Sabotage of the Sultana – Globe Democrat

Sabotage of the Sultana…

This is the last of the three Globe-Democrat Sultana articles appearing between April 23 and May 6, 1888.  It is amazing that this article seems to have been completely lost to history until rediscovered as part of our investigation.  It is a roadmap to Robert Louden’s and William Streetor’s careers.  Using it an experienced person could track down most of the rest. The most serious omission is the fact that Louden’s death-sentence was not just for spying and mail-running, but for boat-burning as well.

Streetor is being either somewhat disingenuous or modest when he talks about “the burning of so many boats by Confederate agents came up in the course of the conversation” and “I asked him in an offhand way what he knew of the Sultana explosion”.  Remember who these two men were and their history together.  They were important figures on opposite sides of the secret war in the West.  Streetor had spent most of his career during the war protecting the Union against the likes of Louden.  The two maximum security areas of Gratiot were full of Confederate secret service agents, including Louden and his mail-running partner Ab Grimes.  Streetor as assistant keeper was deeply concerned with keeping them above all others under lock and key.  Streetor had also been personally involved in thwarting one of Ab Grimes’ regular and always creative escape attempts.  As chief clerk of the prison as well, Streetor would have had access to all Louden’s records and been familiar with the charges and suspicions about Louden’s activities and connections to J.W. Tucker and the “organized boat-burners”.  Certainly Louden knew who Streetor was as well.  The casual conversation that Streetor describes is like an ex-FBI agent and a pardoned serial bank-robber sitting down for a few drinks. Can anyone be surprised where the conversation would end up?

It appears that the transcript of Louden’s Dec. 1863 trial is the origin of Streetor giving his pre-war alias as “Dale” instead of “Deal”. Louden had used “Charlie Deal” as an alias when he first came to St. Louis, principally in his connection with the Liberty Fire Co. No. 6. In taking down the testimony of Chief of U.S. Police Peter Tallon, the court transcriber apparently heard it as “Dale” and used that spelling throughout. Histories of the Volunteer Fire Department of St. Louis –one of which was written by the ex-brother-in-law of Louden’s wife and uncle of his two step-children– clearly give it as “Deal”. As for “Lowden” instead of the proper “Louden” –well, there is a consistent record of mucking-up the spelling of that in creative ways by multiple sources, Union and Confederate, with “Lowden” being the most popular of the incorrect versions.

Unfortunately, this article was practically the last thing we found instead of the first. Almost all of the revelations found in this article had been discovered by us from other sources before we ever saw it. We had talked for months about our case being built around the fact (as we see it) of the centrality of St. Louis –as opposed to Vicksburg or Memphis– to the “sabotage theory.”  More and more we convinced ourselves that if the Memphis papers had published Streetor’s story, then there had to be some significant mention of it in the St. Louis papers.  These two men were just too well known there for the St. Louis papers to have taken no notice whatever of Streetor’s accusation against Louden.

Since we are too far away to easily visit St. Louis, it was decided to take Dennis Northcott of the Missouri Historical Society into our confidence, lay out our suspicions, and ask him if he would search for the article we strongly suspected must exist in the May 5th-10th period.  Dennis reacted like a trooper  –after determining that the MHS collection of the Missouri Republican contained no such article, he volunteered to go to the St. Louis Public Library and search their collection.  A few days later a photocopy of the article below arrived in our mail. Certainly we had hoped for more detail than the Memphis paper had published, but we were shocked at how much more there was.

How could this article have been lost?  Well, for one thing, in a city that knew Bob Louden very well indeed  –both friends and enemies—there was no reaction.  His wife, who still lived there, did not come to his defense in print.  Ab Grimes, his war-time partner, still lived near St. Louis and also did not rise to challenge Streetor’s story.  It is simply not credible Ab Grimes –riverman, Bob Louden’s mail-running  partner, and sometime “guest” of William Streetor’s at Gratiot Street Military Prison–  didn’t know about this article, yet his memoirs say not a word about it, are relatively friendly to Streetor (who was, after all, a Yankee), and even confirm the post-war relationship between Streetor and Louden.  The total silence about Louden in post-war Confederate sources until Ab Grimes memoirs were published in 1926 (his daughter published them 15 years after his death; it is not clear Ab ever intended them to be read outside the family) strongly suggests a tacit understanding by all Louden’s friends that it would be better to leave sleeping dogs lie.

Sultana’s last voyage

A line drawing of this photo appeared in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat article

St. Louis Globe-Democrat

May 6, 1888


The Cause of the Horrible Disaster

Explained at Last.

Charlie Dale, a St. Louis Painter, Placed a Torpedo in the Coal Bin on the  Boat—The Steamer Just Before the Wreck.

The recent publication of a number of statements from survivors of the explosion of the Mississippi River steamer Sultana twenty-three years ago, has led to the cause of the disaster, a matter of much historical interest in connection with the war of the rebellion. The generally accepted theories of the explosion are faulty condition and bad management of the boilers. Mr. William C. Streetor, a painter of this city, who now has a shop at 314 Locust street, was a resident of St. Louis during the war, and was employed as a clerk in the Gratiot and Myrtle street prisons.  The facts in his possession regarding the cause of the Sultana explosion, as related to a GLOBE-DEMOCRAT reporter, yesterday, removes this much discussed subject from the field of speculation, fixes the fearful catastrophe as the result of no accident, but of fiendish design, and locates with much particularity the boss dynamiter and murderer of the age.

“Yes, I know something about the Sultana disaster,” said Mr. Streetor, in reply to an inquiry.  “I can give the cause of explosion.  A torpedo in a lump of coal was carried aboard the steamer at Memphis and deposited in the coal pile in front of the boilers for the express purpose of causing her destruction. The man who placed the torpedo on the boat is my authority, for I had the statement from his own lips. He was a notorious Confederate mail carrier and blockade runner, was captured some five or six times, and once, at least, was sentenced to death by a military commission in this city. Toward the close of the war, it will be remembered, President Lincoln issued an order that no one should be executed under military laws until the sentence had been confirmed by the President. It was while awaiting confirmation of the sentence that he escaped from the military prison in this city and made his way South, where he remained until after the close of the war. His friends obtained a pardon for him from President Johnson, and, armed with that, he returned to his home in St. Louis. It was after his return home that he told me the story of how he smuggled the torpedo on board the Sultana. His real name was Robert Lowden, but he was always known in this city by his alias, Charlie Dale. He was a painter by trade, and he worked in the same shop with me for William H. Gray, some three years after the close of the war. Dale was at that time a young, vigorous dare-devil. He possessed bravery of a certain kind, I think, equal to that of any man who ever lived. He was cool and calculating in his disposition, but at times he drank heavily, and when in his cups was disposed to talk a little too much for a man with a record like he had. It was while he was drinking one day that he and I got to talking about the war, and the burning of so many boats by the Confederate agents came up in the course of the conversation. He told me that he had fired no less than half a dozen steamboats on the Mississippi. I asked him in an offhand way what he knew about the Sultana explosion. Then he told me the story of the torpedo in the coal, and, using his own expression, ‘It had got to be too—ticklish a job to set the boat afire and get away from her.’

Out of a hundred other of Dale’s daring exploits during the war one in particular impressed me forcibly as showing the character of this remarkable man. It was accomplished while the federal fleet was lying between Memphis and Vicksburg. Dale had escaped from prison in this city, and was on his way South. He was in a quandary for several days as to how he was going to get through the Federal lines. Finally he hit upon a plan and it was successful. He got a coffin at Memphis, calked it up with white lead, and launched it on the Mississippi. Then he laid himself out in the ghastly looking boat and floated down the stream. He passed the Government gunboats at night, and two or three times when the current of the stream drifted the coffin up against the hulls of the boats he reached out with his hands, pushed his craft clear and landed in the morning safe within the Confederate lines.

“Before the war Dale was a member of the old Liberty volunteer fire company in this city and was well known to a great many people living here now. He died in New Orleans during the yellow fever epidemic along in the latter part of the ‘60s. But to return to the Sultana explosion. I have read carefully all the information I could find about it, and from the character of the explosion I have been led to believe that Charley Dale’s story of the torpedo is true.”

[Article continues with scenes from rescue of survivors. . .]

Sabotage of the Sultana – Memphis Daily Appeal article

Sabotage of the Sultana…

As would be expected, the search for information on the Sultana tragedy has mostly centered in Memphis and Vicksburg.  Consequently, the article below is the one most historians are familiar with when they talk about the Sultana and the “sabotage theory.”  Jerry O. Potter cites it directly in “The Sultana Tragedy” as does William Tidwell in “April ‘65”. Gene E. Salecker’s “Disaster on the Mississippi” does not mention this article directly in the text, but does list it in his secondary sources (Mr. Salecker was kind enough to share by email the text he has of this article  —it is slightly different from the wording given below, which we received from the Memphis Public Library).

What a pale, puny thing this article is compared to the Globe-Democrat article of two days before.  On top of the misspelling of Louden’s name and alias which were present in the original article, this article adds new mistakes –including the assertion that “what has become of him is not known.”  Most importantly, it completely fails to include Streetor’s credentials in making this assertion—his relationship with Louden during and after the war, and the position of responsibility he held during the war working with the Union Provost Marshal’s office as assistant-keeper and chief clerk of Gratiot Street Military Prison.

May 8, 1888 Memphis Daily Appeal


Another Theory of the Cause Advanced by a St. Louis Man

St. Louis, Mo, May 7  — The awful explosion on the steamer Sultana near Memphis twenty-three years ago, in which nearly 2,000 Union soldiers lost their lives, has always been a mystery.  The survivors at their reunion have recently made a number of statements regarding the affair, but the most sensational story has been told by a resident of this city, William C. Streeter.  His statement fixes the explosion as the result of design.  He claims that a noted Confederate blockade runner and mail carrier named Robert Lowden, better known during the war as Charles Dale, was the author of the terrible disaster.  Streeter claims that Lowden told him, after the close of the war, that while the Sultana lay at the Memphis wharf, he smuggled aboard a large lump of coal in which was concealed a torpedo.  This he deposited on the fuel pile in front of the boilers for the express purpose of causing the destruction of the boat.

Whether the responsibility for the awful crime rests solely with Lowden, or whether he was acting under the direction of others, Streeter is unable to say.  Lowden had an adventurous career, being captured several times while running blockades, and once narrowly escaped execution.  What has become of him is not known.

Sabotage of the Sultana

Sabotage of the Sultana…

This is the first of the three Sultana articles appearing in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat between April 23 and May 6, 1888.  While it can not be said with certainty that William C. Streetor saw this article, it certainly is possible.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 23, 1888

Story of the Sultana

The Steamboat Explosion Which Cost

Two Thousand Lives

How a Soldiers Longing for a Drink and a

Par of Lieutenant’s Epaulets Saved

The Lives of a Chicago Man

and His Companion

[From the Chicago Tribune.]

Friday next a soldierly-appearing German, aged about 45, whose features wear an expression of settled seriousness that rarely changes for an instant, will celebrate the twenty-third anniversary of the Sultana disaster. He is Edward F. Hedrick, for fifteen years a member of the Chicago police force, now proprietor of a well-ordered little saloon on the corner of Centre and Halsted streets. Besides himself there are said to be now living but five of the 2100 passengers aboard the Sultana at the time of the explosion. It will be remembered that about 400 were picked up alive, but a large proportion of that number survived their wounds and exposure only a few days, and many others swelled the roll of victims within a year or two. Mr. Hedrick served two years in the 8th New York Infantry, at the expiration of which time he enlisted at Indianapolis for three years in the 9th Indiana Cavalry. He was captured at Sliver Branch Trestle and imprisoned at Cahaba, Ala. With 2000 other Union prisoners he was exchanged and sent up the river. These passengers taken on at New Orleans, were on the boat when her boilers blew up. Mr. Hedrick recently told the story of the disaster, including the details of his own remarkable escape, for publication in the Tribune, so frankly and graphically that it is best reproduced in his own words:

“When we boarded the Sultana at Vicksburg,” he began, “we were a jolly crowd. Two thousand of us had just been released from a Southern prison and we were happy. The Sultana was a regular Mississippi River packet boat of that period. A thousand passengers would have crowded her uncomfortably; with over 2000 she was like a hive of bees about to swarm.

“We steamed out of Vicksburg and moved slowly up the middle of the river. The spring floods were at their highest, the stream being in some places as much as forty miles wide. We reached Memphis at 8 o’clock in the evening. Three of my prison chums were on board—Johnny Hinckley, Montgomery Hall and John Wills—and as the Captain said he would not leave till midnight we made up our minds to land and have some fun. I’m going to tell you about this because if we hadn’t gone up-town Johnny Hinckley and I would have been blown sky-high with the others. Our main object in landing was to get something to drink. But we soon discovered that the town was under martial rule and that only officers were allowed anything stronger than coffee. We were so thirsty that we went into an alleyway to reconnoiter. When we were out of sight of the street Johnny Hinckley took out of his pocket a pair of lieutenant’s shoulder-straps he had picked up somewhere, put them on, and while we waited in the alley he entered the nearest saloon. He was gone quite awhile and came back a trifle unsteady, and wiping his mouth. Then I put on the shoulder straps and followed his example with equal success. By the time Hall and Wills had performed their part of the programme it was time to start back to the boat. None of us were drunk, but we were full enough to be happy and to care little whether school kept or not.

“It was just about midnight when the boat left Memphis. Everybody was in the best of spirits. There were a number of professional gamblers on board, and as we passed the cabin door I noticed that it was crowded with officers and gamblers who were playing for high stakes. We went to bunk in the middle of the middle deck, between the office and the bar room and directly over the boilers. Hall and Wills were sleepy.  They rolled up in their blankets and were soon snoring. It was the last ever seen of them. I wanted to follow their example, but Johnny Hinckley wouldn’t have it. He was much elated over our luck with the shoulder straps. We were both a little top-heavy, so when he insisted on going to the back end of the boat and turning into a couple of the officer’s cots I readily consented. There were a great improvement over the hard floor of the deck, and we were soon sound asleep.

“The next thing I knew thee was a terrible crash. The passengers were shouting and screaming and jumping into the river on all sides. I got up, and as I moved forward to see what the matter was I bumped my head against a part of the upper deck which had fallen in. Then I saw flames creeping back toward the stern and knew that the boilers had blown up. I ran back to find Hinckley, but his cot was empty. The notion of jumping into the river, as passengers were doing all around, didn’t please me, so I slid down to the freight deck on one of the swinging bumpers that hung over the side. A big crowd of passengers had flocked to the stern, where a lot of mules were quartered. Many of the mules hand broken loose and were stamping up and down the deck. Several of us seized one and threw him overboard, intending to jump ourselves and let him swim us ashore. But the water was black with heads and arms of drowning passengers, and the mule sank instantly with a dozen men under and on top of him. We threw in several more, all with the same result. People were constantly jumping in and carrying others to the bottom with them. There wasn’t a clear space within jumping distance in any direction. The water was rough and churned the crowd of swimmers up and down as though there were logs in a broken raft.

“All the time Capt. Mason was working bravely on the upper deck throwing planks and barrels overboard and shouting to the passengers to keep cool. Many swam ashore on what he threw into the water, but he staid aboard too long to save his own life. After awhile, when most of the passengers had thrown themselves into the river, the boat seemed to drift away from them, leaving a clear space. I had thrown several shutters over, but they had all been seized by those in the water. Finally the flames had driven the terrified mules so closely about me that I was obliged to seize a bit of plank and jump for my life. By the light of the flames I saw what I took for the shore only a few rods distant, and congratulated myself that I was getting off so easily. But it was only an island, and in spite of all I could do the current carried me past the lower end of it. There was no shore in sight. Pretty soon a half-drowned man floating by caught hold of the end of my plank. He placed his whole weight on it, and we commenced to sink together. I cursed him and said: ‘Why don’t you help yourself a little so we can both be saved?’ But he was too exhausted. I let him have the plank, and started to swim with nothing under me. When I was nearly worn out a steamer came by picking up floating passengers so near that I thought of course she would take me on. But the wind was in the wrong direction. They couldn’t hear me, and I gave myself up for lost. Just then a brandy jug floated by. I worked it under me and plucked up courage again. In this way I floated down to where the current struck the bend just above Memphis, and caught the overhanging branch of a half-submerged tree. Dozens of people had floated in just as I had, and were clinging to bushes and trees. The water was so high we couldn’t touch bottom, and there was no land in sight. The blaze of the burning Sultana had been seen from Memphis, and we were presently rescued by one of the boats in search of survivors and bodies of the dead. The water was so cold that we were chilled through, but there was plenty of spirits and a blazing fire on the rescuing boat, besides piles of blankets in which we were wrapped.

