Debris of the rebel forces, I hope the provost-martial organization, aided by the Enrolled Militia, will keep watch and ward over ever portion of the country. By arresting these returning rebels, and either confining them or placing them under heavy bonds signed by their neighbors and relatives, I hope we may prevent mischief.
On all these matters it will be best to keep our own counsel pretty close, and I therefore hope it may be convenient for you to come down soon, that we may consider and determined matters referred to by the President.
I have the honor to be, Governor, your obedient servant,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
VAN BUREN, MO., January 4, [1863.]
Your telegram of the 2nd just received. No pontoons were lost. My ferry-boat will be caulked and in the water to-morrow, waiting for rope and blocks. My pontoon bridge is laid, and I have thrown Boyd's division across. Jeff. Thompson sent message, saying the west side of the Current River belonged to him. I expect twenty-five days' supplies on the 11th; then I must move down the west side to Doniphan, if only to forage my animals. I am sorry Warren could not move down Eleven Point. Do give me what force I am to have and let me push on. I have an expedition out now 20 miles from here. I visit my lines by day and night, and am getting these men to be careful. The roads are almost impassable. Have no key to cipher yet.
J. W. DAVIDSON,
Washington, January 5, 1863.
MY DEAR SIR: I am having a good deal of trouble with Missouri matters, and I now set down to write you particularly about it. One class of friends believe in greater severity and another in greater leniency in regard to arrests, banishments, and assessments. As usual in such cases, each questions the other's motives. On the one hand, it is insisted that Governor Gamble's Unionism,at most, is not better than a secondary spring of action; that hunkerism and a wish for political influence stand before Unionism with him. On the other hand, it is urged that arrests, banishments, and assessments, are made more for private malice, revenge, and pecuniary interest than for the public good. This morning I was told by a gentleman, who I have no doubt believes what he says, that in one case of assessments for $10,000, the different persons who paid compared receipts, and found they had paid $30.000. If this be true, the inference is that the collecting agents pocketed the old $20,000. And true or not in the instance, nothing but the sternest necessity can justify the making and maintaining of a system so liable to such abuses. Doubtless the necessity for the making of the system in Missouri did exist, and whether it continues for the maintenance of it is now a practical and very important question. Some days ago Governor Gamble telegraphed me, asking that the assessments outside of Saint Louis County might be suspended, as they already have been
2 R R-VOL XXII, PT II