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42. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis to Lincoln on Southern sympathizer Samuel B. McPheeters


42. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis to Lincoln on Southern sympathizer Samuel B. McPheeters


Letter from General Samuel R. Curtis to Abraham Lincoln expressing his objection to the President's suspension of an order to banish Reverend Samuel B. McPheeters of St. Louis for Southern sympathies and explaining his view on the need for stringent treatment of those who were disloyal. Accompanied Curtis' letter is one from St. Louis Unionists expressing their loyalty to Curtis and offering to provide him with information on local Confederate sympathisers' activities. December 27, 1862. 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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H'd Q'rs [Headquarters], Dept[.] of the Mo. [Missouri][,] St. Louis Dec[.] 27th 1862 Lincoln, His Exc[ellenc]y Pres[ident] A. I have just rec'd your dispatch suspending Rev[.] [Samuel B.] McPheeters. This man is evidently a bad rebel doing injury here, and his removal is, so far as I can learn, universally approved by [U]nion men. I had heard a murmur of doubt as to the propriety. Some of the most reliable men in the city were here to confer with me on this and other matters just before your dispatch came, and they seemed to have premonition of your interference. They express surprise at the influence rebel sympathisers [sic] have at Washington, and desire to prevent it, and although they do not object to your suspension of the assessment, they regret that certain men come home boasting of a triumph and sneering at [U]nion men. It is a fact our [U]nion men are disposed to be very severe, but restraint is to be dealt out with moderation, or we modify and weaken them. I will send you a copy of the paper presented to me a few moments before your despatch [sic] came. I explained the propriety of your action in the assessment matter, which they readily approve, but still regret that a Mr[.] Thompson who, they say refused to take the oath, and boasted of his aid to the rebels last year; should now boast of his taking Mr[.] [Edward] Bates and detailing an interview with you, and exulting in his success. The [U]nion men that are inclosed in the accompanying paper express great anxiety. They are your fast, unyielding, uncompromising friends. They sympathize with you in your great trials, and any St[.] Louis man will tell you, they are all sober, honest, wealthy, leading men deserving the confidence of your Exc[ellenc]y. There is no feeling of resentment, but conviction of utility that induced the order against McPheeters. There is a [U]nion party and secession party in his congregation, and the [U]nion men side with the [U]nion side, and the peace of society seems to require a conclusion of such strife in favor of the loyal side of the question. They think that a priest that will not pray for you, should not pray at you, and I concur. Rebel priests are dangerous and diabolical in society. The Provost Marshal was ousting two or three others, but I urged that a single example might do, and the proper man was selected. It is my judgement [sic] that Rev[.] McPheeters should be required to leave as ordered by the Provost Marshall at the end of other vive days now granted him. [A]nd most resp[ectful]ly recommend that you allow the order to be executed. I have the honor to be Your Exc[Ellen]cy's most ob[edien]t serv[an]t[,] S[.] R[.] Curtis[,] Maj[.] Gen'l The following is a copy of the letter referred to inclosed in the above: St[.] Louis[,] Dec[.] 27th 1862 Maj[.] Gen'l Curtis[,] Dear Sir[,] At an informal meeting of the following named citizens of St[.] Louis, to wit: John How, James E[.] Yeatman, Carlos S[.] Greely, Henry Hitchcock, Henry J[.] Moor, George P[.] Story, Giles F[.] Filley, George Partridge, General Edwards, and James O[.] Broadhead--the undersigned were appointed a committee to wait on you, and propose to offer you their services in the promotion of the [U]nion cause in St[.] Louis, by collecting such information, and making suggestions from time to time as might be deemed advisable by them to secure the object in view, so much desired by all loyal men--the restoration of our city and state to a condition of unqualified loyalty to the Federal Govt. and to confer with you on these subjects at such times as your public duties will permit[.]

Resply [Respectfully]
Your obt [obedient] servts [servants]
James O. Broadhead
CS Greeley
James E Yeatman