War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0817 APPENDIX.

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Embracing communications received too late for insertion in proper sequence.


Saint Louis, November 20, 1861.

General McCLELLAN, General-in-Chief,

(For the President of the United States, Washington, D. C.:)

No written authority is found here to declare and enforce martial law in this department. Please send me such written authority, and telegraph me that it has been sent by mail.




Saint Louis, November 25, 1861.

Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,

Adjutant-General of the Army, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: My telegram of the 20th November to General McClellan, asking for written authority from the President to declare and enforce martial law in this department, still remains unanswered.

It is not intended to either declare or enforce martial law in any place where are civil tribunals which can be intrusted with the punishment of offenses and the regular administration of justice. But in some places there are no such tribunals, and it devolves upon the military to arrest and punish murderers, robbers, and thieves, and martial law already exists in these places. In this city, for example, it has existed for months, but by what legal authority I am unable to ascertain. In the absence of the proper civil tribunals it is impossible to entirely dispense with it, but I intend to restrict it as much as possible. The commissioners appointed by the President have requested me to bring before them certain persons and papers stated in sworn affidavits to the necessary for the them to prosecute their investigations into certain alleged frauds. There are no civil authorities here to do this. On their application I sent the telegram referred to. From a full investigation of this question I am satisfied that the President has power to confer this authority, and I feel unwilling to act, as requested by the commission and as the public good seems to require, without it. It certainly is not right to leave a public officer in a position where his duty requires him to exercise an authority which his superior can, but is unwilling to, confer upon him.