On Friday, December 18, 1863 Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, acknowledged that he believed it necessary to remove General John McAllister Schofield from command of the Union Department of Missouri.
For some time the president had been concerned about relations between the Missouri Unionist state government and General Schofield; Missourians had been lobbying Lincoln since mid-October to replace the general.
While now desiring Schofield’s removal, Lincoln did not wish to demote him, encouraging Stanton to consider promoting Schofield to the rank of major general when replacing him. Lincoln, always mindful of the political ramifications of transferring his generals, suggested William Rosecrans to replace Schofield. Rosecrans, who had been besieged at Chattanooga by Bragg and subsequently removed in October 1863, needed a new command.