“As I walked up the bank at Memphis in my blanket, almost the first person I met was Johnny Hinckley. Before jumping overboard he had secured a life preserver, and floated down to the bend without much difficultly. The people living at the principal hotel bought us new suits of clothes, and in a day or two we came North to Indianapolis. Then I lost track of Hinckley and haven’t seen or heard of him since. I would like to know where he is. You see, it was nothing in the world but his shoulder-straps that saved our lives.”

Story of Another Survivor

Frankfort, Ind., April 12—

James Payne, one of the few survivors of the Sultana disaster, lives in Hamilton County, this State, near Packard’s Mills, and there he was found by the Tribune correspondent. Mr. Payne was a private in the 124th Indiana, which was captured by the Confederates at Spring Hill, Tenn., in 1864. He spent three months amidst the horrors of Andersonville, and was then exchanged. “Orders came to the effect that 500 men should be taken out each day to be exchanged,” said Mr. Payne, “with the provision that the old men were to go first—that is, those who had been longest in the prison. But we found out that a little persuasion in the way of money had a great effect upon the officers of the prison, and as the boys of our company had succeeded in keeping a little money concealed, we bought our exchange, and consequently our company, which was now down to eleven men, got out on the first list.  One of our boys went out on a dead man’s name. When the dead man’s name was called he answered to it. We were taken to Vicksburg, and the morning of the 1st day of May, 1865, we were marched down to the wharf to embark to be sent North and home. We lost no time in getting aboard the Sultana, as that time the largest boat on the Mississippi. She was a side-wheeler of unusual dimensions. She carried eighteen boilers. The boilers and machinery of the Sultana had been inspected at St. Louis just before her down trip, and at Vicksburg just before we started.

“We started from Vicksburg about noon.  Everything went well, excepting our sickness, the result of our confinement, and the rough water, as the river was running high. We landed at Memphis at 11p.m., where we had about 400 hogsheads of sugar to unload. Here occurred my miraculous escape. A number of the boys, myself being one of them, got off here and went up into the town to see if they could get something to eat, and at least get some fresh air. A comrade, whose name I have forgotten, and myself wandered around until we heard the signal to start and then we ran for the boat, but we were too late, and the only result of our efforts was to get into the sand up to our knees. We saw that the Sultana was going to stop at some coal barges and take on some coal, and we in our desperation tried to get aboard here; but it appears that Providence was working in its own mysterious way, and we were again unsuccessful. While we were standing on the wharf, or rather in the sand, we were watching the Sultana, our hope, joy and pride, steam away, feeling our hearts sink within us.

“We watched the Sultana until she got to a point in the river where there is a small island called ‘Hen and Chickens’, seven miles above Memphis, where, to our horror, the boilers exploded, and then what was left of the vessel took fire, and, slowly drifting down the river, burned up. Of course a great many were killed by the explosion, but the greater part of them were either burned to death or driven by the fire into the water and drowned. Some few of the boys were able, by getting hold of some of the floating wreckage, to get ashore. One man, or boy, rather, J.W. Thompson, who was then only 18 years old, swam until he was opposite Memphis, which was seven miles, when he was picked up by a yawl. They were afraid to put out large boats until it became light, consequently no boats but skiffs and yawls were used until morning. A very dense fog also came up just immediately after the explosion. The river was very high at the time, all the bottom lands for miles on each side of the river being inundated. One soldier succeeded in getting upon a log, and also helped upon the log a lady passenger whom he found in the water, and by means of using his hands and feet as oars finally guided the log out of the channel and lodged it safely against some timber. She was, I think, a Chicago lady, and she has since handsomely rewarded him. As to the actual number saved I, of course, do not know, but I do know that it was comparatively few. John W. Thompson, whom I have named, lives now at Fisner’s Switch, Ind. Lieut. Elliot is now living at Indianapolis, Ind. Matthew Wright, the man who went out on the dead man’s name, is now living at Boxytown, Ind. These four men, besides myself, are all the men I think who are living, except Wesley Negley, whom I had almost forgotten.”

This is the second of the three Sultana articles appearing in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat between April 23 and May 6, 1888.  Note that it appears on the 23rd anniversary of the disaster, and talks specifically about a reunion of Sultana survivors being held in Michigan.  One way or the other, this article must be the key event that lead to the publication of the revelations contained in the May 6th article.

There are two possible explanations.  The first is that Streetor saw it and came forward on his own, contacting the paper to tell his story. The Sultana survivors only began meeting about 1885, so it is possible that this was the first notice Streetor had that such a group existed and still memorialized the event.  The second possibility is that Streetor had previously shared his story with others, who when they saw the article contacted the paper and said something like “You really ought to talk to William Streetor about this.”

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 27th, 1888

Sultana Survivors

Reunion at Hillsdale, Mich.

Special Dispatch to the Globe-Democrat


Of the eighty survivors of the great Sultana disaster on April 26, 1865, Joseph Stephens, of Buffalo, N.Y., is the most interested in the re-unions of the remnant of persons now surviving that historical casualty. Stephens is one of the veterans not lost on that occasion and takes the deepest interest in the annual gatherings, at which the attendance grows appreciably less each spring. Mr. Stephens formerly lived in this place, and offered last year to pay the expenses of this year’s reunion if held at his old home, which offer was accepted. The reunion is to last two days.

The programme consists of an address of welcome by the Mayor, response by the President of the society, election of officers and the spinning of yarns about the fatal day. The Grand Army veterans here and the Woman’s Relief Society are taking a leading part in the entertainment of the survivors. A banquet will be given tomorrow night. Only half a dozen of the survivors have arrived up to this evening. A fair representation of the total number is looked for to arrive on the late trains tonight and early in the morning. The celebration proper takes place on the second day.

Story of a Survivor

Special Correspondence of the Globe-Democrat.

FORT WAYNE, IND., April 26.

Two veterans of the late war were distinguished yesterday above the many hundreds of their fellow solider-citizens in Forth Wayne, by receiving circular invitations to attend a meeting of the survivors of the explosion on the Mississippi River steamer Sultana, perhaps the most melancholy incident of the rebellion. The survivors have long since formed an association, and the meeting referred to is to take place at Hillsdale, Mich., on Friday, April 27, the twenty-third anniversary of the catastrophe.

The two gentlemen referred to are Louis Schirmeyer, a clothing store clerk, and Geo. H. Fredericks, a fireman on the Wabash Railway. Mr. Schirmeyer was called upon today by a Globe-Democrat representative, and related his personal experience. It was a thrilling tale, and in substance is as follows:

“I was a member of the 32d Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and had been captured at Chickamauga. I was first sent to Libby Prison, then to Pemberton Prison, next to Danville, Va., and finally to Andersonville, where I remained until the war ended. I was then taken to Vicksburg and placed on board the Sultana with 2,100 others, mostly discharged prisoners. The boat stopped at Memphis at 8 o’clock in the evening and many of us went ashore, and an opportunity for drinking was not neglected. A friend of mine had money and I filled up with beer and almost missed the boat, which resumed its course at midnight. In fact, I was the last to cross the gang plank, which was at once drawn in after me.  In the vast crowd it was difficult to find a place to lie down, but I found one on the top-most deck, just in front of the pilot house. Here I fell into a deep sleep. I was awakened by the noise of a terrific explosion of the boilers, and found myself being hurled upward through the air.  I must have gone up 20 or 25 feet. In falling I struck the shattered pilot house. My face was cut and bleeding, and my hair was half singed off by a flame that burst over me. It was a rude awakening. I swung myself down a rope that hung over the boat’s side, and from a perch on the lower deck peered out into the river. The night was moonless, but the flames spread a bright gleam over the swollen stream. Never can I forget that scene. The heads of the people in the water were so numerous that it seemed as if an apple thrown in any direction must have surely hit one of them. Some cursed, some prayed, all cried out for help. Every few minutes a hand would be uplifted helplessly, and the next moment its owner would be swept out of my sight. The flames grew hotter, and approached more nearly. My place of observation could be held but a little longer. To remain would be to burn to death. To jump would be to drown, for I was an indifferent swimmer. The increasing heat decided me.  I sprang into the water. A mattress, which had been thrown from the cabin deck, floated by me. Two Irishmen seized it. I cautioned them not to bear their entire weight upon it, but they gave no heed and were soon sprawled on its top. The mattress became water-soaked and sunk. The two Irishmen sunk with it. Scenes like this were constantly occurring. I paddled on as best I could. At last, when my strength was almost exhausted, I was struck from behind, and turning about, grasped a floating piece of timber that had probably been a deck support. I threw my arms over it, and in an hour had floated into the branches of a tree that overhung the swollen river. I clambered to a place of safety. Four others found places in the tree. Here we remained until daylight, when one of the many boats that had been sent up from Memphis for the relief of the survivors approached near enough to hear our cries. We were lifted on board. I fainted at once. In three days I was able to pursue my journey by another steamer to Cairo, and at Indianapolis I received an ovation and was mustered out.”

Louden Letters

Louden Letters…

Letters written by Robert Louden from Gratiot Street Prison:

November 1, 1863 – letter by Robert Louden to brother Andrew Louden (a POW in Ohio). Louden wrote and spelled well yet used absolutely no punctuation. The letter has been broken into sentences for easier reading. Liz is his sister. Mollie is his daughter. Lulu is his step-daughter. Arthur is his brother-in-law, Arthur C. McCoy.

Gratiot Sr Prison St Louis Nov 1st

Dear Brother

I suppose you have heard of my arrest if you have received any letter from mother or Liz. At all events I was taken prisoner Sept 2nd 1863 in this city and immediately confined in Lynch’s nigger pen on 5th & Mrytle and a ball & chain on my leg. I was kept there 3 weeks and then I moved to this prison, where I have since been kept in close confinement not having even the liberty of the yard. I am in the same room that Mary was in during her imprisonment, what I am charged with, I do not know, and the probability is that I will not find out until I am about to be tried, and that event seems to be further off now than the day I was taken. I would have been over to see you had I not been taken for I was on my way there and only came here to see about Mollie and get Lulu off to the Convent. They had no one to look to for anything but me, for you are aware that Mary was banished last May and is now in Miss. somewhere. I do not know what will become of the children too. Mother wrote to you of the cruel and inhuman way the Fed’s have treated Father. Nothing had been heard of him at the date of the last letter from mother. She was about frantic at his loss and the way they murdered him but you know the old Jewish law and if you ever rejoin your command carry it out to the full letter. Of your treatment I know nothing but hope it has been better than mine, even little Mollie is not permitted to visit me nor have I been allowed to receive a visitor since my arrest. Where Mary is, God only knows. I seen her for a few minutes when she arrived south and since then have not heard from her or about her. I do not know how you are off for clothing but if you need any send me word and I will try and have some sent to you for I have some money due me by parties in town that I can draw if necessary. Aleck & Jim Buist have both deserted and are in the Yankee nation now. The old lady, Mrs. G. comes down occasionally to get my soiled clothes and generally has Mollie with her but Nellie (you remember her) has stuck to me as she always did & was the first one to come and see what I wanted. Arthur is now a major in the C.S.A. and [?] he will fight them on the last half-inch for he has a double duty to perform now, fight for freedom & revenge both. I am in hopes you will soon be exchanged and if you are well of your wound be in the service again. I do not know what mother says to you but she was in hopes you would take the oath and stay at home, poor Mother she has suffered in this war. Father and Jim gone, you and I in prison. I seen Dave Thomson he has recovered entirely from his wound and says he has enough of the war he was in the 79th Regt of New York at Bull Run. Lizzy and he are living in New York now but I understand Liz is in bad health, when you write send my love to them and to Mother. Frank write to me as soon as you can and if I can assist you let me know. Direct to Robert Louden Gratiot St Prison St Louis hoping you have fully recovered.

I remain

Your affectionate brother


With his execution nearing, Robert Louden wrote the following letter pleading for mercy. The confession of guilt sparked excited articles in St. Louis newspapers saying Louden had confessed all, and that there were many very nervous people in St. Louis, not knowing if Louden had named them or not.

Gratiot Prison

April 29, 1864

Major General W. S. Rosecrans

Comdg Dept of Missouri


Upon you as Commander of this Department devolve the duty of appointing the sentence of the Military Commission in my case to be carried into effect, and to you in this hour of tribulation I appeal for that mercy in your power to show me an afflicted wife and helpless family join in this prayer to you.

That I have violated the laws of my country I freely and humbly confess and do not seek to extenuate my guilt but I am deeply and truly penitent for all I have done and pray for forgiveness.

An affectionate wife and infant children will be left entirely destitute at my death, my long imprisonment has diminished their scanty resources and deprived entirely of their natural protection I tremble for their future. My aged parents, residing in Philadelphia have not yet received the sad news of my condemnation, although immediately on the first knowledge of it means were taken to inform them and they will make no delay in coming to see me.

I appeal to you then, to intercede in my behalf for the sake of those who will suffer so much by the execution of my sentence, my sufferings will I hope end with death, for though the intercession of our Divine Saviour I trust to be forgiven for all my sins, but at my death the suffering of my innocent family will commence, for their sake then do not turn from the pleading of an humble and penitent offender.

Throwing myself entirely on your mercy and praying that this appeal may not be in vain, but that sympathizing with my own distress and that of my afflicted and heart-broken family you may think proper to recommend my case for Executive clemency, and solemnly pledging never again to transgress the laws of my country but as a true and loyal citizen to devote myself to my family.

I remain, Sir,

With respect, Yours

Robert Louden

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.

    Provost Marshals

    Provost Marshals

    by D. H. Rule

    James O. Broadhead: Ardent Unionist, Unrepentant Slaveholder by Kirby Ross new December 6, 2002

    George E. Leighton – George Elliot Leighton, Born March 7, 1835 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Came to St. Louis in 1858. Lawyer in St. Louis. Lieutenant in 3rd Missouri US Reserve Volunteers, April 1861. Major in 5th Missouri State Militia Cavalry. Married Isabella Bridge October 23, 1862. Son George B. Leighton born 1864. Provost Marshal of St. Louis fall 1861 through 1862. 1863 Colonel of 7th Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia. Later President of the Missouri Historical Society. Died July 4, 1901.

    “I was on the other side myself, but I recollected Colonel Leighton’s administration, and, though this was a Southern city, I can say that the only recollection of it to most of us is admiration for the man himself. I can’t say that we indorsed all his moves, of course, but most of his orders were worded with great humanity, and were carried out in the same manner so long as he was personally present to supervise them. He was not responsible for the doings of some of his subordinates.” Jefferson Meek, 1901


    Saint Louis, Mo., December 4, 1861.

    I. Lieut. Col. Bernard G. Farrar is hereby appointed provost-marshal-general of this department. Capt. George E. Leighton is provost-marshal of the city of Saint Louis and its vicinity. All local provost-marshals will be subject to the orders of the provost-marshal-general, who will receive his instructions direct from these headquarters.

    Saint Louis, Mo., December 4, 1861

    I may be permitted to say that on my appointment to the position I hold I found the department greatly disorganized and that from the date of the proclamation of martial law there had been exercised a very general jurisdiction over civil as well as military matters. Perhaps at first it was in a measure necessary, but if so the necessity exists no longer; and it has been my aim by thorough organization to increase its efficiency though operating with a less force and disentangle it from all connection with civil matters except in cases of absolute necessity and where it is believed the interests of the Government imperatively require it.

    The police department of the city is under the control of men of unquestioned loyalty, and a thorough understanding exists between the chief of that department and myself so that there may be co-operation when desired. The executive of the city while he is not to be considered loyal is not one who would give aid or assistance against us. He has scrupulously avoided all chance of collision and where the peace and good order of the city has been involved has not hesitated to operate in connection with this department.

    The council and aldermen are all of undoubted disloyalty but nothing is to be apprehended from them, the police and executive being the only branches of the city government with which it is desirable that this department should co-operate.

