in this State I do not doubt. They have been committed by three classes of persons.
1st. The enemy's guerrilla bands. Since the explosion of Price they are rapidly diminishing. Nevertheless it will require some severe examples to be made in order to suppress them.
2nd. The Kansas jayhawkers, or robbers, who were organized under the auspices of Senator Lane. They wear the uniform of and it is believed received pay from the United States. Their principal occupation for the last six months seems to have been the stealing of negroes, the robbing of houses, and the burning of barns, grain, and forage. The evidence of their crimes is unquestionable. they have not heretofore been under my orders. I will now keep them out of Missouri or have them shot.
3rd. Our own volunteer troops. It cannot be denied that some of our volunteers regiments have behaved very badly, plundering to an enormous extent. I have done everything in my power to prevent this and to punish the guilty. Many of the regimental officers are very bad men and participate in this plunder. In such cases it is impossible to reach them by courts-martial. Where regiments are moving in the field courts cannot be assembled, and when courts are ordered the witnesses cannot be procured, or, if private soldiers, are frequently overawed by their colonels or other officers. This matter was fully represented to Assistant Secretary Scott when here, and he advised the mustering out of service of officers who were satisfactorily shown to be guilty of this species of plunder and marauding. Under the general authority given to me to muster out of service I have, in a few cases, resorted to this remedy, and it is producing a good effect. By this means the officers escape the punishment and disgrace which they deserve, but the army is purged of them.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Saint Louis, March 25, 1862.
E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington:
Pretended Union man from New Orleans just arrived within our lines represents that the rebels are building one or more river boats at that place, clad in railroad iron, like the Merrimac. Such a river boat could pass any of our batteries, destroy Commodore Foote's flotilla, and burn the steamboats in the Western waters. This is a very serious matter, which requires immediate attention.
If there are any very heavy guns at Pittsburgh they should be sent immediately down the Ohio, to be mounted at Cairo or Columbus.
I have written to Commodore Foote to know if either of his gunboats can be more heavily iron-clad, so as to meet the apprehended danger. If so, authority should be given to alter her; if not, authority should be given to immediately construct a river monitor capable of meeting anything the enemy can send up the river.
The matter seems to me to admit of no delay.
H. W. HALLECK,