John S. Phelps to Abraham Lincoln, Monday, November 18, 1861 (Depredations committed by soldiers in Missouri), Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/alhtml/malhome.html.
Transcribed by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, IL
Adapted by John Osborne, Dickinson College
The following transcript has been adapted from the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.
18th Nov. 61
I enclose you an extract from the Mo. Republican taken from the "N. Y. World." My son has just arrived from Springfield my residence. The half of the depredations committed by our own troops on me has is not told in that slip. The troops engaged in the commission of those depredations were of Co. K. Mo. 12th & were of Genl Segel's Brigade. He arrested some of the offenders & afterwards turned them loose without punishment as I am informed.
My entire crops & the greater part of my stock was taken by the rebel army. My dwelling house was not robbed by them but was by the Union Army of which I am an officer.
But I do not complain of myself as much as I do of the treatment given to Union men who have followed my teachings & my advise. By our own troops they have been robbed of their servants & the commanders of Brigades (Kansas Brigade) & other officers of superior rank have refused as I am reliably informed to deliver up these servants when in their camps -- some of them averring the war is prosecuted to liberate the slaves. This must be stoped. The war is waged for no such purpose. I am as much entitled to the protection of my slaves as I am entitled to the protection of my dwelling house. The Secessionists & rebels did not rob any one in South West Mo or in this state as far as I know of their slaves. My slaves are attached to me and I am attached to them. I prefer to part with any property sooner than part with those who are faithful to me. Such are the feelings of every slave-holder.
But if we are to be robbed of what the residue of the property spared to us by the mercy of the rebels -- robbed by our so called friends -- of what use is this or any proposed government to us?
The slaves of Union citizens of S. W. Mo. are now in our Army marching from Springfield. With the citizens of S. W. Mo. the Union sentiment was until these late outrages of our own troops stronger than in any other portion of our state -- and I aided to form that sentiment. Can I be dumb when such outrages are committed on the supporters of the Federal Government?
Let these wrongs be redressed. Let those who perpetrated them -- let those who by their silence or inaction have sanctioned them be punished no matter what their rank or position & I have the right in behalf of an injured constituency to demand this of the Chief Magistrate of the Government which I support.
I am with respect
Yr obt servt
John S. Phelps
P. S. I enclose this to Hon Mr Bates -- that it may be presented to you & that you may know my complaint