    I have the honor to be, general,



    “I was informed Colonel Leighton was to be married that night at the Trinity Episcopal Church… Out of pure deviltry I proposed to attend the ceremony. To this some of my friends seriously objected, while others said I would not dare do such a risky thing, when all the government officials and the police were on the alert to capture me. A dare or a challenge was a thing I never dodged, so I determined to undertake it. My dear friend, Miss Lizzie Pickering, proposed to accompany me and we were present when the ceremony was performed. We occupied seats near the rear of the church and left promptly after the ceremony. A few days later I wrote Colonel and Mrs. Leighton a note of congratulations, and he had the note published in the St. Louis Globe under the title, ‘Insolent Nerve.'” — Absalom C. Grimes

    James H. Baker – former Secretary of State of Minnesota, fought in the Sioux uprising. Born in Monroe, Ohio, May 6, 1829. Moved to Minnesota in 1857 where he served two terms as Secretary of State. Married Rose Thurston September 25, 1852. She died March 21, 1873. Two sons, Arthur and Harry Baker. Married December 23, 1879 to Zula Bartlett. Baker died May 25, 1913 in Mankato, Minnesota. Provost Marshal of St. Louis and Department of Missouri 1863-65. Baker’s Correspondence in the Official Records

    From the 1864 St. Louis Directory:

    Provost Marshal General’s Dept. of the Missouri

    Office, 5th st., cor. St. Charles

    Colonel J. H. Baker, P. M. General

    Lt. Col. C. W. Davis, 1st Asst. P. M. General

    Capt. Saml. S. Burdett, 2d Asst. P. M. General

    Lieut. J. C. Bradler, 3d Asst. P. M. General

    Lieut. G. H. Richardson, 4th Asst. P. M. General

    Lieut. Geo. W. Shinn, Chief of Bureau of Examiners

    Samuel S. Boyd, Solicitor

    Capt. Peter Fallon [sic–Tallon], Chief U. S. Military Police

    A. B. Converse, Asst. Chief U. S. Mil. Police

    James O. Broadhead – James Overton Broadhead. May 28, 1819-August 7, 1898. Lawyer from Virginia with many Southern friends and sympathies, pro-slavery. Married Mary Snowden Dorsey. Children: Nannie Dorsey Broadhead-1849, Charles L. S. Broadhead-1853, May Mary W.Broadhead-1856, John D. Broadhead-1858.

    See: James O. Broadhead: Ardent Unionist, Unrepentant Slaveholder by Kirby Ross new December 6, 2002

    “With the approbation of Governor Gamble, General Schofield appointed as a staff officer and assigned to duty as provost-marshal-general one James O. Broadhead, who, it is said, declared recently in Saint Louis that every damned abolitionist in the country ought to be hung, with Chase and Stanton at their head. Under this new administration, faithful, diligent, and competent assistant provost-marshals were arbitrarily removed without any cause being assigned and their places supplied by those whose sympathies were with the Conservatives.”BROADHEAD, James O., lawyer, was born in Albemarle county, Va., May 19, 1819. He was educated at the high school, and when sixteen years of ago studied for one year at the University of Virginia. In June, 1837, he removed to Missouri, where he studied law in the office of Edward Bates for three years. In 1841 he began the practice of the law in Pike county, Mo., and in 1845 was elected as a delegate to the constitutional convention of the state. In 1846 he was elected to the state legislature from Pike county, and in 1850 to the state senate, and served in that capacity four years. In 1859 he located in St. Louis, and in February, 1861, he was appointed U.S. district attorney of Missouri, but resigned when he found it interfered with his duties as a delegate to the state convention, “for vindicating the sovereignty of the state, and the protection of its institutions.” Under the provisions of resolutions offered by Mr. Broadhead, this convention abolished the existing state government, and established a provisional government, which for the first three years of the civil war managed its affairs, raising and organizing a military force in support of the United States government. He was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the 3d Missouri cavalry, and was assigned to duty on the staff of General Schofield, as provost marshal-general of the department of Missouri. In 1876 he was [p.416] appointed by President Grant as counsel on the part of the government in the prosecution of the “whisky frauds.” In 1878 he was chosen president of the American bar association, which met at Saratoga, N.Y. In 1882 he was elected a representative to the 48th Congress as a Democrat, and in 1885 was appointed by the government as special agent to make preliminary search of the record of the French archives in the matter of the French spoliation claims, making his report in October, 1885. He was U.S. minister to Switzerland, 1893-’97, and on his return he took up the practice of his profession. He died in St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 7, 1898.

    Johnson, Rossiter, ed. Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, – Vol. I-X (10). Boston, MA: The Biographical Society, 1904

    From the  Westliche Post, a German newspaper in St. Louis:


    Our Jail, under the administration of General Schofield and Provost-Marshal Broadhead, has become area; “slave-pen? Every day blacks and colored people of all shades–men, women, and children–are thrown into it, who had believed in the gospel of liberty proclaimed by “honest “–it is too great a shame that this word must now be written with quotation marks–by honest Father Abraham. This honest man has made Missouri a real hunting-ground for nigger-catchers, and the authorities appointed by him protect this “honest” calling in every possible way. If we say the Jail has become a slave-pen, we don’t mean to censure the jailer. He is bound to receive the slaves that are arrested by order of the provost-marshal and brought to jail; he is bound to do it as his duty, and we are sure it is a disagreeable duty to him. But who has given our Provost-Marshal-General Broadhead authority to recall and declare null and void the free papers which have been given by his predecessors or by former commanders of this department to the slaves of rebel masters? Does a slave become a free man by a certificate of liberty, duly made out by competent authority, or is such a certificate of liberty a mere piece of paper, which may be torn up at pleasure? Is the great liberty proclamation of the President himself also a mere rag, which every provost-marshal may spit upon and kick with his feet, if he so chooses? Every day fugitive slaves from all quarters of the rebellious States are arrested in our streets by professional rascals and dragged to jail. The process of such an outrage is a very- simple one. Any rebel from Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, or any other slave State sells his human property to a dealer in men’s flesh, who is, of course, a “loyal” man, Just as Mr. Lincoln is an “honest man, and this slave-trader puts immediately his blood-hounds on the track of the scented game, which is then surely fated, for the provost-marshal-general never neglects to play his role. Thus, in the past month hundreds of liberated slaves have been carried back into slavery; thus, yesterday, six of them sat in the jail waiting for the next boat to Kentucky, and thus things will continue as long as Schofield and Broadhead are at the head of affairs, and probably as long as “honest Old Abe” sits in the White House. We spoke to an old soldier of the Twelfth Regiment, who had carried a musket in the service of liberty since the commencement of the war, and we heard him say, “May my right hand wither before it ever again throws a ticket for Abraham Lincoln into the ballot-box and may my lips be struck dumb if ever I pronounce that name otherwise than with contempt!A negro who has gone through all the toils of the Twelfth Regiment for two years is now a fugitive slave in the jail, caught on Lincoln’s slave-hunting ground in Missouri.

    To such a pass has a weak-brained and weak-spirited Republican administration brought affairs in Missouri that it has incurred the hatred and the disgust of all true Union men, of all true emancipationists, and of all those who are honestly in favor of liberty: while noon its head descend the blessings and the praises of those who stigmatized the conquerors of Camp Jackson as murderers and the author of the emancipation proclamation as an Abolitionist. Be it so. Italia far a da so. We will help ourselves.

    Thomas T. Gantt – Thomas Tasker Gantt. Lawyer. Born in the District of Columbia July 22, 1814. Attended West Point 1831-33 but a military career was prevented by an injury. Moved to St. Louis May, 1839. In 1845 Gantt was appointed by President Polk as United States District Attorney for the District of Missouri, as which he served four years. City counselor of St. Louis 1853 for two years. Elected to State Convention February 1861 from the city and county of St. Louis as an unconditional Union man. Gantt became a colonel in the Army of the Potomac August 1861 by appointment of General McClellan. He served as judge advocate. Resigned due to ill health and returned to St. Louis in July 1862. Served as unpaid Provost Marshal from July to November 1862. Returned to law practice until 1875 when he was first a member of the Constitutional Convention of Missouri, then a judge of the Court of Appeals. In January 1877 he returned to private law practice. Died June 17, 1889.

    “He is a man of warm impulses, and a generous friend. By his own industry, energy, and enterprise he has acquired a competent fortune; is a fine scholar, a finished and accomplished lawyer, and has won for himself in the community where he has so long lived, the reputation of an honest man, and an upright, public-spirited, worthy citizen, ever to be relied upon in the hour of danger and public emergency.” –Personal Recollections of John F. Darby (mayor of St. Louis 1835)

    Thomas Gantt building in St. Louis, built 1877

    A link to photos of Gantt’s grave on Find-a-Grave

    (use your back button to return here)

    Franklin A. Dick – Franklin Archibald Dick. From Pennsylvania. Lawyer. Lieut. Col. and Provost-Marshal-General, Dept. of the Missouri, brother-in-law of Frank Blair. Married Mira M. (Midge) Alexander November 25, 1851 (she was the sister of Blair’s wife). Credited with getting the dress from his mother-in-law that Nathaniel Lyon wore on his scouting trip into Camp Jackson (see Lady With Spurs).

    “Hither came the trusty agents of Missouri’s cruel hyena, F. A. Dick, Provost Marshal of St. Louis…” from Shelby and his Men by John N. Edwards, 1867

    SAINT LOUIS, March 5, 1862.

    [Hon. FRANCIS P. BLAIR,  Jr.]

    DEAR FRANK: There is one thing that at first was inexplicable to me—it is the feeling or policy that induces U. S. officers to grant extraordinary privileges to the rebel officers who are taken as prisoners, such as releasing of a number of them in this city on parole by General Halleck, thus giving them the opportunity of going freely among our wealthy secessionists. The consequence of this was that these home rebels ran after the officers, dined and feted them, encouraged them to stand firm in their disloyalty, and so bold and defiant did they become as I am informed that General Halleck has revoked the parole, gathered up the officers and sent them to confinement at Alton.

    I was surprised that so judicious a man as Halleck should have fallen into this error; but with his usual correctness he soon saw his mistake. From what I have learned of the feelings of the regular officers I am inclined to believe that Halleck fell into this error through their influence. I have heard most loyal and sensible officers of the U.S. Army say that they had no personal feeling whatever in the war nor toward the officers whom they captured. This I suppose because these officers of ours have kept aloof from political contests and do not recognize in the rebel officers the instigators and workers up of this rebellion. In our eyes Buckner, Floyd, Jo. Johnston, &c., are traitors, and none the less so because they hold in this rebellion the place of officers. If the rebellion had been less formidable and soon put down these men would not have been treated as officers but as felons if captured. There are necessary reasons why to a certain extent we have to treat them as conducting a war and therefore according to the rules of war. The only reason that I recognize for this is that we may save our own soldiers from severe treatment when captured by them. Beyond this there is no necessity for our going, and I say that it is only necessity or in other words our inability to do so that prevented us in the beginning from hanging them all as traitors. The privates and non-commissioned officers in the rebel armies are mostly ignorant men who enlisted as they believed to protect their country from an unjust aggressive war. The proper treatment for them—all I believe concur in this—treat them fairly, correct the errors they have been educated in, inform them of the truth and let them go back home when it can be safely done. But these men who under a mock government are called officers, who are but political desperadoes in military garb and disguise, must be punished; if not for their misdeeds certainly for the sake of the country. Will the privates, the masses, believe their leaders criminals or in the wrong when they see them set at large on their honor and allowed to associate with the wealthy rebels who so openly honor them?

    I call your attention to this matter at this early day hoping that you will think it Worth while to bring the matter before Secretary Stanton. The officers of the Army do not feel the effects of this rebellion as the masses of the people do. To them (the officers of the U.S. Army) it is a war merely, and not a political struggle—maddened, desperate, and aimed to destroy rather than submit to a political defeat. Believing as I do that the practice I have spoken of is a serious evil and that the only way of remedying it is for the Secretary of War to make general regulations upon the subject, to be departed from by commanding officers only for pressing reasons, I therefore suggest that you call his attention to the matter. I have no fear that General Halleck will again fall into the error, but in my opinion few of our officers are equal to him in correctness of judgment.

    Yours, very truly,

    F. A. DICK.

    Saint Louis, January 15, 1863.

    Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

    I telegraphed a request that I might confer by letter before executing your telegraphic order concerning provost-marshals’ orders, and the provost-marshals generally.

    The provost-marshal system is not of my planting or growth, but is now so old, deep-rooted, and wide-spread it cannot be summarily disposed of without danger of losses and disasters. It began in General Fremont’s administration, by the appointment of Major McKinstry in this city, who was followed by Colonel McNeil and Captain Leighton; neither of them were properly in the United States service. From this it spread out through the whole department, and when I came in command Colonel Gantt was provost-marshal-general, and hundreds were elsewhere located; most of them not officers in the United States service, except by virtue of their appointment as provost-marshals. General Halleck had given the system a head by creating a provost-marshal-general, and issued some orders devolving specific duties on these functionaries, and, by a kind of common understanding, provost-marshals took charge of prisoners, watched contraband trade, discovered and arrested spies, found out rebel camps, and pursued and arrested the rebels in their neighborhoods. They operate with volunteers, militia and police force, just as circumstances require, and in Southern Iowa and large districts of Missouri, where recruiting guerrilla agents strive to organize their bands, they are the only stationary, permanent official sentinels, who keep me advised and guard the public safety. Public arms, prisoners, contraband property, and forfeited bonds are held by them and properly disposed of, and immediate discharge would create loss and confusion where everything is now quiet and secure For instance, the provost-marshal at Glasgow has 30 or 40 prisoners. At Columbia last Sunday the provost-marshal resisted an effort to rescue a parcel of most desperate prisoners—one a Confederate recruiting officer.

    I send you the letter of Colonel Dick, my provost-marshal-general, to show other duties devolved on these men. Soon after my assuming command, I presented to the General-in-Chief the importance of more exact and uniform rules in regard to the system, and desired the matter might be taken up at Washington, but, in the absence of any instructions, I directed the provost-marshal-general to compile and construct some general and uniform rule of action. This he did in Orders, No. 35, which I suppose is the order disapproved by His Excellency the President. It contains the gist of a great many old orders and some new ones, but in the main it conforms to the current business of the system. No paper or person here has made complaints against the order, and I am surprised that such apprehension and immediate necessity should be presented at headquarters. As far as possible, action under the order is suspended, but I presume most of it will be found to be a mere condensation of our police regulations.

    I have been urged to send away my regular volunteers, and have stripped portions of my department to comply with pressing demands elsewhere. To compensate for this, provost-marshals, taken from the Enrolled Militia, are earnestly endeavoring to keep me posted and maintain public tranquility. If they are to have no supervision of trade, commerce, or anything but the discipline and government of the troops in the United States service, how am I to prevent contraband of war, guns, ammunition, and other supplies going into the hands of the guerrillas, and how am I to know what is doing or to be done in various parts of my district when I have no other command, and what am I to do with the prisoners and other rebels that are held either in fact or fear by these provost-marshals?

    I regret that I am thus forced to defend a system I never did approve and have often condemned. I could not find either statute or military law to rest it upon. I have not appointed one, except to fill the vacancy of the provost marshal-general; but the system has started and grown up from surrounding necessities; it is now working very extensively and quite harmoniously, and I believe it must in some shape be continued during the war. When a nation is at war, war exists everywhere, and we must have some sort of military representatives wherever military offenses can be committed. It costs too much to keep stationary troops everywhere, but without such officers as I may trust and constantly employ in every county of this State and in various parts of my department, I must have many more troops in actual service in Missouri. While, therefore, there is no apparent necessity of a sudden radical change, I most respectfully request that some substitute may be allowed me for a system of military power which now serves a most important purpose throughout my command, or so order the matter that we may perfect what now seems to be a useful military expedient.

    I have the honor to be, Mr. Secretary, your very obedient servant,



    [ Inclosure. ]

    [SAINT LOUIS, Mo.,] January 15, 1863.

    Maj. Gen. SAMUEL R. CURTIS, Commanding:

    GENERAL: The telegram of the Secretary of War, of the 14th, to the major-general commanding this department, contemplating a change in the system of provost-marshals in the interior of the State, requires of me that I should present to you some of the duties performed by them.

    Commanding officers in the field turn over prisoners captured by them to provost-marshals, who take the evidence against the prisoners and forward it and them to Saint Louis. With guerrillas and marauding bands operating in the State, whenever opportunity occurs, appearing at first one place and then another, our troops are kept moving, and the officers in the field do not furnish the evidence against the men they capture. Were these prisoners considered prisoners of war, and to be sent forward for exchange, but little evidence would be needed, but they are many of them lawless men, known in certain localities. After their capture their friends constantly make efforts to have them released, and it is through the provost-marshals that the facts relating to them are ascertained, and upon which the proper action can be based, as to holding or releasing them. These provost-marshals are made by your orders conservators of the peace. They know and report the state of the country, and can and do determine better than any one else which men can safely be enlarged and which not. Remove them, and to whom shall we apply for the information constantly needed at your headquarters, and to whom will commanders in the field send their prisoners to be examined and forwarded? Again, it is well known that rebel recruiting officers and spies are constantly coming into this State. It is the business of provost-marshals to keep on the watch for them, and to break up their practices; and, but for their efforts, in many counties recruiting for the rebel army would be carried on without danger. There are many disloyal farmers who would constantly aid the rebellion with supplies of different kinds, but for the provost-marshal system. Remove the danger of detection, and the State would furnish (to the rebs) considerable amounts of supplies, and the stream of rebel soldiers southward would be largely increased.

