HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, August 28, 1863.
President of the United States, Washington, D. C.:
Mr. PRESIDENT: In reply to your telegram of the 27th, transmitting copy of one received from two influential citizens of Kansas, I beg leave to state some of the facts connected with the horrible massacre at Lawrence, and also relative to the assaults made upon by a certain class of influential politicians.
Since the capture of Vicksburg a considerable portion of the rebel arm in the Mississippi Valley has disbanded, and large numbers of men have come back to Missouri-many of them, doubtless, in the hope of being permitted to remain at their former homes in peace, while some have come under instructions to carry on a guerrilla warfare, and others, men of the worst character, become marauders on their own account, caring nothing for the Union nor for the rebellion, except as the latter affords them a cloak for their brigandage.
Under instructions from the rebel authorities, as I am informed and believe, considerable bands, called "Border Guards," were organized in the counties of Missouri bordering on Kansas, for the ostensible purpose of protecting those counties from inroads from Kansas, and preventing slaves of rebels from escaping from Missouri Kansas. These bands were unquestionably encouraged, fed, and harbored by a very considerable portion of the people of those border counties. Many of those people were in fact the families of these bushwhackers, who are brigands of the worst type.
Upon the representation of General Ewing and others familiar with the facts, I became satisfied there could be no cure for the evil short of the removal from those counties of all slaves entitled to their freedom, and of the families of all men known to belong to these bands, and others who were known to sympathize with them. Accordingly I directed General Ewing to adopt and carry out the policy he had indicated, warning him, however, of the retaliation which might be attempted, and that he must be fully prepared to prevent it before commencing such severe measures.
Almost immediately after it became known that such policy had been adopted, Quantrill secretly assembled from several of the border counties of Missouri about 300 of his men. They met at a preconcerted place of rendezvous, near the Kansas line, at about sunset, and immediately marched for Lawrence, which place they reached at daylight the next morning. They sacked and burned the town and murdered the citizens in the most barbarous manner.
It is easy to see that any unguarded town in a country where such a number of outlaws can be assembled is liable to a similar fate, if the villains are willing to risk the retribution which must follow. In this case 100 of them have already been slain, and the remainder are hotly pursued in all directions. If there was any fault on the part of General Ewing, it appears to have been in not guarding Lawrence. But of this it was not my purpose to speak. General Ewing and the Governor of Kansas have asked for a court of inquiry, and I have sent to the War Department a request that one may be appointed, and I do not wish to anticipate the result of a full investigation. I believe, beyond doubt, that the terrible disaster at Lawrence was the immediate consequence of the "radical" measures to which I have alluded. Although these measures are far behind what many, at least, of the radical