to secure large gains to said Fox, to the waste and squandering of the public funds and the disgrace of the service.” [Guilty]

Specification 14th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, having, about the 20th of August, 1861, at St. Louis, Mo., contracted with one Benjamin F. Fox, of Illinois, to furnish him, as Quartermaster, a number of artillery horses for the price of one hundred and twenty-fie dollars each, afterwards, when said Fox was performing his contract and was about to deliver a portion of the horses at that price, afterwards, about the 12th of September, 1861, out of mere favor to said Fox, and without any other consideration, agreed with said Fox to pay him one hundred and fifty dollars each for the same horses which said Fox had contracted to furnish at one hundred and twenty-five dollars each, and did receive from said Fox said horses accordingly, at the price of one hundred and fifty dollars.” [Not guilty]

Specification 15th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, having authorized, as aforesaid, James B. Neill to furnish to his department cavalry horses for one hundred and nineteen dollars each, and artillery horses for one hundred and fifty dollars each, did suffer and permit said Neill to inspect, receive, and brand his own horses so sold to him, said McKinstry. This at St. Louis, on the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth days of September, 1861, to the gross neglect and disregard of the interests of the service.” [Not guilty]

Specification 16th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, having authorized James B. Neill as aforesaid to furnish him artillery horses and cavalry horses as aforesaid, did suffer and permit Neill to receive and brand horses as cavalry horses, furnished by himself as cavalry horses, at one hundred and nineteen dollars each, and afterwards to brand the same horses, and did receive the same from said Neill as artillery horses, at the price of one hundred and fifty dollars each. This at St. Louis, about the 10th of September, 1861.” [Not guilty]

Specification 17th–“That on or about the ___ day of ___, 1861, when one Almon Thomson offered to sell to him, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, a number of mules, about seventy, fit and proper for the service, and when said mules were greatly needed in the service, he, said McKinstry, did not and would not purchase said mules, nor cause the same to be inspected for a long time, nor until said Thomson paid one James B. Neill fifty dollars to have his mules purchased, and then said McKinstry had said mules inspected and purchased the same; he, said McKinstry, thereby then and there prostituted his office, with intent to favor the same James B. Neill. [Not guilty]

Specification 18th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, when one James Everett, of Saint Louis, Missouri, about the 28th August, 1961, offered to sell him a large number of horses fit and proper for the service, some of them as cavalry and some of them as artillery horses, and would have sold them to him at about one hundred dollars each all around, refused and neglected to purchase said horses, or inspect the same, and did not and would not inspect the same, till said Everett was compelled to sell his horses to Charles M. Elleard and F.J. Flannagan and others, to whom said Major McKinstry was paying higher prices for said horses; and when said Everett had so disposed of the horses, he, Major Justus McKinstry, purchased the same horses from Elleard and Flannagan and others, at one hundred and nineteen dollars each for cavalry, and one hundred and fifty dollars each for artillery horses, to the waste and squandering of the public funds; he, said McKinstry, thereby then and there intending to compel said Everett to turn his horses over to said Elleard and Flannagan, and others, contractors, at higher prices, and to enable them to make large gains above the market value of said animals. This at Saint Louis, on or about September 6, 1861.” [Guilty]

Specification 19th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, at Saint Louis, when one John Allen, of St. Louis, was able and willing to sell him a large number of mules and cavalry and artillery horses fit and proper for the service, and offered to do so, the cavalry and artillery horses at about one hundred and five dollars each, and the mules at about one hundred and nine dollars each, failed, neglected, and refused to inspect or purchase said animals, until said Allen had been compelled to sell them to contractors, to whom he, McKinstry, was paying higher prices, to wit: one hundred and nineteen dollars each for mules and cavalry horses, and one hundred and fifty dollars each for artillery horses; that is to say, to B.F. Fox, of Illinois, Charles M. Elleard, Leonidas Haskell, James B. Neill, of Saint Louis, and F.J. Flannagan, and others; and when said Allen had so sold his animals, he, said McKinstry, did purchase the same animals from said contractors for the prices last mentioned, thereby prostituting his office as Quartermaster, with intent to secure large gains above the market value to said Elleard, Flannagan, Haskell, Fox, and others, to the waste and squandering of the public funds. This about the twentieth of September, 1861, at Saint Louis, Missouri.” [Not guilty]

Specification 20th–“In that; he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, when one Josephus Irvine, of Pike county, Missouri, was able and willing, and offered to sell him a large number of horses and mules fit and proper for the service, at one hundred and ten dollars each, and to enter into bonds to comply therewith, he, said Major McKinstry, falsely stated to said Irvine that the Government did not want any more stock, and did not and would not purchase from said Irvine, notwithstanding he, said Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, was, at the same time, purchasing horses and mules not better than said Irvine’s from other persons–that is to say, F.J. Flannagan, James B. Neill, B.R. Fox, Charles M. Elleard, and others–for one hundred and nineteen dollars, thereby then and there intending to compel said Irvine to sell his mules to person to whom he was paying higher prices, to the waste and misapplication of the public funds. This on or about the twentieth September, 1861.” [Not guilty]

Specification 21st–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, when one Robert P. Coffey, of the city of Saint Louis, was desirous of selling to Government a large number of mules fit and proper for the service, at one hundred and eight dollars each, and offered them to said Major McKinstry, he, said McKinstry, failed and refused to purchase the same, until said Coffey had been compelled to sell them to one Captain Leonidas Haskell, as one hundred and eight dollars each, in Missouri Bank paper, after which, he, said McKinstry, purchased the same mules from said Haskell at the price of one hundred and nineteen dollars each, with intent to secure to said Haskell large gains above the market value of said animals, and to the waste and squandering of the public funds and the disgrace of the service.” [Not guilty]

Specification 22d–“in this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, having purchased of one Robert W. Peay, of the city of St. Louis, two hundred and ninety mules for the service, at the price of one hundred and ten dollars each, on or about the 20th day of September, 1851, afterwards issued to one James B. Neill, of the city of St. Louis, a voucher for the same mules as if sold to the United States by said Neill. Said voucher is in the words and figures following to wit:

No. 12

The United States,

To James B. Neill


Date of purchase                                                                                  Dolls., Cts.


August 10, 40 mules

August 17, 6 mules } At $119……………………………………………………39,984.00

August 20, 263 mules

August 21, 27 mules }

I certify that the above is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the quarter ending on the 30th of September, 1861.



Major and Senior Quartermaster

Received at ___, the___ of _____, 1861, of _____ ______, Quartermaster, United States Army, the sum of thirty thousand nine hundred and eighty-four dollars and ____ cents, in full of the above account.

(Signed in duplicate) JAMES B. NEILL

The charge of two hundred and sixty-three mules, under date of 20th, and of twenty-seven mules, under date 21st, in said voucher, being the same mules sold by said Peay to said Major McKinstry, which said voucher was and is false; in this, that said two hundred and ninety mules were not sold to said McKinstry by said Neill at all, but were sold by Robert W. Peay to said McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, for one hundred and ten dollars each, and not for one hundred and nineteen dollars each. As stated in the voucher; he, said Major Justus McKinstry, thereby intending to secure to said Neill, or other in collusion with him, large gains by means of said false voucher, to the waste and squandering of the public funds and the disgrace of the service.” [Guilty]

Specification 23d–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, when, about the first day of September, 1861, one Robert W. Peay, of St. Louis, was able and willing to furnish to his department about eight hundred mules, during the residue of said month, for about the sum of one hundred and eight dollars each, in Missouri Bank paper, and offered to contract with him to furnish said mules of quality fit and property for the service, failed, neglected, and refused to entertain the proposition of said Peay, and told said Peay the Government did not want any more mules then; but afterwards, when said Peay had sold his mules to one Leonidas Haskell, from whom he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, as purchasing mules at one hundred and nineteen dollars each, and said Haskell had purchased said Peay’s mules for one hundred and eight dollars each in said Missouri Bank paper, he, said Major McKinstry, taking every one from said Haskell at one hundred and nineteen dollars each, to the number of about eight hundred. This on the first day of September, and on divers days between that and the seventh day of October, 1861, at St. Louis, Mo.; he, said Major McKinstry, intending thereby to secure large gains to said Haskell above the market value of said animals, to the wastage of the public funds.” [Not guilty]

Specification 24th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on the first day of July, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, and on divers days between that and the sixth day of October, in the same year, as Quartermaster aforesaid, did purchase, altogether, a large number of horses for the service–to wit: about fifteen hundred–at rates of about one hundred and fifty dollars for artillery, and one hundred and nineteen dollars for cavalry per head, which were unfit for the service, and almost worthless, from being too young or too old, blind, weak-eyed, damaged, worn-out, or diseased; he, said Major Justus McKinstry, acting in that behalf in gross carelessness and disregard of the interests of the service, to the misapplication and wasting of the public funds.” [Not guilty]

Specification 25th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, did, on the first day of July, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, and on divers days between that day and the sixth October, in the same year, at St. Louis, Mo., did purchase for his department a large number of mules at one hundred and nineteen dollars each–viz: altogether about one thousand mules–which were unfit for the service, and almost worthless, from being too old or too young; blind, weak-eyed, damaged, worn-out, or diseased; he, said Major McKinstry, acting in that behalf in gross carelessness and disregard of the interest of the service, to the waste and squandering of the public funds.” [Not guilty]

Specification 26th–“In this, that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, having, on or about the tenth day of August, 1861, authorized one Charles M. Elleard, without any previous advertisement for proposals, to furnish to his department a large number of artillery and cavalry horses, at the price of one hundred and fifty dollars for artillery horses, and one hundred and nineteen for cavalry horses, said prices being exorbitant and above the market values, and said contract being worth about the sum of forty thousand dollars to said Elleard, he, said Major Justus McKinstry, in consideration of granting such a favor to said Elleard, undertook to appropriate a portion of said profits; that is, he, said Major McKinstry, required said Elleard to allow one S.P. Brady, of Detroit, Michigan, to share with him equally said profits; and though said Elleard did not want said Brady as a partner, and said Brady was of no use to said Elleard, yet, in consideration of securing the favor of said Major McKinstry, as Quartermaster and contracting agent of the Government, and for no other consideration, he, said Elleard, consented, at McKinstry’s demand, to allow said Brady to receive twenty thousand dollars, or thereabouts, of said profits; he, said McKinstry, thereby prostituting his office to secure for said Brady, and others in collusion with him, said amount of money, to the disgrace of the service.” [Not guilty]

September 27th–“In this; that one Alfred B. Ogden, being architect for Benton Barracks, with authority from Major Justus McKinstry, to let out the roofing of said barracks, and said Ogden having stipulated for and received from one Henry Clapp, of St. Louis, a written order, substantially as follows: ‘Major McKINSTRY: Please pay to the bearer, P.L Bierce, the sum of $700, against contract for materials furnished August 14, 1861. (Signed) HENRY CLAPP,’ as a bribe to him, said Ogden, for accepting the bid of said Clapp, and securing to him, said Clapp, the job of roofing, and said Ogden notwithstanding his receiving said order as a consideration for giving the job to Clapp, having failed to do so, and said Clapp having spoken of the said facts, which came to the knowledge of Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, he, said McKinstry, on the twenty-third day of August, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, at St. Louis, Missouri, cause said Clapp to come before him as Provost Marshal of St. Louis, and the said McKinstry did then and there, by cursing and abusing said Clapp, by denouncing him as a ‘liar’ and a ‘disunionist,’ by threatening ‘to imprison’ him, said Clapp, and ‘feed him on bread and water,’ and by ordering a file of soldiers, whom he paraded before said Clapp, to seize and take him away, greatly terrify and frighten said Clapp, and by means thereof did force and compel him to sign and swear to the following statement:

ST. LOUIS, August 23, 1861

‘Having charged Mr. Ogden, the architect of the government, with fraud in the management of the business intrusted to him by the Quartermaster, I hereby revoke said charge and relieve him from the same. I hereby swear and declare that I am a good loyal citizen of the United States, and will do all that is in my power to uphold and protect the same; that I will not, directly or indirectly, give aid or information to the enemy in any manner or form.


Sworn and subscribed to in presence of S.B. Brady and S.B. Lowe.’

All that portion of said statement relating to revoking the charge of fraud and relieving said Ogden therefrom being false entirely, and being extorted from said Clapp against his free will and consent, by the means aforesaid, employed by said Major J. McKinstry, to the great oppression of Henry Clapp and to the deep disgrace of the service.” [Not guilty]

Specification 28th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, when one Alexander Largue, of the city of St. Louis, on or about September 10, 1861, offered to sell to him a lot of covered canteens, 4,000 in number, fit and proper for the service, for 36½ cents each, and offered to contract to deliver to him a very large quantity of such canteens for the same price, to be delivered to suit the convenience of said Quartermaster McKinstry, failed and refused to purchase the same or contract with said Largue in that behalf, but referred him to one S.P. Brady, of Detroit, Michigan, who then and there purchased the same 4,000 canteens from Largue 36½ cents each, and afterwards sold them to the Quartermaster’s department at St. Louis, Mo., through Captain W.G. Rankin, a junior quartermaster, for 44 cents each, who issued to said Brady a voucher, which, so far as related to said canteens, is in the words and figures following, to wit:

TheUnited States


To S.P. Brady

October 4. For 4,000 canteens, 44 cents…………………………………………………….$1,760.00

I certify that the above account is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the quarter ending on the 31st December, 1861.


Captain, 13th Infantry’

That he, said McKinstry, did suffer and permit said Brady so to purchase and sell said canteens, to the gross neglect and disregard of the interest of the service, and with intent to secure to said Brady a specification on the same.” [Not guilty]

Specification 29th–“In this, that he, Major J. McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on or about the nineteenth day of August, 1861, having need to purchase for his department a large number of common tents, did not and would not suffer one Henry Martin, of the city of St. Louis, to sell them to him at the market value; but when said Martin wrote him a note, offering to furnish him a large number, referred said Martin to one Joseph S. Pease, who charged said Martin a commission of five percent on the value of all the tents he, said Martin, sold to him, Pease; and when said Pease had in this way purchased the tents from Martin, he, Major McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, purchased the same tents from Pease at a price which enable said Pease to make said commission clear; he, said Major McKinstry, thereby prostituting his office, with intent to secure to said Pease said commission from said Martin, to the oppression of said Martin and to the disgrace of the service.” [Guilty]

Specification 30th–““In this; that on or about the first day of August, 1861, he, said Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, gave to one Joseph S. Pease the control of the business of purchasing tents for his department in the city of St. Louis, in so far as to enable said Pease to compel tentmakers to pay him, Pease, a commission in order to sell their tents; and when one Horace Hallon had paid to said Pease a commission of five percent, on a large number of tenets which he sold to Pease, he, said Major J. McKinstry, purchased the same tents from said Pease at a price which enabled said Pease to make said commission clear; he, said Major Justus McKinstry, thereby prostituting his office, with intent to compel said Holton to pay such commission to said Pease, to the great oppression of said Holton and to the disgrace of the service.” [Guilty]

Specification 31st–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on or about the first day of August, 1861, gave to one Joseph S. Pease control of the business of purchasing tents for his department in the city of St. Louis, in so far as to enable said Pease a commission in order to sell their tents; and when John G. Dodge, of said city, had so paid to said Pease a commission of two and a half percent o a large number of tents he sold him, he, said Major McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, purchased the same tents at a price which left said Pease to retain said commission, thereby prostituting his office, with intent to secure said commission to Pease, to the oppression of the said Dodge.” [Not guilty]

Specification 32d–“In this; that Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on or about the first day of August, 1861, gave to one Joseph S. Pease control of the business of purchasing tents for his department in the city of St. Louis, in so far as to enable said Pease to compel tentmakers to pay him, Pease, a commission in order to sell their tents; and when James Sanders, of said city, had so paid to said Pease a commission of five percent on a large number of tents he sold him, he, said Major McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, purchased the same tents from Pease at a price which left said Pease to retain said commission, thereby prostituting his office, with intent to secure said commission to Pease, to the oppression of said Saunders.” [Not guilty]

Specification 33rd–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on or about the first day of August, 1861, gave to one Joseph S. Pease control of the business of purchasing tents for his department in the city of St. Louis, in so far as to enable said Pease to compel tentmakers to pay him, Pease, a commission in order to sell their tents; and when Malcolm McQuaig, of said city, had so paid to said Pease a commission of ___percent on a large number of tents he sold him, he, said Major McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, purchase the same tents from Pease at a price which left said Pease to retain said commission, thereby prostituting his office, with intent to secure said commission to Pease, to the oppression of said McQuaig.” [Not guilty]

Specification 34th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, having need, on or about the first day of August, 1861, to purchase tents for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market not for the market value, but authorized one Joseph S. Pease, a relative by marriage, to furnish the same for him; and when one Clements & Co., tentmakers, of the city of St. Louis, had sold to said Pease a lot of one hundred tents for twenty-two dollars each, he, Major McKinstry, purchased from said Pease the same tents for thirty dollars each; he, said McKinstry, thereby then and there intending to secure to said Pease, and others in collusion with him, large gains to the waste and squandering of the public funds.” [Not guilty]

Specification 35th–“In this; that he, Major J. McKinstry, on or about the 1st day of August, 1861, having need to purchase for his department a large number of tents, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value, but authorized one Joseph S. Pease to furnish the same to him; and when said Pease in this way had purchased from John G. Dodge a number of tents are the same price for which said Dodge would have sold them to said Major McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, he, said McKinstry, purchased the same tents from said Pease at a large advance on the price which said Pease had paid to Dodge. This on the 1st day of August, 1861, and on divers days between that day and the sixth day of October, 1861, at St. Louis, Mo.” [Not guilty]

Specification 36th–“In this; that Major J. McKinstry, Quartermaster, on or about the 1st day of August, 1861, having need to purchase tents for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value, but authorized one Joseph S. Pease to furnish him the same; and when said Pease had purchased of one John G. Dodge, a tentmaker of the city of St. Louis, a lot of tents for fifty-five dollars each, he, said McKinstry, then and there purchased the same tents of said Pease at the at the price of sixty-five dollars each; he said Major McKinstry, thereby intending to secure to said Pease, and others in collusion with him, large gains over the market value of the articles purchased. This on the day last mentioned , and divers other days between that day and the 6th of October, 1861, at St. Louis, Mo.” [Guilty]

Specification 37th–“In this; that he, Major J. McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on or about the 26th day of July, 1861, having need to purchase a large number of tents for his department of all descriptions, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value, but authorized one Joseph S. Pease to purchase up the tents in the Saint Louis market, and to contract to purchase these articles from the tentmakers of the city, at the best terms he could procure; and when he, said Pease, had so procured the tents, he, Major McKinstry, purchased the same tents from Pease at a large advance on the prices which Pease had paid, and at which he, McKinstry, might have procured them himself directly from the tentmakers, thereby intending to secure large gains to said Pease, and others in collusion with him, to the misapplication and squandering of public funds. This at Saint Louis, on the day last mentioned, and on divers days between that day and the 6th of October, 1861.” [Guilty]

Specification 38th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, on or about the 9th day of August, 1861, and on divers days between that day and the sixth of October, 1861, having need to purchase mess pans for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market price; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized Messrs. Child, Pratt & Fox, hardware merchants, of Saint Louis, Mo., to furnish him, as Quartermaster, with said articles; and said Child, Pratt & Fox, between the days aforesaid, at divers times, purchased of one Giles F. Filley, of the city of St. Louis, about six thousand mess pans at about 29½ cents each, and when said Child, Pratt & Fox had so purchased said articles, he, said Major Justus McKinstry, purchased from said Child, Pratt & Fox the same mess pans for 35 cents each, which was an exorbitant price; thereby then and there intending to secure large gains above the market value of said articles to said Child, Pratt & Fox, and others in collusion with the, to the waste of the public funds, and gross neglect and disregard of the interests of the service.” [Guilty]

Specification 39th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, on or about the 9th day of August, 1861, and on divers days between that day and the sixth day of October, 1861, having need to purchase camp kettles fro his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized Messrs. Child, Pratt & Fox to furnish him, as Quartermaster, with said articles; and said Child, Pratt & Fox, on the days and at divers times between the days last mentioned, purchased of Giles F. Filley, of St. Louis, about five thousand camp kettles at about 42½ cents each, and when, and as fast as said Child, Pratt & Fox had so purchased the said articles, he, said Major Justus McKinstry purchased from said Child, Pratt & Fox the same camp kettles for sixty-five cents each, which was an exorbitant price; thereby them and there intending to secure large gains to said Child, Pratt & Fox, and others in collusion with the, to the gross neglect and disregard of the interest of the service, and to the waste of the public funds.” [Guilty]

Specification 40th–“In this, that he, Major McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on the _____ day of September, 1861, and on divers days between that day and the sixth day of October, 1861, having need to purchase tin plates for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market price, but authorized said Child, Pratt & Fox, without any advertisement for proposals, to furnish the same to him as Quartermaster; and said Child, Pratt & Fox, on the days aforesaid, and on divers days between those days, purchased of Oliver D. Filley, of the city of St. Louis, about fifteen hundred tin plates at about 4½ cents each, and when said Child, Pratt & Fox had so purchased said tin plates, and as fast as they purchased them, he, said McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, purchased from said C., P. & F. the same tin plates at seven cents each, which was an exorbitant price; thereby then and there intending to secure large gains to said Child, Pratt & Fox, and others in collusion with them, to the gross neglect and disregarding the interests of the service, and to the waste of public funds.” [Guilty]

Specification 41st–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on the 1st day of August, 1861, and on divers days between that day and the 6th day of October, 1861, having need to purchase picket pins for his department, did not and would not purchase them in the market nor for the market value; but, without any advertisements for proposals, authorized Child, Pratt & Fox to furnish the same to him as Quartermaster aforesaid; and said Child, Pratt & Fox, on the days aforesaid, and between these days, at divers times, purchases in the city of St. Louis, of one Peter J. Pauley, about two thousand picket pins at 45 cents each for a portion, and 35 cents each for the residue, and when they had so purchased said picket pins, and as fast as they purchased them, he, Major J. McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, purchased the same picket pins from said Child, Pratt & Fox at the price of 65 cents each, which was an exorbitant price; he, the said McKinstry, thereby intending to secure to Child, Pratt & Fox large gains above the market value of these articles, to the gross neglect and disregard of the interests of the service, and to the waste of the public funds.” [Guilty]

Specification 42d–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster as aforesaid, having had from one Thomas Hood, on or about the 9th day of April, 1861, a written proposal to furnish to his department picket pins of a quality fit and proper for the service, at the price of 25 cents each, and knowing that he could purchase in the market, in the city of St. Louis, as many picket pins of the like quality, from the said Thomas Hood, as was needed for his department, at about 25 cents each, did not and would not purchase the same; but, without accepting said Thomas Hood’s bid, and without seeking to procure picket pins at their market value, purchased from Child, Pratt & Fox about two thousand of these articles at 65 cents each, intending to secure large gains to said Child, Pratt & Fox, and others in collusion with them, to the waste and squandering of the public means, and to the gross neglect and disregard of the public interest.” [Not guilty]

Specification 43d–“In this; that he, Major McKinstry, on or about the 27th September, 1861, at St. Louis, having need to purchase overcoats for his department, did not and could not purchase the same in the market nor for the market price; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized Child, Pratt & Fox to furnish the same to him; and when they had purchased then and there from Martin & Bros., at St. Louis, 802 overcoats for the price of seven dollars and fifty cents each ($7.50) he, said McKinstry, then and there purchase the same 802 overcoats from Child, Pratt & Fox for $10.50 each, and afterwards issued to them a voucher for the same, which, so far as relates to said overcoats, is in the words and figures following, to wit:

No. 12

The United States,

To Child, Pratt &Fox,


Date of purchase

1861 Dolls., Cts.

September 26. 802 overcoats, at $10.50………………………………………………….$8,421.00

I certify that the above is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the quarter ending on the 30th September, 1861.

(Signed) J. McKINSTRY

Brig. Gen’l, Ass’t Quartermaster

He, said McKinstry, thereby then and there intending to secure to Child, Pratt & Fox, and others in collusion with them, large gains, to the waste of the public funds.” [Guilty]

Specification 44th–“In this; that he, Major J. McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, having need, about the 17th September, 1861, at St. Louis, to purchase blouses for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value, but then and there authorized Child, Pratt & Fox to furnish the same; and when said Child, Pratt & Fox had purchased them then and there, of Martin & Brothers, clothiers in St. Louis, 802 blue blouses, on September 17, 1861, for $2.25 each, he, said McKinstry, purchased from said Child, Pratt $ Fox the same 802 blue blouses for $3 each; afterwards, on the 26th September, 1861, issued to said Child, Pratt & Fox a voucher therefore, which, so far as relates to the 802 blouses, is in the words and figures following, to wit:

No. 12

The United States,

To Child, Pratt & Fox,


Date of purchase

1861                                                                                                                     Dolls., Cts.

September 26. 802 blue blouses, at $3…………………………………………………….$2,406.00

I certify that the above is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the quarter ending on the 30th September, 1861.

(Signed) J. McKINSTRY

Brig. Gen’l, Ass’t Quartermaster

He, said McKinstry, thereby then and there intending to secure to Child, Pratt & Fox, and others in collusion with them, large gains above market value of said articles, to the squandering of the public funds.” [Guilty]

Specification 45th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, about the 19th September, 1861 at St. Louis, having need to purchase blouses for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market price; but, without any advertisement for proposals, then and there authorized Child, Pratt & Fox, a hardware house, to furnish the said articles to him,; and when, on the 19th September, 1861, at St. Louis, said Child, Pratt & Fox had purchased of Martin & Brothers, clothiers of said city, 3,000 blue blouses for two dollars each, he, said McKinstry, then and there purchased from said Child, Pratt & Fox the same 3,000 blue blouses for the price of thee dollars each, and issued to said Child, Pratt & Fox therefore a voucher of which, so far as the same relates to said blouses, the following is a copy:

No. 12

The United States,

To Child, Pratt & Fox,


Date of purchase

1861 Dolls., Cts.

September 26. 3,000 blue blouses, at $3………………………………………………….$9,000.00

I certify that the above is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the quarter ending on the 30th September, 1861.



Major and Assistant Quartermaster

He, said McKinstry, then and there intending to secure thereby large gains to Child, Pratt & Fox, and others in collusion with them, to the waste of the public funds.” [Guilty]

Specification 46th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on or about the 21st September, 1861, at Saint Louis, having need to purchase soldiers’ pants for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized Child, Pratt & Fox, hardware dealers, to furnish the same to him; and when said Child, Pratt & Fax had purchased them then and there, of Messrs. Martin & Bro., nine hundred and four pairs of soldiers’ infantry pants, for the price of two dollars and fifty cents per pair, he, said Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, purchased from said Child, Pratt & Fox the same 904 pair of pants at the price of three dollars and seventy-five cents per pair, and afterwards issues to said Child, Pratt & Fox a voucher therefore, which, so far as relates to said 904 pants, is in the words and figures following, to wit:

No. 12

The United States,

To Child, Pratt & Fox,


Date of purchase

1861                                                                                                                Dolls., Cts.

September 26. 904 pair pants, at $3.75…………………………………………………..$3, 390.00

I certify that the above is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the quarter ending on the 30th September, 1861.

(Signed) J. McKINSTRY

Brig. Gen’l. and Quartermaster

He, said Major McKinstry, thereby then and there intending to secure to said Child, Pratt & Fox, and others in collusion with them, large gains, to the wasting of the public funds, over the market value of said articles.” [Guilty]

Specification 47th–“In this, that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on or about the 21st September, 1861, having need to purchase for his department infantry jackets, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market price; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized Messrs. Child, Pratt & Fox, dealers in hardware, to furnish the same to him; and when said Child, Pratt & Fox had purchased then and there, from Messrs. Martin & Bros., clothiers, of Saint Louis, nine hundred and four jackets, at the price of $3.75 each, he, said Major Justus McKinstry, purchased from said Child, Pratt & Fox the same 904 infantry jackets for the price of $5.75 each; and afterwards, on the 26th September, 1861, issued to said Child, Pratt & Fox a voucher therefore, which, so far as relates to said 904 infantry jackets is in the words and figures following, to wit:

No. 12

The United States,

To Child, Pratt & Fox,


Date of purchase

1861                                                                                                                     Dolls., Cts.

September 26. 904 infantry jackets, at $5.75……………………………………………$5,198.00

I certify that the above is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the quarter ending on the 30th September, 1861.

(Signed) J. McKINSTRY

Brig. Gen’l. and Quartermaster

He, said Major McKinstry, thereby then and there intending to secure to said Child, Pratt & Fox, and others in collusion with them, large gains above the market value of the articles, to the waste of the public funds.” [Guilty]

Specification 48th–“In this; that he, Major McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, having need, about the 1st of September, 1861, to purchase for his department cavalry equipments, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value; but, without any advertisements for proposals, authorized Child, Pratt & Fox, hardware dealers, of St. Louis, to furnish them to him; and when said Child, Pratt & Fox had purchased in this market 293 sets of cavalry equipments for about the price of $29.50 each, he, said McKinstry, did purchase the same cavalry equipments from said Child, Pratt & Fox for $40 each, and afterwards issue vouchers therefore, which, so far as relates to said cavalry equipments, are in the words and figures following, to wit:

No. 12

The United States,

To Child, Pratt & Fox,


Date of purchase

1861                                                                                                                     Dolls., Cts.

September 5. 100 sets of cavalry equipments, complete, $40…………………….$4,000.00

I certify that the above is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the quarter ending on the 30th September, 1861.

(Signed) J. McKINSTRY

Brig. Gen’l. and Quartermaster

No. 12

The United States,

To Child, Pratt & Fox, Dr.

Date of purchase

1861                                                                                                                     Dolls., Cts.

September 5. 193 sets cavalry equipments, at $40…………………………………..$7,720.00

I certify that the above is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the quarter ending on the 30th September, 1861.

(Signed) J. McKINSTRY

Brig. Gen’l. and Quartermaster

He, said Major McKinstry, thereby intending to secure to Child, Pratt & Fox large gains above the market value of the said articles, to the wasting of the public funds.” [Not guilty]

Specification 49th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on or about 25th August, 1861, at St. Louis, having need to purchase for his department covered canteens, did not and would not purchase them in the market nor for the market value; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized one Child, Pratt & Fox, hardware dealers to furnish them; and said Child, Pratt & Fox, between the 28th August and the 6th of October, 1861, purchased in the market about fifteen thousand canteens, at the price of about 36½ cents each; and as fast as said Child, Pratt & Fox purchased said covered canteens, he, said McKinstry, as Quartermaster, purchased the same canteens from said Child, Pratt & Fox at the price of 60 cents each; he, said McKinstry, thereby intending to secure to said Child, Pratt & Fox large gains above the market value of said articles, to the waste and squandering of the public funds.” [Guilty]

Specification 50th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, issued at St. Louis, Mo., a voucher in the words and figures following, to wit:

The United States,

To Alexander Kelsey Dr.

Date of purchase

1861 Dolls., Cts.

July 30 28,000 pounds hay, at 70 cents per hundred…………………………………..$196.00

51410/35, 18,000 pounds oats, at 25 cents……………………………………..$128.55

1078/56 , 6,000 pounds corn, at 25 cents, for Lieutenant Shreed’s

Volunteers, Cape Girardeau…………………………………………………………$126.80

July 29 3,000 bushels (105,000 pounds) oats, at 25 cents, for Major Spicer’s

brigade Missouri Volunteers, Mexico Mission…………………………….$750.00

Aug. 4 5,000 bushels, 150,000 pounds, oats, at 25 cents, for Major Hatch

Quartermaster, Cairo…………………………………………………………………$1,300.00



I certify that the above is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the quarter ending on the 30th September, 1861.

(Signed) J. McKINSTRY

Assistant Quartermaster

Which voucher so issued was and is false; in this, that said Kelsy did not sell the United States the quantity names, nor any hay, on or about the 30th July, 1861, or any other time; did not sell the United States the quantity named, or any oats, on or about the 29th or 30th July or 4th August, 1861, or any other time; did not sell the United States the quantity of corn names, or any quantity of corn at the time named, or any time, and said voucher was and is false in every particular; he, said McKinstry, thereby intending to prostitute his office to secure on Joseph S. Pease, to whom he delivered said voucher, some benefit contrary to the rules and regulations of the army.” [Not guilty]

Specification 51st–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, having need to purchase frying pans for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value; but, about the 1st September, 1861, authorized Child, Pratt & Fox to furnish the same to him; and when said Child, Pratt & Fox had purchased a large quantity, about five hundred frying pans, from John Grey and Company, Pittsburgh, Pa., for about seventeen cents each, he, said McKinstry, purchased the same frying pans from said Child, Pratt & Fox, at 50 cents each. This at St. Louis, on the 1st, 5th, 6th, 12th, 26th, and 30th days of September, 1861; thereby then and there intending to secure to said Child, Pratt & Fox large gains above the market value of said articles, to the waste and squandering of the public funds.” [Not guilty]

Specification 52d–“In this; that he, Major McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, having need, about the 15th August, 1861, to purchase axes with handles to his department, he, said McKinstry, did and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value; but authorized Child, Pratt & Fox, without any advertisement for proposals, to furnish the same; and so, between the day last mentioned and the 6th October, 1861, said McKinstry purchased from said Child, Pratt & Fox about 1,2000 axes with handles, at one dollar fifty cents each, the market value whereof was about one dollar and fifteen cents each, to the great waste of the public funds, and the gross disregard of the public interests.” [Not guilty]

Specification 53rd–“In this; that he, Major McKinstry, having need, about the 20th August, 1861, to purchase hatchets and handles for his department, did not and would not purchase them in the market nor for the market value; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized Child, Pratt & Fox to furnish the same to him; and in this way, on said 20th August, and on divers days between that day and October 6, 1861, purchased about one thousand hatchets and handles, from said Child, Pratt & Fox, for seventy-five cents each, the market value whereof was about 47 cents each, to the great disregard of the public interests and the waste of the public funds. [Not guilty]

Specification 54th–“In this; that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on or about the 4th September, 1861, at Saint Louis, having need to purchase shoes for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value, but then and there authorized one Child, Pratt & Fox, a hardware house, to furnish the same to him; and when said Child, Pratt & Fox, about the 4th September, 1861, had purchased of Maury, Drake & Co., shoe dealers, 413 pair of shoes for one dollar thirty cents each, he, said McKinstry, then and there purchased of Child, Pratt & Fox, the same 413 pair of shoes for one dollar seventy-five cents each, and issued to said Child, Pratt & Fox a voucher therefore, which, so far as relates to said 413 pair of shoes, is in the words and figures following, to wit:

No. 12

The United States,

To Child, Pratt & Fox, Dr.

