was very much inclined to favor the policy you had announced in your order, and that he heard nothing in regard to the matter from any one that was not favorable to that policy."
As a matter of course, if your own judgment condemns the policy, now that you have witnessed its workings at least to some extent, then I have not a word to say; but it is so evident to my mind that a vigorous and sever policy is the only one that suits the case of these secessionists, that I should regret exceedingly to see your order recalled, and that I have ventured to make any suggestion to you upon the subject is a proof of how deeply I feel in regard to this matter.
One word more. The President, in your conversation, informed me of the substance of his recent telegraphic correspondence with you. I am exceeding anxious to join you when you are prepared to make a decisive movement to the south, and will take it as a great personal favor if you will allow one of your aides to give me timely notice. I hope it will not be long deferred, for I am convinced that our cause is in greater danger from foreign intervention than from defeat by the armies of the South. If this war is allowed to drag along for three months more you may set it down for a certainly that we shall have England on our hands as well as Jeff. Davis.
FRANK P. BLAIR, Jr.
January 5, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Saint Louis, Mo.:
DEAR SIR: The ground on which you can treat these railroad destroyed as military criminals is that they are within your lines in the guise of peaceful citizens, destroying life and property, and therefore, as secret enemies caught in the warlike act amenable to martial law. The secessionists cannot except to it, for in Tennessee they hang all the bridge-burners they catch, and in this case you very truly say severity is mercy. However, all you want is to protect life and property, and perhaps the best way to do its this: Try by a court-martial all that you have caught. Hang at once two or three of the ringleaders in the presence of their fellows, sentence a dozen or twenty, or even fifty, of the most culpable and reprieve them for a time, with the distinct understanding that they will be hanged, according to sentence, if further depredations are committed by their associates, but that they may hope for mercy if there is order and peace. Discharge the least culpable and let them go home and carry the conditions with them the assurance that if they themselves are caught again they will find no mercy. And in holding as hostages care should be taken to hold from each neighborhood, family, and clique one or more.
The scoundrels engaged at the Little Platte deserve more severe handling than those you have caught, for they deliberately planned and committed the most cruel, indiscriminate murder of men, women, and children.
I am, very respectfully, yours,