    I have released, all the time, men in whose promises reliance could not be placed, but I have felt justified in doing it by placing them under the surveillance of the provost-marshals of their counties. If, however, they have no local officer to care for, they either cannot be released or would soon again be led off into aiding the rebellion. Provost-marshals, too, give confidence to the Union men through the State; they stand as the representatives of the United States Government, and if a neighborhood becomes so rebellious as to endanger Union men, they feel that the report of the provost-marshals will call the attention of the military authorities to the condition of things. To relieve the provost-marshals will be a shock to the Union cause in this State, and will have a most depressing effect upon those who require the support of the Government. They acquire a local knowledge which is valuable and reliable. The men who have been disloyal in Missouri, most of them, remain so; and it will prove a costly mistake to act upon a contrary hypothesis. They are Southern sympathizers who have taken up arms, and they are none the less sympathizers because for the time disarmed; and I feel safe in making the assertion that, if they believe it not too perilous to do it, they will again take up arms, or by other means aid the rebellion. My belief is that these people have got to be kept down while the war rages, and my every day’s experience confirms that belief. After the rebellion becomes powerless, then the Missouri rebels will give up their plans of co-operation, and not until then. So far as they have ceased hostilities, it has been from force, and not voluntary submission, and to consider these people no longer enemies of the Union is to fall into a practical error. They have had pretty hard experience in this war, and I believe, by vigilance, can easily be kept down; but a show of military power is necessary, and the presence of some military force, too, accompanied by the continuation of the military system sufficient to keep them sensible of this, that renewed hostilities on their part will be promptly met by force. If my hypothesis is correct, then the system of military law cannot be dispensed with in Missouri, while disloyal men believe that the Union will be dissolved, and they very generally do believe it. If my judgment and opinions are incorrect, then let the capture and detection of guerrillas and marauders be turned over to the civil authorities, and let military action be confined only to regular movements in the field; and it may be that it will be found that the State is

    I consider it my duty as an officer to make this statement relating to the disloyal men in Missouri, believing that the reliable supporters of the Union cause in this State are the men who feel that the safety of this State lies in the control of it by the military power of the United States, so long as this rebellion continues defiant; and these men who alone constitute the strength of the Government in this State will have bitter sufferings to endure, if the protection of the Government is withdrawn.

    I have the honor to remain, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

    F. A. DICK,

    Lieut. Col. and Provost-Marshal- General, Dept. of the Missouri.

    McIntosh and Lovejoy from Civil War St Louis by Gerteis

    Civil War St. Louis

    McIntosh and Lovejoy

    From Civil War St. Louis by Louis S. Gerteis, published by the
    University Press of Kansas, copyright 2001. Used by permission of the

    Louis S. Gerteis

    University Press of Kansas

    Hardcover, 416 pages, 24 illustrations

    published November 2001

    Suggested Price: $34.95

    now available for purchase

    Excerpted and introduced by G.E. Rule

    LOUIS S. GERTEIS is professor of history at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His previous works include Morality and Utility in American Antislavery Reform and From Contraband to Freedman: Federal Policy toward Southern Blacks, 1861-1865.

    As Professor Gerteis writes in McIntosh and Lovejoy, excerpted from his new book Civil War St. Louis, “the aftershocks from the lynching of McIntosh and the murder of Lovejoy continued to unsettle St. Louisans as well. The killings remained vivid memories for a lifetime, and the passions associated with them helped to infuse a greater degree of animosity into the widening debate over slavery.” Echoes would be heard during the crucial struggle over the St. Louis arsenal in the spring of 1861. In order to protect the arms in the arsenal from the city’s secessionists, Captain Nathaniel Lyon arranged to have the surplus transferred to Illinois.

    Captain James H. Stokes performed the mission in the dead of night, transferring 20,000 muskets and much powder to Alton, Il  –home of the murdered Lovejoy. Stokes woke the sleeping Altonians and enlisted their aid in getting the guns off the steamer City of Alton and onto train cars bound for the interior of the state.  According to St. Louis Baptist minister Galusha Anderson, writing in The Story of a Border City During the Civil War, the Unionists amongst the sleepy and disheveled Altonians provided enthusiastic assistance: “Nor did they forget that morning their own martyred Lovejoy, who, fighting against slavery and for the freedom of the press, poured out his blood on the same spot where they then stood; and that his blood so ruthlessly spilled foretokened the awful conflict into which the whole nation was then rapidly drifting.”

    IN THE MIDDLE DECADES of the nineteenth century, slavery and race became enmeshed in the developing culture of American capitalism. In the process, the spirit of accommodation that had once prevailed between slave states and free states began to fade. In part, the sectional equanimity of the early Republic had rested on the fact that the institutions of the free and slave states evolved largely in isolation from one another. As long as physical mobility remained limited and markets remained local, the cultural frictions that later led to civil war could be contained. But beginning in the 1820s, regional and ethnic cultures intermingled in the United States as never before. In the process, St. Louis emerged from its role as a remote outpost of European Empire to become a thriving city of the American West. A growing network of canals linked the Northeast with a western hinterland, stretching north to the Great Lakes and south to the Ohio Valley. Western waterways in the South, from western Georgia to eastern Texas, carried that region’s new staple, cotton, to the major Gulf ports at Mobile and New Orleans. Located at the center of this burgeoning western commerce, St. Louisans justifiably envisioned their city as the nation’s great inland emporium. By the 1820s, more than thirty steamboats provided regular packet service linking St. Louis with Keokuk, Galena, and Davenport to the north; Louisville, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh to the east; and Memphis, Vicksburg, New Orleans, and Mobile to the south.

    A new fluidity characterized social relations and commerce, giving rise to new visions of social progress and perfection as well as to new fears of social disorder and decay. St. Louis prospered, but the city existed uneasily on the border of an increasingly distinct and antagonistic North and South. For the South, slaves became a rapidly appreciating commodity as eastern centers of colonial slavery exported surplus labor to the new cotton-growing regions of the Gulf Plains. For the North, territorial and economic expansion widened the horizons of free labor as farmers and artisans migrated west from New England, New York, and Pennsylvania. In St. Louis, the South and the North commingled as never before and did so at a time when events that once had held significance only within a local community could generate far wider interest and impact. Rumors and enthusiasms had always had the potential of engulfing entire communities. Now, however, with communities linked together along waterways of commerce, the passion of a locality could become the passion of a nation.

    The disappearance of William Morgan in upstate New York in 1826 offered an early example of the new phenomenon. A disgruntled member of the Masonic Order, Morgan published a book in which he claimed to reveal the society’s secrets. News of his disappearance spread quickly and widely over the new Erie Canal. Formally opened in 1824, the canal connected Albany, on the Hudson River, with Buffalo, on Lake Erie. It created a direct water route from New York City, at the mouth of the Hudson River, to the Great Lakes. It also provided a passageway to the West for people in upstate New York and New England. Throughout the Northeast and into the mid-Atlantic region, the rumor spread that Morgan had been murdered in a Masonic conspiracy. Anti-Masonic sentiment led to organized efforts to prevent members of the order from being elected to public office. In 1832 an Anti-Masonic political party nominated former attorney general William Wirt as its presidential candidate. The speed with which the rumored murder of Morgan mushroomed into a quasi-national anti-Masonic crusade offers one measure of the way in which the new intermingling of peoples, in what historians of the period have come to call the Market Revolution, reshaped the social landscape.

    St. Louis soon offered other, more lurid examples of the new social volatility: the 1836 lynching of Francis L. McIntosh, a free mulatto boatman, and the related killing of the antislavery newspaper editor Elijah P. Lovejoy, in nearby Alton, Illinois, in 1837, became events of national significance. Both incidents contributed measurably to the antislavery movement across the North. But they also revealed a great deal about St. Louis itself. In the McIntosh lynching, observers experienced and remembered events in significantly different ways. Those sympathetic with the lynchers described McIntosh as a defiant killer cursing his white tormentors as he died. They remembered the heroic actions of the men who apprehended him and the collective action of the community in killing him. On the other hand, those who deplored the actions of the lynchers described McIntosh’s excruciating pain and suffering. They remembered an act of mob violence that threatened the foundation of law and civilized society. As a result of these different perspectives, accounts varied concerning the length of time it took for McIntosh to die. Defenders of the lynchers remembered a quick death; critics remembered a lengthy ordeal. Critics also remembered the lynching as the event that led to Lovejoy’s death, though the defenders made no such connection. They remembered McIntosh’s burning as a moment of great clarity for men who considered their role in the community to be that of guardians of public safety and (with no sense of irony) order.

    The day after McIntosh died, the Missouri Republican, the city’s leading newspaper and Whig in its political sympathies, published an account of the lynching. Most accounts agreed on the accuracy of the Republican’s report. On the evening of 28 April 1836, St. Louis’s deputy sheriff, George Hammond, joined the city’s deputy constable, William Mull, to arrest Francis McIntosh. Later reports identified McIntosh as a Pittsburgh resident who had arrived in St. Louis with the steamboat Flora, on which he was employed as a steward. Hammond and Mull took McIntosh into custody because he had interfered with them when they tried to arrest two unruly sailors. With McIntosh’s help, the sailors had run off. Hammond and Mull apprehended McIntosh, secured a warrant for his incarceration, and marched him off to the city jail, located directly west of the courthouse. When the group reached the northeast corner of the courthouse square, McIntosh drew a knife. He struck first at Mull, who dodged the blade. Turning, McIntosh struck Hammond on the lower chin and drove the knife into his neck, severing the right carotid artery. Struggling to aid Hammond, Mull received a serious wound in his abdomen. According to later reports, McIntosh then ran south on Fourth Street toward Market. Hammond fell dead in the street while Mull shouted out an alarm and gave chase as best he could before passing out. By later accounts, a crowd of about fifty men pursued McIntosh and cornered him in a private lot near Fourth and Walnut Streets. They disarmed him and took him to jail.

    As word of Hammond’s murder spread, a crowd gathered at the jail. Soon, the assembled multitude,” as the Republican described the mob, pushed its way into the jail, forcibly removed the keys from the sheriffs pocket, took hold of McIntosh, and dragged him into the street. Unnamed persons chained him to a tree, stacked wood around him, and burned him to death.

    Accounts varied concerning exactly what happened after the mob took McIntosh from the jail. John F. Darby, the mayor of St. Louis at the time of the lynching, described the event in his memoirs more than four decades later. A native of North Carolina, Darby had moved to St. Louis in the mid-1820s and practiced law. A Whig and an ardent supporter of public expenditures for internal improvements, Darby served as mayor from 1835 to 1837 and served a second one-year term in 1840. He did not claim to have been an eye­witness to McIntosh’s lynching, but he recalled the event with great assurance and in considerable detail. It was “a strong and brave Irishman” who disarmed McIntosh after the death of Hammond, recalled Darby. It was a Connecticut man who first made the suggestion that the captive be burned. In Darby’s account, McIntosh died quickly in a “brisk” fire that “ran up far above his head into the tops of the trees.” The whole business, from the murder of Hammond to the death of McIntosh, had occurred within an hour, according to Darby.

    Darby’s account functioned in part as a rebuttal to an antislavery inter­pretation of the event, which had its origin in Theodore Dwight Weld’s American Slavery As It Is (1839) and which was reiterated in accounts of Lovejoy’s subsequent death. In the antislavery interpretation, McIntosh’s death had been a sadistic affair. Moreover, both the lynching and the subsequent killing of Lovejoy represented a lawlessness endemic to a slaveholding society. Weld wrote his account to disprove the proslavery claim that “Public Opinion Is a Protection to the Slave,” and he emphasized the public nature of the lynching. McIntosh, he wrote, had been burned “in the midst of the city… in open day.” The St. Louis German editor, Henry Boernstein, who arrived in St. Louis from Europe in 1849, learned about the lynching from his colleagues on the city’s first German language newspaper, the Anzeiger des Westens. In his 1881 memoirs, Boernstein recorded the antislavery version of the affair. A mob, “roused by the slaveholders” chained McIntosh to a tree on the outskirts of town. They lit a fire around him and watched as “the unfortunate man was slowly roasted to death.” In Alton, where Lovejoy continued his attacks on slavery and on St. Louis lynch law, “rowdies and scum” joined “a gang from Missouri” to kill the editor.

    Some aspects of these antislavery accounts should be questioned. The Republican originally reported that Hammond had arrested McIntosh at about seven o’clock in the evening. If the events leading up to McIntosh’s death occurred as quickly as Darby recalled, it is possible that the lynching took place while some light remained in the sky. But Weld’s statement that the lynching took place “in open day” was an exaggeration if not an error. So, too, was Weld’s claim that McIntosh died “in the midst of the city.” By most accounts, the lynching took place on the edge of town. The Republican reported that the mob took McIntosh to “the border of town.” A visiting salesman from Vermont wrote to his wife that the mob took McIntosh to “the common, west of the city.” Darby, writing in 1880, recalled that McIntosh had been burned “about where the [O’Fallon] Polytechnic building is now.” That would locate the site of the lynching on the western outskirts of the city, on a block between Seventh and Eighth and Chestnut and Market. Boernstein shared Weld’s abolitionist perspective but located the lynching “at the corner of Seventh and Chestnut.” Yet by the 1880s, when J. Thomas Scharf wrote his History of St. Louis City and County, memories of the event diverged sufficiently to produce a confused account. Scharf wrote that “the negro was… dragged to the bank of the river, where he was tied to a tree.” In the next sentence, however, he added that “the place where the negro was burned is now Tenth and Market Streets, then a common.” In any case, the lynching did not take place, as Weld implied, in full daylight and in the middle of town.

    The antislavery conclusion that the barbarism of slavery produced the lawlessness that cost McIntosh and Lovejoy their lives also requires scrutiny. Neither killing was the product of a slaveholders’ conspiracy. In the McIntosh lynching, the mob undoubtedly included a number of prominent citizens, although no one publicly admitted participating. In Alton, the leaders of the mob were the town’s most prominent physicians.

    Concerning the McIntosh lynching, Mayor Darby wrote without remorse or apology, as if he had witnessed the event. There is reason to think that Luke Lawless, who, as judge of the St. Louis Circuit Court, later convened a grand jury to investigate the lynching, also witnessed it. On the other hand, one purported eyewitness account is open to doubt. The diary of an unidentified St. Louis physician claimed that a group of ten to twenty men actively participated in the lynching. He recorded that an alderman, whom he did not name, threatened to shoot anyone who tried to loosen the chains binding McIntosh to the tree. McIntosh died very slowly, the physician recorded; the diary provided gruesome detail. As the fire burned through McIntosh’s abdomen and his entrails spilled out, someone in the crowd asked the victim if he still felt pain. McIntosh answered that he felt a great deal of pain. But the diarist also reported that the mob had chained McIntosh to a tree “back of the jail.” The writer probably composed his diary entry from the accounts of others.

    In the aftermath of the lynching, St. Louisans tried to sort through their emotions and make sense of the affair. It was in this tense environment that Lovejoy became the object of the mob’s fury. The Republican feared, correctly, that the lynching might “damage the fair name of our town.” It reported a “revolting spectacle” but offered no detailed description of the lynching. The editor focused instead on the crowd. It seemed important to note that the killing of McIntosh had taken place without any other violence or disorder. “There was no tumult,” reported the Republican, “no disturbance of any kind.” Instead, “the crowd retired quietly to their several homes.” The editor hoped, vainly as it turned out, that the episode would be quickly forgotten: “Let the veil of oblivion be drawn over the fatal affair.” The editor of the Whig newspaper, the St. Louis Bulletin, went a bit further to condemn “the atrocious violation of law, (and perhaps we may say humanity)” but said no more about the event. William Weber, editor of the Anzeiger des Westens, asked pointedly why the city’s elite militia, the St. Louis Grays, had not appeared to restore order. When a community ignored the rule of law, the German editor warned, it jeopardized the whole fabric of constitutional government.