Date of purchase

1861                                                                                                                 Dolls., Cts.

September 5. 413 pair shoes, at $1.75…………………………………………………..$722.75

I certify that the above account is correct and just, and that the articles have been accounted for on my property return for the quarter ending on the 30th September, 1861.

(Signed) J. McKINSTRY

Major, Ass’t. Quartermaster

He, said Major McKinstry, thereby then and there intending to secure to said Child, Pratt & Fox large gains above the market value of the said articles, to the waste of the public funds.” [Guilty]

Specification 55th–“In this, that he, Major McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, having need, about the 20th August, 1861, to purchase shoes for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value; but, without any advertisement for proposals, authorized Child, Pratt & Fox to furnish the same to him; and when, on the day aforesaid, and between that day and the 1st October, 1861, said Child, Pratt & Fox had purchased, in the city of St. Louis, from Maury, Drake & Co., James F. Comstock & Co., Fiske, Knight & Co., North, Scott & Co., Claflin, Allen & Co., and John R. Leonberger, shoe dealers, about ten thousand pair of shoes, for about one dollar and thirty cents on the average each, he, said McKinstry, then and there purchased the same shoes, as Quartermaster, from Child, Pratt & Fox, at about the price of one dollar seventy-five cents each; he, said McKinstry, thereby then and there intending to secure thereby, to Child, Pratt & Fox, large gains above the market value of said articles, to the wasting of the public funds, and gross disregard of the interests of the service.” [Guilty]

Specification 56th–“In this, that he, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, on or about the 20th July, 1861, at Saint Louis, purchased of Child, Pratt & Fox, hardware dealers a large quantity of worthless shoes, for about one dollar seventy-five cents each. Being the same lot afterwards issued to Colonel Peter E. Blond’s regiment, while stationed at Ironton, Missouri; he, said McKinstry, acting in that behalf in gross neglect and disregard of the interests of the service.” [Not guilty]

Specification 57th–“In this; that on or about the 1st day of August, 1861, when a lot of worthless shoes had been issued by his department to Colonel Peter E. Blond’s regiment, then stationed at Ironton, Mo., and Oliver D. Filley and John T. Witzig had gone to his, McKinstry’s office, in Saint Louis, to inform him of the fact, and to ascertain who had sold said lot of shoes to the department, and had produced to him a sample of the shoes, he, said McKinstry, failed and refused to make the proper investigation to detect the imposition, and took away and secreted the sample of said worthless shoes, with the intent to screen and protect the offending party.” [Not guilty]

Specification 58th–“In this, that he, Major McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, about the 1st August, 1861, having need to purchase knapsacks for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value; but, without advertisement for proposals, authorized Child, Pratt & Fox to furnish the same; and when, on the day last mentioned, and on divers days between that and the 6th October, 1861, Child, Pratt & Fox had purchased in the market about 15,000 knapsacks, at about $2.30 each, on the average, he, said McKinstry, Quartermaster, purchased the same knapsacks from Child, Pratt & Fox at from $3.25 each to $3.50 each; he, said McKinstry, thereby intending to secure to Child, Pratt & Fox large gains above the market value of said articles, to the wasting of the public funds, and the gross disregard of the interests of the service.” [Guilty]

Specification 59th–“Between the 15th August, 1861, and October 1st, 1861, McKinstry bought of Child, Pratt & Fox over 20,000 pair of soldiers’ drawers, at 60 cents, for which Child, Pratt & Fox paid about 42 cents each, and which he could have bought at that price, if he had seen fit.” [Not guilty]

Specification 60th–“That between the 10th August, 1861, and October 6th, 1861, Quartermaster McKinstry bought of Child, Pratt & Fox about 1,5000 spades, at a price of from $1 each to $1.15 each, an exorbitant price; the market value being about 65 cents each.” [Not guilty]

Specification 61st–“In this, that he, Major Justus McKinstry, on or about the 1st day of July, 1861, at St. Louis, Mo., having need to purchase a large quantity of army supplies for his department, did not and would not purchase the same in the market nor for the market value; but, without advertisement for proposals, authorized Child, Pratt & Fox to furnish the same to him; and said Child, Pratt & Fox did, under such authority, purchase, in the city of St. Louis, a vast quantity of army supplies, consisting of cavalry jackets. And pants and coats; infantry pants, jackets, and coats; canteens, covered and uncovered; cavalry equipments; blankets; camp kettles; mess pans; picket pins; axes, with handles; shovels; hatchets, with handles; boots and shoes; coffee pots; coffee mills; spades; canteens; tin plates; knapsacks’ blouses; flannels; pick axes and handles; blue cloth; water buckets; spurs and straps; army caps; horse shoes; mule shoes; horse-shoe nails; drawers; flannel shirts; fry pans; wheelbarrows; horse brushes; horse rasps; specie boxes; currycombs and other articles, or some of them, to a large amount–say three hundred thousand dollars, more or less; and did purchase, under such authority, in the United States, east of the Mississippi River, a large amount of such articles, or some of them–say three hundred thousand dollars, more or less–in the city of St. Louis; and having so purchase the same articles, he, said McKinstry, purchased the articles so purchased by said Child, Pratt & Fox in the city of St. Louis at an advance upon the price stipulated for by them of from twenty percent to one hundred percent; he, said McKinstry, Quartermaster aforesaid, thereby intending to secure to said Child, Pratt & Fox large gains, to the wasting of the public funds, and to the disregard of the interests of the service.” [Guilty]

To all which specifications, and to the Charge, the accused pleaded “Not Guilty.”


The Court, having maturely weighted and considered the testimony adduced, finds the accused, Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, United States Army, as follows:

Of the 1st and 2nd Specifications, “Not Guilty.”

Of the 3d Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words ‘no better than Colburn’s’ and ‘Almon Thompson’ and ‘and F.J. Flannagan.’”

Of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Specifications, “Not Guilty.”

Of the 7th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words ‘the market value of which was about ninety dollars only, each’ and ‘and other in collusion with him.’”

Of the 8th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words ‘the market value of which on the average was about one hundred and ten dollars only, each’ and ‘and others in collusion with him.’”

Of the 9th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words ‘about one thousand’ and ‘the market value of which was about eighty dollars each’ and ‘and others in collusion with him.’”

Of the 10th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words ‘about three hundred’ and ‘and others in collusion with him.’”

Of the 11th Specification, “Not Guilty. Find the facts as set forth in this specification, but, owing to the accused’s acting to some extent under the instructions of his commanding general, attach no criminality to the accused.”

Of the 12th Specification, “Not Guilty.”

Of the 13th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words ‘five hundred,’ substituting the words four hundred therefore; and for the words ‘ninety dollars,’ substituting one hundred dollars; and in the place of ‘one hundred dollars’ substituting one hundred and fifteen dollars.”

Of the 14th Specification, “Not Guilty; but find the fact that Major McKinstry did pay one B.F. Fox an additional allowance of twenty-five dollars per head on a certain number of artillery horses, but, under the circumstances of the case, attach no criminality thereto, it appearing to be a simple act of justice to Fox.”

Of the 15th, 16th, and 17th Specifications, “Not Guilty.”

Of the 18th Specification, “Guilty; substituting in the place of one hundred dollars’ the words ‘one hundred, and one hundred and ten dollars,’ and excepting the words ‘refused and,’ ‘and F. J. Flannagan,’ and ‘Flannagan,’ and ‘he, said McKinstry, thereby then and there intending to compel said Everett to turn his horse over to said Elleard and Flannagan, and other contractors at higher prices.’”

Of the 19th Specification, “Not Guilty; but find the fact of McKinstry’s refusing to buy of John Allen, but, under the circumstances, attach no criminality thereto.”

Of the 20th Specification, “Not Guilty. Find the fact that the accused did refuse to purchase of Josephus Irvine mules at ($115) one hundred and fifteen dollars, but, under the circumstances attending the offer of said Irvine, attach no criminality thereto.”

Of the 21st Specification, “Not Guilty.”

Of the 22nd Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words ‘and others in collusion with him.’”

Of the 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th Specifications, “Not Guilty.”

Of the 29th Specification, “Guilty.”

Of the 30th Specification, “Guilty.”

Of the 31st, 32d, 33d, and 34th Specifications, “Not Guilty.”

Of the 35th Specification, “Not Guilty; but find the fact that the accused purchased of Joseph S. Pease a number of tents, at an advance upon the prices said Pease paid one Dodge, but attach no criminality thereto under the circumstances.

Of the 36th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words ‘and others in collusion with him.’”

Of the 37th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words ‘authorized one Joseph S. Pease to purchase up the tents in the Saint Louis market, and to contract to purchase these articles from the tentmakers of the city at the best terms he could procure, and,’ and ‘and others in collusion with them.”

Of the 38th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words, ‘and others in collusion with them.’”

Of the 39th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words, ‘and others in collusion with them.’”

Of the 40th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words ‘as fast as they purchased them’ and ‘and others in collusion with them.’”

Of the 41st Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words and figures ‘45 cents each for a portion, and,’ and ‘for the residue.’”

Of the 42nd Specification, “Not Guilty.”

Of the 43rd Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words , ‘and others in collusion with them.’”

Of the 44th Specification, “Guilty.”

Of the 45th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words, ‘and others in collusion with them.’”

Of the 46th Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words, ‘and others in collusion with them.’”

Of the 47th Specification, “Guilty.”

Of the 48th Specification, “Not Guilty.’

Of the 49th Specification, “Guilty.’

Of the 50th, 51st, 52d, and 53d Specifications, “Not Guilty.”

Of the 54th Specification, “Guilty.”

Of the 55th Specification, “Guilty.”

Of the 56th and 57th Specifications, “Not Guilty.”

Of the 58th Specification, “Guilty, substituting the figures $2.40 in the place of $2.30.’”

Of the 59th Specification, “Not Guilty; the specification failing to give the place, and also failing to designate in a proper manner the person charged.”

Of the 60th Specification, “Not guilty; the specification failing to give the place, and also failing to designate in a proper manner the person charged.”

Of the 61st Specification, “Guilty, excepting the words ‘upon the price stipulated for by them’ wherever they are written in this specification.”

Of the CHARGE, “Guilty.”


And the Court does therefore sentence Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, United States Army, “To be dismissed the service.”

II. . The foregoing proceedings, findings, and sentence are approved; but, exercising the discretion given by Article 89 of the Rules and Articles of War, the execution of the sentence is suspended until the pleasure of the President of the United States can be known, upon the recommendation of some members of the Court for a remission or mitigation of the sentence, this suspension and the proceedings of the Court Martial being transmitted to the President for his determination.

H. [Henry] W. [Wager] HALLECK



Washington, January 26, 1863

The following are the orders of the President:

The sentence in the foregoing case will be carried into execution by the dismissal of Major Justus McKinstry, Quartermaster, United States Army, from the service of the United States.


Washington, January 29, 1863

III. . The General Court Martial, of which Brigadier General P. St. George Cooke, is President, is dissolved.


L. THOMAS, Adjutant General

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Formerly Quartermaster Western Department

St. Louis 1862


Quartermaster General USA, Washington, D.C.:

St. Louis, June 2d, 1862


It is known to you that in November last, on my return from the Arkansas border, where I had been in command of a division of General [John Charles] Frémont’s corps d’armée, I was arrested by order of General [George Brinton] McClellan and was placed in close confinement at the St. Louis Arsenal. The order forbade communication with anyone. Before my own arrest, my chief clerk [H.W.G. Clements] and my cashier [William L. Hahn] were imprisoned, and the books and papers relating to my administration of affairs, as Chief Quartermaster of this Department, were seized and placed in the hands of irresponsible persons, beyond my control.

Up to this day, after a lapse of more than six months, I have not been informed upon what ground my arrest was made; and so far as I know, charges have not yet been preferred against me, unless the vagaries of Mr. S.T. [Samuel Taylor] Glover, hereinafter alluded to, are to be considered charges.

The Articles of War (art. 79), in providing that “no officer or solider who shall be put in arrest shall continue in confinement more than eight days, or until a court martial can be assembled,” seem to contemplate a speedy hearing; but, to accelerate matters, I asked for a trial, or a court of enquiry, immediately after my arrest. Some weeks having elapsed and no response to my request being given, I again demanded a hearing in some form, and have since made repeated applications of the same import, through the agency of friends, to the President [Abraham Lincoln], Secretary of War [Simon Cameron], and the Judge Advocate General [of the Army, Lorenzo Thomas]. All those efforts to obtain a hearing have been in vain and I am still under arrest, though on the 22d February last my limits were enlarged to this city.

In the meantime, besides individual assaults upon my character, portions of the public press have assailed me and the most foul and malicious slanders concerning me have been made public in two Congressional reports–one being that of the Special Investigating Committee of the House of Representatives, known as the “Van Wyck” Committee, and the other that of the Commission on War Claims at St. Louis.

I am not content to rest longer under such unjust and injurious imputations as have been cast upon me; but I feel it my duty to myself and my family to vindicate my honor and to expose the malice, the corruption, and the shameless violation of all rules of justice and even of decency which have been exhibited by the Committee and Commission and by individuals who have deemed it their interest to attempt to crush me. I therefore avail myself of my official connection with the Quartermaster’s Department to give to you, its chief, a brief history of my transactions and of the persecution to which I have been subjected.

In the early days of the rebellion, Messrs. F.P. Blair, Jr., Samuel T. Glover, James O. [Overton] Broadhead, John How, O.[Oliver] D. Filley, and one Witzig [Jean J. Witsig], organized themselves as a “Safety Committee,” at St. Louis. They were utterly ignorant of all that pertains to the conduct of military matters, but managed to obtain and assumed large control in this department. They made and unmade Generals as they pleased, and the frequent changes which occurred in the command were in great measure attributable to their influence. The shameless interference with the command of General [William S.] Harney by these parties, of which the public has been as yet but partially informed, exhibits the vicious influence of this “Safety Committee” and their supple instruments. They endeavored to dictate to General Frémont the course which he was to pursue, and when they found that he would not countenance their attempt to direct the administration of affairs for which he alone was responsible, they plotted his ruin.

I was not aware of the existence of the “Safety Committee” until a comparatively recent period; but I now know that I am not a little indebted to their machinations for the indignities which have been heaped upon me. In order to break down General Frémont, they probably found it necessary to assail me, and to make the assault successful they left no mean or cowardly expedient untried.

The spirit which governed this “Safety Committee” was well exhibited by Glover, who was the attorney of the Commission to adjust War Claims at St. Louis. I have recently been informed that, before he commenced the examination of my transactions, he declared publicly that I was a “God damned scoundrel and ought to be shot.” P.A. Ladue, Esq., a banker in this city, also authorizes me to state that, after examining him as a witness, Glover remarked to the Board in a tone of disappointment, “By God! We can’t prove anything against McKinstry.” He was evidently chagrined that he had failed, having prostituted his official position, by using it to further certain political and personal designs of himself and associates, without intending or desiring to ascertain the truth or to do justice.

Influences of this nature surrounded the Adjutant General during his visit to the West, and led him to make the positive but unfounded assertion in his report to the Secretary of War that my division was better supplied with transportation than any other in General Frémont’s army. General [Lorenzo] Thomas did not see my division, and there can be no excuse for his statement if he were not himself deceived. I refer to communications numbered from 1 to 6 (inclusive) in the appendix, to show how untrue the allegation was.

With the purposes and in the frame of mind above mentioned, Mr. Glover undertook to guide the secret workings of a Star-chamber. He and his comrades found willing coadjutors and tools in the Investigating Committee and the Commission. Mr. Washburne [Illinois Congressman Elihu], while on his way to St. Louis, declared, in the presence of Mr. Flanagan, now clerk in the Quartermaster’s office at Arlington, Virginia, that he was “after McKinstry.” My character was to be blasted, and it is not surprising to find that this modern Inquisition heard no testimony save that which suited their basely preconceived plans. It would strike most persons that I ought to have been called upon for explanations, if an honest investigation were intended. To show my desire and readiness to have my official conduct thoroughly examined, I furnish the following extract from a letter addressed by me, while in the field, to Mr. Clements, my chief clerk, as soon as I was informed that the Van Wyck Committee were at St. Louis.

Syracuse, Mo., October 22, 1861

DEAR CLEMENTS: Do whatever you think proper, and act for me and in my name before the Investigating Committee, now in session in St. Louis. If you have the opportunity, insist upon the most rigid examination. You know the business has been conducted honestly, and with an eye single to the interest of the Government. I shall march tomorrow. In haste, yours truly, J. McKINSTRY

The readiness of Mr. Clements to attend upon that committee is shown by his letters (Appendix, No. 7, 8 & 9). That committee, however, closed the door upon all fair and impartial investigations. They were “after McKinstry,” and the sequel shows that they did not, for an instant, lose sight of their purpose.

The officers of the department at Washington evidently thought I was entitled to a fair hearing, and intended I should have one; for the Adjutant General sent an order to General [Joseph Gilbert] Totten, which was afterwards turned over to Mr. S. T. Glover, requiring that I should be invited to explain to the commission, if I saw fit, “any account or transaction that seemed to need it.” This order was known to the commissioners, but they did not, nor did Mr. Glover, ever call on me for any explanations; nor did they afford me any opportunity to rebut any of their so-called proofs, taken ex parte, and in secret. Of course I had no reason to suppose that I was on trial before this commission which was appointed ostensibly to examine and adjust claims upon the Government; indeed, at the inception of their sittings, it was currently reported that the commissioners had stated that they had nothing to do with any investigation into my affairs; that they had no control over my books, and papers, &c. To show their shuffling and double-dealing in this matter, as well as to show any readiness and desire to have my transactions investigated (I cared not, if fairly done, by whom) I submit letters from General [Samuel Ryan] Curtis, the commissioners, Mr. Glover, my counsel Judge [John M.] Krum, and myself (Appendix, Nos. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19).

It is only surprising to me that, with the means at Mr. Glover’s hands, he and the committee and commission did not fabricate more calumnies than they did; and I am astonished that, after all their labors, their attorney could represent to the Government that I had been guilty of none but the following alleged offenses, viz:

1. That I paid too much for horses and could have bought them for less.

2. That horses were offered me at a lower price than $119, and that the owner was compelled to sell them to a contractor, because I would not give him an inspector. Similar charges were made about mules.

3. That I paid too much for camp kettles, mess pans, and tents.

4. That I bought bad shoes.

5. That I gave an undue price for axes, &c.

These, I am informed are all the accusations which Mr. Glover, unscrupulous and unprincipled as he is, was able to produce. It will be seen that no one of them imputes fraudulent conduct to me, but, at the worst, they amount merely to charges of carelessness, or want of judgment. A sufficient answer to them would be a comparison between the prices paid by me and those paid by my predecessors and successors in this market, and by other Quartermasters in other markets. And it is a singular fact that the practice pursued by me, in transacting the business of the Quartermaster’s department, which has been made the theme of so much misrepresentation and abuse, has been followed by my successor; and, further, I make bold to state, without fear of successful contradiction, that the vast purchases of army supplies made by me, under the most difficult and pressing exigencies of the service, were at prices more favorable to the Government than were paid at the same time in any other department; and, that the prices paid by me do not, as a general rule, exceed those paid by my successors for army supplies furnished to this department under more favorable circumstances. I do not fear to challenge investigation and comparison.

After all that has occurred, been said and done, and left undone, I shall be excused, I trust, if I go further than at the first blush may seem necessary, and notice the more prominent calumnies that have been attempted to be heaped upon me by the [Honorable Charles Henry] Van Wyck Committee and the Commission on War Claims. It will be recollected that the method of business adopted and pursued by me is made the subject of comment in both the reports referred to. It is alleged that I violated the law and usages of the Quartermaster’s department by making purchases without first advertising for proposals. As this is the groundwork upon which the greater portion, if not all, the accusations are based I will speak of this matter in this connection.

I will remark, in the first place, that this method has had the sanction of the Government since the commencement of the present war. At Washington, at New York, at Philadelphia, at Cincinnati, at Louisville, and all other places where large quantities of supplies have been bought, it has been found impossible to procure them in any other way; and it is another singular fact that I, of all the Quartermasters in the United States, am the only one in whom the practice is thought, by these wiseacres, to be reprehensible. Previous to the outbreak of the rebellion, St. Louis had not been a depot for army supplies. It was a point at which purchases had been made, under the orders of the Quartermaster General to fill the requisitions of officers at other posts. Timely notice of these requisitions was always given, and no injury to the service, or inconvenience to the troops, was occasioned by strictly pursuing the course of advertising for proposals, and afterwards making contracts for the articles to be purchases. This was invariably done while we had a regularly organized force of a known limit–and, under similar circumstances could always be done; but the circumstances under which I deviated from that course made the deviation necessary, and it was always, either under express orders, which I was bound to obey, or authorized by the army regulations.

The President’s proclamation of April 15, 1861, asking for seventy-five thousand three months’ volunteers, and the subsequent call for volunteers for three years, or the war, worked a radical change in the character of the business to be transacted in this department, as was the case, no doubt, in others.

A few weeks sufficed to crowd the city and the arsenal with new levies, who were entirely unequipped and for whose unexpected necessities no preparations had been made. I was destitute of everything required for their use. I could expect little or nothing from the East, as the energies of the Government were then taxed to supply the wants of the vast army collecting in the District of Columbia and Virginia. My quarterly abstract of property for the quarter ending June 30th will bear me out in the assertion that on April 15th, 1861, I had no clothing, camp, or garrison equipage on hand, and no horses, mules, or wagons for the supply of these troops. The respective governments of the loyal States aided largely in procuring outfits for their own volunteers. In Missouri, this could not be done. The State Government was disloyal, and many of its citizens were in open rebellion against the Federal authority. To add to the embarrassment, I had no money with which to make purchases, and the Government could not go into the market and buy on credit as responsible individuals could. I mean that small dealers, or even large ones, who were compelled to turn their capital over frequently, or to be certain of receiving their dues at a fixed time, would not sell to the Government on credit; but the same parties would have gladly made time sales to any leading mercantile house of reputed solvency. I was not able to assure anyone that I could certainly pay him upon any fixed day or in any given month, and without such assurance merchants were generally unwilling to part with their wares.

For the same reason it was useless to advertise for proposals, and often times the “public exigency” (Rev. Regulations paragraph 1048, page 155) would not permit the delay. The credit of the Government was low and the state of the market was such that proposals would have been made only by those much abused “middle-men” who could raise the means wherewith to buy for cash and wait indefinitely for their pay. It seems hardly necessary to remark that proposals under such circumstances would certainly not be so favorable to the Government as bargains which could be made privately with the very parties who would become bidders. It certainly appeared to me then, as it does now, that to employ these men of capital, or who could command capital, to step in and aid the Government by making purchases either for cash or on their own credit, and running their own risk as to the time of payment, and a possibly depreciation of the public funds, with the promise of a fair mercantile profit as their compensation, was the most judicious and economical plan to pursue.

The above remarks apply to a period subsequent to June 30th, 1861; for during the whole quarter ending on that day I purchased nothing but four thousand canteens, four thousand haversacks, eight hundred and forty-seven blankets, one hundred and thirty-two common tents, four hundred camp kettles, four hundred mess pans (the two last items by the way were bought of O.D. Filley, one of the “Committee of Safety”), some axes and other hardware. The demand for these things was sudden and pressing; a day’s delay would cause suffering or retard operations; and the “public exigency” was such that I would have violated my duty had I not bought them as I did.

I was expecting to receive from the large government depots at the east clothing, camp and garrison equipage and to have preparation made for transportation, before General [Nathaniel] Lyon would move his troops. There appeared to be no probability that he would take the field until these supplies could be obtained in the ordinary manner. Governor Jackson by his declaration of war on June 12th, 1861, caused General Lyon to send [General Franz] Sigel’s column to Springfield, and to proceed in person with another up the Missouri river on the 13th and 14th of the same month. Their land transportation had to be hired, few tents and no clothing had been issued to them, and in July, and from that time onward, their requisitions called for such immediate attention that there was no time at which the “public exigencies” did not demand the purchase of the articles they needed as quickly as I could procure them. In July, too, before General Frémont’s arrival, troops were dispatched from the city and arsenal to points threatened with danger at a moment’s notice. It invariably happened that the first intimation I would receive of a contemplated movement would be a requisition and order for the instant supply of quartermaster’s stores.

I have it in my power to show not only what efforts I made, and how cautiously I proceeded, but how strictly I obeyed my orders and how fully my course, in this matter, was sanctioned by my superiors. I will call attention to the following copies of letters, written prior to July 26, the date of General Frémont’s assumption of command:

By telegraph from

Philadelphia, April 27, 1861}


My orders are to furnish the Militia with such fatigue clothing as can be spared. The militia of this State and others are making clothing for themselves. I cannot send you the thousand (1,000) suits of fatigue uniforms at present and cannot say whether I shall be able to do it or not. You are hereby authorized to furnish the regular supplies of camp equipage, including tents. If you have them made in St. Louis write me fully, and telegraph if you can procure the camp equipage.


AQM General

Assistant Quartermaster’s Office

St. Louis, Mo., April 29th, 1861}


I have the honor to enclose herewith an estimate of funds. Demands are daily being made upon me, by the volunteer regiments mustered into service in this city and the State of Illinois. To enable me to meet them, and in the absence of a precise knowledge of what they want, my estimate is general for so much money. If it is decided that I am to furnish the clothing and camp equipage they require, the business would be facilitated by orders to the department in New York and Philadelphia to meet promptly my estimates for tent cloth, &c., &c., to be sent by express. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Bv. Major, AQM

To the Quartermaster General, USA, Washington, D.C.

Assistant Quartermaster’s Office

St. Louis, Mo., April 30th, 1861}


A tent manufacturer here says he alone holds the right to make the Sibley tent, and that his prices are the same as those charged in Philadelphia, with transportation added. I can make the old army tents at reasonable rates, and shall proceed to do so. Clothing could be manufactured here by the wives and daughters of volunteers in the service, at reasonable rates, provided the materials be sent me, from your city or New York. I understand from the Hon. Mr. Blair that he has suggested this arrangement to the Secretary of War. If the pressure upon the department at Philadelphia is too great to enable it to meet the wants of this department, and if the above arrangement meets your approval, I can get to work immediately upon the receipt of the first consignment of cloth. I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant.


Bvt. Major, AQM


USA, Philadelphia, Pa.

Assistant Quartermaster’s Office

St. Louis, Mo., May 1st , 1861}


The following is a copy of a telegram sent you today. “Will you send me, by express, cloth sufficient to manufacture 1,000 suits of fatigue clothing and also tent cloth sufficient for 500 common tents.” In explanation of the above, it is proper that I should say to you that the volunteers mustered in the service here are all from this city and all poor men. Unlike other States, no enthusiasm or popular feeling on the side of the Government has been awakened, leading people to subscribe money in aid of the volunteers; hence it becomes important that the Government should aid them promptly, with the allowance they are entitled to under the law. If you can furnish the cloth, I can clothe them at prices approximating, very closely, to the Philadelphia standard; and its making up will materially aid the wives and families of the volunteers, whom I propose to employ. I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant.


Bvt. Major, AQM


USA, Philadelphia, Pa.

Assistant Quartermaster’s Office

St. Louis, Mo., May 26th , 1861}


I have the honor to enclose herewith an estimate of funds required at this station. The large number of troops (10,000 men) stationed here require, as you are aware, large amounts of supplies and, in the present depressed state of business affairs, they can be purchased for cash far below the market. The difference of exchange between this city and New York is 15 percent. If I have to purchase the supplies required on credit, an additional 10 percent will have to be added. So you will readily perceive the advantage to the Government in purchasing for cash. I am, Major, very respectfully, your obedient servant.


Major E. [Ebenezer S.] SIBLEY, Acting Q.M. General

USA, Washington City, D.C.

Quartermaster General’s Office

Washington, D.C., June 4, 1861}


There were at Fort Ripley on the 30th of April last 178 mules, 7 oxen, 37 wagons, and 2 ambulances which, with the exception of the means of transportation authorized by general orders No. !3, War Department, June 17th, 1859, are available for the use of the troops, if required at St. Louis, or if not, for the forces further south. You will please order them to St. Louis to be disposed of as the Commanding General may direct. You are authorized, without reference to this office, under his direction, to procure such means of transportation as he may deem necessary, practicing a sound economy in making your purchases, and if the exigency is not immediate or pressing, conforming to the law and regulations in relation to the manner of making purchases and contacts for supplies. Ambulances and transport carts will, probably, also be required, especially in the event of a forward movement of the troops. If such be the case, please advise me, and I will, as soon as it can be done, send you one of each kind of ambulance designated in general Order, No. 1, January 19th, 1860, to be used in the public service as models from which others can be manufactured in St. Louis. In the meantime, if they should be wanted, you will, of course, for temporary purposes, hire such spring carriages as may be necessary. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. [Ebenezer S.] SIBLEY

Act. Qr. M. Gen., A.I.

Bvt. Major J. McKINSTRY

Asst. Qt. Mr. USA, St. Louis, Mo.

Quartermaster General’s Office

Washington City, June 25, 1861}

Major J. McKINSTRY, Quartermaster, St. Louis, Mo.


Your letter of the 18th, enclosing correspondence with Adjutant General [Colonel Chester] Harding [ Jr.] is received. The Department approves your course, as shown in these letters, but desires that, while the economy is tight, there be no room left for charging the failure of any military movement upon a want of promptness and efficiency in the Quartermaster’s Department. Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Quartermaster General

Assistant Quartermaster’s Office

St. Louis, Mo., June 26th , 1861 }


I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of a copy of your telegram of the 18th inst. (the telegraphic despatch was not received) instructing me to support General Lyon’s movements by all necessary aid from this Department and to advise, &c., in order that collision may be avoided, and improper orders, through inexperience, be prevented. The course therein indicated I have, from the first, considered it my duty to pursue. Nothing has been neglected that could be done without exceeding the power given me. But you will readily understand that in so hastily an organized force as that here collected, and officered, to a great extent, by men who do not understand the necessary regulations that govern the business of this Department, confused ideas exist among them. And it is not strange that attempts to instruct them in the regulations of the Department are often mistake for opposition and furnish groundless cause of complaint. My regard for the interest of the Department, and for my instructions, demand that I should require of them that the business of this office should be done in a proper manner and in strict conformity with the regulations, leaving responsibilities to be assumed by those who create them. I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Bvt. Major, AQM

Brig. Gen. M.C. MEIGS

QMG, USA, Washington, D.C.

Assistant Quartermaster’s Office

St. Louis, Mo., June 26th , 1861 }


I enclose herewith, for your information, a copy of a communication received from the Quartermaster General and have to state that you will find me at all times anxious and willing to aid, to the best of my ability, any line of policy the authorities have decided upon pursuing. In the absence of any officer of my Department that can be assigned to duty at the Arsenal, I shall keep there an experienced clerk to act as my agent. Requisitions and wants made known to this office will receive prompt attention. Very respectfully your obedient servant,


Bvt. Major, AQM


Act. Asst. Adj. Gen., Arsenal, St. Louis, Missouri

By telegraph from

Washington, June 29, 1861}

To Major J. McKINSTRY:

Your telegraph of the 28th in relation to transportation wagons, mules or horse, for two light batters, ten companies of cavalry, and five regiments of infantry, at Cairo, is received. Fill Gen. McClellan’s requisitions as soon as possible.


Q.M. General

By telegraph from

Grafton Va., June 28, 1861}

To Major J. McKINSTRY:

Please provide, at earliest possible day, wagons and mules, or horse, for two light batteries, two companies of cavalry, and five regiments of infantry, at Cairo.


Major Gen., USA

By telegraph from Washington, July 6, 1861}

To Bvt. Maj. Gen. McKINSTRY, AQM:

Procure and send to Rolla, Missouri, as many wagons and teams as may be required to transport supplies form that place to Springfield, for General Lyon’s command. Consult Assistant Adjutant General Harding as to the number that will be necessary, and spare no exertions to forward them at once. Make arrangements also to supply the animals with forage, at Rolla, and while employed in transporting supplies to Springfield, funds will be immediately forwarded to you.


Q.M. General

Arsenal, St. Louis, July 11, 1861


I wrote to Frank Blair asking him to see the Secretary of War and Chief of Ordinance about furnishing horses for [Major General Don Carlos] Buell’s battery, which is needed immediately. He answers: “In regard to the purchase of horses for Buell’s battery, the Secretary and Quartermaster General inform me that ample authority has been sent to the Quartermaster at St. Louis to buy anything and everything that is needed for the equipment and transportation of the troops in Missouri, without reference to the Department here, but upon the simple requisition of the Commander of the troops in Missouri. I am authorized by the Department to say that if wagons or horses or anything else is wanted that the Commander of the troops has only to make requisitions and it will be instantly complied with. If you will show this note to McKinstry I am very certain you will have no trouble.” Does not this leave artillery horses in the same category as before? Or could you conceive this to be authority to pass the ordnance by and buy as Quartermaster? I called to see you and would be much obliged if you would give me your advice and opinion on the subject. Very respectfully,




It was not my desire to purchase without advertising for proposals in any instance; and, until General Frémont’s arrival, I did so only to the limited extent and under the circumstances above mentioned. After he assumed the command, the operations of the Department became immensely large, and the public exigencies, as a consequence, were more imperative.

He soon collected a force that was enormous in comparison with the resources of the Department. He had in his Department about eighty thousand troops. The necessity of purchasing, without advertisement, whenever and wherever supplies could be obtained, now became constant, and was recognized, not only by the Commanding General, but by the highest military authorities in the land, and was in accordance with paragraph 1048 of the Regulations above referred to and here copied:

When immediate delivery or performance is required by the public exigency, the article or service required may be procured by open purchase or contract, at the places and in the mode in which such articles are usually bought and sold, or such services engaged, between individuals.

