bridges, culverts, & c., makes it manifest that the inhabitants of the villages and stations along the road, if not privy to these outrages, at least offered no resistance to them, and gave no information by which they could have been prevented, or merited punishment inflicted upon the criminals.
I desire the people of this section of the State to understand distinctly that their safety and the security of their property will depend upon themselves, and are directly and inseparably connected with the security of the lines of public communication.
It is very certain that the people living along the line of the North Missouri Railroad can very easily protect it from destruction, and it is my purpose to give them strong inducements to do so. I therefore notify the inhabitants of the towns, villages, and stations along the line of this road that they will be held accountable for the destruction of any bridges, culverts, or portions of the railroad track within 5 miles on each side of them. If any outrages of this kind are committed within the distance specified, without conclusive proof of active resistance on the part of the population, and without immediate information to the nearest commanding officer, giving names and details, the settlement will be held responsible, and a levy of money or property sufficient to cover the whole damage done will be at once made and collected.
There seems to be no method of enlisting the active agency of the citizens along the line of this road for the protection of a public work in all respects so beneficial to them, except by making it their very evident personal interest to do so, and I desire them to understand that they will be compelled to pay in full of property or money for any damage done in their vicinity. It has been impossible heretofore even to ascertain the names of the criminals engaged in this kind of work, although they were well known to everybody in the neighborhood. If people who claim to be good citizens choose to indulge their neighbors and acquaintances in committing these wanton acts, and to shield them from punishment, they will hereafter be compelled to pay for it; or if they disapprove, their objections must take more tangible form than mere words. It is not to be expected that the General Government will occupy a large force merely to protect from the people of this part of the State a work built for their own benefit, or to defend from outrages and hostility communities which encourage violations of all law by giving no information and by offering no sort of resistance. I therefore expect all law-abiding citizens at once to take measures to secure the safety of the North Missouri Railroad in their vicinity, and I notify all others that upon the safety of the road depends the security of their own property and person. To carry out the intentions set forth above, divisions and subdivisions of the road will be made as soon as practicable from these headquarters, and superintendents and assistant superintendents appointed by name, without regard to political opinions, who will be held responsible for the safety of the railroad track within their specified limits. They will have authority to call on all persons living within these limits to appear in such numbers and at such times and places as they may deem necessary to secure the object in view. I expect all good citizens who value peace and the safety of their families and property to respond cheerfully to this arrangement, and to assume to themselves the care and protection of their own section.
Brigadier-General, U. S. Army, Commanding North Missouri.