citizens; and you exert no power, except it may be some encouragement to rogues, who hope to escape from justice by running into your lines.
When persons are condemned to be shot by Federal authority, the proceedings have to be approved by the President, but no case of this sort has arisen under my command.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
Vindication of General McNeil.
Palmyra, Mo., December 10, 1862.
To the Editor of the New York Times:
SIR: Noticing in your issue of December 1 an extended extract from foreign papers, accompanied by an editorial, upon the execution of ten rebels at this place, which extract and editorial appear based upon an entire misconstruction of the case, and thereby casting grave censure upon a meritorious officer, I am led (having by position at the time an opportunity of knowing everything connected with the transaction), out regard to the of history, and to do justice to General McNeil, to address you on the subject. It is very difficult for men removed thousands of miles from the scene of action - men who are placed in a locality where law and order prevail, where loyalty is universal - to begin even to appreciate slightly the deep malice, the enormous crimes, the treacheries, the assassinations, the perjuries that invariably have characterized those, especially in Missouri, who have take up arms avowedly to destroy their Government.
Now, Mr. Editor, here in Missouri our Government commenced by extending toward the rebels in our midst every kindness, and a degree of clemency that soon caused it to be much safer, in every part of our State, to be a rebel than to be a Union man. Every neighborhood was coerced, whilst the Government was maintaining within the State a large force, at no time less than 50,000 men, and often largely overrunning those figures. Still treason continued rampant, traitors publicly held forth on the clemency with which they were treated, regarding it as proof and confession of the weakness of the Government, that she dare not hurt any one. Union men and their families were forced to leave their homes and their all and fly for protection and for life to the loyal States. I have seen hundreds of wagons on their way to Illinois and other States - families who had lived in independent circumstances forces to live on corn-meal and water and beg their way long. The Union troops, by their kindness, were absolutely offering a premium to treason and to crime. Their presence, under the orders they were forced to act on, became, instead of protection, absolutely a terrible evil. Union men dared not give the troops information; assassination was sure to follow. Things went on from bad to worse. Soon the scoundrels began the innocent pastime of shooting into passenger-cars, of burning railroad bridges, not as a military necessity, but for the sole purpose of murder. Hundreds of non-combatants were crippled and murdered - wives made insane by the enormous outrages they committed. Some of the men perpetrating these hideous crimes were caught. I participated in the action of the commission appointed to try them.