On the 29th July 1861, I was ordered to have at command, “during the next fortnight,” clothing, camp and garrison equipage for twenty-three regiments of Infantry, three regiments of Cavalry, and one regiment of Artillery. On the same day, I was directed to purchase five hundred sets of cavalry equipments for “tomorrow.” August 29th I was ordered to purchase in this city, and have ready to forward at once, clothing for six thousand men. August 31st, to purchase one thousand pants and the same number of jackets. September 4th, to contract for not less than one thousand wagons and the mules required for them, with the least possible delay (see Appendix, Nos. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28).

When I received the first order, I telegraphed to the Quartermaster General in regard to the matter and received a reply, in substance, that impossibilities could not be performed, and that the Department could not fill the requisition in the time named. General Frémont thereupon directed me to take immediate steps to furnish the articles called for, in the most expeditious manner.

In addition to the condition of the public credit, and of the market, and of the “public exigencies,” and peremptory orders which forbade the delay incurred by advertising, there was another cause operating to render the usual course out of the question.

It was the policy of the Government, and I was so instructed, to exclude all but men of known loyalty from the benefits of Government business. In a community like this, where a large part of the mercantile class was accused of entertaining disloyal sentiments, this policy, the wisdom of which has never been doubted, imposed still further restrictions upon competition; and political cormorants did not hesitate to take advantage of these embarrassments to direct those benefits into their own pockets or the purses of their friends, so far as they had the power to do so.

Notwithstanding all this, I made purchases and contracts without advertising only when the necessity for the supplies was apparent and pressing, or when acting under the orders of the Commanding General.

The Commission on War Claims, in their perverse and apparently predetermined anxiety to find something against me, have characteristically assumed that in these matters I acted upon my own responsibility and of my own mere impulse and whim. The assumption is, of course, false; and had they inquired of me, as they were ordered to do, or of my clerks, any explanation on the subject, they would have learned the fact that, do the best I could, I was not able to keep up with the peremptory orders which came to me from the Department Headquarters to purchase or contract for the horses, mules, wagons, clothing, &c., which were needed, and always needed on the instant, for use in the army.

If the Board desire to know the effect of such orders, even if illegally issued, I refer them to Major Robert Allen’s testimony, in the report of their co-laborers of the Congressional Investigating Committee, pp. 79 and following.

As examples of the extent of the demands upon me, and the promptness with which they were expected to be furnished, I cite the letters in the Appendix, marked from 20 to 29 inclusive; and, as one instance of the difficulty of obtaining, in large amounts, the requisite supplies, I refer to the dispatch of the Assistant Quartermaster General above set out, and to those of Captains [John H.] Dickerson and [P.T.]Turnley in the Appendix, Nos. 29 and 30.

The manner in which the Quartermaster’s business was done in this Department had been unavoidably adopted elsewhere; and even now (as I have already stated) when my successor has a large corps of Assistant Quartermasters and competent and experienced clerks, drawn form all parts of the country, at increased salaries, to aid him, and when the chief business is not to equip an immense army from the ground up, but merely to make good the losses and destruction of property occasioned by the casualties of war, the same method is, and must be, pursued. I am happy to be able to show by the letters of the President and Secretary of War that they were aware of, and gave countenance to, the course pursued by me.

Washington, September 10, 1861

J. McKINSTRY, Brigadier General and Quartermaster, St. Louis:

Permit me to introduce James L. Lamb, Esq.[headed large firm for merchandising and pork-packing] of Springfield Illinois. I have known Mr. Lamb for a great many years. His reputation for integrity and ability to carry out his engagements are both unquestioned, and I shall be pleased, if consistent with the public good, that you will make purchases of him of any army supplies needed in your Department. Your obedient servant,



Washington, September 9, 1861

J. McKINSTRY, Brigadier General and Quartermaster, St. Louis:


The bearer of this, James L. Lamb, Esq., of Springfield, Illinois, is the personal friend of the President, as well as my own. He is a gentleman of integrity and business capacity, and any engagement entered into will, no doubt, be faithfully carried out. As Illinois is bearing her burthen of the war, both in furnishing men and means, it is the desire of the Administration that the citizens of that State should have a fair share of the Government patronage dispensed in your Department. If you can do anything for Mr. Lamb, in purchasing your supplies, you will oblige, provided he will make his prices suit you. Your obedient servant,


Secretary of War


I refer, also, to the letters of a military gentleman, whose extensive service in the artillery must have given him an intimate acquaintance with the “rules and regulations governing the army. I mean Colonel, the Hon. F.P. Blair, Jr. These letters will be found in the Appendix, marked from 31 to 36, inclusive. See, also, letters from Ben. Farrar, Esq., United States Assistant Treasurer at St. Louis, to Hon. M. Blair, and to Colonel Blair (Appendix, No. 37 and 38), and the letter of the Hon. James S. Rollins, M.C. [Member of Congress] (Appendix, No. 39). Major Rollins’s letter throws some light upon the subject of the “Haskell” contract, and shows that, sometimes private parties engaged the services of middle men. I append a telegram and two letters from Brigadier General Thomas L. Price, M.C., touching the furnishing of mules (Appendix, No, 40, 41, and 42).

I have said thus much as to the system of contracts and purchases pursued by me, in common with Quartermasters at other points, and by my successor, because, as I have before said, I deem it the ground work of nearly all the attacks contained in the two reports. I trust that I have satisfactorily shown that I am upheld by the regulations and by my instructions and orders. I close this branch of the case by referring to your own express approval of my conduct, after you had given to it a personal examination, while you were in this city in September last. You did me the honor to state that I had evinced ability, energy, and economy.

I will not pay attention to the complaints of the Committee and Commission that “middle men” were allowed contracts. The logic of the two distinguished Boards would restrict Quartermasters to dealing with producers and manufacturers only. However pressing the public emergency, the Quartermaster of this Department must not (unless at the risk of being censured and maligned) buy clothing, &c., of those who kept the articles for sale or could furnish them (but were not manufacturers) because, forsooth, they would make a profit on their sales to the Government! Anyone of common sense would naturally conclude that the question with every Quartermaster would be, what are the most favorable terms the required article can be obtained for? If supplies could be obtained of “middle men” at lower rates than of manufacturers, the duty of a Quartermaster would be very plain; and even if at not better rates, the Government would sustain no injury by buying of “middle men”?

The very sagacious Committee and Commission assume what was not the case, viz: that I could have purchased of manufacturers in this Department on more favorable terms than I did of parties who furnished supplies. In this assumption they exhibit their utter ignorance of the kind and extent of the manufacturing interests in St. Louis. If these closeted fault-finders had taken the trouble to examine the vouchers and bills that were before them, they would have noticed a long list of articles, costing in the aggregate immense sums of money, not one of which is manufactured in St. Louis; and of many of the articles that are manufactured here probably not one-tenth of the quantity required could have been furnished in time. Further comment is unnecessary. The oft-repeated story of “middle men” is mere twaddle, and unworthy of serious refutation. Anyone at all familiar with the course of business of the practice of the Government must see that the learned Commission, in their dissertation on “middle men,” have “strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel.”

Let us suppose a case. If a General commanding a Department should deem it necessary to move his army immediately, and should order the purchase of an immense number of horses and mules, the Quartermaster, according to the sage opinions expressed in the two reports, must first advertise for proposals, and reject all bids except those of “farmers and small dealers in the country” (Report, 8) or, if he did not advertise he should await the chance arrival of the grower with his five or ten head of stock. And, however anxious the faithful Quartermaster may be to fill the order with the least possible delay, to meet the public exigency, yet he must not deal with men who have the means and facilities to go through a widely extended country and procure the animals needed!

The path marked out by the Committee and Commission would be easy to follow if immense numbers of men, suddenly called to the field, did not require horses, mules, clothing, cooking utensils, tents and the like, or if the enemy would postpone his operations until we had accumulated all the transportation we required by the means indicated.

And it is singular, taken in this connection, that the Commission should have objected to my purchasing clothing of R. Keiler & Co., on the ground that they were retail dealers in the articles. It is untrue, in fact, that R. Keiler & Co. were retail dealers, in the sense which the committee intend the assertion to be understood. They do custom work, but, as is well known in St. Louis, they manufacture clothing, and supply it to other dealers, in large quantities.

The Board call S.P. Brady, a commission and forwarding merchant, one of the most “marked of the middle men” and “allowed him not profit whatever,” because he was not “a dealer in any of the articles furnished by him to the Government,” although they add, “It is but justice to Mr. Brady to state that the percentages charged by him to the Government were much more moderate than those of any other middle man that came under out notice.” Was not John How [a member of the Committee], leather manufacturer and dealer, a middle man by the same rule which was applied to [Pascal P.] Child, Pratt & Fox, hardware dealers? Was it any more in his “line of business” to furnish overcoats than it was in theirs to supply canteens and knapsacks? Were not half the persons whose claims passed the Commission without objection “middle men”? Most simple people would say that Mr. How ought to have been compelled to relinquish his profits on his sales of articles in which he did not deal, if Mr. Brady and Child, Pratt & Fox could be allowed none for similar sales.

The Commission didn’t see it in that light, however, but while they would not allow Mr. Brady, and Child, Pratt & Fox anything for their labor and capital, they passed Mr. How’s claim without question and without requiring the Quartermaster’s certificate to it! To show the glaring inconsistency of the Commission, allow me to state the facts: Mr. How obtained $10.50 for his overcoats. Brady, in his claim, demanded but $9.50 for the same article, delivered at about the same time. It must be borne in mind, too, that Mr. Brady furnished overcoats at a period when our troops greatly needed them and the market could not supply the demand; that both he, Child, Pratt & Fox, Mr. How, and other “middle men” invested their money or credit in providing the Government with these things when the latter had very little of either money or credit to spare in St. Louis. It was fortunate that the Government found “middle men”–capitalists–who would wait for payment. Its credit was not at that time available, and it was not until Child, Pratt & Fox, Pomeroy and Benton, one or two other concerns evinced their faith in the solvency of the national treasury that other leading merchants in St. Louis would take the risk of making sales.

There was one objection to Mr. Brady’s claim, which appears on the face of the report, “he was an old friend and favorite of McKinstry.” That settled him.

There was one merit which Mr. How’s claim had, but which the Commissioners omit to state. Mr. How had parted with his interest in it, having assigned it to the firm of R. Campbell & Son, of which concern Hugh Campbell (one of the Commissioners) was a member. This, doubtless, insured its passage without reduction.

I shall not refer to the Brady matter again, but call attention to his affidavit (Appendix 45) and to that of Mr. Mandelbaum (Appendix 46). The President [Abraham Lincoln] and Secretary of War [Simon Cameron], in their letters copied above, seem to think that an unquestionable reputation for integrity and ability to carry out his engagements is sufficient warrant for a Quartermaster to deal with the man who possesses it. I supposed so too, and when, as I have already show, the Government had neither the credit nor the money to buy with as responsible individuals could of men of small means, I considered it a lucky circumstance to find individuals and firms of unquestionable reputation for integrity and ability to carry out their engagement, who were willing to buy and collect together the materials of war and sell them to the Government with no other condition than that, for their trouble and the use of their skill, judgment, and capital they should receive a “fair mercantile profit” when the Government was ready to pay them. I found many such individuals and firms in St. Louis and have dealt with them under circumstances requiting it. The Commission, however, did single out a few by name and try to create the impressions that these did all the business to the exclusion of others, and that all the business they did was done with me. It was know to them that I also bought largely of Field Brothers, J.B. Sickles & Co., Corbet & Kuhn, Warne, Cheever & Co., Pomeroy, Benton & Co., and other leading houses, while of the claims presented by the individuals and firms mentioned by the Commission, a large number were created during the administration of my successors. For instance: I bought of R. Keiler & Co. goods to the amount of $77,100.85; Captain Rankin, $270, 410.23; Major Allen, $69, 422.75. Evidence of this was before the Commission. They seized Keiler & Co.’s books and papers and, besides the proof they afforded, the fact was testified to by witnesses. Yet, in their unscrupulous zeal, they suppress the truth and render themselves morally guilty of perjury in order to injure me.

Before I was aware of Mr. How’s position as one of the Safety Committee, I had made considerable purchases of him. He was not averse to an increase of these dealing, as appears by the proposition of himself and Mr. Gurnee contained in Appendix No. 48. It may be that the rejection of the offer had something to do with the subsequent course of Mr. How and his friends upon the “Committee,” and if I had given him the desired contract, probably the country would not have heard so much about “middle men” and “go-betweens.”

I append my answer to Messrs. How and Gurnee’s proposition (No. 49). It will be seen that I therein expressed my views in regard to the propriety of entering into such contracts. These would-be contractors applied to General Frémont to order me to comply with their wishes, and, had they succeeded in procuring such an order, I would have obeyed it, as I did in other cases. The General did not see fit to oblige them, in the premises, and the contract was never entered into. How much this disappointment affected the subsequent course of Mr. How and the Chicago Tribune, in which the last named concern Mr. Gurnee is said to be a stockholder, I leave for others to determination.

The Commission seized the books, papers, and correspondence of Child, Pratt & Fox likewise, and they knew when they signed their report that Captain Rankin, Major Allen, and other parties had continued to buy of them after I ceased to have control. Why did they not censure them? Of the claims of Child, Pratt & Fox, before the Commission, the following is a statement, viz:

  • Purchases made by me $374,573.67
  • Purchases made by Captain Rankin 140,827.08
  • Purchases made by Major Allen 29,125.39
  • Purchases made by other parties 5,281.61
  • Yet the Committee and [the] Commission strive to make it appear that the corruption of this form was so marked that no one but me, who was an accomplice, would have anything to do with them. As another instance of the sort of justice which was meted out by the Commission, I will mention that Child, Pratt & Fox bought, in August 1861, for cash, of R. Campbell & Co. (of which firm Hugh Campbell, one of the Commissioners, was a partner)–

  • 82 blankets at $6.50 per pair
  • 23 blankets at 5.50 per pair
  • 257 blankets at 8.00 per pair
  • These blankets were bought for the Government and were turned over to me. The credulous “middle men” believed that upon producing the original invoices of R. Campbell & Co. they could at least obtain the cost price of articles which they had paid for months before, inasmuch as there was a gentleman on the Commission who must know that the prices were fair and reasonable, and the goods of fair quality. They were mistaken, however. Mr. Hugh Campbell, merchant, and Mr. Hugh Campbell, commissioner, were two distinct characters. He sold blankets at $8.00 in the one capacity, but in the other he couldn’t persuade his conscience to allow the Government to pay more than $4.331/3, and at that rate the claim of Child, Pratt & Fox was adjusted.

    At another place in this communication, I shall take occasion to notice the remarks of the Commissioners touching Mr. Fox’s alleged agency in my being retained at this post as Quartermaster. I will now simply state that I never knew the firm of Child, Pratt & Fox, or any member of it, until I was assigned to duty in this city. I became acquainted with them, and more particularly with their junior partner, Mr. Fox, in consequence of their having always been the lowest bidder for hardware, when I had occasion to advertise for proposals; and, as I have before remarked, I never made purchases except upon advertisement, prior to the commencement of the war. The house certainly had a high standing in St. Louis–none had a better reputation, so far as I know.

    I was not anxious to deal with R. Keiler & Co., as appears by my letter to Captain Littler (Appendix 51). They were not only large manufacturers but dealt extensively in clothing, both at wholesale and retail, and I am aware of no reason why I should not have bought from them such articles as they could furnish and the troops required.

    The experience and business qualifications of S.P. Brady appear from his own history of himself, and his high position and irreproachable character are made manifest by the certificates of the Hon. Lewis Cass [former Governor of Michigan Territory, Secretary of War, and Senator] and Judge Ross Wilkins [Eastern District of Michigan].

    “Jim Neill”[James B. Neill] was a stranger to me until Frank P. Blair, Jr., introduced him to me as his “personal friend” and a “sound Union man.” Mr. Blair, also, recommended J.H. Bowen and Charles M. Elleard. In fact, the Representative of the St. Louis District sent more applicants to me than any other ten men in the country.

    J.S. Pease is stated by the Committee and Commission to be a “brother-in-law” of mine. They knew better, for it was in proof before them that he is not connected with me by blood or marriage; and that I had no acquaintance with him until I was stationed here. He, too, was a respectable commission merchant in good repute.

    Now, I ask, if in the avalanche of business which came upon me, it became necessary not only to find men who had the means to assist the Government in its time of need, but in whom I could confide to aid me in doing that which no mortal man could accomplish alone, why should I not have placed faith in the persons and firms alluded to? If, in any instance, I have been deceived, and the Government has been defrauded (which I deny), I can only say that I exercised all the caution and judgment which I could have used to prevent such an occurrence.

    Perhaps I should not have placed trust in Mr. Blair’s “personal friends;” but if the good names which the merchants with whom I dealt had acquired in the community furnished no grounds for reliance upon their integrity, I am at a loss to know what rule could have guided me. The frauds so freely charged by the Committee and Commission, against a few individuals and firms, it will be observed, necessarily implicate a large number of merchants, manufacturers, and traders who, previous to these reports, enjoyed the reputation of being honest men. It is not my province to undertake their defense, and I shall leave the injured parties to see to it themselves.

    As far as the charges or insinuations that I was in any way interested with the “middle men” are concerned, I reply that they are false in every particular. There was no testimony before the Committee or Commission tending to show any such thing. Even Glover can’t screw his courage to the point of making such a charge. It was reserved to a committee, whose chairman was turned out of the War Office for making dishonorable proposals to the Secretary, and has since been arrested by General McClellan for appropriating property of the Government to himself and his regiments, and to a set of commissioners, led by a tricky and unscrupulous lawyer, to manufacture these accusations out of whole cloth. I append affidavits relating to this subject, although the absence of everything like proof to show guilty conduct on my part would seem to render such exhibits unnecessary.

    A still more unfounded and reckless statement of the Committee is found on page 113 of [the] Report. In speaking of the service of [silver] plate presented to Mrs. McKinstry, the Committee say, “Contractors were told by those soliciting contributions that if they did not contribute they would have trouble in collecting their dues from the Government.” To uphold this statement, they garble and falsely report the testimony of Almon Thompson, as will be seen by his affidavit (Appendix, No. 75)

    The presentation was made after I ceased to be Quartermaster and within a few hours of my departure for Memphis. The inscription on the plate shows that it was a token of regard for my services as Provost Marshal. To show the character of the contributors, and the motives that influenced them, I refer to the testimony of J. [James] B. Eads, Esq. [Union Marine Works], page 958 [of the Report].

    Having disposed of the objections that I bought without advertising for proposals, and that I dealt with “middle men,” I will notice some of the specifications found in both reports. It is strange that with the same testimony before them, their distortions and perversions of testimony should have let the Committee and Commission to such different results; but I presume that it is difficult for two sets of people not acting in concert to make up the same falsehoods, even though they have a common purpose. I regret their want of harmony, for it compels me to notice their reports separately. I will first take up that of the Committee of Investigation.

    Upon pages 52 and 53 [of the Report] will be found copied an order which I gave to Livingston, Bell & Co., of New York, for clothing. It appears sufficiently from the letters and instructions set out that I had the authority to give this order and that the public exigency demanded it. I call attention to it for one purpose only, that is, to have it noted how carefully unreasonable prices were guarded against. It is provided in the order that “the cost of manufacture, material, and transportation” should be furnished, and that the Quartermaster would allow them “a fair mercantile profit” thereupon. The result has shown that by this means the Government obtained a quantity of good clothing at prices lower than has generally been paid for similar articles in this or any other Department.

    At page 82 the Committee state that they “found that the most astounding and unblushing frauds had been perpetrated in the purchase of horses and mules, made by the Quartermaster’s Department; and the evidence left no doubt on their minds that the Quartermaster was in collusion with corrupt and unprincipled men who combined together to swindle the Government. In these purchases, fraud was perpetrated in every possible way. In the first place, matters were so arranged that it was impossible for the original owners to sell horses or mules directly to the Government, but all such sales were made by certain middle men and go-betweens, who, it appears, alone could get any horses or mules taken by the Quartermaster’s Department.”

    This extraordinary charge deserves but one reply: it is a malicious and deliberate falsehood. There is nothing even in the reported testimony to justify the conclusion of the Committee; but, in reporting the testimony, they suppressed the statements of some witnesses, and garbled and perverted those of others, in the hope that careless readers would be misled. The Committee state truly that $119 was fixed as the maximum price for horses and mules, but it is not true that $150 was fixed as the price of artillery horses. I will explain how this standard came to be adopted. After having advertised for proposals to furnish animals of the above description, the various bids were opened on the 4th of July, 1861. It had previously been intimated to me (and the bids seemed to confirm the intimation) that the “legitimate dealers” had made a combination to keep up the prices.

    T.T. January proposed to furnish cavalry horses at $125; James Ashbrook required $125 for mules; Thornton & Pierce and Lawrence Mathews claimed $125 for horses and $130 for mules; James B. Neill (Blair’s “personal friend,” “Jim Neill”) demanded $130 for cavalry horses; J.H. Bowen’s price was $119 for horses and mules, while that of Asa S. Jones was $119.50. The original bids are on file in the office of the Quartermaster General. Bowen’s bid was the lowest, and was as low as horses and mules of the required standard could be furnished to me in this city, and much lower than had been previously paid. The contract was awarded to Bowen and Jones at $119 per head. They were not “legitimate dealers” any more than How or other dealers of that class, but were still able to collect and bring to me all the animals specified in their contract, at a considerably lower cost than the “horse men” considered reasonable.

    I do not know how much the contractors paid to the farmers and stock raiser, but I do know that $85, $108, and $110 per head (if they did, in fact, procure their horses and mules for those prices) at the farm yards in the interior, left no magnificent margin by the time the animals were inspected and accepted in this city. The Committee strive to create the impression that, because the “original owner” was content to take less than $119 at the gate of his own stock yard, no allowance should be made for the expense of feeding and transporting the animals to the city, and that the services of the “go-betweens,” in collecting here a horse and there a mule, until they had filled their contract, were not worthy of compensation! Why, if I had hired and sent to the country enough Quartermaster’s agents to by and bring in the number of horses and mules required, within the eight days which were given to Bowen and Jones for completing their undertaking, the actual cost to the Government would have been fully up to, if it did not exceed, the figures determined upon by the “legitimate dealers.” The contract was entered into in quadruplicate, duplicates of which were sent to the Quartermaster General, with full information as to the circumstances under which it was made. The price was lower than the Government was then paying in Washington; and as I never heard that any objection was made by my superiors to my action in the premises, I take it for granted that it met with their approval. From the paper itself (appendix, No. 52), it will be seen that $119 was the price agreed upon for cavalry and artillery horses and for mules.

    After this contract was made, I had no occasion to purchase horses until I was ordered to do so by General Frémont, Department Commander. I subsequently purchased animals without advertising, and to avoid combinations which I feared, I let it be generally let it be known that I would pay $119, and no more, for horses and mules which could pass inspection. Bowen and Jones had been able to furnish them at that price, and judging form what I knew of the market, as well as from the offers of “legitimate dealers,” I was then confident, and am now certain, that the Government could not have been supplied at a lower average rate.

    It is true that I paid $150 a head for some artillery horses, furnished to General Lyon by Messrs. Harkness and Giles F. Filley, for the First Regiment of Missouri Artillery. Upon the representations of Col. Blair, and at his solicitation, General Frémont authorized me to pay $150 each for artillery horses. After this was done, Col. Blair as may be seen (Appendix, No. 38) aided “busted-up” John Farrar in obtaining a contract to furnish artillery horses at that price. I, however, had nothing to do with determining these prices, and only paid them upon the express orders of Generals Lyon and Frémont to do so. The men who pocketed $150 each for horses, Harkness and Filley, are the same men who figure largely as tale bearers before the Committee and Commission. They will receive proper notice hereafter.

    The heaviest orders to purchase horses and mules (for instance that to Mr. L. Haskell, who, it appears, was merely acting for others) did not emanate from me. I had nothing to do with them, further than to have the animals inspected and to give vouchers for them, if they were accepted. At the same time, however, the amount which I had fixed, upon the basis of the Bowen bid, still controlled, and has saved the Government a large sum which would otherwise have found its way into the pockets of the “legitimate dealers,” such as How & Co. In confirmation of this, I mention that it was proved before the Commissioners that a lot of mules offered for inspection under the Haskell contract, and rejected, were afterwards, and after I ceased to act as Quartermaster, sold to the Government at an increased price of $7.00 each.

    “But,” say the Van Wyck Committee, “the fraud in the manner of purchase was only one of a series of frauds in that connection. There was fraud in the inspection. By the indulgence of a ‘generous confidence’ the favored individual, who had the good fortune to have the right kind of authority to buy horses for the Government, either inspected himself or was permitted to select his own inspector, which, of course, resulted in a corrupt inspection.”

    This charge is utterly and basely false. There was no credible testimony before the Committee which gives an apology for making it. Upon the files of the Quartermaster General is the name of every inspector employed by me; and the Committee were also furnished with a list of all the inspectors, verified by the affidavit of my chief clerk. No one of them was interested in any contract, so far as I know, yet, even if it were shown that some of the persons employed as inspectors were dishonest, on what ground can I be charged with complicity in their rascality? It is amazing that, without proof, the Committee accuse me of such conduct. The same witnesses who state that I allowed “Jim Neill” to inspect his own horses, discredit their own testimony by swearing to a foolish untruth in respect to branding horses. The Committee, instead of disbelieving the evidence on this subject, found another charge upon it, as follows:

    “There was also fraud in branding horses. For instance, a horse would be bought and branded as a cavalry horse, to be put in to the Government at $119, and when the back of the seller was turned, another brand would be put on him, by the inspector, as an artillery horse, to be put in at $150; the Government thus handsomely defrauded out of the difference” (page 85 of Report).

    The perjury of the witnesses, and the stupidity or malice of the Committee, appear when it is considered that there is no such thing as a cavalry or artillery brand. Public animals have no brand affixed to them excepting the letters “U.S.,” burned into the left fore shoulder. The bugaboo story, therefore, of branding horses twice for the purpose of making them artillery horses is dispelled into “thin air.”

    And now, a word in respect to the much abused “Jim Neill.” As “a man is known by the company he keeps,” and as Neill was a “personal friend” of Colonel Blair, everyone had a right to assume that Jim was as honest, respectable, and trustworthy as Blair himself, and nothing has occurred to change my estimate of the character of either of them. Neill was never an inspector, and if Ganshorne and Everett (as the Van Wyck Committee state) testified he was, they swore falsely (vide affidavits of Neill, Appendix, Nos. 53 and 54).

    Patrick Brenner is also represented to have testified that he “saw them brand my (his) horse as an artillery horse after they had bought him as a cavalry horse.” This is as absurd as it is false, and is on a par with the cock and bull figment of the Committee about double or twice branding of horses.

    The Committee aver that the testimony of Broadhead, [Robert W.] Peay, and McPike connect “the Quartermaster and two of his confederates, Pease and Neill, with a gross and palpable fraud upon the Government.” And, again, that “by this collusion between the Quartermaster’s department and Neill and Pease, the Government was defrauded out of the difference between $110 and $119 on 290 mules.”

    I call particular attention to Peay’s own testimony before the War Claim Commission on this subject, and to the affidavits of Messrs. Neill and Pease and of Mr. Blakely, who is stated in the record to have been present at the time of the alleged sale to me (Appendix, Nos. 55 and 56). The fact was that Neill had an order to furnish mules at $119 a head, and through assistance of Pease, bought Peay’s mules. Peay never sold, or offered to sell, them to me at any price; nor did I know what price he asked or obtained. By advancing money to Neill for the purpose of enabling him to purchase, Pease acquired an interest in the sale, and at Neill’s request, the voucher was handed to Pease. Peay had no dealing, direct or indirect, with me; nor did I in any way know him as connected with the transaction.

    I direct notice to the answer of James O. Broadhead, whom the Committee assert to be “of the highest character and responsibility.” When asked by Mr. Dawes, “then is not the transaction, in effect, this: that your client sold his mules to McKinstry for $110 a piece, and by some management that you do not know of, at the Quartermaster’s department, the title was put into Neill, and the mules passed to the Government at $119 a head?” Mr. Broadhead, notwithstanding he is a lawyer, and should know the value of hearsay testimony, does not hesitate to reply positively: “That is it;” and yet, from his own account, it is evident that he did not know a single fact in the case. He swore to conclusions drawn from Peay’s statements to him.

    Again: the Committee say that a horse and mule man by the name of Harkness testified that “whoever was fortunate enough to get an order from the Quartermaster for the purchase of horse, got an inspector of his own selection appointed.” The Committee also say that this man Harkness testified, with great positiveness, that I “allowed the beef contractor, under a contract, to supply 25 to 30,000 men at 4.04 [cents] per pound, to actually supply only small quantities (for example: one day only 552 pounds) and gave orders specially to other parties to supply the Arsenal, Marine Hospital, and the different camps at 7 and 8 cents per pound.”

    The Committee had the prudence to pass over, without comment in their report, this portion of Harkness’s testimony, knowing, as they doubtless did, when they received the false and scandal-monger statement, that I had nothing to do with the beer and other articles furnished by the Commissariat.

    I should do injustice to the Van Wyck Committee, and be wanting in candor, if I should omit to say, en passant, that I receive their statement of the evidence before them with distrust, bordering on disbelief. And not without cause, for it is known that the Committee has been publicly charged with the crime of suppressing some and garbling other proportions of the evidence given before them, both here and elsewhere.

    If Harkness gave the evidence ascribed to him, he is, the say the least, a swift witness. And he seems to have been regarded with great favor by the Committee. Unfortunately for this pet of the committee, every material statement of his, including what he says in regard to the inspection of horses by John Keller, is basely false.

    I append the affidavits of Mr. Keller and Mr. Flanagan (vide Appendix, Nos. 57 and 58).

    A brief statement of facts will show the animus that prompted both Harkness and G.F. Filley in their swearing assault on me before the Van Wyck Committee. While General Lyon was in command of this department, Filley and Harkness presented a claim to me for payment for 50 or 60 horses, at $150 each, representing at the same time that Captain Lyon had given them an order authorizing the purchase of the horses at that price. As they produced no order or authority from anyone, I declined payment. On investigation of the matter, I found that they had, by misrepresentation and falsehood, attempted (to use the language of the Committee) to defraud the Government by obtaining an exorbitant price for horses they had never sold. I promptly charged them with their attempted deception and peremptorily refused to pay their exorbitant demand. Of course, I incurred their displeasure, which they seem to have fostered into ill-will.

    This is the same Giles F. Filley who was detected in a very weak attempt to practice a deception upon me, in making proposals to furnish camp kettles and mess pans, and this, in part, may account for his hostility. On the 18th September 1861, he offered, in writing, to furnish 2,000 camp kettles at 421/2 cents, and 5,000 mess pans at 271/2 cents each. On the following day, his clerk, G.W. Bell, in his own name (but, of course, in concert with Filley) offered to furnish the same articles, viz: camp kettles at 13 cents and mess pans at 151/2 cents per pound. I annex these offers (Appendix, Nos. 55 and 56). Mr. Filley, manifestly, had not horror of a go-between then, nor does it seem that any petty deception stood in his way if, thereby, he could drive a bargain. At that time, I had on hand a supply of those articles and, in point of fact, did not purchase either of those articles from anyone. I declined to purchase of Filley and gave him my reasons for declining. This fact he does not mention; but he and the Committee leave it to inference that, after he sold the articles to Child, Pratt & Fox, they sold them to me. Filley says I declined to buy of him, and he sold the articles to Child, Pratt & Fox, and that afterwards the Government bought, &c. Now, it was well known to Filley, when he gave his testimony, that the camp kettles and mess pans he sold to Child, Pratt & Fox, they sold to C.P. Chouteau, or P. Chouteau, Jr., & Co., who in turn, sold them to Captain Turnley, my successor. How easy it would have been for Mr. Filley, if he had been so disposed, to prevent a false impression by stating the whole truth.

    But this is not all I have to say of Mr. Filley. If he testified as he is reported by the Committee (page 522, et seq.), he gave false testimony in respect to his offer to me to seel camp kettles and mess pans. The copy of his proposition (Appendix, No. 59) is from the original. It is not as published by the Committee, over the signature of “Giles F. Filley by Bell;” and he cunningly withholds the proposition made by his book-keeper, G.W. Bell (Appendix, No. 60). The proposal of Filley is introduced by the Committee for the purpose of supporting their charge that I could have purchased such articles at a less price. This question was tested before the Commissioners on Claims. They allowed $13 per dozen for camp kettles and $6.50 per dozen for mess pans, which is full 20 percent higher than I paid to anyone for such articles.

    Again: On page 526 they continue with Mr. Filley, and in answer to the question, “The man you sent made a proposition to do work for a given price?” he says, “Yes sir; for $3.50 per square of 100 feet, but it was not accepted. Afterwards, a contract was made with Thomson at $4.50, and he sublet it at $3.50. You [General Meigs], sir, have the contract before you. It appears by its terms that the contract with Thomson was for $3.50, and it is in evidence that he never sublet it, but did the work himself. Mr. Filley, therefore, stands convicted of having sworn that to be the fact of which he had knowledge, or has deliberately sworn to a falsehood, either being perjury.

    Again: At page 527, in answer to the question, “Do you know anything further in reference to contracts with the Government?” Mr. Filley says: “When I heard that Benton Barracks were to be erected, William Patrick, a lumber dealer, although he had not the kind of lumber the Government wanted, offered to furnish the Government by charging three percent commission on the lumber for the barracks. But McKinstry could not entertain a project of that kind, but bought the lumber for from fifty cents to one dollar a thousand more than what he could have furnished it for.”

    The evident object of Mr. Filley as to lead the Committee to believe that I had paid from fifty cents to a dollar more for the lumber than it would have cost had I dealt with Mr. Patrick. You are aware, sir [General Meigs], from the accounts in your office, that the price paid for the lumber was $12 per thousand, and no more; but I will call Mr. Patrick to the stand, to throw more light on this subject. At pages 653 and 654 of the report, Mr. Patrick states that he met Filley; that Filley asked him what he could furnish the lumber for; that the witness couldn’t answer just then; that the witness looked around that evening and found that he could buy it for twelve or thirteen dollars, and would charge three percent commission for doing so.

    Question. Was $12 a reasonable price?”

