The Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board

Halleck's lament

WASHINGTON, November 28, 1862.

Brig. Gen. John M. Schofield, St. Louis.

My Dear General—Yours from Springfield of the 18th is just received. I am as much dissatisfied and discouraged at the non-action of our troops in Arkansas. If the campaign had been carried out as I directed, there would have been no very serious trouble in Missouri; but it seems there were too many private axes to grind. I hope for a remedy, but when it will come is uncertain. If you could be here a few weeks you would see how difficult it is to resist political wire-pulling in military appointments. Every Governor, Senator, and Member of Congress has his pet generals to be provided with separate and independent commands. I am sick and tired of this political military life. The number of enemies which I have made because I would not yield my own convictions of right is already legion. If they would only follow the example of their ancestors, enter a herd of swine, run down some steep bank and drown themselves in the sea, there would be some hope of saving the country.

Rest assured, general, your services are appreciated, and will not be overlooked. I have already presented your name to the Department, and will again urge it on the first opportunity. There are, however, only a few vacancies to fill, and hundreds of applications backed by thousands of recommendations. Under such circumstances results are always uncertain.

Yours, truly,