    The St. Louis Observer, a Presbyterian paper edited by Elijah P. Lovejoy, took a very different view. A New Englander of moderate antislavery views, Lovejoy saw in the lynching a level of lawlessness that threatened civilized society. His account drew from the description previously published in the Republican to report the arrest of McIntosh and the murder of Hammond. But Lovejoy offered a detailed description of the lynching, not, he wrote, to suggest that its brutality reflected “the moral condition of St. Louis,” but to denounce the spirit of “mobism” that it represented. Lovejoy had not witnessed the lynching. He constructed his account, he said, from a number of reports he regarded as reliable. When McIntosh, chained with his back to the tree, realized that the mob intended to burn him, not whip him, he pleaded to be shot. As he felt the flames on his body, he “commenced singing a hymn and trying to pray.” When he grew silent and his head dropped, someone in the crowd speculated that he had died. With most of his facial features destroyed by the fire, McIntosh managed to speak. He still felt the pain, he said. He could hear all that was said around him. Again he pleaded to be shot. Lovejoy did not condemn the St. Louis mob alone. He saw a similar spirit of mobism in the August 1834 burning of the Ursuline convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and in the July 1835 hanging of five white gamblers in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Lovejoy described McIntosh as “a hardened wretch certainly, and one that deserved to die —but not thus to die.”‘

    On 16 May a grand jury, presided over by Luke Lawless, met to investi­gate the McIntosh lynching. It was Lawless who had served as Benton’s second in the 1817 duel that took the life of young Charles Lucas. Lawless understood the tradition of honor that compelled men to fight to the death, and he understood as well a tradition of collective violence that often defied laws and constitutions. He opened the proceedings with a lengthy address. Normally, he said, he would conclude his remarks after offering general com­ments regarding the jury’s duties; under these circumstances, however, he could not do so. His “fellow citizens might well expect from the judge of the Court, a special notice of the dreadful events that have so recently thrown a gloom over our prosperous and generally peaceful city.” The murder of Hammond, the wounding of Mull, and “the destruction of the murderer himself raised the question of what, if any, “action of the Grand Jury is called for by them.” In the killing of McIntosh, the grand jury confronted “a force unauthorized by law” and “a mode of death forbidden by the Constitution,” which forbade “cruel and unusual punishment.” Clearly, “chaining the prisoner to a tree, and burning him to ashes” was both cruel and unusual. If Lawless had left the grand jury “to their own unassisted deliberations upon this question,” he feared that his silence would be construed as timidity. That he considered “unworthy of a judge.” Instead, he offered his frank views about “what your oath and function, as Grand Jurors of the County, require of you to do or abstain from doing, under existing circumstances.”

    Since McIntosh was dead, there was no need for the grand jury to consider issuing an indictment for the murder of Hammond or the attempted murder of Mull. The only question that remained was what action should be taken regarding “those persons who effected the destruction of the murderer.” The question was not a straightforward one, Lawless thought. He regarded it as “novel” and “depending for its solution, on considerations not generally influencing the decisions or proceedings of a Grand Jury.” He could find no “parallel case on record.” Having looked to the law and having found no answers, he concluded that “rational action” in the matter made it “necessary to take into view principles of even higher import to the community than those which govern the ordinary march and administration of criminal law.” There was nothing ambiguous about the killing of McIntosh, Lawless admitted. “The difficult work which presents itself,” he explained, “arises as to the possibility and expediency of visiting on the perpetrators of that act the penalties of the law.”

    The grand jurors may have already suspected the conclusion toward which Lawless was leading them. Perhaps he sensed a degree of irreverence among the jurors. Abruptly, he launched into a denunciation of the lynching. He could not imagine the existence of an American citizen “of sound mind, and not under the influence of passion,” who would not admit that McIntosh’s death involved “an outrageous violation of the Law and Constitution.” Those who justified the act by pointing to McIntosh’s undisputed guilt overlooked the possibility that the man might have been “a lunatic­ not morally responsible, and therefore, in the view of God and man, innocent.” Any country “calling itself civilized” must recoil from the act, the more so in “this chosen land of liberty.” If law is not supreme, liberty cannot exist, Lawless lectured. If the people disregarded the law, anarchy would prevail and there would be no safety “for life or property.” He could only pray that the fire that consumed McIntosh would become “a beacon light to warn away the citizens of Missouri from the perpetration of similar horrors.”

    Still, the question remained what the responsibility of the grand jury was. Lawless told the jurors that he had “reflected much on this matter” and that he felt it to be his duty “to state my opinion … that, whether the Grand Jury shall act at all depends upon … whether the destruction of McIntosh was the act of the ‘few’ or the act of the ‘many.’” If the jurors determined that “a small number of individuals separate from the mass” committed the killing, he expressed his opinion “that you ought to indict them all without a single exception.” If, on the other hand, McIntosh’s killing had been the work “of congregated thousands, seized upon and impelled by that mysterious, metaphysical, and almost electric phrenzy … then, I say, act not at all in the matter the case then transcends your jurisdiction it is beyond the reach of human law.”

    Lawless then examined the lynching, as Lovejoy had in the Observer, in the context of recent outbreaks of mob violence elsewhere in the country. He noted the attack in Massachusetts on the Ursuline convent. Although there had been no loss of life in that event, he denounced the “horrid spirit of sectarian bigotry” and compared McIntosh’s killing favorably with it because it had been a “generous excitement,” the natural response of St. Louisans to the inconsolable weeping of Hammond’s wife and children, that led to the lynching. “Is not something to be allowed for human sympathies in these appalling circumstances?” he asked. “Is there not some slight palliation of that deplorable disregard of Law and Constitution, which is now the subject of our deliberations?”

    Lawless admitted that efforts in Massachusetts to punish the anti-Catholic rioters had met with some success. But there had been “no ground of extenuation” in the Charlestown riot, and in any case, the prosecution of the rioters had done nothing to cure Massachusetts of its anti-Catholic bigotry. By contrast, in the McIntosh killing the persons “most actively engaged in this tragic scene, must ALREADY REGRET WHAT THEY HAVE DONE.” They must understand that faithful execution of the laws would have ended in justice and would have offered “no pretense for … outcry” by the “unprincipled men engaged in the anti-national scheme of abolitionism.” Had the laws been faithfully executed, the public mind would have been able to concentrate entirely on the atrocities committed by McIntosh. Here, Lawless believed he had arrived at the central issue in the whole affair. What had excited the mob was something more than the killing of Hammond. McIntosh’s crime took its place among “similar atrocities committed in this and other states BY INDIVIDUALS OF NEGRO BLOOD AGAINST THEIR WHITE BRETHREN.”

    Lawless then spoke as if he had firsthand knowledge of the lynching. The “passions and intellect” of the “wretched McIntosh,” Lawless charged, had been influenced by abolitionists. This “seems to me to be indicated,” he continued, “by the peculiar character of his language and demeanor.” McIntosh had not died penitent. Lawless noted “his rapid denunciations of the white man his professions of deadly hostility to the whole race his hymns and his prayers, so profanely and frightfully mixed up with those horrid imprecations.” In his death throes, McIntosh revealed the influence on him of the “incendiary” doctrines of abolitionism.

    Lawless, then, lay the moral responsibility for the murder of Hammond and the subsequent lynching of McIntosh at the feet of the abolitionists. And he defined abolitionism broadly enough to include Lovejoy’s cautious advocacy of gradual emancipation. Lawless handed the jurors a copy of Lovejoy’s Observer and noted that although the paper professed to be “exclusively devoted to religious object,” the edition published immediately after McIntosh’s death offered a graphic description of the burning and two sermons, one stating that “slavery is a sin and ought to be abandoned,” the other lamenting the “abandonment of virtue” and the “prostration of principle” among the “Pro-Slavery men of modern times.” When such “fanaticism” reached the “fiery, unreasoning instinct of the negro,” continued Lawless, the “ruthless, remorseless revenge” of the African race is inevitably unleashed. “The negro then kills and burns for the love of God and in the name of the Divine Redeemer, and rushes on to crime and carnage under the influence of what appears to him a holy impulse and aspiration.” Lawless did not mention the Nat Turner rebellion, nearly five years earlier in Southampton County, Virginia. But his description of the Negro as divine avenger must have triggered memories of that bloody uprising in the minds of the grand jury. Lawless had finally reached the conclusion of his instructions. He urged the jurors to focus their attention on methods of silencing the voice of abolitionism in Missouri and promised to send their recommendations on that matter to the state legislature.

    To Lawless and the grand jurors, the decision not to issue indictments no doubt seemed a victory for the community. The jurors had selected John O’Fallon as their foreman. A native of Kentucky, he had been raised as the ward of his uncle, Missouri’s territorial governor William Clark. By 1830 O’Fallon had established himself as one of the wealthiest merchants in St. Louis, and through the 1840s he led the city’s Whig Party. Before his death in 1865, he devoted a portion of his vast wealth, estimated to be $8 million, to the establishment of O’Fallon Polytechnic Institute on a city lot that Mayor Darby remembered to have been the site of the McIntosh lynching.

    O’Fallon undoubtedly agreed with a Whig newspaper, the Bulletin, when it praised the wisdom of Lawless’s remarks. The Catholic weekly, the Shepherd of the Valley, similarly endorsed the judge’s stance. Lawless’s comments contained “much sound wisdom and discretion,” wrote the Catholic editor, who then equated abolitionism with Protestantism and with revolt against all authority, spiritual and secular. To Lovejoy, who reacted to Lawless’s tirade against abolitionism with a tirade of his own against Catholicism and slavery, it seemed clear that Catholicism condoned slavery and that slavery promoted barbarism. Noting Lawless’s Irish birth and Catholic faith, Lovejoy saw “the cloven feet of jesuitism, peeping out from under the veil of almost every paragraph of the judge’s instructions to the jury.” He knew that his refusal to let the matter rest exposed him to mob violence, but he pressed on. He did not seek “martyrdom,” he wrote. But it would be better that he should be “chained to the same tree as McIntosh and share his fate, than that the doctrines promulgated by Judge Lawless from the bench should become prevalent in this community.” Lovejoy’s fellow New Englanders doubtless shared his outrage, but they were not prepared to stand with him in this instance. After two attacks on his press in St. Louis, he announced that he would move the Observer to Alton, Illinois. More mob attacks followed. Lovejoy would not again flee. “Should I attempt it,” he wrote, “I should feel that the angel of the Lord, with his flaming sword, was pursuing me wherever I went. It is because I fear God that I am not afraid of all who oppose me in this city.”

    After Alton mobs destroyed three presses, Lovejoy resolved to defend the fourth. The newly elected mayor of Alton, John M. Krum (later elected mayor of St. Louis and involved in the Dred Scott case), seemed sympathetic to Lovejoy’s requests for protection. Ultimately, however, Krum’s efforts to restrain the mob failed. Perhaps he did the best he could. He sought authority from the Alton Common Council to appoint special constables, but the council took no action on the matter. At a public meeting that, in effect, ordered Lovejoy to leave town or face violent consequences, Krum offered a resolution that pleased but did not placate the crowd. The resolution expressed “regret that persons and editors from abroad have seen proper” to agitate against slavery in Alton. Krum managed to station a few constables at the warehouse where Lovejoy’s press was stored, but they were too few and too indecisive to deter the mob. Krum stalled for time by acting as the mob’s emissary to Lovejoy. It was Krum who delivered the ultimatum: surrender the press or the building would be burned. When Krum left the warehouse with nothing but Lovejoy’s defiance to offer the mob, he made his last effort to halt the violence, warning that his police would shoot anyone who attempted to commit arson. In the end, he was ignored by the mob and by the police. As Lovejoy tried to deter an arsonist setting fire to the building’s roof, he was shot and killed.

    Lovejoy became a martyr to the antislavery cause. As John Quincy Adams observed, Lovejoy’s death sent “a shock as of an earthquake throughout the continent.” Across the North, the antislavery cause won fresh, dedicated recruits. Adams had already joined the movement. After serving one term as president, he won election to the House of Representatives and, by the time of Lovejoy’s death, he had taken the lead in Congress in the fight against the antiabolitionist “gag rule.” At Lovejoy’s graveside, one of the martyr’s younger brothers, Owen (who later won election to Congress from Illinois), dedicated himself to the antislavery cause. In Hudson, Ohio, Laurens P. Hickok, professor of theology at Western Reserve College, presided over a prayer service memorializing Lovejoy. A young John Brown (of Harper’s Ferry fame) attended. “The crisis has come,” said Hickok. “The question now before the American citizen is no longer alone, ‘Can the slaves be made free?’ but, are we free, or are we slaves under Southern mob law?” When Hickok finished speaking, Brown stood up, raised his right hand, and swore before God and the witnesses at the meeting that he would devote his life to the destruction of slavery.

    In Vermont, two young men also felt the shock of Lovejoy’s death. One was Zebina Eastman, already an abolitionist in sentiment and soon to be active in the cause. In 1839, after a failed attempt as a newspaper editor in Vermont, he moved west to Illinois, where he joined the veteran abolitionist, Benjamin Lundy, and John W. E. Lovejoy (another of Elijah P. Lovejoy’s younger brothers) to edit the Genius of Universal Emancipation. Eastman later recalled discussing the Lovejoy murder in the Newfane, Vermont, law office of his friend Roswell Field. Field, as Eastman remembered, was a “firm believer in the Jacksonian democracy of the hour,” and he used “his caustic powers to speak against the abolitionists.” But Lovejoy’s killing deeply affected Field and turned him against the proslavery wing of the Democratic Party. He could not have forgotten the affair when he moved to St. Louis two years later.

    The aftershocks of the McIntosh lynching and the Lovejoy murder continued to unsettle St. Louisans as well. The killings remained vivid memories for a lifetime, and the passions associated with them helped to infuse a greater degree of animosity into the widening debate over slavery.

    now available for purchase

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    Home Guard

    The Home Guard


    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

    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 Home Guard was Frank Blair’s pro-Union militia, eventually taken into Federal service in April and May of 1861 when Governor Claiborne Jackson refused President Lincoln’s call for four regiments from Missouri. Going around the governor for troops from his state was unprecedented at the time, and at the best extra-constitutional. General Winfield Scott’s endorsement read, “This is irregular, but, being times of revolution, is approved.” Anderson’s account describes how a pro-Republican political club, the Wide-Awakes, was transformed into the Home Guard militia and armed for the conflict that most saw coming. He also touches on the pro-secessionist Minute Men. See Thomas L. Snead’s account of the Minute Men to get their view of events. Both sides blame the other for starting the arming of the private militias.

    The Home Guard was made up largely, but not exclusively, of recent German immigrants, many of whom had been on the short-end of the attempted 1848 revolution there. These had no respect whatever for “the peculiar institution” and were referred to as “The Dutch”, a corruption of “Deutsch”, which is the German word for “German”. Anderson, as only he can, prissily tells elsewhere in his book how even the upper-class secessionist ladies of the city often referred to “’The Amsterdam Dutch’, without the ‘Amster’!” This is a lovely double pun for “The Damn Dutch” who had no Amsterdam in their background.

    In excerpting from Anderson’s book the section concerning the Home Guards, there is always the danger the resulting piece may give an impression unintended by the author of the original work had he the opportunity to write on the Home Guards solely instead of as part of a larger work. Any perceived problems of that sort should be laid at the door of the editor, not the author.

    Missouri Civil War Reader CD-ROM

    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

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    There were two formidable political clubs in the city. The one was the Wide-Awakes. This was Republican in politics. It was made up of the most progressive young men of St. Louis. Many of them had just come into the Republican ranks; their political faith was new; they had the zeal and enthusiasm of recent converts. They were also stimulated by the fact that they were called upon to maintain their political doctrine in the face of the stoutest opposition. With their torchlights they had just been marching and hurrahing for Lincoln. They had cheered the vigorous speeches of their brilliant orators. Their candidate, though defeated in their city and State, had been triumphantly elected to the Presidency. Such a body of men, flushed with victory, was a political force which every thoughtful man saw must be reckoned with.

    The other political club was the Minute Men. They were mostly young, but conservative, Democrats. They had supported Douglas for the Presidency. They too had had their torchlight processions. They had listened to impassioned harangues from the stump and loudly cheered them. Even their distinguished political leader came during the canvas and spoke to them with rare persuasiveness in defense of squatter sovereignty, and they were proud of “The Little Giant”, as Senator Douglas was popularly called. Then in their city and State they had been victorious at the polls. While defeated in the nation at large, they felt strong, braced, as they believed themselves to be, by the old and oft-tested doctrines of Democracy [at this time “Democracy” or “the Democracy” was used to refer to the Democratic party –ed]. Here was another mighty political force. If armed conflict were to come, on which side would it array itself? While Mr. Douglas, their admired leader, was a staunch Union man, most of these Minute Men, who had so strenuously striven to elect him to the Presidency, after they learned that verdict at the polls, began to drift into the ranks of the secessionists. Nor did they disband; but they began to reorganize for hostilities. When this was observed, influential Republicans advised the Wide-Awakes not to break up their organizations, but to continue to meet statedly, just as they had during the presidential campaign, to procure arms so far as they were able, and to subject themselves to military drill. And during the winter of 1860-1861 these antagonistic political organizations, the Minute Men and the Wide-Awakes, now to all intents and purposes transformed into military bodies, met regularly at their various rendezvous and went through the manual of arms. Late in the evening, I often passed a hall occupied by a company of Minute Men, or secessionists, where I heard them march, countermarch and ground arms. Things like this were unmistakable premonitions of bloody battle. Some of our immediate neighbors and friends evidently already contemplated appealing “from ballots to bullets”, and a shiver of apprehension ran down our spines.