    Answer. I think the lumber was furnished extremely low. The old lumber dealers had all quit their business, and the men who furnished the lumber are new men, who took the lumber last year for debts and piled it up. They sold it very low; below the market price two or three dollars. I am getting two or three dollars more for the lumber I furnish to the contractors who are building the fortifications and barges.”

    Such is the testimony of Mr. Patrick before the Van Wyck Committee. It disposes of Mr. Filley, and proves the economy of my purchases, as well as the worthlessness of Filley’s testimony.

    But what shall be said of an Investigating Committee who could found charges against anyone upon evidence which was proved before them to be false?

    Charles M. Elleard, who, as I have before said, was recommended to me by Colonel Frank P. Blair, is next made to figure. The Committee say that my suggestion to Elleard that Brady should join him in furnishing two thousand horses, is “corrupt in its tendency and purpose, and prejudicial in the last degree to the public interest.” If they had stated what the “purpose” was, I should have nothing to say. Mr. Brady was the President of a Stock Association. Elleard was the proprietor or a race track and large grounds near this city. The number of horses to be furnished was large, and I suggested to Elleard that “he and Brady had better work together,” because each with his own peculiar advantage could assist the other, and serve instead of prejudicing the “public interests.”

    Again, the Committee strive to make it appear that those horses were all furnished, and the profits in their sale to the Government were all made, at one time. The dealings referred to embraced several contracts or orders, and extended through a period of two or more months (see Elleard’s affidavit, Appendix, No. 61).

    As to the $5,000 alleged to have been left in my hands for Bowen, I refer to the affidavits of Hahn [89], Thompson, and Bowen [81]for a full explanation of the occurrence and complete refutation of the charge.

    I have shown that I had nothing to do with making the Haskell-Rollins contract, although I did send an inspector to inspect the mules, as requested by Major Rollins (see his letter, Appendix, No. 39).

    The Committee introduce Jno. D. Perry for the purpose of showing, I suppose, that he sold his mules to me. Haskell then had his large order to fill, and at that time I did not believe that more mules would soon be needed than he had undertaken to furnish. It is an entire mistake, unintentional, I hope, on the part of Perry, in saying that he sold his mules to me. He sold to Haskell, as the accounts in my office show. The Committee, strangely enough, omit to mention that Perry received $119 each for his mules!

    “Even Holt” could not charge me with any responsibility in the matter of the fortifications at St. Louis. I deem it proper, however, to call attention to a communication on the subject from General Frémont to me (Appendix, No. 62) and to state that duplicates of the contracts which I signed, by General Frémont’s orders, were immediately forwarded to your offices at Washington, as required by the regulation, I thus performed my duty in the premises, and your department was duly informed of my agency in the matter, and the correction, if any was required, could have been applied without the agency of committees.

    It is upon the evidence of this kind that the Committee, without examining further into a transaction which could have been made as clear as day, found these accusations.

    The Committee comment on an offer made to me by Thomas Hood to furnish picket pins. They do not notice the fact that the offer was made on the 9th of April 1861, before the bombardment of Fort Sumter, and before the President called for volunteers. They knew, but it did not suit their purposes to state, that his offer was one of several made in response to an advertisement for proposals. They ignore another fact, too, in the evidence before them, viz: That Hood’s sample of picket pins had no swivel head, and, consequently, was of little value, either intrinsically or with regard for which they were needed–I mean for the cavalry in New Mexico. The bid which was accepted was for a picket pin with a swivel head, and was worth three or four times the price demanded for the other. All the bids were sent to the Quartermaster General, according to the requirements of law, and no complaint or disapproval of the award was made. The encouragement which the Committee, according to their own report, gave Hood to suppress the truth and state only such matters as would enable them to make an unfounded charge, is disgraceful to them. Mr. Hahn’s affidavit, in the Appendix, fully answers the libel.

    I will now notice, with all the brevity I can command, some of the most prominent charges, imputations, and stealthy innuendoes, indulged in by the War Claim Commissioners. I cannot go much into details without swelling this communication into undue proportion.

    Mr. [former Postmaster General, now Judge Joseph] Holt, it will be recollected, was Secretary of War (to use his own language) towards the close of the late administration. He takes especial pains to state (page 14, Report) that I was appointed Q.M. at St. Louis by Secretary Floyd.; if there was contamination in my appointment by reason of its source, I have only to say that Mr. Holt, for a long time, stood in the closest relations of confidence and friendship with his predecessor, Secretary [of War John B.] Floyd.

    The Committee mention my removal and the appointment of Colonel [George H.] Crossman as my successor, and say, “the latter is a gentleman of known purity of life and high reputation as a faithful and efficient officer.” The sneaking innuendo contained in this remark clearly exhibits the invidious spirit of the author of the report.

    But the Committee would have furnished a solution for the petty malice of the author, if they had stated the fact that the appointment of Colonel Crossman as my successor was made by Secretary Holt himself “towards the close of the late administration!” It may be useful to those charged with the administration of the Government to know something of the antecedents of Joseph Holt. I, therefore, append a letter which was extensively circulated at the time of its publication through Kentucky and the West (Appendix, No. 63).

    According to the Report of the War Claim Commission, Mr. Fox and Colonel Blair, M.C., were the instrumentalities to displace Crossman and reinstate myself as Q.G., so that they might have an available man, &c. I shall leave these gentlemen to defend themselves against this wanton assault on these Commissioners. But Holt’s scurrilous imputations upon myself, in the paragraph above, I repel as false and contemptible.

    I was wholly ignorant of Secretary Holt’s desire or intention to displace me. He had no cause or reason for doing so. I was equally ignorant of the efforts made by Colonel Blair and Mr. Fox to have me retained on duty here. Mr. Blair never consulted me on the subject, and whatever he did was of his own volition.

    These Commissioners, “dressed in a little brief authority,” suddenly inflated themselves into vast proportions, and taking a secret survey of the universe, assumed to sit in judgment upon the opinions, motives, actions, and interests of the rest of mankind. I do not recognize their pretensions, not do I intend to submit to their unwarrantable assumptions and imputations.

    The Commissioners (page 5, Report) says, “Our investigations, from day to day, have afforded strong and ever multiplying proofs that the administration of the late Q.M. McKinstry was marked by personal favoritism, by a complete indifference to the public interests, and by an unceasing anxiety to fill, at the expense of the nation, the pockets of a clique of men who surrounded him, and, enjoying the uninterrupted entrée to his office, ever stood between the Government and the honest merchants and mechanics who sought to have dealing with it.” This wholesale calumny I denounce as basely false. The words “our investigations,” &c., imply that the Commissioners had before them credible testimony tending to prove what they assert as established facts. It is not true that credible truths of the character indicated were made before them. Their legal adviser, in a “storm of passion and profanity,” declared, in the dark recesses of this modern inquisition, “By God! We can’t prove anything against McKinstry.” And later, after their report was made public, one of their own number (Mr. Campbell) declared in this city, “that there was not proof before them implicating General McKinstry.”

    Honorable men, it seems to me, can have but little respect for the sincerity and manner in which their secret, ex parte, miscalled investigations were made. All done behind my back, and the poor privilege virtually denied to me of meeting my accusers face to face, for I was ignorant of what was going on in their secret and midnight sessions. To call such a procedure an investigation is mockery and shocking to common sense. And, moreover, to decree conviction of guilt for high crimes and misdemeanors, as this trio of modern Neros have done in my case, finds its parallel only in the edicts of a Hastings and a Jeffries.

    To give color to their calumny, quoted above, the Commissioners introduce in their report the fortunes of Assistant Quartermaster Dodds (page 5). It is left to inference that Capt. Dodds was examined. Of course his evidence, like the rest, is a sealed book to me. I know nothing of it. The remarks of the Commissioners, however, leave the inference plain enough, that Captain Dodds’s testimony reflected on my administration of the Quartermaster’s Department. Most fortunately, I have it in my power to defend against even this stab in the dark. At the time the transactions with which Captain Dodds is associated occurred, he gave, and he has since given, the most substantial evidence of his confidence in my integrity. I received from him the following letters at their respective dates:

    Everett House, St. Louis, Sept. 4, 1861

    Brig. Gen. J. McKINSTRY, St. Louis


    Being an admirer of your mode of doing business, I most respectfully ask for a place on your staff if you take the “field,” and accept any volunteer “aid.” Having been present at a meeting at Washington City last week, when Quartermaster McKinstry had concealed enemies to fight, in which I claim to have done some execution, I would most gladly meet the enemies of our country under the head of so gallant a chief. My position now is Assistant Quartermaster, but not assigned for duty, and am anxious to see service under some officer of experience and not a second class politician. Having a practical knowledge of all connected with transportation, horses, mules, wagons, &c., and some military, not enough to be more than a good Volunteer Colonel, I submit my claims. Most respectfully, your obedient servant,

    JOS. L. DODDS, Capt., QMUS Vols.

    Everett House, St. Louis, Sept. 8, 1861

    Brig. Gen. J. McKINSTRY, Q.M. Gen.


    Not being in any manner responsible for the attempted interference with your duties by civilians or others, I must protest against being made to bear any of their want of courtesy, and having made myself obnoxious to the outside pressure by siding with the regular bureau and yourself, you will please not assign me for duty into their hands. Believing I possess the qualifications to discharge the duties of AQM with credit to myself and the interest of the service, having some practical knowledge of the material from a steamboat down to a gimblet [device to turn an anchor around by its stock], and having been assigned to the water transportation, I would be glad to receive explicit instructions from you. Respectfully, your obedient servant,



    His path, it seems, was beset (as mine has been) by a set of hungry wolves, watching with stealthy tread to seize the public carcass. Captain Dodds in his extremity appealed to me for protection against them, and sought a position upon my staff. If fraud and corruption held undisputed sway during my administration of the Quartermaster’s Department, as the Commission falsely charge, it occurs to me that Captain Dodds would have manifested his “unconquerable determination to expose frauds upon the Government,” in some other way than is shown by his letters. This is another instance of the gross injustice of the miscalled investigations of the Commission. Now the facts are: Captain Dodds was assigned to special duty, as will be seen by the order of General Frémont, and was not at any time in charge of the clothing department, or acting under my orders (vide Appendix, No. 64). This disposes of the pathetic story of the “fortunes of Assistant Quartermaster Dodds,” composed by Joseph Holt.

    Again, the Commissioners (page 18) say that “the contract for the roofing of Benton Barracks was proved to have been tainted with fraud,” and with the proclivity to garble evidence that has characterized their whole course, the Commissioners leave it to be inferred that the Q.M. was a party to the fraud.

    This unfounded charge of fraud, and the manner of its statement, seems to be the crowning effort of the Commissioners. To use their own graphic language, “nothing more shameless appears” in their report. Their assertion is “perfectly naked in the hideousness of its profligacy.”

    As a cover for their dastardly assault, they lug into their report (page 19) the ex parte [biased] statement of one C.[Charles] H. Pond, a weak, addle-brained fellow. A serious refutation of Pond’s statement in this community could scarcely be expected. To “lie like a war bulletin” is his special vocation. The time of the occurrence mentioned by Pond is not given, but he bases his statement on information given him by his son-in-law [Henry] Clapp. In refutation of the story of Pond in respect to the Barracks frauds, as well as of the examination he speaks of before me, I produce the sworn recantation of his son-in-law, Clapp, and the affidavits of W.[William]R. McCracken and A.B. Ogden (Appendix, Nos. 65 and 66).

    The statement of the Commissioners that I had a favorite, or showed favoritism, in awarding the contract for the roofing of Benton Barracks to Mr. Almon Thompson, is positively false. I had but a slight acquaintance with Mr. Thompson, but having become satisfied that he was a responsible man and could command the means to enable him to do the work, and finding, too, that he was the only one of all the bidders who had the material on hand for the roofing, I awarded the contract to him. The price, $8.50 [per square], when all the circumstances, and the time in which the roofing was to be done, are taken into consideration, was fair and reasonable. The Commanding General deemed the Barracks positively essential to the public service, and required their construction in the shortest possible time. I simply performed my duty, in obedience to orders, by securing the services of a responsible man who had the material on hand to complete the work. The charge that the contract with Thompson was fraudulently awarded, and that it was faithlessly executed, is also false. Opposed to the charges and statements of the Commissioners, I submit the affidavits of A.B. Ogden, the superintendent of the work, and Almon Thompson, the contractor, and also of Messrs. Charles H. Peck, John B. Gibson, Z.T. Knott, Henry Kennedy, and John Ramsey (gentlemen of the first standing in this city), all of whom state that they thoroughly examined the work, and all of them pronounce it well executed (appendix, Nos. 67 and 68).

    The apparently willful misrepresentation of the Commissioners, in respect to the expense of the quarters hired for General Frémont deserves a passing notice. What they are pleased to call the palatial residence of Mrs. Brant furnished the most suitable and commodious quarters that could be found in this city. The premises were hired at a time when the duties of the Commanding General and his subordinate officers required them to labor early and late, and it was an important desideratum that they should be near each other. It was found, on inquiry, that the same amount of office accommodation, quarters for horses, &c., could not be obtained on better terms than was offered by Mrs. Brant. If the Commissioners had been influence by any degree of impartial fairness, they would have stated the amount paid by the Government for quarters under General [Henry Wager]Halleck’s administration. Oh no! They could not do this without marring their plans. A reference to the accounts in your office will show that, through the last winter, General Halleck and Staff have been paid for commutation of quarters and fuel, including office rent, sums considerably over the amount I paid for the rent of the “palatial residence!” Facts are stubborn things. “Even Holt” can’t get over them with all his rhetoric.

    The complaints and imputations of fraud in the matter of railroad transportation are stated so generally in the Commissioner’s report that it is impossible to say whether or not they include, in their denunciation, any of the payments made by me for this service. The Commissioners show in their report, however, that after General Frémont assumed command here, another officer had chief control of railroad transportation. So far as relates to my own action in respect to railroad service, and payments on account of it, I was governed by instructions issued from the Quartermaster General’s office at Washington.

    The instructions include a schedule of rates, which Quartermasters were authorized to pay, and are as follows:

    Quartermaster General’s Office

    Washington City, July 27, 1861}

    Major J. McKINSTRY

    Assistant Quartermaster General, USA, St. Louis, Mo.


    To facilitate the business of this Department, Colonel Thomas A. Scott, General Manager of the War Department for railroads, has prepared a scale of rates which will be allowed for the transportation of troops and supplies over railroads. A copy is herewith enclosed for your information and guidance. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    M.C. MEIGS

    Quartermaster General


    In making settlements with railroad companies for transportation of troops and supplies, please observe the following as a general basis. Per passenger per mile two (2) cents for distance moved. Equipments, munitions, and supplies accompanying regiments first-class rates, which will average as follows:

  • 30 miles or less 10 cents per 100 lbs.
  • 50 miles or less 15 cents per 100 lbs.
  • 100 miles or less 25 cents per 100 lbs.
  • 150 miles or less 40 cents per 100 lbs.
  • 200 miles or less 50 cents per 100 lbs.
  • 300 miles or less 75 cents per 100 lbs.
  • 350 to 400 miles not exceeding 90 cents.

    For transportation of horses in small loads, the following are the usual estimated weights of railroad companies;

  • Single animal 3,000 lbs.
  • 2 animals 4,000 lbs.
  • 3 animals 5,000 lbs.
  • 4 animals 6,500 lbs.
  • 5 animals 8,000 lbs.
  • 6 animals 9,000 lbs.
  • 7 animals 10,000 lbs.
  • 8 animals 11,000 lbs.
  • 9 animals 12,000 lbs.
  • Full car loads, 13 and 14 horses, usually charged 18,000 lbs.

    All other supplied forwarded by freight trains all charged local rates, according to classifications of property, which will usually average on provisions and heavy freights two to three cents per ton of 2,000 lbs. Per mile. Dry goods, clothing, and light goods will average three to five cents per ton of 2,000 lbs. per mile.


    General Manager

    N.B.–Please send table of distances. 1 car 9 tons.


    These instructions and schedule of rates were seized with my other papers, books, &c., at the instance of the Commissioners and, of course, they had them before them. Why were these important papers disregarded and no mention made of them? The answer is obvious.

    Although the Commissioners state in their report that steamboat transportation in this department was, by special orders, placed in charge of other parties, yet, with their characteristic proclivity to strike at me from every point, they say (page 9): “The Quartermaster appears to have given little or no personal attention to this important branch of the service.” Among the abuses they discovered in the steamboat transportation, they instance the chartering of the steamboat New Sam Gaty. The Commissioners, it is plain enough, seek to convey the impression that John H. Bowen acted as agent of the steamboat transportation in the chartering of that boat, and that it occurred during my administration of the Quarter Master’s Department. Now, it was in proof before the Commissioners that Bowen had then ceased to be agent, and that the transaction took place after my successor had assumed control of the Quartermaster’s Department. Of course Ii had nothing to do with it.

    This is only another instance of suppressio veri [suppression of the truth] on the part of the Commissioners. A partial statement of the facts conveys a false impression, whereas the statement of the whole truth conveys a very different impression and acquits me of any fault, for I did nothing in the matter.

    In the Appendix to this communication you will find affidavits of the principal large dealers of whom I purchased supplies, and also affidavits of other parties, all of which disclose important facts relating to the subjects under consideration. I respectfully ask your attention to these sworn statements. They are the voluntary offerings of men fully cognizant of the facts of which they speak, and it will be found on examination that they utterly refute and repel the accusations made against me. If it be objected that the testimony furnished by these affidavits is altogether ex parte, I answer, true it is ex parte, but it is of the same character of testimony that has been heard against me, and it is on ex parte testimony alone that all the accusations against me are founded. If I had been allowed to meet my accusers face to face, all objections on either side to ex parte evidence would have been obviated.

    In this connection, it is fit to peek further of the early course of the unprincipled and reckless men, who, singly and combined, have been assailing me for months past in the most dastardly manner. The men of whom I now speak were conspicuous and active before the Van Wyck Committee, as well as before the Commission on War Claims. They are the swift witnesses who furnished the web and woof of the reports in question. During the month of October last, they resorted to the ingenious contrivance of making some secret ex parte representation to the Circuit Court of the United States for Missouri, and obtained an order convening a special Grand Jury. By the same process they induced the Government to appoint one of their own number and a member of the “Safety Committee,” James O. Broadhead, special attorney to conduct the whole prosecution. The significant of this whole proceeding is developed by the fact that at the beginning of the October Term of the Court, at which the special order above was made, there was a Grand Jury summoned and empaneled in due course. Asa S. Jones, Esq., was the United State District Attorney charged with the duty of conducting all prosecutions on behalf of the Government. It was not until after the regular Grand Jury for the Term had disposed of all business before them and been discharged that the above application was made for a special Grand Jury. It is said, but I know not with what truth, that this contrivance of using a Court and Grand Jury for sinister purposes originated with the Van Wyck Committee. Be that as it may, the special Grand Jury was convened (of course the jurors were ignorant of the sinister purposes they were expected to subserve) and before them the whole pack pursued me, singly and in couples, and exhausted their entire swearing capital to induce the finding of an indictment against me for the frauds and malversation [misconduct in public office] in office that are charged and reiterated in the reports of the Committee and the Commission. The examination before the Grand Jury was ex parte, and this cabal of talebearers, maliciously intent on my destruction, had it all their own way. That tribunal, however, discredited themselves by ignoring the bill! What a commentary upon the conduct and credibility of my accusers!

    It is scarcely necessary to state what every intelligent man knows, that the criminal acts charged against me by the Committee and Commission are punishable under the laws of the United States. An indictment, by fair means or foul, was the thing deemed all essential to my overthrow. There was a thorough raking over of this whole Department for witnesses and proofs against me, and Pond, Filley, Peay, et id omne genus [and the like] were examined before the special Grand Jury. The prosecutors, however, missed their aim, for, after a protracted and patient hearing, the Grand Jury acquitted me of the high crimes and misdemeanors charged against me. This result terminated the chase in that direction.

    While I complain, and not without cause, that a Committee of Congress, influenced, as is plain to be seen, by passion and prejudice (not to mention other and baser influences) have condemned me without a hearing, I have still greater cause of complaint of the course of the Commissioners on War Claims, who, in humble imitation of their prototype (the Committee) and, as if to ape them in the violation of every principle of justice and rule of decency among honorable men, have done the same thing.

    It should be borne in mind that the Commissioners acted upon claims growing out of the very transactions that they denounce in unmeasured terms as fraudulent. Two of the Commissioners are reputed to be lawyers, and one of them is dignified with the title of Judge! It is but reasonable, therefore, to conclude that they are familiar with at least one maxim of the law:

    Ex dolo malo, non oritur actio.

    It is a familiar principle that a right of action or valid claim cannot arise out of fraud. Equally familiar is the rule that fraud avoids a contract ab initio [from the beginning] both at law and in equity. And will not the course of the Commissioners excite astonishment when the fact is disclosed that they did not reject a single claim on the ground of its being fraudulent! Such is the fact, and I am borne out in this statement by the record of their own proceedings, as well as by other and more reliable data, derived from other sources. Any claim tainted with fraud is void in toto [altogether], and should have been rejected in toto for that reason. This is the plain law, and it has its root in sound morals. There is no half-way house at which to halt under the rule governing questions of fraud. Yet the Commissioners (as appears by their own report) allowed claims involving vast sums that grew out of the very transactions which they themselves declare were fraudulent!

    It may be said in extenuation of the inconsistent action of the Commissioners that they reduced some of the claims that they considered fraudulent. It is true they made their own charges of fraud the pretext for reducing some of the claims. But, I apprehend that they will not be allowed in that way to quibble out of the dilemma in which their own inconsistent and unprecedented course has placed them. To undertake to reduce or divide a claim that is fraudulent is in its inception and allow a part of it is an invention in jurisprudence for which the Commissioners are entitled to letters patent. But in their zeal to keep up the cry of fraud, fraud, fraud in respect to my official transactions, the Commissioners stultify themselves by doing so. There would have been some consistency and reason in their action if they had candidly and honestly said that they considered the prices charged for supplies in given cases too high and that they had cut them down for that reason.

    As such a course would involved only a matter of judgement, there could have been no substantial ground of complaint. The familiar quantum meruit [as much as he deserved] principle to allow for articles furnished what they are reasonably worth no one would find fault with.

    As already remarked, it involves simply a matter of judgment as to values. It is not only a just but safe rule for all parties concerned–for the Government as well as for individuals. I adopted and applied it in all my transactions not controlled by express agreement.

    And, after all, did not the Commissioners themselves follow the same rule, taking their own action as the criterion by which to judge them? The result is not changed simply because they gave a wrong reason for the conclusion they arrived at. The whole matter, as it seems to me, resolves itself into this: The Commissioners, after hearing proofs, considered some of the charges more than the articles furnished were reasonably worth, and they cut down the prices to a reasonable value. This done, they illogically conclude that the claim thus cut down was fraudulent in its inception. This is not an exaggerated or unfair statement of the action of the Commissioners, so far as practical results are concerned.

    It would swell this communication into undue proportions were I to attempt to expose all the inconsistencies and falsehoods of my traducers. I have, therefore, been content to notice the most conspicuous. There are many other facts incorporated in this paper, or referred to, which greatly strengthen and confirm all that I have stated in the foregoing pages. Several letters not specially referred to are annexed, showing the condition of things in Missouri, the emergencies and authority under which I acted, and the efforts I have made to have my transactions acquired into (Appendix, Nos. 76 to 92). I have endeavored to present, in a condensed and intelligible form, the leading facts connected with my official transactions as Chief Quartermaster of the Western Department, during a period of the most embarrassing exigencies of the army service known in its history. And for the purpose of developing the leading facts connected with those transactions, and with a view to vindicate my character and conduct from the malicious aspersions that have been so wantonly heaped upon me, I have prepared this communication in connection with the rendering of my final accounts with the Government.

    This course, in the present attitude of affairs, appears to me the only one left open to me to obtain even a partial hearing in self-defense.

    I adopt it with feelings I cannot trust myself to describe, yet in the hope that I shall receive (as from recollections of the past I feel a right to claim) the consideration of those at least who hold with me the same relations to the Government.

    Upon the facts, pure and simple, I rest my vindication; and upon the consideration of them, I cheerfully abode the impartial judgement of all honorable men.

    For your convenience in examining into the transactions to which this communication relates, I transmit a printed copy herewith, and conclude with the following resumé thereof.

    I have shown that, at the inception of the rebellion, a self-constituted “Safety Committee,” composed of meddling politicians and aspirants for position, stimulated by the desire of gain, assumed to interfere with, and attempted to control, the military authorities in the Western Department. The same parties, and their associates, undertook to monopolize the furnishing of supplies for the entire army in the West. This is shown by the letters of How, Gurnee, Ben Farrar, and others, in connection with the facts and circumstances which I have brought to your notice.

    Of the military officers in the Department, next to the General commanding, I held the most difficult and responsible position. The exigencies of the service, suddenly and beyond all former precedent, swelled the business of the Quartermaster into immense proportions. Requisitions for supplies crowded upon me with such rapidity, and were so varied and large, that now, when I take a calm retrospect of the past, I am only amazed that I was able to discharge the duties and perform the labor that were devolved upon me. It is apparent that the vicious interference with the military, and the effort to monopolize the patronage of the Government, of which I have spoken, were early and especially directed to the Quartermaster’s Department.

    And, because I would not yield to the dictation and unceasing demands of the political and army cormorants, who beset my path, they became hostile to me, and manifested their hostility in the shameless manner I have pointed out. The same meddling influences that rendered the administration of General Harney powerless for good were brought to bear, with redoubled vigor, on me. I have shown that my accusers, for the most part, are the same parties who engaged in the foray against General Harney, and the same who attempted to control and monopolize the Quartermaster’s Department. As to the criticisms and complaints, in respect to the manner in which I transacted the business of my office, I have shown that I pursued the regulations of the army as far as practicable, in view of the exigencies of the service.

    I have exhibited a series of orders issued by the General Commanding which it was my duty to obey, and which show the authority under which I acted whenever I deviated from the army regulations. In addition, I was by law and the regulations referred to entrusted with a large discretion as to the time and mode of purchasing supplies. The letters and instructions I have exhibited, and particularly the authority as well as the approval of the Quartermaster General himself, establish beyond all cavil that my course was fully justified by competent authority.

    The statement of the Commissioners on War Claims that the moneys borrowed by the Government from the Banks, and placed in my custody for disbursement, were “loosely entered” in my books is disproved. A complete abstract verbatim of these entries is contained in the Appendix.

    The original entries, as they stand in my cash book, will be exhibited to you with this by my cashier; and it will be seen that the entries are full, regular, and in due form. Doubtless, this and other false representations to the President led him to state (as I am credibly informed he did) that I had “failed to account for upwards of a million of dollars.”

    My returns, now on file in the office of the Quartermaster General, account for every cent of money that ever came into my custody. I invited examination and the most rigid criticism of my accounts. The false suggestion that I refused to render my accounts is refuted by the Exhibits now presented. Instead of delaying or refusing, I was prevented from rendering my accounts by the arrest of myself and my clerks, and seizure of my books and papers.

    It is made clear as the noon-day sun in the foregoing pages that no opportunity has ever been afforded me to furnish proofs to repel the accusations against me, nor have I been called on to “explain any account or transaction that might seem to need it.” On the contrary, such privileges have been denied me. Nor has there ever been a fair and impartial examination into my transactions. These facts are established beyond question.

    The whole course of the Van Wyck Committee in this department was inquisitorial, partisan, and unfair, and the demoralizing practices of the Committee invited and encouraged false swearing. But not content with this, the Committee garble portions and suppressed other portions of the evidence heard by them.

    The proofs and explanations here given refute and repel the wholesale accusations and calumnies, in gross and in detail, of this itinerant Congressional Committee.

    Next in order it is made to appear that the Commissioners of War Claims followed closely in the footsteps of their predecessors, the Van Wyck Committee, and dealt largely in charging fraud and malversation, without proof on which to found either. The prejudice and personal hostility of their legal adviser, S.T. Glover, are now unmasked. His whole course is marked by prejudice and passion.

    The examination of the Commissioners, as is shown, were secret and partial, and, though instructions were given that I should be invited to “explain any transaction that might seem to need it,” no such invitation was ever extended to me. It is apparent that the Commissioners gave loose rein to their passions and prejudices, and indulged in charges of the gravest character, which rest alone on their ipse dixit [unsupported assertion].

    I have shown the condition of affairs in this Department during the time I administered the office of Quartermaster. The financial condition and credit of the Government during the time of these transactions are also shown, and in the proper connection I have brought to view the difficult and embarrassing circumstances that surrounded the operations of the Quartermaster’s Department.

    It is shown, too, that I exercised proper care, industry, and economy, in all my official transactions, and no loss happened to the Government.

    Thus I have demonstrated that the grave accusations against me were originated by falsehood and ill-will for selfish and malicious purposes.

    In conclusion, allow me to say that it has given me no pleasure to review the conduct of my accusers. I have done so from a sense of duty to those who are near and dear to me. If I have expressed myself with some severity, it is because I feel deeply the wrongs and injuries I have suffered. I trust that some consideration may be given to the trying circumstances under which I have spoken in self-defense.

    Very respectfully,




    [No. 1]

    Springfield, Mo., Nov. 8th, 1961


    I have the honor to state for the information of the General commanding the 5th Division that the 8th Iowa Infantry has no transportation on the 9th of October 1861. I had one six mule team which I brought from Jefferson City. Very respectfully, your obd’t serv’t,


    Col. 8th Iowa Inf.

    T.W. SWEENEY, A.A. Adj’t. Gen.


    [No. 2]

    Springfield, Mo., Nov. 8th, 1961


    I have the honor to say that no transportation was in possession October 9th (at the time the Secretary of War was at Syracuse, Mo.) of the three companies of regular Cavalry, except four mules belonging to Co. “D,” 4th Cavalry; they were brought from Arkansas. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obd’t serv’t,


    Capt. 4th Cavalry, com’ding squadron and half

    Brig. Gen. McKINSTRY, Com’ding–present.


    [No. 3]

    Springfield, Mo., Nov. 8th, 1961


    In reply to your inquiries in regard to the amount of transportation in possession of the regular Cavalry when at Syracuse, I have the honor to state that the only means of transportation then in the command were four mules belonging to “D” company. Very respectfully, your obd’t serv’t,

    M.J. KELLY

    Lt. Com’ding Co. “C.” 4th Ca., USA, and A.A. Qr. Master

    Brig. Gen. McKINSTRY, Com’ding 5th Division, Army of the West.


    [No. 4]

    Camp near Springfield, Oct. 8th, 1861

    Major Gen’l McKINSTRY, Com’ding 5th Division


    I have the honor to state that at the time the Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, reviewed the troops at Syracuse, this battalion of 1st and 2d Infantry had no transportation whatever, I am, sir, very truly, your obd’t serv’t,


    2d Lieut. Ist Infantry, A.A.Q.M.


    [No. 5]

    Statement of transportation on hand in the use of the 1st Reg. Neb. Terr. Vols., on 2d October 1861:

    23 six mule teams, wagon and harness complete;

    2 light wagons, with four horses each, in hospital service;

    2 ambulances, to horses each, in hospital service.

    I certify the above statement is correct.


    Nov. 8, 1861 Lieut. and Act. RQM 1st Neb. Vols.


    [No. 6]

    Headquarters 7th Reg’t Mo. Vols., 2d Brig., 5th Division, Army of the West,

    Camp near Springfield, Mo., Nov. 9th, 1861}


    In reply to your inquiry “When my regiment was furnished transportation, and the amount?” I state that whilst at Rolla, Mo., I was supplied with 23 six mule teams. Retained them about a week when, by order of the commanding officer, they were turned over to the Q.M. Dep’t. My regiment was then ordered to Jefferson, and from thence to Syracuse, without transportation, other than the Pacific Railroad. At Syracuse, after the review by the Secretary of War and Gen. John C. Frémont, I was furnished with 17 wagons for my regiment; a miscellaneous assortment of tow horses, four horse and six mule teams–most of the animals rendered unfit for service for want of shoeing. At this present moment my transportation is reduced to 11 wagons for the entire regimen, the Q.M. Dep’t having taken possession of my other teams for the transportation of army supplies.

    Respectfully, JOHN D. STEVENSON, Col. 7th Reg’t Mo. Vols.

    Brig. Gen. Justus McKINSTRY, Comd’g 5th Division, Army of the West


    [No. 7]

    St. Louis, Mo., October 17th, 1861

    Hon. C. VAN WYCK Chairman Congressional Investigating Committee, Barnum’s Hotel, St. Louis:

    Sir–I am told for the first time, this morning, that your Committee are sitting, and have been for some days past, at Barnum’s Hotel, in secret session, examining witnesses and taking testimony relative to the contracts, orders, and expenditures for the public service by the Quartermaster’s department at this place. This is the first time that, I who am the chief clerk of General McKinstry, late Chief Quartermaster of this Department, have been aware of the fact. General McKinstry himself–who is now in the field with the army–so far as I am aware, has been in like manner ignorant of the investigations now going on.

    It will be impossible, as I conceive, for your Committee fully to understand the action of the Quartermaster’s Department here, without conference with General McKinstry or myself, or examination of papers in this office in connection with such explanations as are needful for the proper understanding of the business transacted here to do justice either to the public or the late Quartermaster. In the absence of General McKinstry with the army, I am induced to say that I am ready to attend upon your Committee at any time with all papers needful for your examination, and trust that you will, at any time, call upon me, as representing General McKinstry, for any explanations of any transaction which may appear to you to require explanation. All papers and documents in this office will be most cheerfully presented for your examination and inspection. Justice to General McKinstry, and a desire to aid your Committee by every means in my power, has induced me to make this communication.

    May I also ask to be permitted to have access to, and a perusal of such testimony as may have been taken by your Committee. This may be very important in order to enable, if necessary, any needful explanation. With great respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant.



    [No. 9]

    Quartermaster’s Office

    St. Louis, Mo., October 19, 1861}

    To the Congressional Investigating Committee, Barnum’s Hotel:

    Gentlemen–I am in receipt of your communication of the 17th instant–through your clerk, Mr. Andrews, addressed to me, in reply to mine of the same date, to your Chairman. In reply to your inquiries for statistical information respecting horses and mules purchased by this Department, I have the honor to enclose herewith the information desired. Allow me to remind your Committee that the latter portion of my letter of the 17th instant has not been noticed by you.

