War of the Rebellion: Serial 025 Page 0761 Chapter XXIX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

enlisted under that assurance, and were instantly ordered to this side of the Mississippi River. When I called the President's attention to that fact last June he expressed his regret that they had been withdrawn and promised to send them back, as was subsequently more explicitly stated in your communication.

When I returned to the army those promises were made known to my officers and men. They have relied upon those promises and are anxiously awaiting the fulfillment of them. I have been told that the President expresses his astonishment that troops professing to be patriotic and obedient should insist as these troops do upon being sent to a particular point.

The position of Missouri is peculiar, and that peculiarity ought to be recognized. It explains the conduct of her people and troops. The State is and has been for nearly a year in the actual military possession of the enemy, and it is but natural that her people should begin to fear that a treaty of peace will leave her in the Union and drive such of them as take up arms into exile. It is that belief which prevents them from entering the Confederate service. To do so is only to devote themselves and theirs to ruin. They believe, however, that if the Government would make an earnest effort to achieve the independence of Missouri it would succeed and bind it to the Confederacy in any contingency. Those of them who are in the army therefore anxious that such an effort should be made. They insist that they at least may be able in this request? In other works, the Missourians insist upon fighting in Missouri not only because their ruined home is there and their unprotected and oppressed families, but because they believe,and with too much cause, that unless they go there, and that right speedily, to fight for her independence her doom is sealed, and that all their sufferings and the blood of their comrades will have only brought ruin on their wives and children and desolation on their homes. It is not just to say that the soldiers from other States have as much right to ask to be sent to their own States. The case is entirely different. The Mississippian, wherever he fights, knows that the is fighting for his own home and his own liberty, for his State must necessarily form part of the Confederacy; but his is not the case with the Missourian; he cannot fight under nay such cheering belief except upon his own soil. These are facts the Government ought to recognize. The troops here feel them so acutely that they are, as I have said, clamoring to be led back to Missouri; their terms of service begin to expire next month; they do not admit the right of the Government to conscript them; they will claim their discharges. The Government may choose to force them to continue in the service. I confide in its wisdom not to do so. It will be far better to act justly, and in a spirit of conciliation to order myself and the troops under my command back to Missouri in accordance with your and the President's promises.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

STERLING PRICE,

Major-General.

JACKSON, November 26, 1862.

Major J. R. WADDY:

Twenty-one thousand Federal troops in Memphis under marching orders. They move to-morrow morning at 5 a. m. toward Hernando, Miss.

JNO. B. MORRIS,

Manager.