By the well-settled acceptation of this term guerrillas are but robbers, horse-thieves, and assassins, men innocent of any honorable impulses, and their acts cannot be regarded as even the least excusable form of partisanship. They are triable before courts properly established in time of war, and if convicted should be punished. In this light they are also regarded by many prominent men who have given in their adhesion to the so-called Southern Confederacy.
I do not consider them entitled to treatment as prisoners of war. I do not understand that the hospital flaw was in plain view when the man Chrysop, as is alleged, murdered an unarmed Confederate Soldier acting at the time as a hospital attendant; but whatever the facts in this case may be, I do not countenance robbery or murder.
Permit me to state, however, in this connection that recently in Callaway County, in this State, a Federal hospital train, with the appropriate flag-flying, was fired into in the day-time by guerrillas, one of the hospital attendants killed, and several of the sick wounded.
This affair occurred within a few miles of Jefferson City, and the facts are known tome personally. The Government of the United States does not approve of such conduct as you impute to our "Indian auxiliaries," but let it be remembered that the initiative in acts of this description was taken by Indians in the employ of Confederate authorities, or at least under their control.
Upon the battle-field at Pea Ridge Union prisoners of war were found scalped, and, if necessary, other enormities of a like nature can be cited.
The old homily of the man in the glass-house I consider pertinent to the military authorities of the Confederate States.
In conclusion allow me to state that with reference alike to your communication and its answer I will speak for myself simply, not being specially empowered to speak for the Government.
A respectful communication to the general-in-chief of the armies of the United States will no doubt be answered respectfully.
I have the honor to subscribe myself,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.
P. S.-Since writing the above my attention has been called too the reputed action of the Confederate Senate, by which it refused to accord to guerrillas the rights of honorable warfare.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST,
Saint Paul, Minn., September 17, 1862.
Colonel H. H. SIBLEY:
COLONEL: I transmit inclosed the order* of the War Department placing me in command of the Department of the Northwest. I wish in this communication to say to you that I am rejoiced to find you in command of the expedition against the Sioux, and to assure you that I will push forward everything to your assistance as fast as possible. I have ordered four regiments from Wisconsin, two of them with horses. We can get no cavalry, but I will send you a thousand mounted men as rapidly as I can. Let me know be special messenger precisely what you wish of everything and it shall be sent. I will place 1,000 men
*See inclosure to letter from Secretary of War to Major General John Pope, dated September 6, 1862, p. 618.