    You will pardon me for further saying that I am informed on unquestionable authority that, at the suggestion of some personal enemy of General McKinstry, you are taking testimony which is sought to be used to the personal injury of that officer, and that, too, in his absence, without his knowledge, and with not opportunity afforded him for replying to, or explaining the facts relative thereto. I cannot refrain from suggesting to you, whether such a course pursued toward an officer absent in the field, in the face of the enemy, is either fair or proper. As a friend of General McKinstry, as the chief clerk of this department, lately under his charge, I here enter my protest against any such secret and inquisitorial investigation, and, in his behalf, demand that he be treated by your Committee that fair and open manner which it is the right of every officer and every citizen to have extended towards him. I am, gentlemen, very respectfully, your obedient servant.



    [No. 9]

    St. Louis, Mo., October 29, 1861

    To the Congressional Investigating Committee, Barnum’s Hotel, St. Louis, Mo.:

    Gentlemen–I again beg leave to call your attention to the request contained in the last clause of my letter to your Committee, through its Chairman, Mr. Van Wyck. And bearing the date the 17th of the present month, wherein is asked, if in the absence of General McKinstry in the field, with the army, you would allow me, his chief clerk in the Quartermaster’s department, to have access to, and peruse the testimony, taken before your Committee relative to the Quartermaster’s department here, while under charge of that officer. To that request–although your attention was again called to the fact that you had failed to notice it–I have, as yet, received no reply. I, again, respectfully, repeat the request. And that you will, also , send me a reply to the same. I have previously informed you that when a secret investigation upon,–without notice to the party whose doings were the subject of investigation,–something might be made to appear which might seem to need explanation. No man’s character, be he whom he may, can be safe against such ex parte examinations, and especially where, as I aver has been the case here, such examination have been, in part, conducted at the instance of personal enemies to General McKinstry, and with the avowed purpose of doing him injury. A partial examination upon the subject of an alleged sale of certain animals by one Mr, Peay, to the Government, has caused it to be charged that, in that particular instance, a fraud upon the Government was perpetrated. The evidence is in existence, and can be given before you, proving the entire falsity of that charge. The witnesses to that effect are ready to go before you, and you shall be furnished with then, if you inform me that such testimony will be heard by you. It may be–although I am ignorant on the subject–that other matters may seem to you to need explanation. If such is the case, will you promptly advise me of the fact? I ask this, not simply as a favor, but as a right which cannot justly or equitably be refused to the humblest citizen, and especially requested in favor of one who has been clothed with an important public trust, as was General McKinstry, and who, from the nature of his present duties, has no opportunity of appearing before you in person. While General McKinstry challenges the most searching examination into all of his acts and doings as Quartermaster of this department, he has a right to expect that it will be conducted with fairness, in justice to himself. May I request that you will admit my letters to your Committee, to be place on the file of its proceedings, and, also, that you will call before you, for examination, Mr. J.S. Pease. I am, gentlemen, with great respect, your obedient servant,



    [No. 10]

    St. Louis, Nov. 23,1861


    Hon. Judge Holt is ready to begin an examination of your papers. I have suggested that one of your confidential clerks should be present at all times when the Commissioners are examining the matter. Will you designate a person to act for you in such capacity? Very respectfully, your obd’t serv’t,


    Brig. Gen, &c.

    Brig. Gen. J. McKINSTRY, Arsenal, St. Louis, Mo.


    [No. 11]

    St. Louis, Nov. 23, 1861


    I have yours of his date, in which you recommend that one of my confidential clerks be present at the examination of my papers, &c., before Judge Holt and his associates.

    In reply, I have to state that I have no confidential clerks, and never have had while in the discharge of my official duties. Still, it is important to me that my papers should be properly examined, and I therefore request that my attorney, John M. Krum, Esq., be permitted, in my behalf, to be present at the examination of my papers.

    If any examination is made I hope it may be what I have been asking to have done–a full and fair one. Respectfully,


    Brig. Gen. CURTIS, St. Louis


    [No. 12]

    St. Louis, Nov. 23, 1961


    I have just received a message from General McKinstry, requesting me to wait on you with the enclosed letter.

    He has communicated to me the substance of his communication to you, and he has requested me to be present at the proposed examination of his official papers. This I am willing to do, and now request that you will inform me when it will be the pleasure of the Commissioners to enter upon the proposed examination. I can attend at any time, wither in the morning of the day or in the evening, to suit the convenience of the Commissioners. Respectfully,


    Brig. Gen. S.R. CURTIS


    [No. 13]

    St. Louis. Dec. 9th , 1861

    To the President:

    It is known to you that in the early part of last month, Brig-General J. McKinstry, while on his return with the army from South-west Missouri, was arrested under a military order, emanating, as is alleged, from the War Department. He was immediately transferred to a building within the walls of the arsenal in this city, where he has ben held ever since, restrained of his liberty by military authority. It is also known to you, no doubt, that General McKinstry, within a few days after his arrest, addressed a respectful communication through the proper channel, to the Secretary of War, asking to be informed of the grounds of his arrest, imprisonment, &c. Up to the present time he has received no reply to his communication.

    About a week ago a paragraph appeared in the newspapers, to the effect that charges had been preferred against General McKinstry, and that a court martial had been ordered. Acting on the presumption that inasmuch as he had been summarily arrested and subjected to the indignity of imprisonment, he would have early opportunity of vindicating his honor in due course of law, and in anticipation of a trial, he retained me as his counsel. Although I stand in this relation to General McKinstry, it is proper for me to say that I do not write this communication at his instance, nor as his counsel–I am prompted to it by other considerations.

    There are peculiar circumstances attending the arrest and imprisonment of General McKinstry that savor of persecution, and of an attempt to visit punishment upon him before conviction of any offense. Nearly four weeks have elapsed since his arrest and imprisonment, yet he is kept in ignorance of the cause of his arrest, and no charges (so far as he knows) have been preferred against him. He is kept under military surveillance and duress. He is not even allowed the privilege of visiting his wife and children, living in this city.

    The very stringent and unusual course pursued by the Government towards General McKinstry is the subject of frequent comment and severe criticism, here and elsewhere. I deem it due to your Administration and to yourself that you have be informed of the facts I have stated.

    If there has been abuse of authority practiced in this matter, I am confident that you, as commander-in-chief of the army, will apply the proper corrective and that you will nor allow the imprisonment of an officer to assume the form of punishment before conviction.

    The friends of General McKinstry are ready (if the Government will allow it to be done) to give bonds for his appearance to answer before any court or tribunal, civil or military, in any sum that may be required. Why may not this be done?

    I respectfully solicit your attention to the matter of this communication, and remain, Your obedient servant,



    [No. 14]

    Monday, Dec. 23, 1861


    I have been informed by your Secretary that you contemplate taking a recess of a week or more. As counsel for General McKinstry, I feel it my duty to call your especial attention, before you separate, to his papers, pertaining to him as late Quartermaster of the Western Department. I cannot speak of my own knowledge (for I have only glanced over a portion of the papers), but General McKinstry informs me that there are among his papers a great number of receipts, vouchers and other written evidence of disbursements of public moneys made by him while acting as Quartermaster, involving very large sums–possibly a million of dollars in the aggregate. Those receipts and vouchers are essential to him in rendering his account to the proper Department of the Government and their loss would involve him and his securities in great difficulty. Valuable papers of the kind referred to ought not to be subjected to the handling of indifferent parties in the absence of their proper owner or custodian. As practical business men you cannot shut your eyes to the danger of loss and inconvenience to which General McKinstry is exposed. The seizure of his books and papers has prevented him from rendering his accounts to the proper Department at Washington; and notwithstanding this and the imprisonment of himself, he has been ordered to render his accounts, with the proper vouchers, &c. In view of these facts, I respectfully but most earnestly request that you will restore to the custody of General McKinstry all papers that have a pecuniary value to him, and all others that you do not need in the course of your investigations. General McKinstry has never denied access to his official papers, or any information in his power to give, touching his official transactions; and I am authorized to say that his books and papers may be examined at any time, by anyone representing the Government. There is nothing touching the official conduct of General McKinstry that he wishes to withhold or conceal; and, while he scorns the vile conspirators who have attempted to defame and ruin him, he does not believe that the Government which he has served so long and so faithfully will lend itself to their machinations. Hoping to receive a favorable response to my request, I remain, Very respectfully,

    John M. KRUM



    [No. 15]

    St. Louis, December 23, 1861

    Hon. JOHN M. KRUM:

    Dear Sir–Your note of this day is just received. We did not order the seizure of General McKinstry’s papers. The Government did. It is for the Government to decide on all questions growing out of their seizure. Mr. Glover is the counsel of the Government for our Commission. Whether her has authority to do what you desire, you can readily ascertain by application to him. We respectfully refer you to Mr. Glover. Yours most truly,




    [Memorandum by John M. Krum]

    On the 18th Dec., Mr. Glover notified me that he was ready to open the books and papers of Gen. McKinstry. I went with him to the room where they were, but we could not get in. The next day the room was opened by the Provost Marshal and Mr. Glover. Mr. Hopkins and myself worked at the paper about three hours. The next day Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Widgery worked an hour or two, when Mr. Hopkins was called away to attend the Commissioners of Claims, and nothing further was done in regard to the books and papers until after the following correspondence between Mr. Glover and myself.


    [No. 16]

    St. Louis, December 24, 1861

    Hon. JOHN M. KRUM

    Sir–I have been requested by the honorable Commissioners for Investigation of Claims originating against the Western Department, prior to October 14, 1861, to make an examination of the books and papers of General McKinstry, late Quartermaster of this place. The labors of the Commission, which closed temporarily yesterday, have been such as to prevent me from entering upon that duty, fully, till this morning. I am now ready to go with you and look into the papers, in your presence, as was proposed, and partially begun, some days since; or, if not convenient to do so now, I will attend you at your convenience. Hoping you will name an early day, I remain, your respectfully,

    S. T. GLOVER


    [No. 17]

    St. Louis, Dec. 24th, 1861

    S.T. GLOVER, ESQ., Attorney for the United States


    I have your note of this morning, requesting me to be present at the examination of the books and papers of Gen. McKinstry, late Quartermaster of the Western Department.

    When I consented a few weeks ago to be present at the examination of those books and papers, I supposed that some account of them had been taken when they were seized, and that they were under the control of the Commissioners, Messrs. Holt, Davis, and Campbell, and that such papers as were not needed to assist them in their investigations would be restored to Gen. McKinstry.

    On the 19th inst., when the room was opened, I learned from Gen. Curtis and the officer who executed his order for the seizure of the books and papers, that no account of them whatever had been taken, and they do not profess to know what they seized. And on yesterday the Commissioners informed me that they had no control whatever of those books and papers; and you stated to me verbally that you had none, except that you considered that you were authorized by the Government to examine them, and to retain such as you might deem necessary for the purposes for which you were employed, &c.

    Finding such to be the condition of things, and no one appearing to be in charge of the books and papers that were seized, responsible for their safe keeping or restoration, I hesitated, when I received your note, as to the propriety of my having anything to do with the proposed examination. On further reflection I have now to state that I am willing to be present, provided a schedule or list be made of the books and papers we examine.

    And for this purpose I will meet you at the room, with a competent clerk (Mr. Widgery) to assist, at nine o’clock, Thursday morning, 26th inst. Respectfully,



    [No. 18]

    St. Louis, Mo., January 9th, 1862


    On the 13th November last I was ordered under arrest, and have ever since been held in confinement at this post.

    Immediately after my arrest I addressed a respectful communication to the Adjutant General, asking that I might be informed of the accusation against me, and I that I might have the benefit of a trial by court martial. More than six weeks have elapsed since I addressed that communication to the Adjutant General, yet I have not, up to this time, been informed of the accusation or grounds upon which the order for my arrest was made.

    Very recently it has come to my knowledge that a committee of Congress, generally known as the “Investigating Committee,” of which H.C. Van Wyck is chairman, made a report, in which serous imputations are cast upon my conduct while acting as Quartermaster of the Department of the West; and said committee accuse me, in varied forms, of malversation in office while discharging the duties of such Quartermaster.

    I now respectfully ask that a court of inquiry may be ordered to examine into the imputations and accusations of said committee against me; and further (if it shall be deemed for the interest of the public service) to examine and inquire generally into my conduct, and the manner in which I discharged the duties of Quartermaster at St. Louis. I am, respectfully,


    Brig. Gen. and Q.M.

    To Brig. Gen. L. THOMAS, Adj’t. Gen. USA


    [No. 19]

    St. Louis, Mo., January 9, 1862

    To the PRESIDENT:

    On the 9th of December I addressed a letter to you on the subject of General McKinstry’s arrest and imprisonment. That my letter received proper attention I have assurance from Hon. Reverdy Johnson. Since then, a committee of Congress has made a report by which imputations and aspersions, of the most serious character, have been cast upon the honor and character of General McKinstry.

    As soon as the report referred to came to his knowledge, he addressed a communication to the Adjutant General, asking for a court of inquiry. A copy of his letter is enclosed herewith.

    The circumstance attending the arrest and imprisonment of Gen. McKinstry are so very unusual and altogether without precedent in the history of military and civil affairs, that I hope you will pardon me for addressing you directly, as the head of the army and the nation, again on the subject.

    A great wrong has been done General McKinstry, and if the military authorities were wither misled or imposed upon when orders were issued against General McKinstry, it now devolves upon the same authorities to make the only reparation in their power by giving the accused an opportunity to vindicate his conduct and character before a court of inquiry.

    As a matter of simple justice I ask of you to see that this is done. I also ask that the limits of arrest of General McKinstry may be extended to the city of St. Louis for the following reasons:

    First–No charges have been made against hin, and it is therefore fair to presume that he is not held in his present confined limits for any alleged offense.

    Second–The Government, by holding General McKinstry in his present limits at the Arsenal, and withholding his books and papers prevents him from rendering his accounts as Quartermaster.

    I speak of what I know, and earnestly appeal to you to see that even-handed justice be meted out to an injured man and officer. I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,



    [No. 20]

    Headquarters Western Department

    St. Louis, July 29, 1861}


    The Commanding General directs that you be prepared to supply, with the least possible delay, clothing and camp and garrison equipage for twenty-three regiments of Infantry, three regiments of Cavalry, and one regiment of Artillery. It is the wish of the General to have these supplies at command during the next fortnight, and he directs that you ascertain by telegraph what can be obtained from the East, the balance you will have made. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


    Ass’t. Adj’t. Gen’l.

    Major J. McKINSTRY, AQM


    [No. 21]

    Headquarters, St. Louis, July 29, 1861

    Major J. McKINSTRY, Q.M. USA

    I am directed by General Frémont to say that he wishes you to purchase Cavalry equipments up to five hundred, if that number can be had, tomorrow. If not the full amount of five hundred, then all that can be had. Respectfully yours,

    J.C. WOODS


    [No. 22]

    By telegraph from

    Fort Madison, August 6, 1861


    Your dispatch found me in Missouri. This noon, sharp skirmish at Athens; three Union killed, eleven wounded; six rebels found dead, nine wounded on the ground. Colonel Moore commanding Union; Colonel Green, rebels. Rebels thoroughly routed; particulars by mail. Fifth and Sixth regiments have blankets, cartridge boxes, cap-pouches, belts, and gun slings. No guns, knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, tents, or good clothing. Can and will you furnish them at St. Louis? When and how shall I move? The Fifth is ready at one hour’s notice, as above conditioned.


    Colonel 5th, I.V.


    [No. 23]

    Headquarters, St. Louis, August 6, 1861

    Major J. McKINSTRY, Q.M. USA

    Can you procure in town, two hundred uniforms, complete, for companies A and B, pioneers, now on board Empress? If so, please equip them today. Grey or blue shirts and pantaloons, preferable; socks, shoes, and felt hats.

    Did you order the five thousand felt hats in New York, now there for me? Respectfully,


    Maj. Gen. Commanding


    [No. 24]

    Headquarters, Western Department

    August 20, 1861}

    Major J. McKINSTRY, Q.M. USA

    The accompanying requisition is for the clothing of a regiment of Home Guards, at Jefferson City. The Colonel (McClung) is represented by Captain Murphy, who takes this note. There is also a regiment of Home Guards at Rolla, the requisition for which is lying on my table, to go presently to you; and also, for a battalion at Clark country, and a battalion somewhere else, and a large requisition for Ironton, which Captain Turnley made out yesterday, making, in all, clothing for some six thousand men, which the General desires you to have purchases in the city, and made ready to forward at once, under charge of officers, to be turned over and distributed at the points of destination. Will send the other requisitions shortly. Respectfully,

    I.C. WOODS



    [No. 25]

    Headquarters, Western Department

    August 21, 1861}

    To Major J. McKINSTRY, Q.M. USA

    The General Commanding consents that you order the 1,000 grey pantaloons, 1,000 jackets, of which Lieutenant McGibbon has this day brought and shown a sample at headquarters, if the prices are not more than you are paying for the same quality of material. Respectfully,

    I.C. WOODS



    [No. 26]

    Headquarters, Western Department

    August 27, 1861}


    The Commanding General directs that you purchase and furnish for the second Kansas regiment, 500 pants, 500 jackets. 125 common tents, and 5o wall tents. Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,


    Major J. McKINSTRY, AQM, St. Louis


    [No. 27]

    Headquarters Western Department

    September 4, 1861}


    The movement of troops here is already beginning to be embarrassed by the scanty means for transportation, and in reference to future operations it is clear that there is not time to be lost in making immediate preparation. I, therefore, desire you to contract, with the least possible delay, for not less than one thousand wagons, to be required so soon as the plans for the carrying on of the war shape themselves more definitely.

    I prefer, for this Department, the lighter built Concord fashioned wagon to the heavy Pennsylvania style of wagon generally used in the East. Mules for the above should, at same time, be provided.


    Maj. Gen. Commanding

    Brig. Gen. McKINSTRY, Quartermaster, &c.


    [No. 28]

    Assistant Quartermaster General’s Office

    Western Department, St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 16, 1861}



    Transportation is required at Jefferson City sufficient to move fifteen thousand men. You will take immediate steps to find out what amount of transportation can be procured at Jefferson City, and also what amount can be sent from this city. Use the telegraph and whatever other means you can to expedite the matter. Transportation will also be required for moving ten thousand men from Rolla.

    These matters must be attended to promptly. Make your report to me with as little delay as practicable. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


    Brig. Gen. and Q.M.

    Captain BRADSHAW

    AQM, USA, St. Louis


    [No. 29]

    By telegraph from

    Cincinnati, August 5, 1861


    I have no tents except what I am having made. I will have twenty regiments to supply in the next two weeks, and can’t spare what you want.


    Captain and AQM


    [No. 30]

    By telegraph from

    Chicago, August 6, 1861


    Dispatch received. I sent you one hundred (100) tents today. There are no more here entirely ready. May be one hundred (100) more ready tomorrow.



    [No. 31]

    Major McKINSTRY

    Dear Major–If you buy any more horses, I wish you to give Jim Neal a chance. He is a personal friend of mine, and a sound Union man. By employing Neal you will confer a great favor.


    Col. 1st Reg. M.V.


    [No. 32]

    Dear Major:

    John J. Bowen is, and has been, all right, and I shall be glad if you can do him a favor consistently with the public interests. I mean everything I say in this short note. Your friend,


    Col. 1st Reg. M.V.

    St. Louis Arsenal, August 17, 1861


    [No. 33]

    Major McKINSTRY:

    I wish you would buy wagons from Espenscheid & Kearn, German wagon-makers. They are Union men. Murphy & Verdin are both secessionists. I wish you would not buy from them; it is injurious to you and to the cause. Yours,



    [No. 34]

    Major McKINSTRY:

    Dear Major–I shall be much obliged to you if you can give Mr. Aleck Peterson a contract for buying horses. He is a good friend of mine, a firm Union man, and I should be glad to serve him. Yours,


    Tuesday, August 27, 1861


    [No. 35]

    St. Louis, September 6, 1861

    General McKINSTRY, Qr. Mr.

    General–This will introduce Colonel Bogy, of Ste. Genevieve, a good Union man, who finds himself surrounded by unpleasant circumstances at home. The Colonel is desirous of obtaining a contract for the purchase of horses. If you can aid his wishes you will confer a favor on me. The Colonel is a member of the Convention. His business has been entirely destroyed, and it would be laying a special obligation on me to give him a contract. Respectfully,


    September 1, 1861


    [No. 36]

    General McKINSTRY

    General–Mr. B. Gishard is the party to whom I spoke to you, and of whom I sent you a message by Charley Elleard. He wants to furnish some horses to the Government. See that he is attended to. Yours, &c., FRANK P. BLAIR, Jr.

    September 11, 1861


    [No. 37]

    Office of Assistant Treasurer, U.S.

    St. Louis, Mo., May 29, 1861}

    Dear Judge:

    Our friends here are complaining, and, I believe, not without reason, that the Government patronage at this point is all thrown into the hands of, and for the benefit of, our enemies, the secessionists. No one doubts that our friends among the mercantile community can, and will, sell to the Government all manner of goods on terms as favorable to the Government as any traitor, yet it seems that the disbursing officers hereabouts have a most decided preference for patronizing our enemies. This thing should not be permitted. I am anxious to see the Government administered on the most economic plan; but, to gain that object, is it necessary that our friends should be excluded, and traitors trained to subsist the army, and fatten on its profits. Yes, and probably subscribe some of those very profits to Jeff. Davis’s army.

    The Government purchases must always be to the advantage of somebody, and friends rather than enemies should be preferred.

    Major McKinstry, the Acting Quartermaster of this place, should have a leave of absence, or some other leave.

    Captain Kelton, who acts here as Commissary of Subsistence, successor to Major Waggaman, who introduced him on resigning, is known only to our enemies, on whom he is said to shower patronage, and for details I refer you to an article in Democrat of today. I learn that Saml. Simmons is an applicant for that post, made vacant by the resignation of Major Waggaman, and I regard it as a matter of the utmost importance that he should be appointed, and that it be it be done immediately.

    Can’t you have Gen. Harney sent away from here? If he remains here much longer we shall be compelled a second time to conquer a peace in Missouri. Can’t a division of the army be made for him, embracing Utah and the Indians? Yours very truly,


    Hon. M. (Montgomery) BLAIR. PMG, Washington


    [No. 38]

    St. Louis, July 15, 1861

    Dear Frank:

    I write you now in behalf of my brother John, to get you to help him in getting a contract for furnishing the army with horses. He is about busted up financially, and is very much in need of something to help him through.

    Some of our friends here have had contracts and done pretty well. A word or two from you, in a way that you well know how to put, will go far with McKinstry towards putting him in favor, and enable him to get some or a portion of the contracts of mules and horses about to be offered. It is the more necessary to have something of the kind from you to McKinstry, as I fear he is prejudiced against me by reason of my letter to the Judge, which fell into his hands. He may be inclined to discriminate against John. I do wish you would write a few lines to McKinstry to help John in that matter. If you know any other way to help him to a contract, by orders direct from the Department of otherwise, put him on it. I know I am bothering you in these matters, and I feel so, for I remember my own obligations to you–yet it is the way of the world. Do them a favor and they want another.

    The contracts must be let and somebody will get the profits, and certainly no one deserves more than John, or has been a more steadfast friend of the party. If you can find occasion to give this matter some attention you will very much oblige, Your friend,



    Gen. MEIGS: If you want horses in Missouri, I most cordially recommend Mr. Farrar to purchase them for you.



    Referred to Major McKinstry, AQM, and the writer so informed.

    M.C. MEIGS

    Quartermaster General


    [No. 39]

    Planters’ House, September 17, 1861

    Gen. J. McKINSTRY:

    Dear Sir–I have just received a telegraphic dispatch that I had 230 mules at Jefferson City, ready for inspection.

    I would be much obliged to you if you would give me an order to your inspectors authorizing one of them to go up, by tomorrow’s morning’s train, and attend to the business. If I had the order, I will engage to see the inspectors tonight, or very early in the morning, and in time for the train. Allow me to suggest that if your present inspectors are so engaged that their services are needed here, I have no doubt Mr. Abrams, the white-bearded gentleman, who has been in your service, would go up, and the order might be directed to him, and in which case I will see him. If I should not see you in person, I will call again at your resident tonight, when I can get the order. I am this explicit because I desire to meet promptly my engagements with the Government through Mr. Haskell. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



    [No. 40]

    Jefferson City, September 16, 1861

    Major Gen’l. FREMONT:

    Dear Sir–Col. Jeff. C. Davis informs me he wants a large number of mules and horses here, immediately, and has made his requisition for them.

    If you will write me or telegraph me to buy them, they shall not cost the Government more than you are paying for such mules.

    You remember I spoke to you and General Frémont, and you promised me the refusal. Very truly,



    [No. 41]


    Jefferson City, Sept. 16, 1861

    Major General FREMONT:

    Col. Jeff C. Davis informs me he wants mules and horses here. I can buy 150 choice mules here immediately if you will give me authority, and they shall not cost the Government more than they are paying.

    Give me contract by telegraph immediately and I will secure them. Gen. McKinstry referred me to you.



    [No. 42]

    Jefferson City, Sept. 16, 1861

    General McKINSTRY, Quartermaster, St. Louis:

    Dear Sir–I can buy you 150 choice mules in 48 hours for this post, and Col. Davis informs me he wants a large number here, immediately, and has made his requisition for them.

    If you will write me or telegraph me to buy them they shall not cost the Government more than you are paying for such mules.

    You remember I spoke to you and General Frémont, and you promised me the refusal. Very truly,



    [No. 44]

    Office Quartermaster General, Western Department

    St. Louis, 18th September, 1861}


    You will please proceed to Jefferson City, by morning train of the Pacific railroad, to inspect a collection of mules, belonging to Major James S. Rollins, and to be furnished the United States Government by Mr. L. Haskell.


    A. Qr. Mr. Gen’l.

    To Mr. BLAKELY



    Wayne County } ss (subscribed and sworn)

    Samuel P. Brady, of Detroit, in said county, being duly sworn, says that he is a forwarding and commission merchant, and has been for the last twelve years, doing business in said city. That, prior to his engaging in the same, he had been for the greater part of his life since manhood a merchant, some of the time as Sutler [supplier, victualer] in the U.S. Army, at various posts. That form this fact, and the experience thus acquired of the necessities of an army, and the goods and supplied requisite for military service, as well as from his military connections in the U.S. Army and extensive acquaintance with its officers of every grade, deponent has been regarded by others as having knowledge of army wants, and as an expert in military goods and supplies, under the Army regulations of the United States. That deponent is well acquainted with General Justus McKinstry, and has been ever since the General’s boyhood, when he knew him in Detroit. That he has seen him often since he became an officer of the army, and known him well; and that deponent has ever regarded said General McKinstry as one of the highest toned, most honorable, and gallant officers in the service. That some time last summer, about the time of General McKinstry’s assumption of the Quartermaster Generalship in St. Louis, deponent received a request from hin to ascertain and advise him the prices of certain goods, not then procurable in the market of St. Louis, which were wanted in his Department. That General McKinstry knew deponent’s familiarity with such matters, not only for the reasons above given, but by reason of deponent’s extensive experience in the purchase and furnishing of supplies for the Lake Superior Mining companies, as well as for the general trade of that country; and that he made such requests because of the deponent’s knowledge, and because he believed that deponent would act faithfully and scrupulously for the best interests of the U.S. Government in any matter with which he might be entrusted. That deponent, in compliance with said request, availed himself of a wide acquaintance in the Eastern cities to procure, from time to time, the best information of the state of the markets, and communicated the same to General McKinstry. That, at the gentleman’s request, deponent went to St. Louis, to aid him by the purchase of articles not readily obtained in the St, Louis market.

    And deponent further says, that he engaged in the purchase for Government of certain kinds of army supplies, with which he was familiar, which he furnished for a moderate profit, no greater than deponent would have charged in any other trade with individuals or corporation, and in many instances at a lower rate, and of a better quality, than goods of similar kinds offered by resident wholesale merchants of St. Louis. That he so purchased supplies, not as agent for the Government, or for General McKinstry, but in his capacity as a merchant. That deponent was, if possible, more scrupulously careful in his transactions with General McKinstry on account of their friendly personal relations.

    And deponent further says, that General McKinstry had no share or interst in any of deponent’s transactions with the U.S. Government (or with General McKinstry for the Government), nor in any of the profits thereof; and that General McKinstry had no understanding, express or implied, with deponent, directly or indirectly, whatever, that deponent should pay to or divide with him, or with any relative of his, any profit or interst in any contract or transaction which deponent had or might have with the United States, or its Quartermaster General, the said McKinstry. And, further, that no sum of money, article, or thing was ever paid or given to said General McKinstry, or any relative of his by deponent, or any agent, relative, or attorney for him, on account of any transaction or contract in General McKinstry’s Department between him (or the United States through him) and this deponent.

    And this deponent further says, that in his opinion no other man paid General McKinstry, or divided with him, any profit in any contract or transaction with the Government in said Department, or any bonus or douceur for awarding any Government contract, either directly or indirectly; and, further, that in his opinion no man who knew General McKinstry dare approach him with even an intimation that he would like to suggest such a thing to him.

    And this deponent further says, that he has had more than ordinary opportunities for observation in regard to the management of the office of Quartermaster, having been raised in a garrison, and lived in direct intercourse with the army during the better half of his life. That deponent therefore feels competent to speak on the subject, and he can and does say, without reserve or qualification, that in view of the magnitude of the business necessary to be done in the extraordinary exigency of the time, the service could not have been better performed by any human being.

    That nothing, in deponent’s opinion, but patriotism, and the sternest sense of duty, with the most resolute determination to do it fully, could have borne up General McKinstry in his ceaseless devotion to the stupendous labors of his double office of Quartermaster General and Provost Marshal, by day and by night, under the most peculiar and critical circumstances.

    S.P. BRADY

    Sworn to and subscribed before me this 9th day of May 1861, at Detroit, in said county.


    Notary Public, Wayne County, Michigan

    The undersigned are well acquainted, and have been for many years, with Samuel P. Brady, whose name is subscribed to the foregoing deposition, and know him to be a gentleman of the highest character for strict integrity and truth.



    Detroit, May 9th, 1962


    [No. 46]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    Simon Mandlebaum, being duly sworn, says: During the summer and fall of 1861, I was in the employ of S.P. Brady, Esq., of Detroit, Michigan. He contemplated the furnishing of goods and supplies to the Government at St. Louis, if he could obtain orders from the Quartermaster. With this view he requested me to visit some of the large cities, and ascertain the market prices of such goods as are usually purchased by Quartermasters for the Government.

    I complied with Mr. Brady’s request and ascertained the market prices of such goods. Mr. Brady also telegraphed, in some instances, to his acquaintances East to ascertain the market prices of such goods. The prices or values thus obtained were furnished by Mr. Brady to General McKinstry, and in most instances that Mr. Brady furnished good to the Government at St. Louis, while General McKinstry was acting as Quartermaster, the latter knew the prices of the goods at the time they were furnished. I made the purchases for Mr. Brady, and his instructions to me were to buy the best quality of goods, which I invariably did.

    I further state that, of the whole quantity of good furnished by Mr. Brady to the Government, amounting to about $200,000 in the aggregate, only about one-half of the whole amount was furnished under the administration of General McKinstry of the Quartermaster’s Department at S.t Louis. The remainder of the goods furnished by Mr. Brady were furnished to Quartermasters Allen and Rankin.


    Subscribed and sworn before me this last day of May 1862. In witness whereof, I have hereto set my hand and notarial seal, this day and year last above written.


    Notary Public


    [No. 48]

    St. Louis, August 19, 1861

    Major General JOHN C. FREMONT

    Commanding Department of the West:

    Sir: referring to the conversation had with you some three weeks ago, by one of the undersigned (Mr. Gurnee) in relation to army supplies, and to what extent such supplies could be furnished at Chicago, with the promptitude required for the fitting out of an army, we have to say that Mr. Gurnee, having conferred with the principal manufacturers of Chicago, returned to this city prepared to give satisfactory answers. But learning here that St. Louis claimed a portion of the work, he proposed to his associate in their communication (Mr. John How) to unite in this proposition, with the understanding that the goods should, as far as practicable, be manufacturer in Chicago and St. Louis, and in equal proportions.

    They now make out and submit to the Commanding General the following propositions:

    First. They will furnish, and deliver at any depot or office in Chicago or St. Louis, the goods manufactured in the respective cities, as follows:

  • 20,000 coats or jackets at rate of 1,500 per week
  • 20,000 pairs pants at rate of 1,500 per week
  • 20,000 drawers at rate of 1,500 per week
  • 40,000 flannel shirts at rate of 3,000 per week
  • 70,000 pairs socks at rate of 5,000 per week
  • 15,000 overcoats at rate of 1,000 per week
  • 35,000 pairs bootees or
  • shoes for Infantry at rate of 1,500 per week
  • 5,000 Cavalry boots at rate of 400 per week
  • 19,000 caps or felt hats at rate of 2,000 per week
  • 15,000 knapsacks at rate of 2,000 per week
  • 15,000 haversacks at rate of 2,000 per week
  • 10,000 canteens at rate of 2,000 per week
  • 2,000 horse equipments at rate of 200 per week
  • All the supplies furnished shall correspond to the patterns and samples now being made for Government (unless changed by your order) and the price to be the same at which contracts are now being filled in the principal depots of the Quartermaster’s Department for the United States, with allowance to us when superior articles are required; and deductions if inferior are delivered, we to be notified at the time, if deductions are claimed.

    We will commence the delivery of the goods within twenty days after the signing of this contract, and will, as far as practicable, increase the delivery and even the amount of goods required by your Department.

    An early answer is respectfully requested, as the time is short within which to supply the Army of the West and have them prepared for the coming winter.



    I recommend this proposal for contract to Major McKinstry.


    Maj. Gen. Commanding


    [No. 49]

    Office of Quartermaster USA

    St. Louis, Aug. 25, 1861}

    Hon. JOHN HOW:

    Sir–I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt at your hands of a proposition, over your signature and that of W.S. Gurnee, of Chicago, addressed to Major General Frémont, commanding Western Department, offering upon certain terms to enter into a contract to furnish the Quartermaster’s Department with certain articles of supplies, pertaining to the equipment of the forces now being organized in this city.