    But a serious problem now presented itself for solution. How could arms be obtained for the Wide-Awakes or Union men? In some mysterious way the Minute Men or secessionists had been at least partially armed. We could only guess what was the source of their supply. But where could the Wide-Awakes secure guns? There were arms in abundance at the Arsenal in the southern part of the city, but they belonged to the United States; and as there were as yet no open hostilities, private military organizations could not lawfully be furnished with them. Notwithstanding this, we did not propose, if the hour of need should strike, to be found napping. So after due deliberations it was announced that, in a certain hall, there would be an art exhibition, which would continue for three weeks or more. To the general public it seemed to be an unpropitious time for such a venture, but as it had no warlike look it aroused no suspicion, and was generously patronized by those of all shades of political opinion. The exhibition in its display of statuary and painting was not only creditable but attractive. It was also a financial success; but outside the few determined Union men who made up the inner circle, the secret reason of that burning zeal for cultivating the artistic tastes of the city was quite unknown. Considerable material for the exhibition was sent to us from the East; among other things was a plentiful supply of plaster casts from New York. These were packed in large boxes; but some patriots of Gotham, who sent them, knew our secret and our necessities, and also forwarded to us boxes of muskets labeled as plaster casts, with plain directions to handle the fragile contents with care. Those who arranged the material of the art exhibit, unable, on account of the rush of work, to unpack these boxes in the daytime, were compelled to leave them till midnight before they were cared for. Then, unopened, they were carted to the places where patriotic Wide-Awakes were gathered. Shining muskets never gave more joy than these imparted to the Union men of St. Louis. And during that anxious, dismal winter, they often met in their secret places, and while hoping that all threatened disaster might be averted, statedly went through the manual of arms. Hoping for the best, they determined to be ready for the worst.

    * * *

    These uncompromising loyalists [the Union Safety Committee, headed by Frank Blair] at once saw in [Captain Nathaniel] Lyon the man for the hour and the place, and he saw in them men who would do all in their power to help him realize his aims. He frequently visited the rendezvous of the Wide-Awakes, now, under the lead of Blair, transformed into Home Guards. He encouraged them in their work, suggested plans for their more perfect organization, and often personally drilled them in the manual of arms. They needed muskets. Blair thought that they should be armed from the Arsenal; and while this was contrary to the letter of the law, Lyon was in full accord with Blair.

    * * *

    Lyon had now [April 23rd, 1861] what he and Blair had so intensely desired, supreme command at the Arsenal. He at once re-enforced it. He fortified it. All approaches to it were vigilantly guarded. Lyon was now [April 30th, 1861] empowered by the Federal government to arm the Home Guards; to raise and arm additional regiments and muster them into the United States’ service.

    Fremont in Missouri

    Posted March 2001

    FremontFremont in Missouri


    John McElroy

    Galusha Anderson

    W. T. Sherman

    Excerpted and introduced by G. E. Rule, from “The Struggle for Missouri”, John McElroy, 1909; “The Story of a Border City During the Civil War”, Galusha Anderson, 1908; “Memoirs of General William T. Sherman,” by Gen. W. T. Sherman, 1875

    Further Reading: Civil War St. Louis by Louis S. Gerteis

    Civil War St. Louis by Gerteis

    Memoirs by John Charles Fremont

    Memoirs of My Life : Including Three Journeys of Western Exploration During the Years 1842, 1843-1844, 1845-1847 by John Charles Fremont

    John Charles Fremont: Character As Destiny
    by Andrew Rolle
    John Charles Fremont

    The Letters of Jessie Benton Fremontby Jessie Benton Fremont

    Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman by William Techumseh Sheman

    Sherman’s Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865

    Fremont in Missouri covers the career of Union Major-General John Charles Fremont from the time he was appointed head of the Department of the West with headquarters in St. Louis in July of 1861, until he was relieved less than four months later. Fremont was known as “The Great Pathfinder” for his exploits in finding overland trails to California in the 1840’s. Fremont was also the first U.S. Senator from California and the first Republican candidate for President in the election of 1856. Unfortunately for the Union, he never did become known as “The Competent General” or even “The Adequate Administrator” during the Civil War.

    Confederate sources tend to just snicker about Fremont without going into details, and it takes reading the Union sources to get a good idea of his shortcomings. The friendliest sources tend to dwell on his loyalty to the cause, because there is very little else good to be said. The less-friendly sources usually start off with snide comments and often work their way into a high dudgeon before they are through. After his ignominious failure in Missouri, Fremont was relegated to what was considered a much less demanding command in what today would be West Virginia, where he went up against. . . Stonewall Jackson. Ouch.

    One of the most interesting sections of the piece is the description of how Union General Franz Sigel may have saved the Republic from a military dictator. It turns out that to the Union, Fremont was dedicated –to the Republic, not so much. Sigel was a German immigrant, and beloved of his brethren. Unfortunately, he came to be known during the Civil War for his “brilliant retreats”. Only the strong affection of a vital part of the Unionist coalition saved his job. However, besides helping to deliver the Germans for the Union, McElroy’s account claims another important service that Sigel performed for his adopted country. When Fremont was relieved by Lincoln in Nov. of 1861, the general considered making a try for the purple instead of accepting the order. Sigel talked him out of it.

    This account relies mainly on McElroy, but mixes in the comments of Galusha Anderson and William Tecumseh Sherman where appropriate. Sherman was a young officer in California in 1847 when he had his first experiences with Fremont and his cronies, and already had a very low opinion of him before they met again in St. Louis during the war. Each change in author is marked.


    The country was hysterical [after Bull Run, or Manassas] over the safety of the National Capital, and it seemed that the Administration was equally emotional. Every regiment and gun was being rushed to the heights in front of Washington, and all eyes were fixed on the line of the Potomac.

    The perennial adventurer in Gen. Fremont did not fail to suggest to him that the greatest of opportunities might develop in Washington, and he lingered in New York until peremptorily ordered by Gen. Scott to his command. He did not arrive in St. Louis until July 25th [1861].

    Like Seward, Chase, McClellan, and many other aspiring men, Fremont had little confidence that the untrained Illinois Rail Splitter in the Presidential chair would be able to keep his head above the waves in the sea of troubles the country had entered. The disaster at Bull Run was but the beginning of a series of catastrophes which would soon call for a stronger brain and more experienced hand at the helm.


    Mrs. Jessie Benton Fremont [the general’s wife, and daughter of Thomas Hart Benton, former Democratic senator from Missouri] was not the only to suggest that the man for the hour would be found to be the first Republican candidate for President –the Great Pathfinder of the Rocky Mountains!

    Upon his arrival at St. Louis Gen. Fremont was immediately waited upon by the faithful Chester Harding and others who had been awaiting his coming with painful anxiety. They represented most energetically Gen. Lyon’s predicament [leading up to the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, where Lyon was killed], without money, clothing or ratings, and with a force even more rapidly diminishing [from expiring enlistments] than that of the enemy was augmenting. They revealed Gen. Lyon’s far-reaching plans of making Springfield a base from which to carry the war into Arkansas, and begged for men, money, food, shoes and clothing for him.

    Fremont was too much engrossed in forming in the Brant Mansion that vice-regal court of his—the main requirement for which seemed to be inability to speak English—to feel the urgency of these importunities.

    The country was swarming with military adventurers from Europe, men with more or less shadow on their connection with the foreign armies, and eager to sell their swords to the highest advantage. They swarmed around Fremont like bees around a sugar barrel, much to the detriment of the honest and earnest men of foreign birth who were rallying to the support of the Union.

    Leonidas PolkNext to his satrapal court of exotic manners and speech, Fremont was most concerned about the safety of Cairo, Ill., a most important point, then noisily threatened by Maj.-Gen. Leonidas Polk, the militant Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana, and his subordinate, the blatant Gen. Gideon J. Pillow, of Mexican War notoriety.

    Gen. Fremont made quite a show of reinforcing Cairo, sending a most imposing fleet of steamboats to carry the 4,000 troops sent thither.

    Pretense still counted for much in the war. Later it burnt up like dry straw in the fierce blaze of actualities.

    Not being Fremont’s own, nor contributing particularly to his aggrandizement, Gen. Lyon’s plans and aims had little importance to his Commanding General.

    Lyon[On Aug. 10, 1861, Lyon was killed at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, and the Union forces under his command were compelled to retreat 125 miles from Springfield to Rolla.]

    The death of Gen. Lyon at last aroused Gen. Fremont to a fever of energy to do the things that he should have done weeks before. He began a bombardment of Washington with telegrams asking for men, money and supplies, and sent dispatches of the most urgent nature to everybody from whom he could expect the least help. He called on the Governors of the loyal Western States to hurry to him all the troops that they could raise, and asked from Washington Regular troops, artillery, $3,000,000 for the Quartermaster’s Department, and other requirements in proportion. He made a requisition on St. Louis banks for money, and showed a great deal of fertility of resource.

    Aug. 15, five days after the battle, President Lincoln, stirred up by his fusillade of telegrams, dispatched him the following:

    Washington, Aug. 15, 1861

    To Gen. Fremont:

    Been answering your messages ever since day before yesterday. Do you receive the answers? The War Department has notified all Governors you designate to forward all available force. So telegraphed you. Have you received these messages? Answer immediately.

    A. Lincoln

    With relation to his conduct toward Gen. Lyon, Gen. Fremont afterward testified to this affect before the Committee on the Conduct of the War:

    “A glance at the map will make it apparent that Cairo was the point which first demanded immediate attention. The force under Gen. Lyon could retreat, but the position at Cairo could not be abandoned; the question of holding Cairo was one which involved the safety of the whole Northwest. Had the taking of St. Louis followed the defeat of Manassas, the disaster might have been irretrievable; while the loss of Springfield, should our army be compelled to fall back upon Rolla, would only carry with it the loss of a part of Missouri –a loss greatly to be regretted, but not irretrievable.

    “Having reinforced Cape Girardeau and Ironton, by the utmost exertions, I succeeded in getting together and embarking with a force of 3,800 men, five days after my arrival in St. Louis.

    “From St. Louis to Cairo was an easy day’s journey by water, and transportation abundant. To Springfield was a week’s march; and before I could have reached it, Cairo would have been taken and with it, I believe, St. Louis.

    “On my arrival at Cairo I found the force under Gen. Prentiss reduced to 1,200 men, consisting mainly of a regiment which had agreed to await my arrival. A few miles below, at New Madrid, Gen Pillow had landed a force estimated at 20,000, which subsequent events showed was not exaggerated. Our force, greatly increased to the enemy by rumor, drove him to a hasty retreat and permanently secured the position.

    “I returned to St. Louis on the 4th, having in the meantime ordered Col. Stephenson’s regiment from Boonville, and Col. Montgomery’s from Kansas, to march to the relief of Gen. Lyon.

    “Immediately upon my arrival from Cairo, I set myself at work, amid incessant demands upon my time from every quarter, principally to provide reinforcements for Gen. Lyon.

    “I do not accept Springfield as a disaster belonging to my administration. Causes wholly out of my jurisdiction had already prepared the defeat of Gen. Lyon before my arrival at St. Louis.

    FremontThe ebullition of the Secession sentiment in Missouri following the news of the battle of Wilson’s Creek made Gen. Fremont feel that the most extraordinary measures were necessary in order to hold the State. He had reasons for this alarm, for the greatest activity was manifested in every County in enrolling young men in Secession companies and regiments. Heavy columns were threatening invasion from various points. One of these was led by Gen. Hardee, a Regular officer of much ability, who had acquired considerable fame by this translation of the tactics in use in the Army. He had been appointed to the command on North Arkansas, and had collected considerable force at Pocahontas, at the head of navigation on the White River, where he was within easy striking distance of the State and Lyon’s line of retreat, and was threatening numberless direful things.

    McCulloch and Price had sent special messengers to him to join his force with theirs to crush Lyon, or at least to move forward and cut off Lyon’s communications with Rolla. They found Hardee within 400 yards of the Missouri State line. He had every disposition to do as desired, but had too much of the Regular officer in him to be willing to move until his forces were thoroughly organized and equipped. There was little in him of the spirit of Lyon or Price, who improvised means for doing what they wanted to do, no matter whether regulations permitted it or not.

    Hardee complained that though he had then 2,300 men and expected to shortly raise this force to 5,000, one of his batteries had no horses and no harness, and none of his regiments had transportation enough for field service, and that all regiments were badly equipped and needed discipline and instruction.

    Later, Hardee repaired many of these deficiencies, and was in shape to do a great deal of damage to the Union cause, and of this Fremont and his subordinates were well aware. Gens. Polk and Pillow, with quite strong forces at Columbus, were threatening Cairo and southeast Missouri, and an advance was made into the State by their picturesque subordinate, Gen. M. Jeff Thompson, the poet laureate of the New Madrid marches and the “Swamp Fox” who was to emulate the exploits of Francis Marion. Thompson moved forward with a considerable force of irregular mounted men, the number of which was greatly exaggerated, and it was reported that behind him was a column command by Pillow, ranging all the way from 8,000 to 25,000.

    Gen. Fremont set an immense force of laborers to work on an elaborate system of fortification for the city of St. Louis, and also began the construction of fortifications at Cape Girardeau, Ironton, Rolla, and Jefferson City. He employed laborers instead of using his troops, in order to give the latter the opportunity to be drilled and equipped. He issued the following startling General Order, which produced the greatest commotion in the State and outside it:

    Headquarters of the Western Department

    St. Louis, Aug. 31, 1861

    Circumstances in my judgment of sufficient urgency render it necessary that the Commanding General of this Department should assume the administrative power of the State. Its disorganized condition, the devastation of property by bands of murderers and marauders who infest nearly every County in the State, and avail themselves of the public misfortunes and the vicinity of a hostile force to gratify private and neighborhood vengeance, and who find an enemy wherever they find plunder, finally demand the severest measures to repress the daily increasing crimes and outrages which are driving off the inhabitants and ruining the State. In this condition the public safety and the success of our arms require unity of purpose, without let or hindrance to the prompt administration of affairs.

    In order, therefore, to suppress disorders, to maintain, as far as now practicable, the public peace, and to give security and protection to the persons and property of loyal citizens, I do hereby extend and declare established martial law throughout the State of Missouri. The lines of the army of occupation in this State are, for the present, declared to extend from Leavenworth, by way of the posts of Jefferson City, Rolla and Ironton to Cape Girardeau, on the Mississippi River. All persons who shall be taken with arms in their hands within these lines hall be tried by court-martial, and, if found guilty, will be shot. The property, real and person, of all persons in the State of Missouri who shall take up arms against the United States, or shall be directly proven to have taken active part with their enemies in the field, is declared to be confiscated to the public use, and there slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared free men.

    All persons who shall be proven to have destroyed, after the publication of this order, railroad tracks, bridges or telegraphs, shall suffer the extreme penalty of the law.

    All person engaged in treasonable correspondence, in giving or procuring aid to the enemies of the United States, in disturbing the public tranquility by creating and circulating false reports of incendiary documents, are in their own interest warned that they are exposing themselves.

    All persons who have been led away from their allegiance are required to return to their homes forthwith; any such absence, without sufficient cause, will be held to be presumptive evidence against them.

    The object of this declaration is to place in the hands of the military authorities the power to give instantaneous effect to existing laws, and to supply such deficiencies as conditions of ward demand. But it is not intended to suspend the ordinary tribunals of the country, where the law will be administered by the civil officers in the usual manner and with their customary authority, while the same can be peaceably exercised.

    The Commanding General will labor vigilantly for the public welfare, and, in his efforts for their safety, hopes to obtain not only the acquiescence, but the active support, of the people of the country.

    J. C. Fremont

    Major-General Commanding

    [Galusha Anderson]

    Galusha AndersonOn the same day that the provost marshal issued his order in reference to passes [to enter or leave St. Louis], General Fremont put the whole state under martial law [the order given above], and, as many contended, unwarrantably assuming the functions of the general government, proclaimed the freedom of all slaves belonging to those guilty of disloyalty to the United States. He made good his extraordinary proclamation by explicit act. On September 12th, notwithstanding the President had written him on the 2nd, taking exception to this manifesto, he manumitted two slaves, belonging to Thomas L. Snead of St. Louis, and issued their manumission papers over his signature as major-general. Lincoln kindly called his attention to the fact that he was transcending his authority, and gave him the opportunity to modify his own policy, without any open declaration of dissent on the part of the general government. But in reply, Fremont preferred that the President himself should modify the obnoxious proclamation; so, reluctantly but firmly, Mr. Lincoln publicly set aside so much of the general’s proclamation of August 30th as pertained to the manumission of slaves belonging to the rebels.

