To William S. Rosecrans

                                                       Executive Mansion,
Major General Rosecrans,       Washington, Sep. 26, 1864

One can not always safely disregard a report, even which one may not believe. I have a report that you incline to deny the soldiers the right of attending the election in Missouri, on the assumed ground that they will get drunk and make disturbance. Last year I sent Gen. Schofield a letter of instruction, dated October 1st, 1863, which I suppose you will find on the files of the Department, and which contains, among other things, the following:

“At elections see that those and only those, are allowed to vote, who are entitled to do so by the laws of Missouri, including as of those laws, the restrictions laid by the Missouri Convention upon those who may have participated in the rebellion.”

This I thought right then, and think right now; and I may add I do not remember that either party complained after the election, of Gen. Schofield’s action under it. Wherever the law allows soldiers to vote, their officers must also allow it. Please write me on this subject. Yours truly, A. LINCOLN.


To William S. Rosecrans

Major General Rosecrans        Executive Mansion,
My dear Sir:                                  Washington, April 4th, 1864.

This is rather more social than official, containing suggestions rather than orders. I somewhat dread the effect of your Special Order, No. 61 dated March 7. 1864. I have found that men who have not even been suspected of disloyalty, are very averse to taking an oath of any sort as a condition, to exercising an ordinary right of citizenship. The point will probably be made, that while men may without an oath, to assemble in a noisy political meeting, they must take the oath, to assemble in a religious meeting.

It is said, I know not whether truly, that in some parts of Missouri, assassinations are systematically committed upon returned rebels, who wish to ground arms, and behave themselves. This should not be. Of course I have not heard that you give countenance to, or wink at such assassinations.

Again, it is complained, that the enlistment of negroes, is not conducted in as orderly a manner, and with as little collateral provocation, as it might be.

So far you have got along in the Department of the Missouri, rather better than I dared to hope; and I congratulate you and myself upon it. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN.

To William S. Rosecrans

Major General Rosecrans               Washington, D.C.,
Chattanooga, Tenn.                         Oct. 12. 8/35 A.M. 1863

As I understand, Burnside is menaced from the East, and so can not go to you without surrendering East Tennessee. I now think the enemy will not attack Chattanooga; and I think you have to look out for his making a concentrated drive at Burnside. You and Burnside now have him by the throat, and he must break your hold, or perish. I therefore think you better to try to hold the river up to Kingston, leaving Burnside to what is above there. Sherman is coming to you, though gaps in the telegraph prevent our knowing how far he is advanced. He and Hooker will so support you on the West & North-West, as to enable you to look East & North East. This is not an order. Gen. Halleck will give his views. A. LINCOLN

To William S. Rosecrans

Major General Rosecrans:            Washington, D.C.,
Chattanooga, Tenn.                        Oct 4. 1863

Yours of yesterday received. If we can hold Chattanooga, and East Tennessee, I think the rebellion must dwindle and die. I think you and Burnside can do this; and hence doing so is your main object. Of course, to greatly damage, or destroy, the enemy in your front would be a greater object, because it would include the former, and more; but it is not so certainly within your power. I understand the main body of the enemy is very near you—so near that you could “board at home” so to speak, and menace or attack him any day. Would not the doing of this, be your best mode of counteracting his raids on your communications? But this is not an order. I intend doing something like what you suggest, whenever the case shall appear ripe enough to have it accepted in the true understanding, rather than as a confession of weakness and fear. A. LINCOLN

To William S. Rosecrans

                                                                    Executive Mansion,
My Dear General Rosecrans              Washington, September 28, 1863.

We are sending you two small corps, one under General Howard, and one under General Slocum, and the whole under General Hooker. Unfortunately the relations between Generals Hooker and Slocum are not such as to promise good, if their present relative positions remain. Therefore let me beg,—almost enjoin upon you—that on their reaching you, you will make a transposition by which Gen. Slocum with his corps, may pass from under the command of Gen. Hooker, and Gen. Hooker, in turn, receive some other equal force. It is important for this to be done, though we could not well arrange it here. Please do it. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN

To William S. Rosecrans

Major Gen. Rosecrans                Washington, D.C.,
Chattanooga, Tenn.                   Sep. 23 1863

Below is Bragg’s despatch, as found [in] the Richmond papers. You see he does not claim so many prisoners or captured guns, as you were inclined to concede. He also confesses to heavy loss. An exchanged General of ours leaving Richmond yesterday says two of Longstreets Divisions, & his entire Artillery, and two of Picketts brigades, and Wies’ legion, have gone to Tennessee. He mentions no other. A. LINCOLN

To William S. Rosecrans

Major General Rosecrans                  Washington, D.C.,
Chattanooga, Tenn.                            Sep. 22. 1863 [8:30 A.M.]

We have not a word here as to the whereabouts or condition of your Army, up to a later point than Sunset Sunday the 20th. Your despatches to me of 9. A.M. and to Gen. Halleck of 2. PM. yesterday tell us nothing later on those points. Please relieve my anxiety as to the position & condition of your army up to the latest moment.