    The Commanding General has referred your proposition to me. A reference from so high a source makes it an imperative duty on my part to give my reasons in detail for declining your proposition.

    They are as follows: The acceptance of your proposition would involve the expenditure of at least three fourths of a million dollars–an enormous amount of money to be expending for a public object, without throwing open the door to public competition. The business community just now is in that state of inactivity where it anticipates and attempts to seize hold of every opportunity to obtain employment for both muscle, and machinery and capitals, and it naturally turns to the War Department of the Government for that relief which it fails to find among civil affairs. This being the case, this Department will be constantly the object of scrutiny and criticism, by those most interested in being made aware of the wants of the Government; and the expenditure of so considerable a sum, without public competition, even if perfectly innocent in itself (of which there might be some slight question) would provoke unkind and bitter feelings, slanderous remarks and publications, and such trouble as you and I have both witnessed more than once in relation to Government contracts.

    Neither I, nor any other officer of the Government, be his position or rank what it may, has strength enough to stand before the people on such a record, and hope to escape the most virulent charges or fraud and corruption. At all events, I do not intend to try the experiment, at least until ordered to do so by the Government, whose agent I am.

    Let me say, sir, in conclusion, that of course nothing contained in this letter was intended as any reflection or criticism upon your motives, or those of Mr. Gurnee, in making the proposition referred to, and to add that I am as ever, Very respectfully yours, &c.,


    Major and Quartermaster



    Memorandum for Major-General Fremont (By J. McKinstry,AQM)

    The Chief Quartermaster, after careful consideration of the probable wants of the large army no being organized under your command, would respectfully recommend that he be ordered to enter into engagements for the immediate supply of the following articles, on the following terms, to wit:

    The parties receiving the orders to repair at once to New York, and, after consultation with the officer of the Quartermaster’s Department in charge of the clothing depot in that city, and receiving from him samples of the articles required, to agree to furnish a sworn list of the prices at which the several articles will be furnished, giving in detail the cost of materials and workmanship, the same in no case to exceed the ruling market prices, together with a fair mercantile profit to the contractors. The list or lists to be so prepared as to show distinctly and at a glance the several items separately, of the cost of the materials, and cost and expense of labor and workmanship bestowed upon them, and the profit to be realized by the proposed contractors.

    This appears to the Chief Quartermaster to present a satisfactory and reasonably sure plan for securing the Government against imposition, and at the same time providing promptly for the army under your command. Subjoined will be found a schedule of the articles required:


  • 40,000 army overcoats, to be made of the best army material, and in every respect to conform to army regulations and requirements
  • 5,000 pairs of Cavalry boots, on the same terms and conditions
  • 5,000 suits of Infantry uniforms, on the same terms and conditions
  • 5,000 knapsacks, army pattern
  • 5,000 canteens, army pattern
  • 10,000 pairs of socks, army pattern
  • 10,000 Infantry hats, army pattern
  • 10,000 pairs army drawers
  • 10,000 undershirts, army pattern
  • 10,000 pair army shoes
  • ____

    [No. 50½ ]

    Asst. Qr. Mr. Gen’s. Office, Western Department

    St. Louis, September 19, 1861}

    Messrs. CORBET & KUHN, St. Louis, Mo.:

    What will you furnish the Quartermaster’s Department with Cavalry equipments for? The bid to be for complete sets. Please answer immediately, and state how many sets you have on hand. Respectfully, your obedient servant,


    A. Qr. Mr. Gen.

    H W. G. CLEMENTS, Chief Clerk


    [No. 51]

    A.A., Qr, Mr. Gen’s. Office, Western Department St. Louis, September 25, 1861}


    I have received your communication of the 23rd instant, in reference to pants furnished by R. Keiler & Co. You are aware that it was not my wish to purchase this clothing, and it was done at your urgent request; that your regiment was in great need of them. I will thank you to return, per first opportunity, the two hundred pairs you refer to. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


    Brig. Gen. and Qr. Master

    Capt. R.M. Littler, 2d Iowa Vols. (6miles below Cairo) Cairo


    [No. 52]

    This agreement, made and entered into, at St. Louis, Mo., on the 5th day of July, 1861, between Brevet Major J. McKinstry, Assistant Quartermaster, USA, for and on behalf of the united States, for the first part, and John H. Bowen and Asa S. Jones, of the city of St. Louis, on the second part, witnesseth:

    That the parties of the second part agree to furnish the party of the first part one hundred and seventy-six (176) cavalry horses, one hundred and forty (140) artillery horses, and four hundred and twenty-five (425) mules, to be delivered at either St. Louis, Mo., or Cairo, Ill. The horses to be guaranteed as sound and free from all defects whatever, and to be at least fifteen and one half (15½) hands high, not more than eight or less than four years old. The mules to be not less than fourteen (14) hands high, and ranging in age from four to more years, and to be guaranteed as sound and free from all defects.

    And the party of the first part, for and on behalf of the United States, agrees to pay, or cause to be paid, to the parties of the second part, at the Quartermaster’s Office, St. Louis, Mo., at the rate of one hundred and nineteen (119) dollars for each horse and mule, which shall be accepted as agreeing with the terms of this contract.

    And it is further agreed by the parties of the second part, that the horses and mules, to the number named in this contract, shall be delivered within eight days from the date of this contract, and that they shall enter into good and sufficient sureties for the faithful performance of the stipulations before mentioned.

    It is expressly agreed that no member of Congress shall have any share or part in, or derive any benefit arising form this contract.

    Witness our hands and seals the day and year before written.

    (Signed in quadruplicate.) J. McKINSTRY

    Brevet Major, AQM







    Know all men by these presents, that we, John H. Bowen and Asa S. Jones, of the city of St. Louis, State or Missouri, as principals, and T.P. Wheeler and F.M. Wood, of the same place, as sureties, are firmly held and bound unto the United States in the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, good and lawful money, to be paid the said United States, and for the full payment of which said one hundred thousand dollars we bind ourselves, our heirs, administrators, and assigns. In witness whereof we have hereunto set out hands and seals this fifth day of July 1861.

    The condition of the obligation and bond is: That whereas the said Brown and the said Jones have contracted with Major J. McKinstry, for and in behalf of the United States, to furnish at St. Louis, Mo., or Cairo, Ill., to the United States, one hundred and seventy-six cavalry horses, and one hundred and forty artillery horses, and four hundred and twenty-five mules, at the rate of one hundred and nineteen dollars each, in accordance with written contract of date of fifth of July, A.D. 1861.

    Now, if said contract be well and truly performed and fulfilled, then this bond and obligation to be void and of not force, otherwise of full effect.


    F.M. WOODS




    [No. 53]

    James Neill, of the city and county of St. Louis, State of Missouri, being duly sworn, on oath says, that from about the fifth day of August 1861, he had various contracts with the Quartermaster of the Western Department, General McKinstry, to furnish horse and mules to the Government; that never, at any time or in any manner or degree, was General McKinstry interested in said contracts, or in the profits accruing therefrom, nor did he receive, or expect, or desire to receive any reward, profit or benefit of any kind or nature by reason of said contract, or growing out of the same; that General McKinstry never received any reward, profit, benefit, in any manner or form, by reason of awarding this affiant [one who makes an affidavit] any contract whatever, nor did he expect so to do; that the affiant’s acquaintance with General McKinstry was made through the Hon. F.P. Blair, Jr., who gave to this affiant a letter to General McKinstry endorsing this affiant’s loyalty and integrity of character. That from that date the affiant commenced doing business with said McKinstry, and not before; that all affiant’s business transactions with said McKinstry have been conducted fairly and honestly, and always on the part of said McKinstry with an eye watchful for the interest of the Government. And further, this affiant says that the mules claimed by R. W. Peay, before the Van Wyck Investigating Committee, to have been sold by him direct to General McKinstry, were bought by me of said Peay to fill my contract with the Government; and of this said McKinstry had no knowledge whatever, except after this affiant had purchased the mules; said McKinstry stated to said Peay that this affiant had a contract with the Government for mules.


    Sworn to and subscribed before me, a Notary Public, this 17th day of May, 1862. R.W. HAMILTON


    [No. 54]


    County of St, Louis }ss

    Joseph S. Peace, being duly sworn, on oath says: I have examined the Report of the Congressional Investigating Committee, of which the Hon. C.H. Van Wyck is chairman, and the evidence to which it refers. That on the 17th day of October 1861, Robert W. Peay did not hold my note, for a balance due him by me on a former transaction; that I was not indebted to him in the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars for a balance of account of stock furnished to me, or in any other sum or amount at that date; and that the said Peay, subsequent to the giving of his testimony before the Van Wyck Committee, acknowledged he was mistaken in this regard.

    And, further, this affiant says, that, as to the sale of mules directly to General McKinstry, concerning which said Peay testified, he knows nothing whatever. The connection this affiant had with these mules was simply as follows: James B. Neill, who had a contract to furnish the Government with mules, desired this affiant to become a partner with him, Neill, this affiant furnishing the means, merely, to purchase said mules; affiant and John H. Bowen, being his partner, became partners of said Neill on the terms stated. These mules, as affiant afterwards understood, were bought of Peay, both from Neill and Peay; that this affiant never passed a word with General McKinstry as to these mules, or in connection with the contract; nor did affiant know that Peay had sold these mules to Neill, until a bill was presented by Peay to this affiant for the first delivery at one hundred and ten dollars per head. Affiant was not prepared to pay for all of them at once, but paid Peay twenty-five hundred dollars on account of said mules. That soon after this affiant receive the Government voucher for said mules, three hundred and thirty-six in all, James O. Broadhead came to affiant, as affiant subsequently understood, as the attorney of Peay, to collect the balance due said Peay, and requested the possession of the voucher; that the only reason this affiant hesitated to deliver the voucher into Broadhead’s hands, as he proposed , in order that the money might be obtained upon it, was that this affiant was not then personally acquainted with said James O. Broadhead, and did not know anything about his responsibility; but as soon as this affiant learned that he was entirely responsible, he cheerfully deposited said voucher with said Broadhead, in order that the money might be collected thereon. That this affiant never heard it intimated by Peay, or by any other person, that Peay supposed he was selling said mules to the Government direct, until the sitting of the Van Wyck Committee; on the other hand, this affiant supposed, and still supposes., that Neill bought these mules of Peay to fill his, and Neill’s, contract, and this affiant paid said Peay, under this supposition, the said twenty-five hundred dollars, and to other parties who had sold to Peay two hundred and forty dollars; that Peay did not receive said twenty-five hundred dollars from this affiant on any old account, of from this affiant as agent of the government, but simply as one of the vendees of said mules; and, in transferring the business to Broadhead, the said Peay acknowledge the said sums of twenty-five hundred dollars and of two hundred and forty dollars, to be just credits on the accounts. And, further, this affiant says that he is of no kin whatever of General McKinstry, either in blood or in law; that he was interested with John H. Bowen in the first contract awarded in the Western Department on public bids for animals, which contract was awarded about the fourth of July, 1861; that General McKinstry had no interest in the five thousand dollars for which Bowen sold his interest in the contract, and received no part of same, directly or indirectly, nor did he hold back, of have anything to do with it, to the knowledge, information, or belief of this affiant; that the testimony of Alexander Kelsey is disposed of by himself in a note addressed to the Missouri republic, January 3d, 1862, of which the following is a true copy, viz:

    “Editor REPUBLICAN–On reading the published extracts from the Van Wyck Investigating Committee, I was surprised to find that an attempt has been made to charge Mr. Jos. S. Pease with having obtained money from the Quartermaster at St. Louis on a false voucher. The Committee predicate their charge on my testimony, given before them in respect to my transactions with Mr. Pease. I wish now to state, as a simple matter of justice to Mr. Pease, that this charge of the Committee has no foundation whatever. The Committee have done him a great wrong; there is nothing in my testimony before them to justify them in making this charge. I did not intend in anything I said before the Committee to case any reflection upon the conduct of Mr. Pease. At the time I signed the receipt in the dusk of the evening, mentioned in the Report of the Committee. They have only embodied in their Report a garbled statement of my evidence, whereas if they had published the whole, it would be seen that my evidence entirely exonerated Mr. Pease from any dishonest or dishonorable conduct in the matter.

    (Signed) ALEX. KELSEY

    St. Louis December 31, 1861”

    That the testimony of John B. Valle was also incorrectly reported, in proof of which this affiant inserts herein true copies of cards received by him, from the signers, viz:

    “I have examined my evidence, as published by the Congressional Investigating Committee (page 879) respecting a sale of gunny bags to H.S. Pease, and find, in many points, it is not correctly reported.

    (Signed) JOHN B. VALLE

    St. Louis, April 24, 1862”

    “I am salesman for the house of John B. Valle & Co. The sale of gunny bags to Mr. Jos. S. Pease was made by me during Mr. Valle’s absence. A day or two after the sale, after some explanation by Pease, I signed the voucher for thirteen hundred dollars, the explanation being perfectly satisfactory to me. Pease never made any threats to my knowledge; nothing unpleasant occurred between us during the transaction. I sold the gunny bags at twelve cents to Pease, and rendered him a bill for them at that price, and collected the amount of same, twelve hundred dollars, in several installments, as stated in the evidence of Mr. Valle.

    (Signed) WILLIS J. POWELL

    St. Louis, April 24, 1862”

    And, further, this affiant says that the testimony given by Francis H.G. Hafkemeyer, as to his receiving seventy-nine thousand dollars from the cashier of General McKinstry is false; that the said Hafkemeyer saw the said cashier pay to this affiant, on the third day of October 1816, fifteen thousand dollars, in one thousand dollar packages, of Missouri money, and no more; that the assertion of the said Hafkemeyer as to the agitation of this affiant is also false, and this affiant believes it was stated for the vile purpose of intimating what he dared not declare in words, that the receiving of the money was a fraud on the Government; and that the assertion of said Hafkemeyer that General McKinstry has left the city is also false. On the same day the said cashier made a further payment to this affiant of ten thousand dollars, still leaving the Government largely indebted to him for forage and other supplies, for which he was obliged to pay cash, and for a considerable amount of which the Government is still indebted to him. General McKinstry was in his office on the day of said payments, and they were made by his order; and, further, this affiant says that he has not been in may transaction connected with General McKinstry, nor has General McKinstry ever received on cent of his profits form Government contracts, or even suggested such a thing, nor has he been in any way personally benefitted by this affiant’s contracts with the Government, in any possible manner, directly or indirectly, and all charges, assertions , or intimations, that General McKinstry was interested or benefitted, directly, or indirectly., in any way or manner, by this affiant’s transactions with the Government, are wholly false.

    And, further, this affiant says, that he has read the report of the Commission on War Claims at St. Louis, of which the Hon. D. Davis is chairman; that the statement therein contained, with regard to this affiant’s transactions in tents is exaggerated in amount, and gives a false coloring to his motives and manner of doing the business; that he distributed said business among all of the tent-makers, seven in number, and received commissions from four of them only; that his understanding with two of them was that their gross prices to him were the same as though they had sold direct to the Government, and the commissions allowed by the other two, were allowed at the time of final settlement, without any previous agreement, and of their own free will; that he constantly advanced money on said tents; that the payments to tent-makers, in vouchers issued for other supplies than tents, were made by their own solicitation, and for their own accommodation, their necessities not permitting them to wait the issue of vouchers for tents particularly; that in the instance of his having purchased one hundred tents at twenty-two dollars, they were purchased at the first offer of the maker, and far below their market value; that this affiant furnished considerable numbers of tents at a commission of two percent, of less than one percent, and without commission; that in several cases he was compelled to sell vouchers, received for tents and other supplies, at a loss; that of the tents furnished by him, considerably less than one-half were furnished upon orders from General McKinstry, and that, although permitted to prove his claims, before said Committee, he was not permitted to hear the evidence adverse to said claims.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me, at the District of Missouri, on the 1st day of May, A.D. 1862.


    [No. 56]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    Thomas M. Blakely, of lawful age, being duly sworn, says that he has been in the employ of the Government of the United States for about thirteen years. I have been thus employed in the Quartermaster’s department as wagon master. A large portion of that time I was so employed at Fort Leavenworth, and was ordered, on or about the 10th day of July last, by Captain Van Vleet, to report for duty to Quartermaster McKinstry, at St. Louis, and I came to St. Louis accordingly, and have been in the Quartermaster’s employ at St. Louis, and other points, ever since. I was so employed at St. Louis in the months of July, August, and the early part of September, of the year 1861, and inspected horses and mules at St. Louis, for the department, during the months last mentioned. I know Robert W. Peay. He had a stock stable on Broadway, in the city of St. Louis, called the “Mammoth Stable,” at which the Government kept a large number of animals, and I generally inspected the animals at that stable.

    In the early part of September, the place of inspection of animals belonging to the Government, was removed up to Ashbrook’s stable, higher up on Broadway, it being more convenient at the latter place. My attention has been called to the testimony of said Robert W. Peay, as published in the report of the Van Wyck Investigating Committee, on pages 540, 541, and following, wherein said Peay states, in substance, that he sold to Major McKinstry, two hundred and ninety-six mules, at $110 a head, and made out the account, and had Blakely (meaning myself) inspect and brand the mules and give a certificate. In regard to the said statement of said R.W. Peay, I state that I never heard or knew of his making any such sale of mules to Major McKinstry, or to the Government. I remember inspecting the said lot of mules; but I did not at any time hear or understand that Peay was the owner of said mules, but, on the contrary, James B. Neill claimed the said mules, and that he had sold them to the Government. I was present at the door, and near the steps of Major McKinstry’s office, with said Peay and said Neill when Major McKinstry directed me to inspect said mules, at the Mammoth Stable. I did not hear any bargain between Peay and McKinstry; in fact, nothing was said, by anyone, about the sale or price of the mules I was ordered to inspect. There was no conversation between said parties, except that Major McKinstry directed me to inspect a lot of mules at the Mammoth Stables, and I did as I was directed.


    Subscribed and sworn to me this 28th day of February 1862, at St. Louis, Missouri. In witness thereof, I have hereto set my hand and notarial seal the day and year last above written.


    Notary Public, St. Louis County


    [No. 57]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    John Keller, being duly sworn, says: I have read the testimony of James Harkness, as the same appears in the Report of the Van Wyck Committee, and I state that all and every part of the testimony of said Harkness, that relates to me, or connects me with the transactions he mentions, is untrue–utterly untrue in every particular. I never inspected the animals spoken of by said Harkness for Flanagan or anyone else. I further state that I was recommended to General McKinstry, as qualified and a suitable person to be appointed inspector, by John J. Roe, merchant, and Isaac Rosenfeld, cashier State Savings Institution. I am a veterinary surgeon by profession, and in practice in St. Louis. In all cases, when I inspected animals for the Government, I made return of my inspection under oath.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 10th day of June 1862


    U.S. Com’r for Mo.


    [No. 58]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    F.G. Flanagan being duly sworn, says: I have read the testimony of James Harkness, as the same reported by the Van Wyck Investigating Committee, page 535, where he speaks of my father’s buying a three-year-old filly for $65, &c. His statement in regard ot the inspection of said filly by Keller is untrue. The filly in question was never sold to the Government, and was never inspected by Dr. Keller. The whole statement of said Harkness, in respect to said filly and its inspection is untrue.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 13th day of June 1862, In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal the day and year last aforesaid.

    LEO. WOLF, Notary Public

    [No. 59]

    St. Louis, Sept. 18, 1861

    Gen. J. McKINSTRY

    Dear Sir:

    I learned this morning that you would shortly need a large number of camp kettles and mess pans. If they are to be the same size and weight as those now made for the army, which are of the best quality charcoal sheet iron, No. 26 wire gauge, I will furnish them at the following prices, provided the order is given for say 2,000 camp kettles and 5,000 mess pans; camp kettles at 42½ cents each; mess pans 27½ cents each. Respectfully yours, GILES F. FILLEY


    [No. 60]

    St. Louis, Sept. 19, 1861


    Dear Sir:

    I propose furnishing camp kettles and mess pans for the army at the following prices:

    Thirteen (13) cents per pound for camp kettles.

    Fifteen and one half (15½) cents per pound for mess pans.

    All is to be made of best quality charcoal sheet iron, No. 26 wire gauge. Respectfully yours,


    Box 3212, 155 Main St.


    [No. 61]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    Charles M. Elleard being duly sworn, says that during the past year he sold horses, and also a few mules to the Government of the United States, at St. Louis, while Major J. McKinstry was acting Quartermaster at St. Louis. In making my sales to the Government I was on a footing with others who sold property to the Government. I never, to my knowledge, had any favors shown, or advantage given me, over others, by Major McKinstry. He dealt with me, in buying my stock, as he did with others, and no partiality was shown to me that I am aware of. Major McKinstry was not concerned or interested with me in any of my operations with the Government, either directly or indirectly, and he never shared or received, either directly or indirectly, any profits I realized form any of my sales to the Government.

    This affiant further states that Major McKinstry never, to my knowledge, forced or obliged anyone to sell horses to me, and I have no reason to believe that he ever did so. This affiant further states that he has no personal acquaintance with Mr. Lippencott, who has been spoken of as having been forced or obliged by Major McKinstry to sell horses to me, and I have not recollection of ever having seen said Lippencott, nor have I any recollection of every having heard of him until I heard his name mentioned in the connection above.


    Subscribed and sworn before me, at St. Louis, in the District of Missouri, this 26th day of April 1862.


    U.S. Com’r for Mo.


    [No. 62]

    Extract from a letter of General Frémont:

    Wheeling, Va., March 30, 1862


    * * * * I was not aware that Mr. Colfax intended to speak to my case. In making it he spoke upon such information as the published documents and other sources furnished him with. I am sure that his reference to you was not in any unfriendly spirit. You were charged with acts which you did not commit, for the purpose of holding me responsible for them.

    The ground that I have taken is, first, that our acts were, not only undeserving of censure, but were intended to and have proved eminently right and useful to the public service. But another ground, for which I have still more distinctly taken, is, that I assume, in the fullest manner, the entire responsibility for the contract.

    I ordered Beard upon it before the contract was made leaving it to be completed afterwards. I ordered money to be paid him in advance, as he required it. When afterwards, he brought his contract to me, I directed him to you. You came to me personally and informed me that the prices he asked were altogether too high. I told you to reduce them to what you considered reasonable, leaving him a fair profit, having regard to the circumstances under which the works were built and the extraordinary labor and expense which he underwent. In regard to the question as to whether or not this work belonged to you, or whether or not you objected ot it, I have replied that, it was properly the work of the Engineer Department, but that under the circumstances you were ordered to attend to it to this extent–that, whether you objected to it or not, I overruled the objection, and, finally, you were not concerned in this contract further than in obeying my positive order to make it as above stated. * * * * * * * * * * * Yours truly,


    Brig.-Gen. J. McKINSTRY


    [No. 63]

    A Letter from a Member of the Cabinet

    Washington, November 30, 1860

    My dear Sir: I am in receipt of yours of the 27th instant, and thank you for your kindly allusion to myself, in connection with the fearful agitation that now threatens the dismemberment of our Government. I think the President’s message will meet your approbation, but I have little hope that it will accomplish anything in moderating the madness that rules the hour. The indications are that the movement has passed beyond the reach of human control. God alone can disarm the cloud of its lightnings. South Carolina will be out of the Union and in the armed assertion of a distinct nationality, probably before Christmas. This is certain, unless the course of events is arrested by some prompt and decided action on the part of the people, and the Legislatures of the Northern States, the other slave States will follow South Carolina in a few weeks or months. The border States, now so devoted to the Union, will linger a little while, but they will soon unite their fortunes with those of their Southern Sisters. Conservative men have now no ground to stand upon–no weapon to battle with. All has been swept from them by the guilty agitations and infamous legislation of the North. I do not anticipate, with any confidence, that the North will act up to the solemn responsibilities of the crisis, by retracing those fatal steps which have conducted us to the very brink of perdition, politically, morally, and financially.

    There is a feeling growing in the free States which says, “Let the South go!” and this feeling threatens rapidly to increase. It is, in part, the fruit of complete estrangement, and in part a weariness of this perpetual conflict between North and South, which has now lasted, with increasing bitterness, for the last thirty years. The country wants repose, and is willing to purchase it at any sacrifice. Alas, for the delusion of the belief that repose will follow the overthrow of the government.

    I doubt not, from the temper of the public mind, that the Southern States will be allowed to withdraw peacefully; but when the work of dismemberment begins, we shall break up the fragments from month to month, with the nonchalance with which we break the bread upon our breakfast table. If all the grave and vital questions which will at once arise among these fragments of the ruptured Republic can be adjusted without resort to arms, then we have made vast progress since the history of our race was written. But the tragic events of the hour will show that we have made no progress at all. We shall soon grow up a race of chieftains, who will rival the political bandits of South America and Mexico, and who will carve out to us our miserable heritage with their bloody swords. The masses of people dream not of these things. They suppose the Republic can be destroyed today and peace will smile over its ruins tomorrow. They know nothing of civil war. This marah in the desert of the pilgrimage of nations has happily been for them a sealed fountain. They know not as others do of their bitterness, and that civil war is a scourge that darkens every fireside, and wrings very heart with anguish. They are to be commiserated, for they know not what they do. Whence is all this? It has come because the pulpit and the press, and the cowering, unscrupulous politicians of the North have taught the people that they are responsible for the domestic institutions of the South, and that they can be faithful to God only by being unfaithful to the compact which they have made with their fellow men. Hence those Liberty bills, which degrade the statute books of some ten of the free States, and are confessedly a shameless violation of the Federal Constitution, in a point vital to her honor. We have here presented, from year to year, the humiliating spectacle of free and sovereign States, by a solemn act of legislation, legalizing the theft of their neighbor’s property. I say THEFT, since it is not the less so because the subject of the despicable crime chance to be a slave, instead of a horse or a bale of goods.

    From this same teaching has come the perpetual agitation of the slavery questions which has reached the minds of the slave population of the South, and has rendered every home in that distracted land insecure. In almost every part of the South, miscreant fanatics have been found, and poisonings and conflagrations have marked their footsteps. Mothers there lay down at night trembling beside their children, and wives cling to their husbands as they leave their homes in the morning. I have a brother residing in Mississippi who is a lawyer by profession, and a cotton planter, but has never had any connection with politics. Knowing the calm and conservative tone of his character, I wrote him a few weeks since, and implored him to exert his influence in allaying the frenzy of the popular mind around him. He has replied to me at much length, and after depicting the machinations of the wretches to whom I have alluded, and the consternation which reigns in the homes of the South, he says it is the unalterable determination of the Southern people to overthrow the Government, as the only refuge which is left to them from these insupportable wrongs, and he adds: “On the success of this movement depends my every earthly interest–the safety of my roof from the firebrand, and of my wife and children from the poison and the dagger.”

    I give you his language because it truthfully expresses the Southern mind, which, at this moment, glows as a furnace in its hatred to the North because of these infernal agitations. Think you that any people can endure this condition of things? When the Northern preacher infuses into his audience the spirit of assassins and incendiaries in his crusade against slavery, does he think, as he lies down quietly at night, of the Southern homes he has robbed of sleep, and of the helpless women and children he has exposed to all the nameless horrors of servile insurrections?

    I am still for the Union because I have yet a faint, hesitating hope that the North will do justice to the South, and save the Republic before the wreck is complete. But action, to be available, must be prompt. If the free States will sweep the liberty bills from their codes, propose a convention of the States, and offer guarantees which will afford the same repose and safety to Southern homes and property enjoyed by those of the North, the impending tragedy may yet be averted, but not otherwise. I feel a positive, personal humiliation as a member of the human family in the events now preparing. If the Republic is to be offered as a sacrifice upon the altar of African servitude, then the question of man’s capacity for self-government is forever settled. The derision of the world will henceforth justly treat the pretension as a farce, and the blessed hope which, for five thousand years, our race, amid storm and battles, has been hugging to its bosom, will be demonstrated to be a phantom and a dream.

    Pardon these hurried and disjointed words. They have been pressed out of my heart by the sorrows that are weighing upon it.

    Sincerely, your friend [Joseph Holt]


    [No. 64]

    Headquarters, Western Department

    St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 5, 1861}

    Special Order, No. 128

    Captain J.L. Dodds, Assistant Quartermaster, is assigned to duty in this city, and will report to Captain P.T. Turnley, Assistant Quartermaster. By order of Major-General Frémont.


    Asst. Adj’t General


    [No. 65]

    St. Louis, Mo., April 27th, 1862


    I cheerfully comply with your request to state my recollection of the manner in which you examined the charges made by Henry Clapp, last summer, against A.B. Ogden, architect of Benton Barracks. The accused and accuser were present during the whole examination, which took place in your office, and was witnessed by several prominent residents of this city. Immediately after hearing the evidence of Pond, Clapp’s father-in-law, which was to the effect that Clapp had told him that he (Clapp) had given Ogden a draft for seven hundred dollars as a bonus to secure the contract for roofing Benton Barracks, you asked Clapp, in your usual tone of voice, if he had at anytime given Ogden any draft, or money, or other consideration, for the purpose of influencing the contract referred to in Pond’s evidence, or any other government contract in the Western department, and Clapp promptly and distinctly replied in the negative. You then asked him if there had been any private understanding between Ogden and himself in the matter, to the effect that in case of the contact being given to him by Ogden there was to be a division of profits; and to this question he also gave a negative answer. Whereupon you said to him that the charge affecting Ogden’s character had been extensively circulated in the city, and as he had originated it, and afterwards completely exonerated Ogden in the presence of a few witnesses, as an act of justice to the accused and to the Department under your control, to make a written disclaimed, which could be laid before the public. Upon his demurring to this condition, you informed him that he could take his choice–either to sign the required statement or go to the military prison; and at the same time you told him and others in the office that, while you were wiling and ready on all occasions to investigate charges of fraud alleged to have been committed in the Quartermaster’s Department here, you were determined not to permit the author of a false charge to go entire scatheless.

    Clapp was advised by several of friends of his who were present during the examination, including his father-in-law, to sign a recantation of the charge made by him against Ogden, and he accordingly signed and made affidavit to the following statement:

    “St. Louis, August 23d, 1861″

    Having charged Mr. Ogden, the architect of the Government, with fraud in the management of the business entrusted to him by the Quartermaster, I hereby revoke the said charge, and relieve him from the same. I hereby swear and declare that I am a good loyal citizen of the United States, and will do all that is in my power to uphold and protect the same, and that I will not directly or indirectly give aid to the enemy in any manner or form.


    I did not, during nay part of the examination, witness the boisterous manner nor hear the curses which you are represented as having exhibited and uttered by Mr. Pond, whose evidence appears in the Report of the Commissioners, who sat in this city last winter, to examine claims for supplies furnished in the Department of the West; and my opinion is that if your conduct and language were as violent and profane as they are said to have been by the witness above named, they would not have escaped my observation or recollection, for I was not more than ten feet from you during the entire examination, and my memory is, to say the least, quite equal to the general average. Yours, very respectfully,


    Sec’y of Provost Marshal

    Brig. Gen. J. McKINSTRY, USA, St. Louis


    County of St. Louis }ss

    Wm. R. McCracken, being duly sworn, says that the statements made and contained in the foregoing letters subscribed by him are true.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 12th day of May, A.D. 1862.


    Notary Public, St. Louis, Mo.


    [No. 66]

    St. Louis, Mo., April 29th, 1862

    General McKINSTRY:

    Dear Sir–I see that the “War Claim Commission,” in their “report,” aim to convey the idea that great injustice was done to Mr. Clapp in the examination at your office, August 23d, 1861, and that the whole proceeding was an outrage upon justice.

    An intelligent witness of the facts–Mr. Bell–engaged in Giles Filley’s stove store, in a conversation at Benton Barracks with Capt. Dodds and others, remarked that the impression made upon his mind by what he heard and saw, was that “the two (Pond and Clapp) had been reporting a lot of lies, and they were very glad to get out of the scrape as easily as possible.”

    If I am not mistaken, Col. Lewis V. Bogy was present and saw the whole of it.

    It is a well known fact that great jealousy and ill feeling was created among a certain few, in consequence of my being placed in charge of the Barracks; and no sooner had the work commended than rumors of the most malicious kind were industriously circulated through the city, to the effect that “I was a secessionist;” that “I employed disloyal mechanics in preference to Union men;” that “I was wasting lumber and other Government property;” that “I knew nothing whatever of the art of architecture or engineering,” and that “I was daily robbing the Government.”

    The object to have been accomplished by these slanders, as I believe, was to shake the confidence of the officers in command, and thereby effect my removal, thus making a vacancy which some one of these virtuous and patriotic individuals could have been prevailed upon to fill. The fact is suggestive, in this connection, that Chas. H. Pond, the “injured innocence” who gives such a graphic account of his son-in-law’s (Clapp’s) troubles, is an architect. This benevolent design to relieve me of my labors failed most signally in its execution–hence the towering rage of the “sore-heads.” I retained my position until the completion of Benton Barracks and the numerous buildings connected with the post, in spite of the calumny of these men.

    Before this last “inquisition” they have had it all their own way, as they did before the former. The statement in the “Report” that I required of, or suggested to, any parties furnishing materials that it was necessary to add something to their prices for my benefit, is false; and is on a par with the testimony of Giles Filley before the Congressional Investigating Committee, in relation to roof, lumber, etc.

    To those desiring correct information of my management of the Government work entrusted to my charge, I refer to any and every man who ever furnished the Barracks with one dollar’s worth of materials of whatever kind, with perfect confidence. A.B. OGDEN, Architect Benton Barracks


    [No. 67]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    A.B. Ogden, architect, being duly sown, says: That at the time the Van Wyck Investigating Committee was in St. Louis, having understood that they were examining witnesses in regard to the superintendence and building of the Benton Barracks in St. Louis, I addressed a letter to said Committee, stating in substance, that I was superintendent of the construction of said Barracks, and would at any time furnish the Committee with any information or explanation in my power in regard to the building of said Barracks.

    Although I was here attending to my duties and easily found, during all the time said Committee was at St. Louis, they did not reply to my letter, nor call on me for any information or explanation. I could have explained and rebutted many of the representations and statements made (or said to have been made) before said Committee, in respect to the construction and superintendence of said Barracks.

