Abraham Lincoln to David Hunter, Monday, September 09, 1861 (Appointment of Hunter as advisor to General Fremont)

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Abraham Lincoln to David Hunter, Monday, September 09, 1861 (Appointment of Hunter as advisor to General Fremont)


Private letter from President Lincoln to General Hunter requesting Hunter advise General Fremont. September 09, 1861.


This document reflects President Lincoln's disapproval of General Fremont's Proclamation and actions he took to change the situation. This document shows President Lincoln's trust and respect for General Hunter, and the expectation of following orders rather than creating one's own resolution in war.


President Abraham Lincoln


Library of Congress


Library of Congress


September 09, 1861


Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress


All rights held by Library of Congress


Private Letter




Washington D. C. Sep. 9. 1861

My dear Sir:

Gen. Fremont needs assistance which it is difficult to give him: He is losing the confidence of men near him, whose support any man in his position must have to be successful. His cardinal mistake is that he isolates himself, & allows nobody to see him; and by which he does not know what is going on in the very matter he is dealing with. He needs to have, by his side, a man of large experience. Will you not, for me, take that place? Your rank is one grade too high to be ordered to it; but will you not serve the country, and oblige me, by taking it voluntarily?

[Note 1 Lincoln's extreme dissatisfaction with General Fremont's conduct in Missouri is manifest in this letter. Not only was Lincoln distressed by Fremont's proclamation of August 30, which pronounced a death penalty for Confederate guerillas and confiscated the property and slaves of Confederate sympathizers, he had been hearing reports of Fremont's extreme isolation from visitors, and his apparent military incompetence. See Joshua F. Speed to Lincoln, September 1, 1861, September 3, 1861, Greene Adams and James Speed to Lincoln, September 2, 1861, Francis Preston Blair to Montgomery Blair, September 1, 1861, Samuel T. Glover to Montgomery Blair, September 2, 1861, James O. Broadhead to Montgomery Blair, September 3, 1861, Montgomery Blair to Lincoln, September 3, September 4, 1861.
Lincoln's initial solution was to send General David Hunter to Missouri to act in a sort of advisory capacity to Fremont, in spite of the misgivings of General Winfield Scott. (See Scott to Lincoln, September 5, 1861). Here Lincoln entreats Hunter to go to Missouri even though his rank was too high for the position Lincoln anticipates. In fact, Hunter went to Missouri, and on October 24 he relieved Fremont of command there.]

Original Format

Hand-written letter