ernor to vitalize and mobilize the "Border Brigade," and the control of arms and ammunition. Thus clothed, I will answer with my head for the substantial peace of this district. It is true, the Governor has instructed the "Border Brigade" to obey my orders, but I can only use them as a provost guard, and when they appeal to me for arms, or other necessary equipments, I can only say "powerless."
I do not complain of a want of labor in my position; it is abundant and perplexing enough; but I almost regret the possession of perceptive faculties, that enable me to see so much more that ought to be done. There is a matte, I think of grave moment,to which the attention of Government ought to be promptly and earnestly called.
My position brings me in contact with a great many returned soldiers from the Army of the Mississippi, and I find among them an almost universal feeling of intense bitterness, from the conviction that they have been, and are, used principally for the benefit of cotton speculators, officers, and outsiders. Judging from what I have seen and know, this is the deadliest poison at work in the army, and if an antidote is not found soon, it will be reduced to a skeleton- nothing left but officers and camp followers.
Pardon me for taxing your time so extensively, and believe me, my dear sir, very truly, yours,
J. M. HIATT.
OSCEOLA, February 5, 1863.
J. M. HIATT, Provost- Marshal:
SIR: I am induced to write and lay before you our grievances and wants.
1st. We are in a strong Union country, in proportion to our population, and rebel sentiments have heretofore been badly rebuked. Of late, since large numbers of our men have gone into service, Northern rebels have become bold and insolent, and in this place are holding their meetings of the K. G. C., as we believe, nearly public. At their last meeting, they made a display of clubs and pistols, and talked of being able, and rather anxious, to clean out this "Abolition town." They say they are organized; that they can, and will, bring 500 from Madison County and 200 from Decatur, who will burn up the town and clean out the Abolitionists, &c.
A lieutenant of the State militia, of Decatur County, went through here a few days since to see the Governor. He says the rebels in his county are scouring the country at night. The same is true of this county. They claim the right to avow their rebel sentiments whenever and wherever they please, and in the most provoking manner possible, and swear the marshal can make no more arrests here, &c. You certainly know how they are doing the work of their master.
2nd. We want ammunition, and have as yet tried in vain to procure it. We have three companies of Home Guards in this county, or have had, but they are nearly all gone to war, and their places are taken by old men and boys, who want to do service if the wolf comes, but we are unprepared. There are in all about 175 muskets in the county, and not over one load to each gun. We are advised to apply to you. Now, sir, you know our helpless condition, and if you can aid us with cartridges and especially musket caps, we pray you do so.
That there will be trouble here I have no doubt. It is only a question of time. We want more guns, cartridges, caps, powder, and lead.