    I have read what purports to be the evidence of Giles F. Filley, before said Committee. His statement that a contract (for the roofing) was made with Thompson at $4.50 and that he sublet it at $2.50 is untrue. Thomson took the contract for roofing at $3.50 per square, and he did not sublet it at all.

    This affiant further states that he was present at the office of General McKinstry at the time the examination took place, that is mentioned in the testimony of Chas. H. Pond, as published by the Commissioners on War Claims. The said published statement is untrue in all of its most essential particulars. I heard and saw all that took place at said examination. On being interrogated, Mr. Clapp denied, in the presence of Pond, that he had told Pond what the latter said he had. General McKinstry, in a mild tone, requested Mr. Clapp, in the presence of his father-in-law [Pond], Co. Bogy, Robert Campbell, Judge Cowles, and other gentlemen in the office at the time, to state all he (Clapp) knew, if he knew anything, in respect to any fraud in the superintendence or building of the Benton Barracks. Mr Clapp, in reply, promptly denied that I had ever received anything from him, and closed by making a written statement, denying what his father-in-law reported he had said, which statement he signed and swore to, and is the same that is now exhibited to me in connection with the affidavit of Wm. R. McCracken. I had full opportunity to observe, and did observe, the manner of General McKinstry during said examination; and, while he was earnest and decided in his manner, he used no profane language, of the character attributed to him by said Pond. Portions of the evidence, said to have been given by said Pond, and published by said Commissioners, are greatly exaggerated and other portions are absolutely untrue. General McKinstry did not attempt or prevent Clapp from making any explanation he desired to; on the contrary, General McKinstry urged him to explain and state all he knew. No soldiers were brought in, nor was Clapp forced to sign an oath of recantation. Clapp signed the paper voluntarily.

    I further state that what Pond says in regard to the agreement between W.S. King and myself (page 648 Com. Rep.) is untrue.

    A.B. OGDEN

    Subscribed and sworn to before me this June 2d, 1862. JOHN M. KRUM

    U.S. Com’r for Mo.



    County of St. Louis }ss

    On the 7th day of April, A.D. 1862, before me, Charles H. Tillson, a Notary Public within and for the said county, came A.B. Ogden, who, being by me duly sworn, on his oath says: I was the Architect and Superintendent of the construction of Benton Barracks. The roofing was awarded to Mr. Almon Thompson by Major McKinstry, Quartermaster. The conditions of the contract were, that the roof on the Ten Buildings was to be completed in ten days; that it was to be a three ply roof, sand and cement. The roof was completed within the time specified in the contract, and, according to the terms of the contract, filling all the conditions of the contract. I was on the grounds during the whole time and was frequently on the roofs, and each time I examined the roofs they were being put on according to the conditions of the contract. The roofs were sound, without material leakage until the time of the Van Wyck Committee visiting the city, when numerous persons, claiming to be authorized by said Committee, went out to the Barracks and cut numerous holes through them and threatened to break up the contract and prevent the work begin paid for. These persons were unsuccessful bidders to the contract for the roofing. There were afterwards between 300 and 400 holes cut through the roof for stove-pipes, also a large number or holes for ventilators. These holes were badly protected, they were not protected so as to resist the action of the weather. These holes were all cut out after the contract was completed and the work turned over to the Government. The buildings were changed to accommodate a large number of troops by changing the interior arrangements of the Barracks. This was done by the soldiers, and by such changes unequal settings of the buildings might have been caused. I was on the premises daily for three months after the completion of the roofs, and frequently saw the roofs receiving treatment that was calculated to injure the same. All these roofs at the Barracks which were not interfered with, such as Officers’ quarters, Quartermaster’s storehouse, bakery, stables, guardhouse, &c., were in good condition and not complained of, and were not defective, being the same kind of roof. The price of the roofing was reasonable, and less than I have been in the habit of paying for such work. This statement is the same in substance which I made before the Commissioners.

    (Signed) A.B. OGDEN

    Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 7th day of April, 1862.


    Notary Public, St. Louis County, Mo.


    [No. 68]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    On the 8th day of April, A.D. 1862, before me, Charles H. Tillson, a Notary Public within and for said county, came Elisha Jameson, who, being by me duly sworn, says: I am a Builder and Superintendent. Was employed by Government in the construction of Benton Barracks from the commencement to completion. I was Assistant Superintendent under Mr. Ogden. I built five of the ten barrack buildings, the General’s headquarters, all of the Commissary and Quartermaster’s storehouses. I was on the premises every day while the roofing was being put on, and was on the buildings also while they were being roofed. I have had a good many roofs of the kind put on and know what they are. I consider the roof at Benton Barracks a good three ply felt cement roof, coming up to all the requirements of Mr.. Thompson’s contract. For two months after the completion of the roof, I was employed at the barracks, and was about the buildings every day and never heard any complaints about the roof during that time. The weather was raining during a large portion of the time. If the roofs were defective, it is not the fault of Mr. Thomson, the contractor, but from damage receiving by cutting stove pipe holes and ventilators, and the abuse of the soldiers since the completion and reception by the Government. The price of $3.50 per square allowed by Quartermaster’s voucher, is unusually cheap, lower than I have ever paid for similar work by fifty cents per square. I have paid as high as $6 for the same kind of roofing.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me, the 8th day of April, 1862.


    Notary Public, St. Louis County, Mo.


    [No. 69]

    Almon Thomson, of the city and county of St. Louis, State of Missouri, being duly sworn, says: That the insinuation contained in the report of the Board of Commissioners for the Adjudication of Claims against the United States in the Western Department, that this affiant was in any way the “favorite” of General McKinstry in letting the contract for roofing Benton Barracks, or in any other way, is wholly false and untrue, and is unsupported by any fact whatever, and is simply a statement entirely unwarranted and gratuitous by that Hon. Board. That said McKinstry, instead of having or exhibiting any partiality toward this affair, was always, in the opinion of this affiant, unnecessarily severe and exacting. That the affiant took no measure whatever to obtain said contract for roofing Benton Barracks other than filing his bid, which was three dollars and fifty cents per square.

    The alleged “favoritism” may, perhaps, be seen in this fact, that on Friday General McKinstry announced to this affiant that said contract was awarded to him, and that this affiant would be required to perform his work in ten days from that time; that affiant commenced immediately to remove his roofing material from the city of St. Louis to said barracks, a distance of about three miles. That late on Saturday following, General McKinstry annulled said contract, on the ground that a lower proposition had been received subsequent to said awarding; that this affiant made no complaints, but made immediate preparation to bring back his said material; that on the Monday following said McKinstry announced to this affiant that he should look to him to perform said work according to contract, that lower bidder did not appear to be responsible. That thereupon affiant went on in the most expeditious manner and roofed said barracks, working night and day until the same was completed, and did the job in a good, substantial, and workmanlike manner, and in accordance with said contract. That at the time said contract was awarded, affiant had exclusive control of the material in the city of St. Louis necessary to the performing of said contract. That General McKinstry, or any other for him, or any person connected with the Quartermaster, had no interest whatever of any kind in said contract or growing out of the same, or of any contract with which this affiant has ever been connected. That General McKinstry, of any person for him, or any person in any way connected with the Quartermaster’s Department, did never receive any regard, profit, or benefit, directly or indirectly by reason of or growing out of said contract, or any other contract of affiant’s in any way whatever, now was any such regard, profit, or benefit ever expected or offered. That any insinuation or statement to the contrary of the foregoing, whether made by said Hon. Board of Commissioners, or any other person, is unqualifiedly false. That the statement by this affiant concerning one Clapp, testified to by one Pond as having taken place on the examination of said Clapp before said McKinstry, was simply this (and not said in a whisper), that said Clapp has stated to the affiant he wanted to work on said barrack roof. To which affiant replied that he, Clapp, could get plenty of work. Clapp responded that he could not unless he took the oath of allegiance to the Government, which he never would do. This was substantially what I told McKinstry at the time, testified to by said Pond before said Hon, Board, and by said Hon. Board made mention of in their said Report. And this affiant further says that he never testified before the Congressional Van Wyck Investigating Committee that five thousand dollars in gold was left, or to be left, with McKinstry (said five thousand dollars being the amount due John Bowen for the sale of horse contract to one Wheeler). 1st. There was no gold paid by the Government at all. 2d. On the day of settlement with the Quartermaster, said Bowen was present, the amount due him was then settled upon, but as it took a long time for said McKinstry to endorse the Treasury notes which were to be paid us, and it was near night, this affiant agreed with Bowen to leave five thousand dollars in the Quartermaster’s office for him, he, Bowen, wishing to go away on other business, which was accordingly done.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 23rd day of May, 1862.


    Notary Public


    [No. 70]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    On this fifth day of April, A.D. 1862, before me, Charles H. Tillson, a Notary Public, within and for said county. Personally came Charles H. Peck, who, being by me duly sworn, says that he has resided in the city of St. Louis for the last twenty-two years; is, by profession, an architect and master builder, and has been largely engaged in building during most of said time. “I am acquainted with Benton Barracks, built near St. Louis, in the fall of 1861; I am well acquainted with the roofing, put on said Barracks by Mr. Thomson, for the Government, having made two separate special examinations of it.

    “The first examination was during the fall of 1861, about the 1st of October. There were other architects and builders who made the examination with me. They were: John B. Gibson, Z.T. Knott, and Henry Kennedy. From my examination, I considered it a first-rate felt cement sand roof, a good job of the kind. I examined it particularly, to find if it was a three-ply roof; gave it a thorough examination. In fully eight-tenths of the places, I found that it was three-ply; in some places four-ply; and, occasionally, two-ply. I considered that there was sufficient cement. We went over each of the ten barracks buildings. The causes of leakage, and other defects, were, firstly, the roof was originally too flat, the ground too soft, in a wet location, and the barracks being temporarily constructed, settled unevenly in some places, settling so much in the center as to leave the roof almost level. The roof had been very much abused. There were hundreds of holes cut through it for stove pipes and ventilators, varying in size from ten to twenty inches in diameter, some of which were wholly unprotected against the weather. This, in my judgment, was enough to ruin the roof. We went on the roofs of the officers’ quarters and store houses, having the same kind of roofing, but the buildings being more substantial, and the roof not having been interfered with, by cutting of holes or otherwise, we found them in good condition, and knew of no complaints in their leakage. The price of three dollars and a half a square was cheaper than I ever had any work of the kind done, and I considered it a cheap price.

    “I made a second examination of this roof during the sittings of the Commission [Western Investigating Commission] for the adjustment of claims against the United States, of which the Hon. [Judge] David Davis was President, and I was confirmed in my previous judgment concerning the roof. In my opinion, the imperfections in the roof were not the fault of the roofer and contractor, Mr. Thomson. I stated, substantially, these facts before the Commission, and make them again, at this time, at the request of Mr. Thomson.”


    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 5th day of April, 1862, as witness my hand and official seal, at m office in St. Louis, aforesaid.


    Notary Public, St. Louis county, Mo.

    [No. 71]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    On the 5th day of April, A.D., 1862, before me, Charles H. Tillson, a Notary Public, within and for said country, came John B. Gibson, who, being by me duly sworn, says that he has read the statement made in the foregoing affidavit of Charles H. Peck, and fully concurs with him in his states; that he has been an architect and builder, in St. Louis, for the last twenty-five years. And is well acquainted with the roof put on Benton Barracks, by Mr. Thomson, and made the examination with Mr. Peck, that none of the leakage or defects of the roof are traceable to the fault of the roofer and contractor, Mr. Thomson. The roof was a good three-ply roof, and the price charged was cheaper than I have always paid, and cheaper than usual. He appeared before the Commission referred to by Mr. Peck, and made before them substantially the same statement which he now makes.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me the day and year aforesaid, as witness my hand and official seal.


    Notary Public, St. Louis county, Mo.


    [No. 72]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    On this 5th day of April, 1862, before me, Charles H. Tillson, a Notary Public within and for said county, came Z. T. Knott, who, being duly sworn by me, says that he has read the statement of Mr. Charles H. Peck, and concurs with him in his statement that the roof on Benton Barracks was a good three-ply roof, and that the prices of three dollars and a half a square was unusually cheap, less than he has ever had such work done, or known it to be done. If there was any fault in the roof, in his opinion, it was not chargeable to Mr. Thomson, the contractor. He is a builder and superintendent, and has been such, in St. Louis, for the last twenty years. He was with Messrs. Peck, Gibson, and Kennedy, when they made their first examination. This is, in substance, what he stated before the Commission.

    Z.T. KNOTT

    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 5th day of April, 1862, as witness my hand and official seal.


    Notary Public, St. Louis county, Mo.


    [No. 73]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    On this 5th day of April, 1862, before Charles H. Tillson, a Notary Public, within and for said county, personally came Henry Kennedy, who, being by me duly sworn, says that he has been a builder and architect, in St. Louis, for the last twenty years; that he made a thorough examination of the roof of Benton Barracks in company with Messrs. Peck, Gibson, and Knott; that he has read the affidavit of Mr. Charles H. Peck, in relation to that roof, and fully concurs with Mr. Peck in his statement, with this exception, that he has had the same kind of work done at the same price, but never cheaper, and that was a job of Government work; that he is satisfied that any leakage or defect which may have appeared in the roof was not the fault of Mr. Thomson, the contractor, but was owing to the causes stated by Mr. Peck; that the roof was a good three-ply roof, and done for a price cheaper than such work is generally done here, and is as good a roof of the kind as I ever saw, and is the right kind of a roof for such buildings as the Barracks. I have paid, for just such a roof, as high as five dollars a square. This is substantially the same statement which I made before the Commission.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 5th day of April, 1862, as witness my hand and official seal.


    Notary Public, St. Louis county, Mo.


    [No. 74]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    On this 5th day of April, A.D., before me, Charles H. Tillson, a Notary Public, within and for said county, came John Ramsey, who being by me duly sworn, on his oath, says that he has, for the last twelve years, been a superintendent and builder, in the city of St. Louis; that he is well acquainted with the job of roofing on Benton Barracks; that he examined it thoroughly, in company with Messrs. Peck and Gibson, and walked over almost the entire roofing of the building at the Barracks, on the 21st of January, 1862, with a view of inspecting and examining the roof as to its construction. He found it a good three-ply felt roof, and in no place that he examined it did he find it less than three-ply. He found numerous holes made in the roof since it had been put on; half of the length of one Barracks had sixty-one holes cut in it, for purposes of stove pipes, ventilators, and other purposes, of which number thirty-five were unprotected, and all of them liable to leak. He found leaks at some of the eaves of the porches, caused by the water from the eave running back on the lower side of the sheeting, the roof being so flat, and in some places lowest next to the building, which might have been prevented by the carpenter putting on a strip three or four inches wide before roofing. This leakage was not caused by any fault in the roof, but in the construction of the building at the eaves. He states that at no other place did he see evidence of leakage, except where the holes had been cut in the building. He states that the price was a low one for the job. He never had seen such roofing put on at less than four dollars a square, of one hundred superficial square feet. He states that this is, in substance, what he stated before the Commission. He states that he did not see any defect or leakage which was the fault of Mr. Thomson, the contractor, or roofer.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 5th day of April, 1862, as witness my hand and official seal.


    Notary Public, St. Louis county, Mo.


    I hereby state that Charles Peck, John B. Gibson, Z.T. Knott, Henry Kennedy, and John Ramsey are old residents of the city of St. Louis of the highest respectability and character; that they rank amongst the foremost of their profession as architects and master builders; as men of veracity, their statements may be implicitly relied upon, and their judgment in reference to the matters embraced in the claim of Mr. Thomson is worthy of the highest confidence.

    St. Louis, April 9, 1862 JOS. O. BROADHEAD


    I am personally acquainted with all the parties spoken of by Mr. Broadhead, and fully concur in the opinion expressed by him.



    I have implicit confidence in the integrity and ability of Messrs. Peck, Gibson, and Kennedy, from personal knowledge of them, and rely upon their statement as correct.

    F. A. DICK


    I hereby certify that I am personally acquainted with Charles H. Peck, John B. Gibson, Z.T. Knott, Henry Kennedy, and John Ramsey, who have made the foregoing affidavits. They are amongst our most respectable citizens, and stand at the head of their profession as architects and builders. Their statements are entitled to the fullest credence, and their opinions and judgments in relation to the maters in which they have testified, in my judgment, should be implicitly be relied upon. Having been for many years engaged in the lumber business in this city, I have had excellent opportunities of knowing these gentlemen, and of estimating the value of their statements.


    Sheriff of St. Louis county, Mo.


    [No. 75]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    Almon Thomson, being duly sworn, says: My attention has been called to the report of my testimony, page 641 of the Report of the Van Wyck Committee. My testimony as given before that Committee is not truly reported, it is garbled and misstated in several particulars, and especially what is reported on the page above in regard to the service of the silver plate.

    No threat was ever made to me by anyone that if I did not subscribe I would have trouble in getting my dues from the Government, nor did I so state before said Committee. What I did state was, that I was told that it would be for my interst to subscribe, and that it would probably facilitate the collection of my claims.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 12th day of June, 1862.


    U.S. Com’r. For Mo.


    [No. 76]

    St. Louis Arsenal, July 5, 1861

    Gen. THOMAS, Adjutant-Gen, Washington:

    Gen. Lyon is moving down from Boonville towards Springfield, Greene country, Mo., with 2,400 troops. Major Sturgis is on the way from Fort Leavenworth with 2,200. There are 3,500 on the south-west branch of the Pacific Railroad and the line thence to Mount Vernon, beyond Springfield. In a day or two another regiment will be moved down. There is a depot for supplies at Rolla, the terminus of the Southwest Branch; another must be established at Springfield. All the supplies, say 10,000 troops, must take that direction. From Rolla, on for sixty miles, the country is mountainous and barren. Teams have to take their own forage. It is absolutely necessary that a large amount of wagon transportation should be immediately provided. Will you see that the necessary orders are given by the Quartermaster General, by telegraph, to Major McKinstry, early in the morning. General Lyon urges that regular Quartermasters and Commissaries be sent him at once.


    AAG Mo. Vol.


    [No. 77]

    Headquarters South-West Expedition Springfield, Mo., July 18, 1861}


    I arrived at this place early this evening, two or three hours in advance of my troops, who are encamped a few miles back. I have about 5,000 men to be provided for, and have expected to find stores here, as I have ordered. The failure of stores reaching here seems likely to cause serious embarrassment, which must be aggravated by continued delay, and in proportion to the time I am forced to wait for supplies. * * * * * * * * I shall endeavor to take every due precaution to meet existing emergencies, and hope to be able to sustain the cause of the Government in this part of the State. But there must be no loss of time in furnishing me with the resources I have herein mentioned. I have lost in reaching this place about four days’ time, by the high waters in Grand and Osage Rivers, which made it necessary to ferry them. The same difficulty prevented Sturgis from cooperating with Sigel in time to afford any aid. Please telegraph to McClellan and to Washington anything in this letter you deem of importance to these headquarters. Shoes, shirts, blouses, &c., are much wanted, and I would have you furnish them, if possible, in large quantities. Yours truly,

    N. LYON

    Brig.-Gen. Comd’g.

    Col. CHESTER HARDING, St. Louis Arsenal


    Copy of the following was sent to Assistant Adjutant General at Washington, to General Frémont, New York, and to Colonel Blair, Washington:

    Springfield, Mo. July 13, 1861

    My effective force will soon be reduced by discharge of three months volunteers to about 4,400 men , including the Illinois regiment now on the march from Rolla. Governor [Claiborne Fox] Jackson will soon have in this vicinity not less than 30,000. I must have at once an additional force of 10,000 men or abandon by position. All must have supplies and clothing.

    N. LYON



    Springfield, Mo., July 27, 1861

    To Col. C. HARDING, St. Louis Arsenal, Mo.

    I have your notes about matters in St. Louis, &., and your proceeding seems to me perfectly correct. Now that matters North seem more quiet, cannot you manage to get a few regiments this way? I am in the deepest concern on this subject, and you must urge this matter upon Frémont as of vital important. These three months’ volunteers will re-enlist if they could be paid, but they are now dissatisfied, and if troops do not replace them, all that is gained may be lost. I have not been able to move for want of supplies, and this delay will exhaust the term of the three months’ men. Cannot something be done to have our men and officers paid, as well as have our purchases paid for? If the Government cannot give due attention to the West, her interests must have a corresponding disparagement. Yours truly,

    N. LYON



    Headquarters Western Department

    St. Louis, Aug. 13, 1861 }


    Assistant Secretary of War

    Dispatch received. Our soldiers are not promptly paid, partly from the small force of Paymasters, more from want of money, which fatally embarrasses every branch of public service here. I require this week three millions for Quartermaster’s Department.


    Major-General Commanding


    [No. 78]

    Extract from a letter of Hon. M. Blair, Postmaster, to Gen. Frémont:

    Washington, July 26, 1861

    Dear General:

    I have two telegrams from you, but find it impossible now to get any attention to Missouri or Western matters from the authorities here. You will have to do the best you can, and take all needful responsibility to defend and protect the people over whom you are specially set. * * * * * * * * * Yours truly, and in haste,

    M. BLAIR


    [No. 79]

    Extract from a letter of Hon. M. Blair, Postmaster, to Gen. Frémont:

    Washington, Aug. 24, 1861

    Dear General:

    * * * * * * * * * * *

    I write now, today, in reply to your letter about Meigs, that you must not suppose that he intended his telegram to Turnley to reflect upon you. Far from it. I happened in the office when he opened Turnley’s requisition, and remarked to me, substantially, what he telegraphed to Turnley. But he did not know that Turnley had any instructions from you to get horses of any superior quality. No such suggestion accompanied the requisition, and I will guarantee that if Turnley makes any explanation, which puts the responsibility on you, it will be satisfactory to Meigs.

    I say this without having seen him at all since the receipt of yours on the subject; but I think I understand him fully. I heard him say to General Scott some time ago, that if he would name a day when he must have horses they would be ready. “If next week, they would cost $150; if the week after, $125. The price was nothing. The horse might be worth the price many times to the Government, if ready when wanted, and of course of no value if not.” This is the style of man he is, and you will not have, and I believe have not had, any delay or difficulty from him. The trouble is elsewhere. Chase has more horror of seeing Treasury notes below par than of seeing soldiers killed, and therefore has held back too much I think. I don’t believe at all in that style of managing the Treasury. It depends on the war, and it is better to get ready and beat the enemy by selling stocks at 50 percent discount than wait to negotiate and lose a battle. * * * * * * *

    Yours truly, M. BLAIR


    [No. 80]

    Quartermaster General’s Office

    Washington, August 28, 1861}

    To the Hon. F.P. BLAIR, St. Louis, Mo.

    Dear Colonel–Your brother, the Postmaster General, has handed me your letter of the 21st August. I asked him to let me have it, that I might, by a few words, strengthen your hands and General Frémont’s, and disabuse both him and you of some errors which may give trouble.

    If there is any difficulty in the Quartermaster’s department of Missouri, the blame does not rest here. All requisitions have been promptly met here, and the officers have been instructed to spare no effort and no means of this Department in aiding, to the extent of their power, General Lyon’s movements. There may be reasons of time, of quality, which induce a General to order a purchase at a higher rate; and while I communicated to the Quartermaster as to the ruling prices of horses, the market rates, I called upon the Treasury to send all the money he asked for.

    Tell General Frémont that no man more than myself desires to sustain him; no one is more ready to take the responsibility to assist him, and that he has, in my opinion, already the power which you say ought to be conferred upon him by the President. Whatever a General commanding orders, the subordinates of his staff are by regulations, compelled to do, if possible.

    The General is charged with saving the country. The country will be very careful to approve his measures, and will judge his mistakes, if any, very tenderly, if successful. Success crowns the work, and let him spare no responsibility, no effort, to secure it. All the requisitions for money in Missouri have been promptly passed through this office. The delay, if any has occurred, is at the Treasury Department, which has allowed the Department to fall in debt in Cincinnati and Philadelphia, each about a million of dollars, for clothing and camp equipage.

    There are wagons making in Cincinnati, which Captain Dickinson will send to St. Louis, if wanted. Those made at Milwaukee I ordered to St. Louis long ago. A number of wagons are ordered to be made in St. Louis, and authority given to Major McKinstry to provide all that might be required for moving the armies of that Department.

    In regard to advertising and delivery, the law of 1861, and the regulations, expressly provide that in case of public exigencies, supplies are to be bought in open market, or between individuals. Exercise this power. Moreover, advertisements or public notice, do not require postponing opening of bids for a month, or a week, or two days. If forage, wagons, or horses, are wanted, the law, the necessity, are fully met by putting a notice in the papers, and purchasing as fast as offers come in. The next day, or the same day, take the then lowest bidder, or the then most advantageous offer. The day after, you will have a still better offer; take that for a portion of your supplies, and so on till you have all you need. By this system I have brought down the price of horses from $128 to $120; of wagons from $111 to $108 since I came here, and have got abundant supplies.

    These explanations will, I hope, remove many difficulties from the way of our armies in Missouri. Count upon me as ready to aid in what I believe the right, cheap, strategic, statesmanlike mode of conducting the war–that which, I am sure, the people desire, and the want of which they censure–the most rapid possible concentration of overwhelming forces by the United States. Yours very truly,

    M.C. MEIGS


    [No. 81]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    John H. Bowen being duly sworn, says that during the year eighteen hundred and sixty-one, and while General J. McKinstry was Quartermaster at St. Louis, I sold to the Government of the United States, property of different kinds, for the use of the army; and for the property I sold to the Government, I received Quartermaster’s vouchers. Many of which were proved up before the Claim Commissioners at St. Louis. I further state that General McKinstry had no concern, or interest, whatever, either directly or indirectly, in any of my transactions with the Government, and he never, to my knowledge or belief, ever expected, or received, any benefit, or pecuniary advantage, out of any sale that I made to the Government aforesaid; and no suggestion, or intimation, either directly or indirectly, was ever made to me by anyone that General McKinstry expected to receive anything from me, on account of any transaction I had with the Government, and certainly he never did receive anything.

    In respect to the $5,000 alleged to have been retained and paid to me by General McKinstry, I state that, after I sold out my interest to Wheeler, in the contract of Mr. Jones and myself, to furnish horses to the Government, I requested Mr. Hahn, cashier of General McKinstry, to retain $5,000 for me, when payment on that contract should be made–that the party to whom I had sold my interst would understand it, and assent to it. General McKinstry knew nothing of it, so far as I know, and did not pay me the $5,000, and had nothing to do with it. The arrangement made by me with Mr. Hahn was simply a matter of convenience to me, as I did not expect to be present when payment on the horse contract would be made.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 2d day of June, 1862.


    U.S. Com’r for Mo.


    [No. 82]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    Joseph W. Parish, being duly sworn, says: I reside at Peoria, Illinois; that in the fall of the year 1861 I received an order or requisition from General J. McKinstry, Chief Quartermaster at St. Louis, to purchase horses for a regiment of cavalry begin recruited at Peoria, which regiment was subsequently called the “McKinstry Guards.” At the time I received said order, I agreed to furnish said horses at the price or sum of one hundred and ten dollars, each. Under that order I furnished eleven hundred and fifty-eight horses, and received from the Post Quartermaster at Peoria a voucher for said horses, which was afterwards approved and endorsed by Major R. Allen, Chief Quartermaster at St. Louis.

    I further state that General McKinstry had nothing to do with the organization of said regiment, otherwise than to give the order aforesaid for the purchase of said horses. I further state that General McKinstry did not receive, either directly or indirectly, any benefit or advantage, nor does he expect to receive, or anyone for him, any benefit or advantage whatever, on account of my said sale of horses to the Government.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 21st day of May, 1862.


    U.S. Com’r for Mo.


    [No. 83]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    David D. Chandler being duly sworn, says that he is a member of the firm of J.B. Sickles & Co., engaged in the saddlery and harness business, in the city of St. Louis, Mo. During several years last past, said firm has endeavored to obtain contracts, or orders, with the Quartermaster at St. Louis to furnish the Government with articles manufactured and kept for sale by said firm; but not until the summer of the year 1861 could said firm obtain any contract or orders for furnishing such articles to the Government. I further state that about the month of May 1861, and while General J. McKinstry was Chief Quartermaster at St. Louis, said firm of J.B. Sickles & Co. obtained an order to furnish such supplied to the Government, and thereafter such firm continued to furnish such supplies to the Government during the remainder of the time that General McKinstry acted as Chief Quartermaster at St. Louis. I further state that all the goods furnished by said firm to the Government, during the time General McKinstry acted as Quartermaster, were of the very best quality, and he, in every instance, made a very rigid examination of the goods, and would not receive anything that was not of the proper quality and description required for the service. During the time General McKinstry acted as Quartermaster said firm of J.B. Sickles & Co. furnished good to the Government to the amount of about $125,000, and on all of which said firm only received a fair mercantile profit. And I further state that said firm never had any understanding or agreements with General McKinstry by which he was to receive any profit, or advantage, from the sales of said firm to the Government, nor did General McKinstry, or anyone for or in his behalf, ever receive, either directly or indirectly, any benefit or advantage from the sales of said firm to the Government.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 16th day of May, A.D., 1862.


    U.S. Com’r for Mo.


    [No. 84]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    John K. Field being duly sworn, says: That he is a member of the firm of Field Brothers, of St. Louis, dealers in cloths and furnishing goods. This affiant says that in 1861, and during the time General J. McKinstry was Chief Quartermaster at St. Louis, said firm of Field Brothers sold cloths and blankets to the Government, amounting in the aggregate to over one hundred thousand dollars, which goods were sold at a time when there was a great and very pressing demand in this Department for clothing and blankets, and at a time too when the Governments was buying almost exclusively on credit, not funds having been provided or furnished the Quartermaster for such purpose, and for the goods sold by Field Brothers they only realized a fair mercantile profit. This affiant further says, that in all the sales made by said firm, General McKinstry was diligent and careful in examining the goods and requiring that they should be of the best quality suitable for the service, that could be obtained in this market. This affiant further states, that General McKinstry never received or realized, either directly or indirectly any profit or advantage whatever from or on account of any of the sales made by said firm of Field Brothers.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 21st day of May, A.D., 1862.


    U.S. Com’r for Mo.


    [No. 85]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    Ansyl Phillips, being duly sworn, says: That during the year 1861, and while General J. McKinstry was acting Quartermaster at St. Louis, I made sales to the Government of horses and mules, and received from General McKinstry Quartermaster’s vouchers for the stock I sold to the Government, and a portion of said vouchers were filed and proved up before the Commissioners of Claims, composed of Messrs. Davis, Holt, and Campbell. This affiant further states that General McKinstry had no interest or concern, either directly or indirectly, in any contract of dealing that I had with the Government. My business and transactions with the Government were conducted openly and in the ordinary manner of such transactions, and General McKinstry simply attended to the interests of the Government, without having any concern or interest whatever in my transactions.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 21st day of May, A.D., 1862.


    U.S. Com’r for Mo.


    [No. 86]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    James F. Foss, being duly sworn, says: That during the year 1861, I was clerk in the Planters’ House, in St. Louis, and am still so employed. I remember D. Pratt, who gave evidence before the Van Wyck Congressional Committee. Said Pratt was a boarder at the Planters’ House during the fall of 1861, but as he failed to pay his board bills he was turned away from the House. I further state that at no time during the year 1861 did General McKinstry have rooms or lodgings at the Planters’ House. He had his own house in the city, and he and his family occupied it. The statement of said Pratt, before the Committee, in regard to General McKinstry’s having lodgings at the Planters’ House is wholly unfounded.

    JAS. F. FOSS

    Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 29th day of May, A.D., 1862.


    U.S. Com’r for Mo.


    [No. 87]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    P.A. Child and Elon G. Pratt being duly sworn, say that they are members of the firm of Child, Pratt & Fox, doing business in the city of St. Louis. These affiants say that General J. McKinstry, late Chief Quartermaster at St. Louis, never was interested, either directly or indirectly, in the profits or otherwise in any sales of supplies to the Government made by our firm; nor did said McKinstry ever receive any compensation from said firm, in any form or mode, either directly or indirectly. These affiants further say, that it was never hinted or suggested by anyone that we should allow or contribute anything to said McKinstry or anyone in his behalf, or for his benefit, nor was anything of the kind ever done by said firm. These affiants say, that any suggestion, intimation, or statement that General McKinstry ever realized, or received, either directly or indirectly, any money, property, benefit, or advantage, from Child, Pratt & Fox, or from either member of said firm, on account of, or by reason of nay sale of merchandise by said firm to the Government, is wholly untrue. These affiants further say, that the bad shoes mentioned in the testimony of O.D. Filley were immediately replaced by a good article, by said firm, as soon as we were informed that they were of bad quality. When the shoes that turned out to be bad were purchased, they were supposed to be good, and the usual market value was paid for them by said firm, and we supposed and believed at the time that said shoes were good, and as soon as we were informed of their bad quality, we replaced them without any loss to the Government. Our partner, E.W. Fox, is now absent, or he would join in this affidavit.

    P.A. CHILD


    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 13th day of June, 1862. In witness hereof, I have hereto set my hand and notarial seal, the day and year last above written. LEOPOLD WOLFF


    [No. 88]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    H.W.G. Clements being duly sworn, upon his oath says: I acted a chief clerk in the Quartermaster’s Department, under General J. McKinstry, upwards of ten years, last past, and I was chief clerk under him during all the time he acted as Chief Quartermaster at St. Louis, Mo. I am familiar with the whole routine of business transacted by the Quartermaster. During the spring, summer, and early part of the fall of 1861, while the military organizations were in progress in the Western Department, the requisitions and orders upon the Quartermaster at St. Louis, to furnish supplies of every description, transportation–in short everything necessary for the outfit of an army–were immensely large, very urgent, and often imperatively required to be furnished in the shortest possible time. Hence, the labors of the Quartermaster at St. Louis, during the time mentioned, were suddenly increased beyond all former precedents, and his time and energies, as well as of his clerks, were taxed to their utmost endurance. General McKinstry gave personal attention and supervision, early and late, to the business transacted in his office. The official reports of General McKinstry of his transactions show the enormous operations of the Government in this department, between the months of May and October of the year 1861, and the Quartermaster had no assistants assigned him, except near the close of his administration, and the accuracy of his books, accounts, and reports to the Department are evidence of the labor, care, and vigilance of the Quartermaster, in discharge of his varied, intricate, and onerous duties.

