To Edwin M. Stanton

Executive Mansion,
Hon. Sec. of War Washington, January 31, 1862.

My dear Sir: It is my wish that the expedition commonly called the “Lane Expedition” shall be as much as has been promised at the Adjutant General’s Office, under the supervision of Gen. McClellan, and not any more. I have not intended, and do not now intend that it shall be a great exhausting affair; but a snug, sober column of 10,000 or 15,000. Gen. Lane has been told by me many times that he is under the command of Gen. Hunter, and assented to it as often as told. It was the distinct agreement between him & me when I appointed him, that he was to be under Hunter.

Yours truly A. LINCOLN

General James H. Lane’s earlier difficulties (see Lincoln to Cameron, December 16, 1861) were rapidly compounding. On January 24, 1862, Lorenzo Thomas wrote General David Hunter that “Brig. Gen. J. H. Lane. . . has urged upon the President and Secretary of War an expedition to be conducted by him from Fort Leavenworth against the region west of Missouri and Kansas [Arkansas]. The outlines of his plan were stated by him to be in accordance with your own views. . . . The General-in-Chief. . . desires it to be understood that a command independent of you is not given to General Lane, but he is to operate. . . under your supervision and control, and if you deem proper you may yourself command the expedition. . . .”. On January 27 Hunter issued General Orders No. 11, “In the expedition. . . called in the newspapers General Lane’s expedition, it is the intention of the major-general commanding the department to command in person. . . .”. Lane thereupon wrote Representative John Covode to “See the President, Secretary of War, and General McClellan, and answer what I shall do. . . .”. Hunter telegraphed Lincoln for a copy of Lincoln’s communication which Lane claimed to have left in Washington with his baggage. For further developments see Lincoln to Hunter and Lane, February 10.

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