Saturday, October 8, 2011

October 9, 1861 (Wednesday): Lane vs Governor Robinson in Kansas

Kansas Governor Charles Robinson
LEAVENWORTH CITY, KANS., October 9, 1861.

His Excellency A. LINCOLN,
President of the United States:
    SIR: Since my return from Washington to Kansas I have labored earnestly and incessantly, as commander of the Kansas Brigade, to put down the great insurrection in Missouri. After the State authorities here had failed to collect a force worthy of the name, I, by my own individual efforts and those of my personal friends, despite the opposition of the governor of this State, succeeded in raising and marching against the enemy as gallant and effective an army, in proportion to its numbers, as ever entered the field. Its operations are a part of the history of the country. That brigade to a man are exceedingly desirous of continuing in the service under my command, and I am very anxious to gratify its members in that behalf; but as matters are at present arranged, I feel compelled to abandon the field.
    While the Kansas Brigade was being organized, Governor Charles Robinson exerted his utmost endeavor to prevent the enlistment of men. Since its organization he has constantly, in season and out of season, vilified myself, and abused the men under my command as marauders and thieves. For the purpose of gratifying his malice against me, he has conspired with Captain Prince, the commandant at Fort Leavenworth, to dissolve the brigade, and Captain Prince has apparently heartily espoused the cause in that direction. The latter-named person, in his official capacity, has refused to recognize my authority as commander, and wholly declined to respond to my lawful requisitions upon him for articles and supplies necessary to the efficiency and comfort of the brigade.
    There being no hope of improvement in this condition of things so long as I am in my present position, in order that I may with my brigade remain in the field, and the Government be sustained in this region, and Kansas be protected from invasion from Missouri, I earnestly request and recommend the establishment of a new military department, to be composed of Kansas, the Indian country, and so much of Arkansas and the Territories as may be thought advisable to include therein.
   After much consideration, and consultation with influential and intelligent gentlemen hereabout, I am decidedly of opinion that this at least should be done, and that the commandant thereof should have under him at least 10,000 troops.
    If this can be done, and I can have the command of the department, I will cheerfully accept it, resign my seat in the Senate, and devote all my thoughts and energies to the prosecution of the war. But if nothing can be done to remedy the evils complained of, I will, as above intimated, be compelled to leave my command, quit the field, and most reluctantly become an idle spectator of the great struggle, and witness, I have no doubt, the devastation of my adopted State and the destruction of its people.

Yours, truly,


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 3, Page 529

Lane's feud with the Governor culminated in the latter's impeachment in 1863, although he was not found guilty.  Lane is one of the lowest characters of the war, and Robinson's characterization of his men as marauders and thieves was for the most part accurate.  There is no recorded response from Lincoln.  The Captain Prince referred to was the regular Army commander at Fort Leavenworth.

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