Adj't Gen. Thomas' Report on Gen. Fremont.
The report of General Thomas to the war department upon General Fremont's course in the west presents some facts which challenge public attention. Thomas was sent out by the war department, and he made his notes as he went along, partly from his own observation, and partly from the information given him by military men high in command in the western army. The changes, reduced to specific accusations, are wastefulness, disregard of law, and incompetency as a commander. The proofs are damaging to the reputation of Gen. Fremont, and leave but little doubt that the charges can be substantiated. The disregard of law is shown in his military appointments, there being no less than two hundred irregularly appointed officers, twenty-one commissioned officers being in the general's own staff, consisting of only three hundred men. Among other persons appointed a captain of engineers, is a musician in a theatre. The pay of these officers frequently commenced a month or two anterior to the date of their appointment. Besides this, members of Fremont's staff were allowed to contract for supplies to the army, and furnished hay, mules, &c., contrary to law. One furnished blankets, which were condemned as worthless, but nevertheless the blankets were paid for Col. Andrews, chief paymaster, who refused to pay a claim not authorized by law, was threatened with arrest by a file of soldiers. General Hunter, second in command, states that there is great confusion in Fremont's army, and he gives some striking instances of his lack of military knowledge, leading as it has to disaster to our western army. One is his suffering Price to capture Mulligan at Lexington, while he was discussing a plan for retaking Springfield, where there was no enemy, though his attention was called to both these facts. Another was his withholding reinforcements from Lyon while it was in his power to aid him. Fremont's opinion against his other officers was that "General Lyon is as strong as any other officer in the line." He failed to strengthen Lyon, and the result, as is well known, was the defeat of that most gallant officer. Another is his suffering Price to escape him when it was possible to capture him. When he did move forward, it was without knapsacks or provisions for his troops. Their cartridges, being carried in their pockets, were spoiled by the first days' rain. He ordered Hunter to Lexington with forty-one wagons, for which there were only forty mules. He sent large quantities of grain to distant places, where it was to be had in abundance. The guns he bought in Europe were only one-fifth of them fit for service, twenty out of one hundred only going off. Selover, Fremont's partner, says he made $30,000 profit by the purchase. These are a few of the principal evidences of Fremont's generalship and military knowledge; but they are enough to justify Mr. Blair's previous declarations of Gen. Fremont's incompetency. His friends endeavor to ward off these damaging facts; but the business is an uphill one.