    I further state that when General McKinstry was ordered into the field, in September last, he left his clerks (myself included) laboriously and diligently employed in bringing up his accounts. When the Van Wyck Investigating Committee was at St. Louis, I addressed three communications to said Committee (General McKinstry having joined his command) and in other ways offered said Committee every facility to make a full examination into the transactions of General McKinstry as Chief Quartermaster at this post. I was familiar with the transaction the said Committee mention in their report, and could have shown them by the orders, correspondence, and other vouchers, on file in the office of General McKinstry, that the evidence heard by said Committee, which reflected on the official conduct of General McKinstry, was wholly false and unfounded. Notwithstanding my offer to said Committee to furnish them with any information of explanation they might desire, I was not asked by said Committee to make any explanations, or give any information in respect to General McKinstry’s official transactions, except in regard to a few very unimportant matters. They did not interrogate me in regard to subjects which they have given such prominence in their report. And so, in regard to the Commissioners on Claims, although I was called on by claimants to give evidence in regard to claims, I was not interrogated by the Commissioners as to any of General McKinstry’s transactions which they have criticized with so much freedom.


    Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 31th day of May, A.D., 1862.


    U.S. Com’r for Mo.


    [No. 89]


    County of St. Louis }ss

    William L. Hahn being duly sworn, on his oath says: I have been employed in the Quartermaster’s Department, under General J. McKinstry, since the 15th day of May, A.D. 1856, and nearly the whole of that time I have acted as cashier, and disbursed the public moneys in charge of the Quartermaster, and kept his cash account. I stood in the same relation to General McKinstry, and acted in the same capacity, while he was acting chief Quartermaster at St. Louis. I am entirely familiar with his manner and method of conducting business. He has always been careful and particular in his transactions in behalf of the Government, giving his personal attention to the same in all cases, when it has been physically in his power to do so, and he has always required that the clerks employed in his department should give careful personal attention to the duties assigned them. No system or method of keeping Quartermaster’s books is prescribed by the Army regulations; yet General McKinstry has always kept regular mercantile accounts since I have been employed under him. I have had charge of his books of account, including the cash book, and made the entries in them, or caused them to be made by my assistants. The entries in those books were made at the time the several transactions in the Quartermaster’s Department occurred, and just as they occurred, and not otherwise, and no changes have ever been made in these accounts.

    All of the entries and accounts, aforesaid, are fully and properly entered–plainly and distinctly–so that anyone at all conversant with the keeping of accounts, including property or merchandise accounts and cash book, can readily understand them. No transactions relating to either property or cash have ever been “loosely entered” in the books and accounts of General McKinstry. In corroboration of this, Mr. Benson S. Hopkins, lately employed by the Commissioners on Claims at St. Louis as “an expert in mercantile accounts,” stated to me that, at the request of said Commission, he examined the cash book kept by General McKinstry, particularly in respect to the moneys borrowed at St. Louis from the banks and individuals, and he said that he found the entries of the loans properly entered, and that the entries are made just as he would have made them. Said Hopkins, moreover, said that he never reported that he found any irregularities in these entries, nor that the moneys borrowed, as aforesaid, were “loosely entered.”

    This affiant further states that, after the President’s proclamation calling for troops, and from the time that they began to assemble at St. Louis, the business in the Quartermaster’s Department suddenly increased, and so many and great were the requisitions for army supplies at St. Louis that the Quartermaster’s office was literally besieged for several months, early and late, by those engaged in furnishing such supplies, and those receiving them, for distribution. I estimate that an average of not less than four hundred (400) persons had business transactions each day, at the office of General McKinstry at St. Louis, from August 1, September 30, inclusive, in the year 1861. During this great rush and press of business, General McKinstry had no assistant Quartermaster assigned to assist him, except occasionally, for a short time; but he and his clerks attended to the whole of it, and to do the necessary labor General McKinstry and his clerks were kept at their respective desks from morning till night, and often half the night. And I do further state that, from my position, and having in charge the books and accounts of General McKinstry, and being charged with the responsible duty of receiving and paying out all moneys entrusted to the Quartermaster, I had the very best means of discovering any peculations, or fraudulent transactions, in the department, if there had been any; and I here state that I never, at any time, discovered, or suspected, General McKinstry to be concerned, either directly or indirectly, in any peculation, fraudulent, or improper transaction whatever; and I do not believe, and have never seen or heard anything to induce me to suspect that General McKinstry ever realized, or received, or that he expects to realize or receive from anyone, either directly or indirectly, any pecuniary benefit, or advantage, by reason of any transaction in the Quartermaster’s Department while he was chief thereof.

    I further state, that I have read the printed report of the Van Wyck Investigating Committee, and the testimony accompanying said report, and especially that portion purporting to give my testimony before said Committee. The said Committee omitted to publish a large portion of my testimony before them, which was important, and explanatory of many of the transactions reviewed and criticized by said Committee. Said Committee, in their said report, have garbled and misstated portions of my testimony. To undertake to correct the misstatements and omissions of said Committee, in respect to my own examination before them, would swell the statement to an undue length. I, therefore, speak of only two or three of the most glaring instances of misstatement and misrepresentations in said report.

    First. In respect to the horse contract of Jones & Bowen, and the retention of $5,000, spoken of by said Committee: It is not true that General McKinstry retained $5,000 for Bowen. The facts are simply as follows: Jones & Bowen were responsible to the Government for the fulfillment of their contract with it. After the contract had been fulfilled, and but a few days before payment on the same was made, Mr. Bowen informed me that he had sold his interest in said contract to Wheeler for $5,000, and requested me, if he was not present when payment was made, to hold that amount for him; that the party to whom he sold his interest understood it and would assent to it. I, soon there afterwards, was informed by Messrs. Thomson & Wheeler, or by one of them, that such was the understanding between them and Bowen. General McKinstry knew nothing of this, and as there seemed nothing improper in the request (as there was nothing improper in fact), I did not inform General McKinstry of the matter. The payment for horses and mules delivered un the Jones & Bowen contract was made in six percent Treasury notes, drawn to the order of General McKinstry, and were endorsed by him. I had no concern or interest in the matters, and what I did was simply a matter of accommodation to the parties. The Government got the property, and the parties who delivered it got their pay for it. At the contract price and no more; and the $5,000 was paid to Mr. Bowen himself, and was not retained or kept by McKinstry.

    Second. In respect to the bid and testimony of Hood: His bid was made under advertisement for picket pins, ring bolts, &c. They were chiefly wanted for frontier service, and to be transported a long distance; and as the cost of transportation was an important item, the selection of articles of a proper size, and make, was important. I called on Mr. Hood, and requested samples to be sent to the Quartermaster’s office. He sent a sample of his picket pins only, which were without swivel heads; on being examined by General McKinstry, was rejected because he deemed picket pins of the sample sent not suitable for the service.

    In respect to wages paid to deck hands on steamboats in the service of the Government, General McKinstry paid but $15 per month to deck hands. If more was paid to this class of employees in the Western Department, it was by some other Quartermaster or officer. The accounts of General McKinstry show distinctly the wages paid to employees of the Government.

    I further state that, after General McKinstry was ordered to the field, I was diligently engaged in bringing up the immense mass of accounts for transmission to the Department at Washington, embracing the unusually large transactions of General McKinstry; when, about the 13th day of November last, I was arrested, under some military order, and held in confinement at Jackson Barracks, and was not allowed access to the books and accounts of General McKinstry until I was released in the month of January last. If I had been called upon, by either the Van Wyck Committee of by the Commissioners of Claims, at St. Louis, I could have explained and presented the facts of every transaction that said Committee criticized in their respective reports, but I was not requested or allowed to do so.

    WM. L. HAHN

    Subscribed and sworn to before me this 2d day of June, A.D. 1862.


    U.S. Com’r for Mo.


    [No. 90]

    Extract from Cash Book kept by J. McKinstry, AQM

    CASH ACCOUNT, 1861

    Aug. 29 Received from St. Louis Building & Savings Ass’n.,B.F..10,000.00

    Aug. 29 Received from Reed & Co., B.F…………………………………….2,000.00

    Aug, 29 Received from Exchange Bank, B.F……………………………..50,000.00

    Aug. 29 Received from Exchange Bank Coin…………………………….12,000.00

    Aug. 29 Received from Exchange Bank Coin or N.Y. Exchange… 14,283.61

    Aug. 30 Received from Bridge, Beach & Co., B.F……………………. 25,000.00

    Aug. 31 Received from Exchange Bank, B.F………………………………10,000.00

    Aug. 31 Received from Building & Savings Assoc. Account……….97,235.00

    Aug. 31 Received from Boatmen’s Savings Institution………………..50,000.00

    Aug. 31 Received from U.S. Treasury, Treasury Notes……………..700,000.00

    Sept. 4 Received from P.A. Ladue, Treasurer……………………….. …..10,000.00

    Sept. 6 Received from P.A. Ladue, Treasurer……………………………..20,000.00

    Sept. 7 Received from St. Louis Building & Savings Assoc………..10,000.00

    Sept. 7 Received from Bridge, Beach & Co., B.F……………………… 25,000.00

    Sept. 10 Received from Robert Hay, B.F……………………………………42,000.00

    Sept. 12 Received from St. Louis Building & Savings Assoc………10,000.00

    Sept. 14 Received from Exchange Bank Coin…………………………….12,000.00

    Sept. 14 Received from Exchange Bank Exchange in N.Y……………14,283.61

    Sept. 14 Received from Reed & Co., B.F……………………………………..2,500.00

    Sept. 14 Received from McMechan & Ballantine, B.F………………….2,500.00

    Sept. 14 Received from Partridge & Co., B.F…………………………….25,000.00

    Sept. 18 Received from Boatmen’s Savings Institution……………….25,000.00

    Sept. 19 Received from U.S. Treasury, Treasury Drafts…………….100,000.00

    Sept. 19 Received from Building & Savings Assoc. Account…….131,110.77

    Sept. 24 Received from Webb & Kaime, B.F……………………………….5,000.00

    Sept. 24 Received from Bank of State of Mo……………………………250,000.00

    Oct. 3 Received from Merchants’ Bank, B.F………………………………75,000.00

    Oct. 3 Received from Southern Bank, B.F………………………………….10,000.00

    Oct. 3 Received from Mechanics’ Bank, B.F………………………………36,000.00

    Oct. 3 Received from Bank of Missouri, B.F………………………………15,000,00


    [No. 91]

    St. Louis, July 11th, 1861


    You will proceed immediately to Rolla, Mo., as agent of the Quartermaster’s Department, and report for duty at that point to the Commanding officer. Lieut. Vogel, Mo. Volunteers, AAQM at Rolla, has been directed to turn over the public property in his possession to you.

    In assuming the duties to which you are hereby appointed, your experience, I trust, makes you fully aware of the responsibility incurred. I shall expect you to give your undivided attention to the duties of your Department, and you will require the same industry and fidelity on the part of all that may be placed under your orders or discretion.

    You will report promptly to this office all matters that are connected with and relating to the business of this Department. In the transaction of your business you will adhere strictly to the rules laid down in the Army Regulations, in all cases, unless directed to do otherwise by you commanding officer, in which case it will be proper for you to respectfully request the order to be put in writing, and report immediately to this office for the information of the Quartermaster General at Washington.

    Remember, that the force you are called upon to assist, is for the most part, a hastily organized one, and ignorant of the duties of your Department. Patience and oft repeated explanations will be necessary in your official intercourse with them. Take care that no just complaint be made against you. Very respectfully, your obd’t serv’t,


    Bvt. Major and AQM

    Mr. THOMAS O’BRIEN, Agent, Q.M. Department, St. Louis, Mo.

    [No. 92]

    St. Louis, February 1, 1862


    At the time General McKinstry was placed under arrest, in the early part of November last, the clerks in his employ were busily engaged in preparing his reports, papers, &c., for transmission to the proper Department at Washington. All the books and papers pertaining to the Quartermaster’s office, while under the administration of General McKinstry, were seized at the same time, under military authority, by the Government. All of the clerks in his employ were arrested at the same time, and imprisoned at Jefferson Barracks, where they are still detained. Although General McKinstry has been anxious to render his accounts, and make his report as Quartermaster, he has been hitherto, and is now, prevented from doing so by the military orders of the Government. His books, papers, and large iron safe, used by him while Quartermaster, are in a building that he occupied, and which is now occupied by the present Quartermaster, in this city. General McKinstry is confined at the Arsenal, distant two miles and upwards from his papers, and his clerks are confined ten miles from the city, at Jefferson Barracks.

    On the 23d December last, I addressed a letter to General Meigs, Quartermaster General, on this subject, an abstract from which letter I herewith enclose, marked A.

    On the 9th of January (ultimo) I addressed a letter, on the same subject, to the President, asking that General McKinstry’s limits of arrest might be extended to the city, so as to enable him to render his accounts. This was written in anticipation that his books and papers would be restored to hin, in accordance with the recommendation of Mr. S.T. Glover, in his letter of 3d January, addressed to General Halleck. A copy of Mr. Glover’s letter I also enclose, marked B.

    This letter of Mr. Glover I delivered to General Halleck, in person, and was informed by him, that up to that time he had not been entrusted with any authority or discretion, in the matter of the arrest of General McKinstry, or the seizure of his papers, &c.; that in fact he (General Halleck) did not know, officially, of the arrest or seizure of either. He said he would immediately transmit Mr. Glover’s note to the War Department at Washington.

    After waiting a reasonable time for a reply, or some action in regard to it, and without receiving notice of either, I addressed a letter to General Halleck, on the 23d ultimo, marked C. This letter, or note, from General Halleck, is the first step that has been taken by the Government to restore to General McKinstry his books and papers. As before stated, the clerks of the late Quartermaster are still confined at Jefferson Barrack, and no order in respect to their release has, as yet, been made, so far as I know. General Halleck must have supposed that General McKinstry would be enabled to render his accounts if he had permission to take his books and papers to the Arsenal. Anyone who has knowledge of the limited quarters assigned to General McKinstry ought to know that it is no place to send valuable and important papers. It is neither a safe place for such papers nor a convenient place to examine and arrange them. Besides, it would be neither wise nor prudent to transport a car load of valuable books and papers from a safe depository two miles to an unsafe one, and I do not suppose General McKinstry will be guilty of any such folly, even if he should be allowed of superintending, in person, such a work, which privilege, however, has not been extended to him.

    But, even were it prudent, or practicable, to remove the books and papers referred to, of what advantage to General McKinstry can their removal to the Arsenal be, when his former clerks (on whose assistance in rendering his accounts he is dependent) are imprisoned ten miles off, at Jefferson Barracks? My object in addressing you this communication and statement of facts, is to ask that the limits of arrest of General McKinstry, and of his late clerks, may be extended, so as to allow them access to the office where the books and papers of the late Quartermaster now are, in this city.

    I take this occasion, also, to enclose an extract form an order issued form your Department, on 30th November last, directed to Colonel Totten, and afterwards transferred to Mr. S.T. Glover–which extract is marked D. General McKinstry did not know of the existence of such an order until the 28th December last, when the extract was furnished by Major Lee, Judge Advocate General. I have now to state that no charge whatever has ever been made in regard to the limits of arrest of General McKinstry. His limits have been, since his arrest on the 13th November, 1861, the “Arsenal and Arsenal grounds.” He is still there! He has never been invited, by anyone, “to explain, if he sees fit, any account or transaction that seems to need it.”

    Hoping soon to receive a favorable reply to this application, I remain, respect’ly,

    (Signed) JOHN M. KRUM

    To Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D.C.

    Thomas Hart Benton in Defense of Dueling

    Thomas Hart Benton in Defense of Dueling

    Excerpted and introduced by G.E. Rule, from “The Brown-Reynolds Duel”, edited by Walter B. Stevens, 1911.

    In examining the years-long preliminaries leading up to the crisis of 1860-61 in Missouri, there are two areas that cannot be ignored.  One is the ugly fight over Kansas, and the other is the battle to retire Thomas Hart Benton from his commanding position in Missouri politics.  In the former, the anti-slavery forces finally prevailed; in the latter, the pro-slavery forces.  Both victories caused a deep bitterness in the losers, and helped set the stage for Civil War.

    BENTON, Thomas Hart,a Senator and a Representative from Missouri; born at Harts Mill, near Hillsboro, N.C., March 14, 1782; attended Chapel Hill College (now the University of North Carolina) and the law department of William and Mary College, Williamsburg, Va.; was admitted to the bar at Nashville, Tenn., in 1806 and commenced practice in Franklin, Williamson County, Tenn.; member of the State senate 1809-1811; served as aide-de-camp to General Jackson; colonel of a regiment of Tennessee volunteers from December 1812 to April 1813; lieutenant colonel of the Thirty-ninth United States Infantry 1813-1815; moved to St. Louis, Mo., where he edited the Missouri Inquirer and continued the practice of law; upon the admission of Missouri as a State into the Union was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate; reelected in 1827, 1833, 1839, and 1845 and served from August 10, 1821, to March 3, 1851, the first Senator to serve thirty consecutive years; author of the resolution to expunge from the Senate Journal the resolution of censure on Andrew Jackson; unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Senate in 1850; elected as a Missouri Compromise Democrat to the Thirty-third Congress (March 4, 1853-March 3, 1855); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1854 to the Thirty-fourth Congress and for Governor of Missouri in 1856; engaged in literary pursuits in Washington, D.C., until his death there on April 10, 1858; interment in Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Mo.

    Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1949

    Benton had been a titan in Missouri politics for over 30 years; gifted, arrogant, imperious in mien. But he was not “right” on slavery, or so the pro-slavery forces believed. Benton did everything he could to stop “agitation on the slavery question”, knowing that it held the seeds of potential dis-union.  He was by no means an abolitionist, and would have been enraged to be called one.  He was, however, against the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and against the expansion of slavery in the territories.

    From 1850-56, the fight to retire Benton was a central feature of Missouri politics, with his enemies finally prevailing.  Claiborne Fox Jackson, who would become the secessionist governor of Missouri in early 1861, played an important role in Benton’s downfall. Benton’s abolitionist son-in-law –John Charles Fremont; who was to become the first Republican presidential candidate in 1856—probably didn’t help him much in the eyes of the great middle section of Missouri politics that usually decide (as it does in most places and times) elections.

    “In Defense of Dueling” is Benton’s ode to “affairs of honor.” Benton was an acknowledged master of the “code”, and was either principal or second in many “affairs.” While Benton may not have been “right” on slavery, he was still a Southern man, with a Southern man’s view of honor.

    It is this view that is often overlooked in the popular understanding of the events leading to secession.  Yes, the ruling class in the South had a large financial interest in slavery.  But that isn’t the whole story, and doesn’t begin to explain the attitudes of the great mass of Southerners who had no such interest.  The prevalent cultural attitude towards “honor” does help explain it, and the Southern attitude towards the “affair of honor,” i.e. a duel, is an important expression of it.

    To put it simply, it was intolerable to a large section of Southern opinion that the North treated their “peculiar institution,” slavery, as a nasty, icky thing that desperately needed to be quarantined to the limited area where it already existed.  If the awful disease could not be eradicated (that pesky Constitution regrettably settled that question in the wrong manner), then at least it must be contained.  By 1860 it was very clear to the South that this was the Northern attitude; growing stronger all the time and finally resulting in the election of a President dedicated to halting forever the expansion of slavery –and to a culture steeped in “honor,” it was unacceptable to continue to share a house (the Union) with those who so despised them and their institutions. Southern culture considered itself superior; for the North to view it as not only not superior, but woefully morally corrupt was an insult not to be borne.  In other words, the Civil War could be seen as the largest duel in history. . .

    Lastly, note Benton’s description of what happens after the duel is over. The culture with this view would also deeply resent Reconstruction as an affront to its honor.  Having fought for honor, the Southern man expects the whole thing to have been settled by the duel itself, with no repercussions to follow; no retribution; no aspersions upon the character or motivation of either victor or vanquished.  Remember, it is not necessary to win the duel for honor to be vindicated under the code; it is only necessary to fight the duel to vindicate that honor. This also helps account for the magnificent (or damn foolish—take your pick) indifference to the odds against their success that so many Southerners evinced in 1861.

    The second section is Benton’s account of the Clay-Randolph duel of 1826.  Henry Clay of Kentucky was Secretary of State to John Quincy Adams, and John Randolph was a Senator from Virginia. Benton was present as “amicus” (i.e. friend) under the code.  Editor Stevens (a long-time St. Louis newspaperman) said of this account that, “In the history of the code there is perhaps no other narrative which will compare with the description Benton wrote of that duel.”

    Thomas Hart Benton writes:

    Certainly it is deplorable to see a young man, the hope of his father and mother–a ripe man, the head of a family–an eminent man necessary to his country–struck down in a duel; and should be prevented if possible.  Still this deplorable practice is not so bad as the bowie knife and the revolver, and their pretext of self-defense–thirsting for blood. In the duel, there is at least consent on both sides, with a preliminary opportunity for settlement, with a chance for the law Thomas Hart Bentonto arrest them, and room for the interposition of friends as the affair goes on. There is usually equality of terms; and it would not be called an affair of honor if honor was not to prevail all round; and if the satisfying a point of honor, and not vengeance, was not the end to be attained. Finally, in the regular duel, the principals are in the hands of  the seconds (for no man can be made a second without his consent); and as both these are required by the dueling code (for the sake of fairness and humanity), to be free from ill will or grudge towards the adversary principal, they are expected to terminate the affair as soon as the point of honor is satisfied, and the less the injury, so much the better.

    The only exceptions to these rules are where the principals are in such relations to each other as to admit of no accommodation, and the injury [to their honor] such as to admit of no compromise. In the knife and revolver business all this is different. There is no preliminary interval for settlement–no chance for officers of justice to intervene­–no room for friends to interpose. Instead of equality of terms, every advantage is sought. Instead of consent, the victim is set upon at the most unguarded moment. Instead of satisfying a point of honor, it is vengeance to be glutted.  Nor does the difference stop with death. In the duel the unhurt principal scorns to continue the combat upon his disabled adversary; in the knife and revolver case, the hero of these weapons continues firing and stabbing while the prostrate body of the dying man gives a sign of life. In the duel the survivor never assails the character of the fallen; in the knife and revolver case, the first movement of the victor is to attack the character of his victim­–to accuse him of an attempt to murder; and to make out a case of self-defense, by making out a case of premeditated attack against the other. And in such false accusation, the French proverb is usually verified–the dead and the absent are always in the wrong.

    The Clay-Randolph Duel of 1826

    Henry Clay

    It was Saturday, the first day of April, toward noon, the Senate not being that day in session, that Mr. Randolph came to my room at Brown’s hotel, and without explain­ing the reason of the question, asked me if I was a blood relation of Mrs. Clay. I answered that I was, and he immediately replied that that put an end to a request which he had wished to make of me, and then went on to tell me that he had just received a challenge from Mr. Clay, had accepted it, was ready to go out, and would apply to Colonel Tatnall to be his second. Before leaving he told me he would make my bosom the depository of a secret which he should commit to no other person. It was that he did not intend to fire at Mr. Clay. He told it to me because he wanted a witness of his intention, and did not mean to tell it to his second or anybody else; and enjoined inviolable secrecy until the duel was over. This was the first notice I had of the affair.

    I had heard nothing from him on the point of not returning the fire since the first communication to that effect eight days before. I had no reason to doubt the steadiness of his determination, but felt a desire to have fresh assurance of it after so many days’ delay and so near approach of the trying moment. I knew it would not do to ask him the question–any question which would imply a doubt of his word. His sensitive feelings would be hurt and annoyed at it. So I fell upon a scheme to get at the inquiry without seeming to make it. I told him of my visit to Mr. Clay the night before, of the late sitting, the child asleep, the unconscious tranquility of Mrs. Clay, and added I could not help reflecting how different all that might be the next night. He understood me perfectly, and immediately said, with a quietude of look and expression which seemed to rebuke an unworthy doubt, “I shall do nothing to disturb the sleep of the child or the repose of the mother,” and went on with his employment (his seconds being engaged in their preparations in a different room), which was making codicils to his will, all in the way of remembrances to friends; the bequests slight in value but invaluable in tender­ness of feeling and beauty of expression, and always appropriate to the receiver.

    I have already said that the count was to be quick after giving the word “fire,” and for a reason which could not be told to the principals. To Mr. Randolph, who did not mean to fire, and who, though agreeing to be shot at, had no desire to be hit, this rapidity of counting out the time and quick arrival at the command “stop,” presented no objection. With Mr. Clay it was different. With him it was all a real transaction, and gave rise to some proposal for more deliberation in counting off the time, which, being communicated to Colonel Tatnall, and by him to Mr. Randolph, had an ill effect upon his feelings, and, aided by an untoward accident on the ground, unsettled for a moment the noble determination which he had formed not to fire at Mr. Clay. I now give the words of Gen. Jesup:

    John Randolph“When I repeated to Mr. Clay the ‘word’ in the manner in which it would be given, he expressed some apprehension that, as he was not accustomed to the use of the pistol, he might not be able to fire within the time, and for that reason alone desired that it might be prolonged. I mentioned to Col. Tatnall the desire of Mr. Clay. He replied, ‘If you insist upon it, the time must be prolonged, but I should very much regret it.’ I informed him I did not insist upon prolonging the time, and I was sure Mr. Clay would acquiesce. The original agreement was carried out.”

    I knew nothing of this until it was too late to speak with the seconds or principals. I had crossed the Little Falls bridge just after them, and come to the place where the servants and carriages had stopped. I saw none of the gentlemen and supposed they had all gone to the spot where the ground was being marked off, but on speaking to Johnny, Mr. Randolph, who was still in the carriage and heard my voice, looked out from the window and said to me: “Colonel, since I saw you and since I have been in this carriage, I have heard something which may make me change my determination. Colonel Hamilton will give you a note which will explain it.” Colonel Hamilton was then in the carriage and gave me the note in the course of the evening, of which Mr. Randolph spoke. I readily comprehended that this possible change of determination related to his firing, but the emphasis with which he pronounced the word “may” clearly showed that his mind was undecided, and left it doubtful whether he would fire or not. No further conversation took place between us; the preparations for the duel were finished; the parties went to their places, and I went forward to a piece of rising ground from which I could see what passed and hear what was said. The faithful Johnny followed me close, speaking not a word, but evincing the deepest anxiety for his beloved master. The place was a thick forest, and the immediate spot a little depression or basin, in which the parties stood. The        principals saluted each other courteously as they took their stands. Colonel Tatnall had won the choice of positions, which gave to General Jesup the delivery of the word. They stood on a line east and west–a small stump just behind Mr. Clay; a low gravelly bank rose just behind Mr. Randolph. The latter asked Gen. Jesup to repeat the word as he would give it; and while in the act of doing so, and Mr. Randolph  adjusting the butt of his pistol to his hand, the muzzle pointing downward, and almost to the ground, it  fired. Instantly Mr. Randolph turned to Colonel Tatnall and said, “I protested against that hair trigger.”

    Thomas Hart Benton statue in St. LouisColonel Tatnall took the blame to himself for having sprung the hair. Mr. Clay had not then received his pistol. Senator Johnson, of Louisiana, one of his seconds, was carrying it to him, and still several steps from him. This untimely fire, though clearly an accident, necessarily gave rise to some remarks, and a species of inquiry which was conducted with the utmost delicacy, but which, in itself, was of a nature to be inexpressibly painful to a gentleman’s feelings. Mr. Clay stopped it with the generous remark that the fire was clearly an accident; and it was so unanimously declared. Another pistol was immediately furnished; an exchange of shots took place, and, happily, without effect upon persons. Mr. Randolph’s bullet struck the stump behind Mr. Clay, and Mr. Clay’s knocked up the earth and gravel behind Mr. Randolph, and in a line with the level of his hips, both bullets having gone so true and close that it was a marvel how they missed. The moment had come for me to interpose. I went in among the parties and offered my mediation, but nothing could be done. Mr. Clay said, with that wave of the hand with which he was accustomed to put away a trifle, “This is child’s play!” and required another fire. Mr. Randolph also demanded another fire. The seconds were directed to reload. While this was doing I prevailed on Mr. Randolph to walk away from his post, and renewed to him more pressingly than ever my importunities to yield to some accommodation; but I found him more determined than I had ever seen him, and for the first time impatient and seemingly annoyed at what I was doing. He was indeed annoyed and dissatisfied. The accidental fire of his pistol preyed upon his feelings. He was doubly chagrined at it, both as a circumstance susceptible in itself of an unfair interpretation, and as having been the immediate and controlling cause of his firing at Mr. Clay. He regretted this fire the instant it was over. He felt that it had subjected him to imputations from which he knew himself to be free–a desire to kill Mr. Clay and a contempt for the laws of his beloved State; and the annoyances which he felt at these vexatious circumstances revived his original determination, and decided him irrevocably to carry it out.

    BENTON, Thomas Hart,statesman, was born near Hillsborough, N. C., March 14, 1782; son of Jesse and Anne (Gooch) Benton. His father was a lawyer and private secretary of Governor Tryon. Thomas obtained a good education, and when he was sixteen years of age his mother, a widow, moved to Tennessee and took possession of forty thousand acres of land near Nashville, which was part of her husband’s estate. With his three brothers he engaged in cotton planting, but their first crop was ruined by a heavy frost, and Thomas abandoned planting to take up the study of law and was admitted to the Tennessee bar. He sat for one term in the state legislature, where he secured the passage of a law for the reform of the judicial system of the state and another by which the right of trial by jury was given to slaves. During the war of 1812 he served as an aide-de-camp to Andrew Jackson, then major-general of the Tennessee militia, and marched with the Tennessee troops to the defence of the Lower Mississippi. While serving under General Jackson the friendly relations which had so long existed between them suffered a severe strain, which lasted for a number of years. William Carroll and Jesse Benton, a brother of Thomas, became involved in a dispute, and a duel was fought in which Jackson was Carroll’s second. Jesse sent an offensive account of the affair to Thomas, and on Sept. 4, 1813, Jackson, with some friends, chanced to meet the Bentons in the streets of Nashville. Jackson struck Thomas Benton with a horsewhip; knives and pistols were then freely used, and Jackson received a ball in his left shoulder, while Jesse Benton was cut severely with a dirk and a sword cane.

    Johnson, Rossiter

    Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, 1904.

    It was in this interval that he told me what he had heard since we parted, and to which he alluded when he spoke to me from the window of the carriage. It was to this effect: That he had been informed by Colonel Tatnall that it was proposed to give out the words with more deliberateness so as to prolong the time for taking aim. This information grated harshly upon his feelings. It unsettled his purpose, and brought his mind to the inquiry (as he now told me, and as I found it expressed in the note which he had immediately written in pencil to apprise me of his possible change), whether under these circumstances he might not “disable” his adversary. This note is so characteristic, and such an essential part of this affair, that I here give its very words, so far as relates to this point. It ran thus:

    “Information received from Colonel Tatnall since I got into the carriage may induce me to change my mind of not returning Mr. Clay’s fire. I seek not his death. I would not have his blood on my hands–it will not be upon my soul if shed in self-defense–for the world. He has determined, by the use of a long, preparatory caution by words, to get time to kill me. May I not, then, disable him? Yes, if I please.”

    It has been seen by the statement of Gen. Jesup that his “information” was a mis­apprehension; that Mr. Clay had not applied for a prolongation of time for the purpose of getting sure aim, but only to enable his unused hand, long unfamiliar with the pistol, to fire within the limited time; that there was no prolongation, in fact, either granted or insisted upon; but he was in doubt, and Gen. Jesup having won the word, he was having him repeat it in the way he was to give it out, when his finger touched the hair trigger. How unfortunate that I did not know of this in time to speak to Gen. Jesup, when one word from him would have set all right, and saved the imminent risks in­curred! This inquiry, “May I not disable him?” was still on Mr. Randolph’s mind, and dependent for its solution on the rising incidents of the moment, when the accidental fire of his pistol gave the turn to his feelings which solved the doubt. But he declared to me that he had not aimed at the life of Mr. Clay; that he did not level as high as the knees –not higher than the knee-band; “for it was no mercy to shoot a man in the knee;” that his only object was to disable him and spoil his aim. And then added, with a beauty of expression and depth of feeling which no studied oratory can ever attain and which I shall never forget, these impressive words: “I would not have seen him fall mortally, even doubtfully, wounded for all the land that is watered by the King of Floods and all his tributary streams.” He left me to resume his post, utterly refusing to explain out of the Senate anything he had said in it, and with the positive declaration that he would not return the next fire. I withdrew a little way into the woods and kept my eyes fixed on Mr. Randolph, whom then I knew to be the only one in danger. I saw him receive the fire of Mr. Clay, saw the gravel knocked up in the same place, saw Mr. Randolph raise his pistol–discharge it in the air; heard him say, “I do not fire at you, Mr. Clay,” and immediately advancing and offering his hand. He was met in the same spirit. They met half way, shook hands, Mr. Randolph saying jocosely, “You owe me a coat, Mr. Clay” –the bullet had passed through the skirt of the coat, very near the hip– to which Mr. Clay promptly and happily replied, “I am glad the debt is no greater.” I had come up and was prompt to proclaim what I had been obliged to keep secret for eight days.

    The joy of all was extreme at this happy termination of a most critical affair, and we immediately left with lighter hearts than we brought. I stopped to sup with Mr. Randolph and his friends–none of us wanted dinner that day–and had a characteristic time of it.

    He asked for the sealed paper he had given me, opened it, took out a check for $1,000, drawn in my favor, and with which I was requested to have him carried, if killed, to Virginia, and buried under his patrimonial oaks–not let him be buried at Washington, with a hundred hacks after him. He took the gold from his left breeches pocket and said to us (Hamilton, Tatnall and I), “Gentlemen, Clay’s bad shooting sha’n’t rob you of your seals. I am going to London and will have them made for you,” which he did, and most characteristically, so far as mine were concerned. He went to the herald’s office in London and inquired for the Benton family, of which I had often told him there was none, as we only dated on that side from my grandfather in North Carolina. But the name was found and with it a coat of arms-among the quarterings a lion rampant. “That is the family,” said he; and had the arms engraved on the seal, the same which I have since habitually worn; and added the motto, “Factis non verbis;” of which he was afterwards accustomed to say the non should be changed to et. But enough. I run into these details, not merely to relate an event, but to show character; and if I have not done it, it is not for want of material but of ability to use.