War of the Rebellion: Serial 084 Page 0164 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

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LIBERTY, July 12, 1864.

Colonel SANDERSON:

Saint Louis, Mo.:

SIR: I propose to make a true statement to you of the condition of our county. You must know, first, that our people are largely disloyal. There never were more than 200 true Union men in this county, and when Governor Gamble made the order to enroll the loyal militia of the State, and it was known that those o four county were to go into active service, many of the able-bodied chose to enroll themselves as disloyal, and so kept out of service, but our politicians, here saw soon that it was a mistake and devised the plan of another organization of militia composed mainly of those who had but a short time before voluntarily enrolled as disloyal. These soon got the name of Paw Paws, and have been no doubt purposely encouraged in their opposition to the truly loyal citizens and soldiers and frequently indulged in the expression of disloyal sentiments, which soon convinced us that many of them could not be depended on to give protection to the loyal portion of our people against guerrillas and bushwhackers. The managers in the meantime had got clear of all of the loyal soldiers, and we were at the mercy of these men who had so shortly enrolled as disloyal. Our uneasiness has been expressed often to the authorities. This spring our county was as usual overrun by bands of assassins and bushwhackers. Our citizens are murdered almost daily at their homes, in their corn-fields, and on the highways, and to-day there is not in the county of Clay one unconditional loyal Union man who dares to go into the harvest field to do a day's work. Many of them have left the State; all are now talking of going. A general terror prevails with the Union men. This moment news comes in that two young soldiers were bushwhacked to-day at Centreville, about twelve miles from here. They left the this morning; one is dead, the other mortally wounded. The notorious Thornton with his gang entered Platte City yesterday. Many of the Paw Paws joined him. The city was in his possession at last date. He is said to have 300 to 600 men. The country is swarming with them. There are here three companies of militia, one from Ray, one under Captain Kemper, the Ninth, one under Younger of home militia. These men are kept constantly going, but have not the strength to make head against the bushwhackers. The Southern sympathizers all call themselves conservative Union men now, and are very active in withholding the facts and misleading the authorities. Our provost-marshal (Mr. Cohrs) is constantly misrepresented to the authorities and is very odious to that class called conservative. The Union men love and respect him and give him the best support they can. The bush whackers had given notice that no radical Union man shall live in this county. They never take any prisoners; all are killed on the spot if they are Union. The conservative seem to be in no danger. I was informed two months ago that I would be killed if I went out of town. There are but few of us here, and we feel in great danger. We do not stay in our houses at night, but all go to quarters night. I am sorry to have to address you on this subject and feel myself unfit for the task, but it would be criminal in me not to do so, and hope you will find the means of giving us some hope. Our destiny is in the hands of men that we seldom have access to. Hoping that this may be of use in forming a just conception of our county and its affairs, and that this will not be too tedious or deemed impertinent,

I am, sir, yours, &c.,

J. J. ARMSTRONG.