be closed if the least danger of riot exists, and no acts calculated to incite strife must be evinced by the military. There must be no needless ground for charges of military oppression, but military power must not be despised and degraded. When we have no fore, we may suspend military action, but traitors must be advised that punishment will soon follow offenses. I hope you will confer with General Loan, who, as you know, has got leave of mine to go to Saint Joseph to look after his private affairs, and also inquire into the matters that divide our friends. He has the advantage of not having been mixed up in the Holt County matter, which is the gravamen of all the arguments I have seen in regard to the special strife now existing.
I am, general, very truly, your friend and obedient servant,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., March 1, 1863.
SMITH O. SCOFIELD, Esq.,
Saint Joseph, Mo.:
MY DEAR SIR: I hope you will allow the Democratic meeting to go on unmolested. Let them show their hand. It will not do for us to prevent a Democratic meeting per se. If treason is preached, take a note of the perpetrators, and we can attend to them at the proper time. I do not wish to give rebel leaders the advantage of a cry of military persecution of any political or religious sect, and prefer to run some risk rather than allow such an effort to divide our Union men. Although many of the leaders may be secessionists, thee will be many followers whom they would like to alienate by some demonstration which would excite passion. Discreet and prudent measures are especially necessary now, when we have little or no reliable force to depend upon in your county. The constant public assaults upon General Guitar embarrass me, and do no good. I have read all the paper and your letters have said about your difficulties, and, of course, sympathize with you most sincerely; but I see no need of proscribing our pro-slavery Union men, who, we know, are not actual rebels, but some of them fighting friends. Much as we may deplore slavery, it is an existing fact in Missouri, sustained by the laws, and we must tolerate it and respect loyal slave-holders. I see you came near having trouble on the subject of negroes who were arrested by the sheriff. The right of provost marshals to give free papers, I confess, is somewhat poorly supported at Washington, and I therefore hope that only the most unquestionable cases will be noticed. The sherifff's conduct merits and receives my thanks. Both the civil and the military authorities must try to avoid conflicts. We want no further war in Missouri; and if they do tear down your press, or do other mischief, I will try to visit the villains with all the punishment in my power.
Keep the peace as far as you can, and tell the provost-marshal this is his only duty on the day of election, or the day of a political meeting. Have the grog-shops closed, and make no efforts to silence speakers, or otherwise attempt to provoke strife at the time and place named. If we had a proper force there, I would advise immediate arrest for treasonable words or acts; but the policy of withdrawing force from Northern Missouri has been pressed upon me till I feel too weak to do justice to those who you say threaten mischief. I shall expect General