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55. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis to Lincoln opposing efforts to reverse his removal from command


55. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis to Lincoln opposing efforts to reverse his removal from command


Letter from General Samuel R. Curtis to Abraham Lincoln opposing any efforts to reverse orders for his removal from command of the Department of the Missouri and outlining controversial actions he believes led to charges against him. March 23, 1863. Copy.




Becki Plunkett and Stephen Vincent


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State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines

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Special Collections: Samuel R. Curtis Papers

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Head Quarters, Department of the Missouri, St. Louis, March 23[,] 1863 His Exc[ellen]cy Pres[iden]t A[.] Lincoln My friends have some of them urged the rescision [sic] of your order removing me from this command. However flattering this may be to my feelings it does not agree with my judgement [sic] or desire. If there were no reason for the change before, the order seems to render it necessary; as the showing of doubt or disapproval so cripples my power as to endanger my command. Besides I am informed that the General in Chief and some of the cabinet desire the removal of most or all of the Federal troops from Missouri which would be the more desirable as they are much needed elsewhere. The removal has been left to my discretion and I have moved there as fast or faster than my judgement approves. I am satisfied that my judgement in this regard has been unsatisfactory to some who do not posses [sic] the knowledge which I do of the subject. The Governor has urged the withdrawal of Federal troops and I have as I supposed conformed to all demands as far as safety would permit[.] I supposed he was satisfied. However this may be Hon[.] Senator Henderson says he understood I and the Governor differed so as to render a change necessary and I know the removal of the Federal Troops is urged beyond my judgement. I know also that I gave mortal offense in regard to extending railroads at government expense. I do not satisfy others on the negro question. My integrity and honor have been impeached and I have asked an opportunity to vindicate myself if as I was informed I was relieved from active command[.] These conflicts which I have encountered for just half a year of my administration of this Department have a partial solution by removal and without the least regard to my personal interest I hope the President will act according to his judgement and carry out his orders. The command was never sought or asked by me, it is exceedingly arduous and perplexing & I have not had a moments repose since the war began, have been somewhat unspaired [?] by toil[,] strife and affliction; and I am not therefore able to go forward successfully with a doubtful or hesitating policy towards me eminating [sic} from Head Quarters. I therefore present to your Excellency my sincere request that you will not rescind but will consumate [sic] your order removing me from this command[.] I have the honor to be & shall remain Your ob[edien]t[,] devoted & humble serv[an]t[,] S. R. Curtis[,] Maj[.] Genl[.]