    The question on which the President and his general clashed was confessedly delicate and manifestly perplexing to those in administrative circles. At bottom, the duty of the President was clear. Since slavery was a local institution he could not legally interfere with it in any loyal State; and, as a State, Missouri had declared against secession. Just what, however, might be rightly done, according to the laws of war, with the slaves of the disloyal in loyal States was as yet apparently not altogether clear to those in authority at Washington. Still, on grounds of expediency, conservative action was manifestly wisest, in order not unnecessarily to alienate the loyal pro-slavery element of the border states. The problem in all its bearings greatly agitated the Unionists of our city. Upon it they were divided in both judgment and sentiment. Some said: “The enslavement of the negro is the real cause of the war. By law he is declared to be property; and if, as has been done before our eyes, a general may confiscate buildings belonging to the disloyal, and appropriate them to the use of the United States, why can he not treat the slave property of rebels in the same way?” “But”, their opponents replied, “This is what Fremont did not do with the slaves of Mr. Snead; he did not turn them over to the United States to be used in promoting the interests of the Federal government; he simply set them free. He is putting himself forward as an emancipator.” So the ideas of staunch Unionists were in conflict. Evidently the most intelligent and thoughtful unhesitatingly sustained the President in his modification of the general’s manifesto. And without expressing here any opinion as to whether or not their judgment of Fremont was just, it is true that many of them began to fell that in attempting to do what in itself as a matter of merely abstract justice was right, he was quite too impulsive, effusive, and spectacular, and that he had clearly exceeded his authority. In fact the was attempting to do what the general government felt itself debarred from doing by constitutional law and by a late specific act of Congress.

    But Fremont’s career, as commander of the Western Department, now drew rapidly to its close. He had gathered an army of twenty-five thousand men; but when the brave Mulligan at Lexington, on the Missouri River, in the western part of the State, was besieged by a rebel force [commanded by General Sterling Price] more than four times greater than his own, and yet fought on pluckily for days, Fremont failed to reinforce him. To be sure, he made what seemed to us a rather belated and languid effort so to do, but the troops ordered by him to Lexington failed to reach their destination before Mulligan was compelled to surrender. This was a blow so disastrous to the Union cause, that the loyal of our city were filled with disappointment and discontent. Some of them murmured their disapprobation of the commanding general; some openly and bitterly denounced him. The Evening News, a Union journal, in a strong, manly editorial entitled “The Fall of Lexington”, sharply criticized his failure to re-enforce Mulligan, and for this criticism, the proprietor, Charles G. Ramsey, was arrested by order of the provost marshal, taken to headquarters and there examined by the military authorities. He was sent to prison, and his paper was suppressed. All the manuscript in his office was seized and the building, where his paper was published, was put into the possession of a provost-guard. With very few dissenting voices, this invasion of the freedom of the press was sharply condemned by Union men. The occurrence added largely to the distrust of the capacity of the general for a command so large and difficult.

    The surrender of Mulligan’s small heroic army at Lexington stimulated Fremont to more strenuous effort. He now contemplated marching against the enemy that was so rapidly gaining strength in west and southwest Missouri. earthwork fortifications from Harpers But in that event St. Louis would be left quite uncovered; so to provide for the defense of the city in the absence of his army, he proceeded to surround it on the north, west, and south with earthworks, in which he placed great guns. These works he intended to man with a few hundred soldiers, who, if any enemy should approach, could with those big guns sweep with grape and canister all the roads that led to the city. Many of us, little acquainted with military affairs, looked on with curiosity mingled with wonder, grateful for the benign care bestowed upon us by our patriotic commander; but I noticed that those who evidently knew more of war viewed these earthworks with ill-concealed contempt. And during many months they remained unmanned, mute reminders of the wisdom or folly of the celebrated Fremont, under whose immediate direction they had been constructed.

    He seemed to have a mania for fortifications. He put Jefferson City, the capital of the State, under the command of Brigadier-General Ulysses S. Grant, then unknown to fame, and especially enjoined him to fortify it. To this order Grant replied that he had neither sufficient men nor tools to fortify the place, and added: “Drill and discipline are more important than fortifications”. That pithy, pregnant sentence foreshadowed the hero of Fort Donelson, Vicksburg and Appomattox.


    [After the surrender of Union forces at Lexington Fremont minimized the loss in telegrams to Washington, but the President was clearly becoming exasperated with him.]

    1901 pictureFremont, 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.


    ShermanMcClellan and Fremont were the two men toward whom the country looked as the great Union leaders, and toward them were streaming the newly-raised regiments of infantry and cavalry, and batteries of artillery; nobody seeming to think of the intervening link covered by Kentucky. While I was to make this tour [of Indiana, Illinois, and St. Louis in late August of 1861], Generals Anderson and Thomas were to go to Louisville and initiate the department [of the Cumberland, responsible for Kentucky]. None of us had a staff, or any of the machinery for organizing an army, and, indeed, we had no army to organize. Anderson was empowered to raise regiments in Kentucky, and to commission a few brigadier-generals.

    At Indianapolis I found Governor Morton and all the State officials busy in equipping and providing for the new regiments, and my object was to divert some of them toward Kentucky; but they were called for as fast as they were mustered in, either for the army of McClellan or Fremont. At Springfield also I found the same general activity and zeal, Governor Yates busy in providing for his men; but these men also had been promised to Fremont. I then went on to St. Louis, where all was seeming activity, bustle, and preparation.

    Meeting R. M. Renick at the Planters’ House (where I stopped), I inquired where I could find General Fremont. Renick said, “What do you want with General Fremont?” I said I had come to see him on business; and he added, “You don’t suppose that he will see such as you?”, and went on to retail all the scandal of the day: that Fremont was a great potentate, surrounded by sentries and guards; that he had a more showy court than any real king; that he kept senators, governors, and the first citizens, dancing attendance for days and weeks before granting an audience, etc.; that if I expected to see him on business, I would have to make my application in writing, and submit to a close scrutiny by his chief of staff and by his civil surroundings. Of course I laughed at all this, and renewed my simple inquiry as to where was his office, and was informed that he resided and had his office at Major Brant’s new house on Chouteau Avenue. It was then late in the afternoon, and I concluded to wait till the next morning; but that night I received a dispatch from General Anderson in Louisville to hurry back, as events were pressing, and he needed me.

    Accordingly, I rose early next morning before daybreak, got breakfast with the early railroad-passengers, and about sunrise was at the gate of General Fremont’s headquarters. A sentinel with drawn saber paraded up and down in front of the house. I had on my undress uniform indicating my rank, and inquired of the sentinel, “Is General Fremont up?” He answered, “I don’t know.” Seeing that he was a soldier by his bearing, I spoke in a sharp, emphatic voice, “Then find out.” He called for the corporal of the guard, and soon a fine-looking German sergeant came, to whom I addressed the same inquiry. He in turn did not know, and I bade him find out, as I had immediate and important business with the general.

    The sergeant entered the house by the front-basement door, and after ten or fifteen minutes the main front-door above was slowly opened from the inside, and who should appear but my old San Francisco acquaintance Isaiah C. Woods, whom I had not seen or heard of since his flight to Australia, at the time of the failure of Adams & Co. in 1851! He ushered me in hastily, closed the door, and conducted me into the office on the right of the hall. We were glad to meet, after so long and eventful an interval, and mutually inquired after our respective families and special acquaintances. I found that he was a commissioned officer, a major on duty with Fremont, and Major Eaton, now of the paymaster’s Department, was in the same office with him. I explained to them that I had come from General Anderson, and wanted to confer with General Fremont in person. Woods left me, but soon returned, said the general would see me in a very few minutes, and within ten minutes I was shown across the hall into the large parlor, where General Fremont received me very politely. We had met before, as early as 1847, in California, and I had also seen him several times when he was senator. I then in a rapid manner ran over all the points of interest in General Anderson’s new sphere of action, hoped he would spare us from the new levies what troops he could, and generally act in concert with us. He told me that his first business would be to drive the rebel General Price and his army out of Missouri, when he would turn his attention down the Mississippi. He asked my opinion about the various kinds of field-artillery which manufacturers were thrusting on him, especially the then newly-invented James gun, and afterward our conversation took a wide turn about the character of the principal citizens of St. Louis, with whom I was well acquainted.

    Telling General Fremont that I had been summoned to Louisville and that I should leave in the first train, viz., at 3 p.m., I took my leave of him. Returning to Wood’s office, I found there two more Californians, viz., Messrs. Palmer and Haskell, so I felt that, while Fremont might be suspicious of others, he allowed free ingress to his old California acquaintances.

    Returning to the Planters’ House, I heard of Beard, another Californian, a Mormon, who had the contract for the line of redoubts which Fremont had ordered to be constructed around the city, before he would take his departure for the interior of the State; and while I stood near the office-counter, I saw old Baron Steinberger, a prince among our early California adventurers, come in and look over the register. I avoided him on purpose, but his presence in St. Louis recalled the maxim, “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.


    In spite of Gen. Fremont’s promise to the President to “take the field himself and attempt to destroy the enemy”, he moved with exceeding deliberation. It is true that he left St. Louis for Jefferson City, Sept. 27th, a week after Mulligan’s surrender [at the Battle of Lexington], but that week had been well employed by Price in gathering up all that he could carry away and making ready to avoid the blow which he knew must fall. After arriving at Jefferson City, Fremont, instead of taking the troops which were near at hand and making a swift rush upon his enemy, the only way in which he could hope to hurt him, began the organization of a “grande armee” upon the European model, and that which McClellan was deliberately organizing in front of Washington.

    The impatient people, who were praying the $3,000,000 a day which the war was now beginning to cost, and who had begun to murmur for results, were amused by stories of plans of sweeping down the Mississippi clear to New Orleans, taking Memphis, Vicksburg and other strongholds on the way, severing the Southern Confederacy in twain, so that it would fall into hopeless ruin.

    This was entirely possible at that time with the army that had been given Fremont, had it been handled with the ability and boldness of Sherman’s March to the Sea.

    Two weeks after Mulligan’s surrender Fremont announced the formation of this grand “Army of the West”, containing approximately 50,000 men. This was grouped as follows:

    The First Division, to which Gen. David Hunter was assigned, consisted of 9,750 men, and was ordered to take position at Versailles, about 40 miles southwest of Jefferson City, and became the Left Wing of the Army.

    Gen. John Pope was given command of the Second Division of 9,220 men and ordered to take station at Boonville, 50 miles northwest of Jefferson City. His position was to be the Right Wing of the Army.

    Gen. Franz SigelThe Third Division, 7,980 strong, was put under command of Gen. Franz Sigel, and made the advance of the army, with its station at Sedalia and Georgetown, 64 miles west of Jefferson City.

    The Fourth Division, commanded by Gen. Asboth, had 6,451 men, and constituted the reserve at Tipton, on the railroad, 38 miles west of Jefferson City.

    The Fifth Division, 5,388 men, under Gen. Justus McKinstry, formed the center and was posted at Syracuse, five miles west of Tipton.

    Beside these, Gen. Sturgis held Kansas City with 3,000 men and Gen. James H. Lane, with 2,500 men, was to move in Kansas down the State line, between Fort Scott and Kansas City to protect Kansas from an incursion in that direction, and as opportunity offered attack Price’s flank.

    Thus, there were 38,789 effectives in the five divisions, which with Sturgis and Lane’s forces made a total force of 44,289, not including garrisons which swell the total of the army to over 90,000.

    Among these Division Commanders were two whom Fremont had discovered and created Brigadier-Generals out of his own volition, without consultation at Washington.

    These were Gens. Asboth and McKinstry. Gen. Alexander Asboth Gen. Alexander (Sandor) Asboth, born in 1811, was a Hungarian and an educated engineer, with considerable experience in and against the Austrian army. He had entered ardently into the Revolution of 1848, and built a bridge in a single night by which the Revolutionary army crossed and won the brilliant victory of Nagy Salo. He became Adjutant-General of the Hungarian army, and when the Revolution was crushed by Russian troops, escaped with Kossuth into Turkey, came to this country, and became a naturalized citizen. He was by turns farmer, teacher, engineer, and manufacturer of galvanized articles. He sided with the Union Germans, went on Fremont’s staff, and was appointed a Brigadier-General The Senate refused to recognize the appointment, but in consideration of his good service he was brevetted a Major-General, and after the war sent as Minister to the Argentine Confederation, where he died in 1868.

    The other, Justus McKinstry, was born in New York and appointed to the Military Academy from Michigan, where he graduated 40th in the class of 1838, of which Beauregard, Barry, Irvin McDowell, W. J. Hardee, R. S. Granger, Henry H. Sibley, Edward Johnson and A.J. Smith were members. Justus McKinstryHe had served creditably in the Mexican War, receiving a brevet for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco, and at the outbreak of the war was a Major and Quartermaster at St. Louis, where he did very much to frustrate Lyon’s plans and was regarded by him as a Secessionist at heart. He continued to hold his position, however, as Chief Quartermaster of the Department of the West until Fremont appointed him Brigadier-General.

    Shortly after Fremont’s removal he was placed under arrest at St. Louis and ordered before a court-martial, which did not convene, [this is in error; read an account of McKinstry’s court martial and his “Vindication”] and he was at last summarily dismissed for “neglect and violation of duty, to the prejudice of good order and military discipline.” He became a stockbroker in New York City, and afterwards a land agent at Rolla, Mo.

    It will be seen by the map that the disposition of the troops was good, and that Fremont had the advantage of short lines from Sedalia and Rolla to cut Price’s line of retreat, recapture the spoils he was hastening to a place of safety, and destroy, or at least disperse, his army.

    Fremont, however, made no use of this advantage, and Price seems to have had no apprehension that he would. Price remained in Lexington until Oct. 1, serenely contemplating the gigantic preparations made for his destruction, and then having gathered up all that the could readily get, and reading Fremont’s order for a forward movement of the Army of the West, thought, like the prudent meadow lark, that probably something would be now done, and the time had come for moving. He began a deliberate retreat, crossing the Osage River at Osceola, and reaching Greenfield, 150 miles away, at the very comfortable pace of 15 miles a day.

    Gen. Fremont ordered the Army of the West forward, but the so-called pursuit was very much like hunting a fox on a dray. He was encumbered with immense trains, for which bridges had to be built over numerous streams and roads made thru the rough country. The trains seemed to contain a world of unnecessary things and astonishing lack of those necessary. Apparently almost anybody who had anything to sell could find purchasers among the numerous men about Fremont’s headquarters who had authority to buy, or assumed it.

    One astonishing item in the purchases was a great number of half barrels for holding water, rather an extraordinary provision in a country like Missouri, where in the month of October water is disposed to be in excessive quantities.

    Notwithstanding the astonishing purchase of mules by everybody and anybody, none of the Division Commanders seems to have had mules enough to pull their wagons.

    The army started out like the horses of a balky team. Gen. Pope, of the Right Wing, left Jefferson City Oct. 11th, Sigel got away from Sedalia with the Third Division Oct. 13th, the same day Hunter left Tipton with the Left Wing, and Asboth followed on Oct. 14th. Even when they started their progress was very slow, for the columns were halted at streams to build bridges and in the rough countries to wait for the sappers and miners to make passable roads.

    When one column was halted, all the rest had to do likewise, for though Price kept the safe distance of 100 miles away, Fremont was in constant apprehension of battle, and held his columns in close supporting distance. He did not get across the Osage River until Oct. 25th, or nine days after Price’s leisurely crossing that important stream, on the banks of which it was confidently expected that the would give battle.

    Gen. PricePrice, with his diminishing forces, had no such intention, but fell back toward Neosho, to cover as along as possible the Granby Mines, seven miles from that place, which were the most important source of lead for the Southern Confederacy, to which they supplied 200,000 pounds per month.

    Gov. Jackson took advantage of this breathing spell to call the Legislature together at Neosho, where it held a two weeks’ “rump” session of the small minority of that body which favored Secession. They passed an ordinance of Secession and elected Senators and Representatives to the Confederate Congress, adjourning when they heard that Fremont had at last passed the Osage.

    Then Price took up his line of retreat toward the southern boundary of the State to get near Gen. Ben McCulloch, who had posted his forces at Cross Hollow, in Benton County, northwest Arkansas. Gen. Price took up his position at Pineville, in the extreme southwestern corner of Missouri, where the rough, hilly country offered great chances to the defense, and again began communication with Gen. McCulloch, to induce him to unite his force with his own and attack the Union army.

    He had correctly estimated Fremont’s generalship, and thought there was a possibility of massing his and McCulloch’s forces, to attack a portion of Fremont’s army, drive it back and defeat him in detail. McCulloch, in spite of his ranger reputation, entirely lacked Price’s aggressive spirit, and thought that it would be much better to fall back to the Boston Mountain, about 50 miles farther south, and make a stand there. He so informed Gen. Price.

    While McCulloch had no disposition to enter Missouri and defend it against the Union troops, he had no hesitation about treating it as part of Confederate territory. Desiring to embarrass and delay Fremont’s advance as much as possible, he sent forward his Texas cavalry to burn the mills, forage and grain as far in the direction of Springfield as they could safely go, and urged Price to do the same. McCulloch’s Texans soon lighted up the southwest country with burning mills, barns and stacks.

