War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0584 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T. AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

unwilling to live at home, have joined the bands of guerrillas infesting the border. Companies which before this summer mustered but 20 or 30 have now grown to 50 or 100. All the people of the country, through fear or favor, feed them, and rarely any give information as to their movements. Having all the inhabitants, by good will or compulsion, thus practically their friends, and being familiar with the fastness of a country wonderfully adapted by nature to guerrilla warfare, they have been generally able to elude the most energetic pursuit. When assemble in a body of several hundred, they scatter before an inferior force; and when our troops scatter in pursuit, they reassemble to fall on an exposed squad, or a weakened post, or a defenseless strip of the border. I have had seven stations on the line from which patrols have each night and each day traversed every foot of the border for 90 miles. The troops you have been able to spare me out of the small forces withheld by your from the armies of Generals Grant, Steele, and Blunt, numbering less than 3,000 officers and men for duty, and having over twenty-five separate stations or fields of operations throughout the district, have worked hard and (until this raid) successfully in hunting down the guerrillas and protecting the stations and the border. They have killed more than 100 of them in petty skirmish and engagements between the 18th of June and the 20th instant.

On the 25th instant I issued an order* requiring all residents of the counties of Jackson, Cass, Bates, and that part of Vernon included in this district, expect those within 1 mile of the limits of the military stations and the garrisoned towns, and those north of Brush Creek and west of Big Blue, to remove from their present places of residence within fifteen days from that date; those who prove their loyalty to be allowed to move out of the district or to any military in it, or to any part of Kansas west of the border counties; all others to move out of the district. When the war broke out, the district to which this order applies was peopled by a community three-fours of whom were intensely disloyal. The avowed loyalists have been driven from their farms long since, and their houses and improvements generally destroyed. They are living in Kansas, and at military stations in Missouri, unable to return to their homes. None remain on their farms but rebels and neutral families; and practically the condition of their tenure is that they shall feed, clothe, and shelter the guerrillas, furnish them information, and deceive or withhold information from us. The exceptions are few, perhaps twenty families in those parts of the counties to which the order applies. Two-thirds of those who left their families on the order and went to the rebel armies have returned. The dare not stay at home, and no matter what terms of amnesty may be granted, they can never live in the country expect as brigands; and so long as their families and associates remain, they will stay until the last man is killed, to ravage every neighborhood of the border. With your approval, I was about adopting, before this rad, measures for the removal of the families of the guerrillas and of known rebels, under which two-thirds of the families affected by this order would have been compelled to go. That order would have been most difficult of execution, and not half so effectual as this. Though this measure may seem too severe, I believe it will prove not inhuman, but merciful, to the non-combatants affected by it. Those who prove their loyalty will find houses enough at the stations, and will not be allowed to suffer for want of food. Among them there are but few dissatisfied with the order, not-


* See Ewing to Schofield, August 25, 1863, Part II, pp. 472, 473.