War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0834 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXV.

Search Civil War Official Records

manner as to introduce a suggestion or an argument, I indulge the hope that you will not attribute it to any impertinent attempt at dictation or a desire to introduce unsolicited advice. On the contrary, I feel assured that in the anomalous and unfortunate condition of the gallant people of Missouri whom I have the honor in part to represent sufficient justification may be found for any anxiety which I may manifest. But to proceed to the object of my letter. The State of Missouri at this moment is at the mercy of the enemy. Not a single Confederate solider treads her soil, and her brave sons, as far as possible, have been transferred to the east bank of the Mississippi River by the act of the Confederate Government. It is not my purpose to dwell in eulogy upon the self-sacrificing patriotism of those brave men of Missouri who, after a protracted campaign of endurance and glory, have followed their heroic leader through the fatiguing marches of the mountains of Arkansas to the soil of Tennessee, leaving behind their homes and families to the mercy of an unprincipled enemy. History will do justice to the act of magnanimous patriotism. The object of this letter is to ascertain the line of policy which this Government would recommend to the people of Missouri now within the limits of the State to pursue. It cannot be unknown to you, sir, that a general system of guerrilla warfare now desolates the State; that the loyal citizens, writhing under the yoke and oppression of the enemy, are struggling unaided and illy provided with the indispensable materials of war to assist and maintain their liberty, property, and self-respect; that acts of unprecedented oppression and barbarity, in violation of all the principles of civilized warfare, are daily perpetrated upon that gallant people. We can ascribe this continued and self-sacrificing struggle maintained by the people of Missouri so unequally to none other cause than their utter detestation of the enemy and their loyalty to the Government of the Confederate States.

The question then presents itself, does this exhausting and unequal system of defense adopted by the people of Missouri obtain the approbation of the Government? And does it, in the opinion of the Government, contribute toward the ultimate success of the common cause? An answer in affirmative to the inquiry would in my opinion devolve upon this Government the institution of such retaliatory measures as would compel the enemy to treat prisoners captured in the State of Missouri in accordance with the rules of civilized warfare, and the additional obligation of supplying the men in the field in that State promptly and to the extent of its ability with such munitions of war as are indispensably necessary. Further, I may say that the troops in the field under State authority, commanded by officers duly commissioned by the Governor of Missouri, should be placed upon a footing of absolute or approximate equality with other soldiers of the Confederate Army. But should your reply be in the negative, is it not proper and expedient that the Government of the Confederate States should interpose so far as to convey to the people of Missouri an expression of its disapproval of the policy there inaugurated, and indicate such a line of policy for them to pursue as would harmonize with the views of the Government? It is for the Government to judge of the difficulty, sacrifice, and advantage to result from maintaining military operations in Missouri hundreds of miles from any efficient supporting column, in which determination the extraordinary difficulties of communication and transportation will of course receive due consideration. And here I may be excused for submitting that Southwest Missouri and Northern Arkansas afford the only practical channels of army communication