    To this Gen. Price was bitterly opposed. The mills and grain were in many instances the property of the Secessionists, and to destroy them would be to inflict worse punishment on his own people than the Union commanders had ever done, and would embitter them against his cause. Price repeatedly represent to McCulloch that altogether they would have 25,000 men, and if McCulloch did not desire to go forward they could make a good defensive batter inside the State on the hills around Pineville. To leave it would cause the loss of very many Missourians who had enlisted in the State Guard to defend Missouri, and who would feel that they had no cause to fight outside of the State.

    After crossing the Osage, Fremont halted near Connersville, about 25 miles south of Warsaw, where he crossed the river, and then advanced with Sigel to Bolivar, on the Springfield road, and sent forward Maj. Charles Zagonyi with 150 of his famous Body Guard and Maj. F.J. White with 180 men of the 1st Mo. Cav., to make a reconnaissance in the direction of Springfield.

    Fremont’s Body Guard had played a large part in the pomp and circumstance of his administration. Maj. Charles Zagonyi was a picturesque and effervescent Hungarian, who recounted fascinating stories of his experience as a subordinate to Gen. Ben during the Hungarian Revolution. Fremont had authorized him to raise a body guard, in imitation of the famous troops of Europe, and the novelty of the organization attracted to it a great number of quite fine young men, most of whom were from the country around Cincinnati—one company being from Kentucky. They were formed into three companies, mounted on fine blooded bay horses, showily uniformed and each armed with two navy revolvers, a five-barreled rifle and a saber.

    All the officers were Americans except three—one Hollander and two Hungarians. The members of the Guard, in addition to their expensive and showy outfit, did not conceal from the other soldiers that they were picked men and considered themselves superior to the ordinary run, which did not enhance their popularity with their comrades.

    Majors Zagonyi and White marched all that night, and the next day, about noon, when about eight miles north of Springfield, learned that there was a force of at least 1,500 Confederates in the town.

    One of the rebel pickets who had not been captured hastened back to Springfield and gave the alarm, so that the Confederates were in readiness for them. Feeling that this would be so, Majors Zagonyi and White determined to move around the town and approach it from the west on the Mt. Vernon road. In this movement White became separated from Zagonyi, who, about 4 o’clock in the afternoon, came most unexpectedly upon the Secessionists drawn up in line at the end of a long lane.

    A heavy rail fence intervened between Zagonyi and the head of the lane, and an opening had to be made through this under a heavy fire from the enemy. The moment a gap was made, Zagonyi shouted to his men to follow him, and do as he did, raising the battle cry, “Fremont and the Union”. He dashed gallantly forward, straight for the center of the rebel line, followed at a gallop by his command. The Confederate fire did fearful execution upon the Guard as it was crowded in the lane, but in a few seconds the lane was passed and the cavalry saber began doing its wild work.

    The center of the enemy’s lines was at once broken by the terrible impact of galloping horses and the Confederates began a panicky retreat, followed by the vengeful horsemen shooting and sabering them as they ran. The infantry ran through the town to the shelter of the woods, and the Confederate cavalry fell back down the road, pursued by the Guard until it was getting nightfall, when Zagonyi recalled them and returned to the Court House, raised the Union flag from it, released the Union prisoners confined in the jail, gathered up his dead and wounded, and after dark decided to fall back until he met the advance of the army.

    He had lost 15 men killed and 26 wounded, and reported that he had found 23 Confederates dead after the charge was over. This brilliant action, which was then compared with the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava, redeemed the soldiers of the Guard in the eyes of their comrades, and it became an honor to belong to that organization.

    The next morning Major White reached Springfield with a few Home Guards, where he found the Confederates still dazed by the occurrences of the day before, and he was careful not to undeceive them as to his strength. He solemnly received the flag of truce, said that he would have to refer the matter to Gen. Sigel, threw out his men as pickets, permitted the people to bury their dead, and then prudently fell back to meet the advance of the army.

    Fremont took up his quarters in Springfield, and began ostentatious preparations for an immediate decisive battle, though Price was then more than 50 miles away from him. This Fremont should have known, for in some mysterious manner he was within ready communication with him, so much so as to be able to conclude the following remarkable convention which was duly published in a joint proclamation:

    To all Peaceably-Disposed Citizens of the State of Missouri,


    Whereas a solemn agreement has be entered into by and between Maj.-Gens. Fremont and Price, respectively, commanding antagonistic forces in the State of Missouri, to the effect that in the future arrests or forcible interference by armed or unarmed parties of citizens within the limits of said State for the mere entertainment or expression of political opinions shall hereafter cease; that families now broken up for such causes may be reunited, and that the war now progressing shall be exclusively confined to armies in the field:

    Therefore, be it known to all whom it may concern:

    No arrests whatever on account of political opinions, or for the merely private expression of the same, shall hereafter be made within the limits of the State of Missouri, and all person who may have been arrested and are now held to answer upon such charges only shall be forthwith released; but it is expressly declared that nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to bar or interfere with any of the usual and regular proceedings of the established courts under statues and orders made and provided for such offenses.

    All peaceably disposed citizens who may have been driven from their homes because of their political opinions, or who may have left them from fear of force and violence, are hereby advised and permitted to return, upon the faith of our positive assurances that while so returning they shall receive protection from both the armies in the field wherever it can be given.

    All bodies of armed men acting without the authority or recognition of the Major-Generals before named, and not legitimately connected with the armies in the field, are hereby ordered at once to disband.

    Any violation of either of the foregoing articles hall subject the offender to the penalty of military law, according to the nature of the offense.

    In testimony whereof the aforesaid Maj.-Gen John Charles Fremont, at Springfield, Mo., on this 1st day of November, A.D. 1861, and Maj.-Gen. Sterling Price, at Cassville, Mo., on this 5th day of November, A.D. 1861, have hereunto set their hands, and hereby mutually pledge their earnest efforts to the enforcement of the above articles of agreement according to their full tenor and effect, to the best of their ability.

    J.C. Fremont, Major-General Commanding

    Sterling Price, Major-General Commanding

    The practical effect of this was that Price was allowed to send such of his men as he wished home for the Winter, with a safeguard against their being molested by the Union troops, but it had no effect in protecting Union men from being harassed by guerrilla tormentors, who cared as little for conventions and proclamations as for the Sermon on the Mount.

    In the meanwhile, Fremont’s astonishing ill success in purely military matters, the freely expressed opinion of all who came in contact with him as to his glaring incompetence, added to the fearful stories of the corruption of the men immediately surrounding him, were making his position very insecure. President Lincoln sent his intimate and life-long friend, David Davis, whom he was about to elevate to the Supreme Bench, to St. Louis with a commission to investigate the rank-smelling contracts and disbursements. No report was ever made public, but it was generally known that they found even worse than they feared.

    The Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, undertook a tour of investigation on his own account, accompanied by Adjutant-General Lorenzo Thomas. Some of the things which they found are set forth in the following extracts from the memorandum from Gen. Thomas to his superior officer:

    Samuel Curtis“Gen. Curtis said of Gen. Fremont that he found no difficulty in having access to him, and when he presented business connected with his command, it was attended to. Gen. Fremont never consulted him on military matters, nor informed him of his plans. Gen. Curtis remarked that while he would go with freedom to Gen. Scott and express his opinions, he would not dare to do so to Gen. Fremont. He deemed Gen. Fremont unequal to the command of an army, and said that he was no more bound by law than by the winds.

    “Col. Andrews, Chief Paymaster, called and presented irregularities in the Pay Department, and desired instructions from the Secretary for his government, stating that he was required to make payments and transfers of money contrary to law and regulations. Once, upon objecting to what he conceived an improper payment, he was threatened with confinement by a file of soldiers. He exhibited an order for the transfer of $100,000 to the Quartermaster’s Department, which was irregular. Exhibited abstract of payment by one Paymaster (Maj. Febiger) to 42 persons, appointed by Gen. Fremont, viz: one Colonel, three Majors, eight Captains, 15 First Lieutenants, 11 Second Lieutenants, one Surgeon, three Assistant Surgeons; total 42. Nineteen of these have appointments as engineers, and are entitled to cavalry pay.

    “Maj. Allen, Principal Quartermaster, had recently taken charge at St. Louis, but reported great irregularities in his Department, and requested special instructions. These he deemed important, as orders were communicated by a variety of person, in a very irregular manner, requiring disbursements of money. These orders were often verbally given. He was sending, under Gen. Fremont’s orders, large amounts of forage from St. Louis to the army where corn was abundant and very cheap. The distance was 160 miles. He gave the indebtedness of the Quartermaster’s Department in St. Louis to be $4,506,309.73.

    “By direction of Gen. Meigs, advertisements were made to furnish grain and hay, and contracts made for specific sums –28 cents per bushel for corn, 30 cents for oats, and $17.95 per ton for hay. In face of this another party at St. Louis—Baird, or Baird & Palmer (Palmer being of the old firm in California of Palmer, Cook & Co)—were directed to send to Jefferson City (where hay and corn abound) as fast as possible 100,000 bushels of oats, with a corresponding amount of hay, at 33 cents per bushel for grain and $19 per ton for hay.

    “Captain Edward M. Davis, a member of his staff, received a contract by the direct order of Gen. Fremont for blankets. They were examined by a board of army officers consisting of Capt. Hendershott, 4th U.S. Artillery, Capt. Haines, Commissary of Subsistence, and Capt. Turnley, Assistant Quartermaster. The blankets were found to be made of cotton and were rotten and worthless. Notwithstanding this decision they were purchased, and given to the sick and wounded soldiers in hospitals.

    “One week after the receipt of the President’s order modifying Gen. Fremont’s proclamation relative to emancipation of slaves, Gen. Fremont, by note to Capt. McKeever, required him to have 200 copies of the original proclamation and address to the army, of same date, printed and sent immediately to Ironton, for the use of Maj. Gavitt, Indiana Cavalry, for distribution through the country. Capt. McKeever had the copies printed and delivered. The order is as follows: ‘Adjutant-General will have 200 copies of proclamation of Commanding General, date Aug. 30th, together with the address to the army of same date, sent immediately to Ironton, for the use of Maj. Gavitt, Indiana Cavalry. Maj. Gavitt will distribute it through the country. J.C.F., Commanding General, Sept. 23rd, 1861’

    “As soon as I obtained a view of the several encampments at Tipton, I expressed the opinion that the forces there assembled could not be moved, as scarcely any means of transportation were visible. I saw Gen. Hunter, second in command, and conversed freely with him. He stated that there was great confusion, and that Fremont was utterly incompetent; that his own division was greatly scattered, and the force then present defective in may respects; that he required 100 wagons, yet he was ordered to march that day, and some of his troops were already drawn out on the road. His cavalry regiment (Ellis’s) had horses, arms (indifferent), but no equipments; had to carry their cartridges in their pockets; consequently, on their first day’s march from Jefferson City, in a heavy rain, the cartridges carried about their persons were destroyed. This march to Tipton (35 miles) was made on a miry, heavy earth road parallel to the railroad, and but a little distance from it. The troops were directed by Gen. Fremont to march without provisions or knapsacks, and without transportation. A violent rainstorm came up, and the troops were exposed to it all night, were without food for 24 hours, and when food was received the beef was found to be spoiled.

    “Gen. Hunter stated that he had just received a written report from one of his Colonels, informing him that but 20 out of 100 of his guns would go off. These were the guns procured by Gen. Fremont in Europe. I may here state that Gen. Sherman, at Louisville, made a similar complaint of the great inferiority of these European arms. He had given men orders to file down the nipples. In conversation with Col. Swords, Assistant Quartermaster-General, at Louisville, just from California, he stated that Mr. Selover, who was in Europe with Gen. Fremont, wrote to some friend in San Francisco that his share of the profit of the purchase of these arms was $30,000.

    “Gen. Hunter expressed to the Secretary of War his decided opinion that Gen. Fremont was incompetent and unfit for his extensive and important command. This opinion he gave reluctantly, owing to his position as second in command.

    President Lincoln sent the following characteristic letter to Gen. S.R. Curtis, who, being in command at St. Louis, was directly accessible, and a man in whose discretion the President felt he might trust:

    Washington, Oct. 24th, 1861

    Brig-Gen. S.R. Curtis

    Dear Sir: On receipt of this with the accompanying enclosures, you will take safe, certain and suitable measures to have the enclosure addressed to Maj.-Gen. Fremont delivered to him with all reasonable dispatch, subject to these conditions only, that if, when Gen. Fremont shall be reached by the messenger—yourself or anyone sent by you—he shall then have, in personal command, fought and won a battle, or shall then be in the immediate presence of the enemy in expectation of a battle, it is not to be delivered, but held for further orders. After, and not until after, the delivery to Gen. Fremont, let the enclosed addressed to Gen. Hunter be delivered to him.

    A. Lincoln

    The following decisive order was one of the enclosures:

    Headquarters of the Army, Washington, Oct. 24th, 1861

    General Orders No. 18

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

    Winfield Scott

    A special messenger arrived at Springfield, Nov. 2nd, with the order, which created consternation at Fremont’s headquarters. It is more than probable that Fremont felt his elevation to be such that he could try conclusions with the Administration, and refuse to obey the order.

    There was considerable talk at that time about military headquarters as to a dictator, and this was so rife about McClellan’s that his journal constantly abounds in allusions which indicate that he was putting the crown away from him with increasing gentleness each time. There was much of the same atmosphere about the headquarters of the Army of the West, and it is claimed that Fremont at first decided not to obey the order, but on Sigel’s urgent representations finally concluded to do so, and issued the following farewell order to his troops:

    Headquarters Western Department,

    Springfield, Mo., Nov. 2nd, 1861

    Soldiers of the Mississippi Army:

    Agreeably to orders this day received I take leave of you. Although our army has been of sudden growth, we have grown up together, and I have become familiar with the brave and generous spirit which you bring to the defense of your country, and which makes me anticipate for you a brilliant career. Continue as you have begun, and give to my successor the same cordial and enthusiastic support with which you have encouraged me. Emulate the splendid example which you have already before you, and let me remain, as I am, proud of the noble army which I had thus far labored to bring together.

    Soldiers, I regret to leave you. Most sincerely I thank you for the regard and confidence you have invariably shown me. I deeply regret that I shall not have the honor to lead you to the victory which you are just about to win, but I shall claim to share with you in the joy of every triumph, and trust always to be fraternally remembered by my companions in arms.

    J.C. Fremont

    Major-General, U.S. Army

    FremontHe left at once for St. Louis, with his Body Guard for an escort. Though these men had been enlisted for three years, they were ordered by Gen. McClellan to be mustered out, and Maj. Zagonyi was offered the Colonelcy of a new regiment.

    The time and manner of the removal enabled Gen. Fremont’s ardent partisans to complain loudly that he was relieved on the eve of a battle in which he would have accomplished great things, and was thus denied an opportunity to achieve lasting fame and render essential service to the country. The evidence, however, is conclusive that at that time Price was at Pineville, fully 50 miles away, and in the midst of a very rough country, instead of being in Fremont’s immediate front, as Fremont certainly supposed.

    Whether he would have accepted battle after Fremont had reached him at Pineville, is a matter of conjecture. The pressure in favor of Fremont continued strong enough, however, to bring about the offer of a new command to him the following year, but it was grotesquely shrunken from the proud proportions of that from which he had been relieved. It was styled the Mountain Department, and embraced a large portion of West Virginia. Even in this restricted area he again failed to give satisfaction.

    Gen. John PopeJune 8, 1862, he fought an indecisive battle against Stonewall Jackson at Cross Keys [Actually, Jackson beat Fremont and Pope like rented mules in that campaign, just not in relative casualties between Fremont & Jackson. But casualties are not the be-all of a campaign –results are. Jackson used speed and terrain to keep his much more numerous adversaries separated and unable to crush him with their superior numbers. McElroy has some real issues in admitting any Confederate success of arms –even Wilson’s Creek is a Union victory to him. Some victory. –ed], took umbrage at being placed under the command of Gen. John Pope, whom he had once commanded, asked to be relieved from command, and joined the ranks of the bitter critics of President Lincoln’s Administration, though still retaining his commission and pay as a Major-General.

    He still thought his was a name to conjure with, and May 31st, 1864 accepted the nomination for President from a convention of dissatisfied Republicans assembled at Cleveland, resigning his commission at last, June 4th, 1864.

    The chill reception with which the country received his nomination at last disillusioned even him, and in September he withdrew from the field, to clear the way for Lincoln’s re-election. He then became connected with the promotion of a Pacific railway over the southern routes which he had surveyed, lost his money and property in the course of time, appealed to Congress for relief, and in 1890 was by special act put on the retired list of the Army with the rank of Major-General.