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12. Iowa Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood to Lincoln on removal of Gen. John C. Fremont from his command


12. Iowa Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood to Lincoln on removal of Gen. John C. Fremont from his command


Letter from Iowa Governor Samuel J. Kirkwood to Abraham Lincoln expressing opposition to possible removal of General John C. Fremont as commander of the Department of the West, an area covering Missouri and other western areas to the Rocky Mountains. October 9, 1861. Earlier, on August 30th, Fremont had declared Missouri under martial law with provisions that freed all slaves held by Confederate activists and announced the death penalty for guerillas caught behind Union lines; Lincoln shortly thereafter nullified the emancipation provision and refused the death penalty's application without his permission. Kirkwood, a founding member of Iowa's Republican Party, had been elected governor in 1859. Copy of original.




Becki Plunkett and Stephen Vincent


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Digital Reproduction Information

Original scanned at 600 dpi w/ sRGB color space.


State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines

Repository Collection

State Archives of Iowa: Record Group 43 (Governor)

Digital item created



Executive Office[,] Iowa October 9th 1861 His Excellency[,] The President There is a painful degree of uncertainty among our people in regard to the position of Gen. Fremont and my convictions on that subject are so strong as to induce me to violate the rule I have laid down for myself and give an unasked opinion. I am well satisfied that the removal of Genl. Fremont at this time would be as disastrous to our cause in this State as another lost battle in Missouri unless it can be demonstrated to the people that his conduct has been such as to demand his removal. Let me entreat that he be sustained with men and means until he has been shown unmistakably his unfitness if that time shall ever come. He has the full and complete confidence of our people now and his removal would have a most disheartening effect. The recent telegraphic rumor that he had been removed spread as much dismay among us as the news of the disaster at Bulls Run and the authorized contradiction of that rumor was received with unlimited satisfaction. I hope you will pardon the liberty I have taken & believe that nothing but a clear conviction of public duty has led me to address you. Very truly[,] Samuel J. Kirkwood