NOTE. - The same instructions given to the commanding officer of the Iowa forces were furnished Colonel T. A. Marshall for his movement upon Paris; Captain Peck, Twenty-first Illinois Volunteers, for movement with his company upon Troy and Warrenton; Captain McNulta for movement with one company of cavalry upon Bowling Green and Danville, and to the commanding officer of Fourteenth Regiment Illinois Volunteers for movement with four companies upon Huntsville and Fayette.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF NORTH MISSOURI,
Mexico, August 3, 1861.
J. H. STURGEON, Esq., Saint Louis, Mo.:
DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 1st instant is before me.* I will, with great satisfaction, reply to your inquiries, as well from personal regard for yourself as that it gives me the opportunity to explain clearly what few persons in your city seem to comprehend.
When I arrived in North Missouri to assume the command I found the whole country in commotion, bridges and railroad tracks destroyed, or in great danger of being so, and the entire population in a state of excitement and apprehension unwarranted by the facts. My first object has been to restore quiet and secure the safety of public, and private property. The only persons in arms, so far as I could learn, were a few reckless and violent men, in parties of 20 or 30, who were wandering about, committing depredations upon all whose sentiments were displeasing, and keeping this whole region in apprehension and uneasiness. I found that those who had been quiet had been no more; had taken no part to prevent the outrages committed by these lawless bands, and had not even been willing to give information by which they could be apprehended or prevented from engaging in hostile and lawless acts against the peace of the country. So soon as these marauders found that troops were approaching, which they easily did, from the very persons who ask for protection, they dispersed, each man going to his home, and, in many cases, that home in the very town occupied by the troops. Parties of these men would leave their houses and families in the immediate vicinity, and engage in forays upon Union men and their property in the immediate neighborhood, being sure that those even most opposed to their lawless conduct would carefully shield them from exposure. The mass of the people stood quietly looking on at a few men in their midst committing all sorts of atrocious acts, and neither attempted to prevent them nor to give any information by which they could have been prevented and punished. This was the actual state of things in a large part of the eastern counties of Northern Missouri. When troops were sent out against these marauders, they found only men quietly working in the field or sitting in their offices, who, as soon as the backs of the Federal soldiers were turned, were again in arms and menacing the peace. To such an extent had this gone that there was no safety of persons or properety in North Missouri except to the secessionists, and the Union men were too timid or too much in the minority to offer the least resistance. My first object was to restore peace and safety, so that the forces under my command could be removed from the vicinity of the settlements, and to do this with the least bloodshed, the least distress to quiet persons, and the least exasperation of feeling among the people. Two courses were open to me to effect this desirable result: The
* Not found.