I have received an order from Brigadier General Clinton B. Fisk, announcing that he assumes command of the District of Southeastern Missouri. I am not informed whether the district extends so as to include me, or whether I am still under General Davidson.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHESTER HARDING, JR.,
Colonel, Commanding Post.
HDQRS. FIRST MISSOURI STATE MILITIA CAVALRY,
Lexington, July 25, 1863.
SIR: Your telegram of the 24th, making inquiries about the situation of affairs in Johnson County, received, and in reply will state that immediately on my return from Warrensburg I made the following report, as near as I can recollect. Owing to carelessness the report the report was not recorded.
In compliance with your telegram of the 10th, which was not received until 5 p.m., 11th, I proceeded, on the 12th, with Companies I and K, First Missouri State Militia Cavalry, to Warrensburg, reaching that place same evening, and on the 14th the two companies of the Fourth Missouri State Militia Cavalry marched for Kansas City. I found very bad state of affairs there; a great many outrages and murders had been committed; but as your order was to arrest the ringleaders, I found it very hard to find out who were the ringleaders in these depredations, as they were mostly committed by irresponsible persons, who would frequently go out with soldiers and commit these outrages. The minds of some of the soldiers had been worked upon by bad, designing men until they had become so incensed against some of the best Union citizens that they had to leave their houses for their own safety. Under these circumstances, I concluded that it was best to make no arrests for the present. It is very well known who the leaders of this party are, but they disclaim having anything to do with the outrages. There have been but few murders or other outrages committed there but what can be clearly proven who the guilty parties are, but to do that it will require some time, and must be done by some one whom the people will have confidence in their staying long enough to make a full investigation and bring the guilty parties to punishment. There are women there whose husbands have been murdered, but, owing to threats, and the frequent removals and changes of commanding officers, they are afraid to give their testimony. There has been a perfect reign of terror existing there, but I am satisfied that all will go well while our men remain there, as they cannot be induced to take any part in the personal difficulties of the citizens there, and Captain Burris, who is in command, is a good man, and will put a stop to all such outrages as have been heretofore committed by the aid of, and in many instances by, a dissatisfied soldiery.
The above, I think, is about the substance of my former report, which, I hope, you will receive. I will add that since my return from there some four citizens, who are the leaders of the party spoken of, have been arrested by the Enrolled Missouri State Militia, and sent to Saint Louis by order of the provost-marshal-general of the department. I think their arrest was caused by their illegal proceedings in carrying out the assessment order issued by General Schofield last summer. I receive communications from Captain Burris almost daily. Our men are