the temper of the people on the question of slavery. At the risk of anticipating the development of the policy of the administration on this subject, I will venture the opinion that the State of Arkansas should be permitted to return to the enjoyment of her full rights and privileges as a State in the Union when she is prepared to do so as a free State, and not sooner. I express this opinion simply with reference to 'arkansas, not presuming to judge of other States not in my department.
I would be glad, Mr. Secretary, to receive any instructions you may be pleased to give me on this subject. If intrusted with the execution of the policy of the Government in this matter, I will devote my utmost efforts to secure the desired results.
The greatly improved condition of Missouri and Kansas will soon enable me to leave them to the care of subordinate commanders, while the proposed advance of Major-General Steele's column to the Red River, or, perhaps, into Texas, will leave Arkansas in a fit condition for the gradual, but I believe speedy, development of a loyal civil government.
If you approve my suggestions, or give me other instructions, I propose to visit Little Rock and other places in Arkansas during the present winter, for the purpose of carrying out the policy which may be adopted.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
HEADQUARTERS TROOPS OF THE BORDER,
Trading Post, Kans., December 5, 1863.
J. H. HADLEY,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, District of the Border:
SIR: I have the honor to report that I have just returned from a scout in Bates County, Missouri, having been absent seven days. I find a small gang of bushwhackers on the Osage River, below Tappensville [Papinsville?], in number about 28. They are the old gang of Marchbanks' company. It is their intention to winter in Bates Country, if possible. They scatter when approached, but I think they can be trapped. I start another scout after them to-morrow.
I find quite a number of families living in Bates, on the eastern line, who have returned from Henry County on written and verbal permits from the militia of Henry County. I have ordered them all out of the district again, but think some of them will have to be hauled out before they go. In regard to the resettlement of Bates and Vernon Counties, I think two settlements can be made on the eastern side, one on Deep Waters and one on Panther Creek. I have some doubts, however, about 30 men at each place being able to prove their loyalty and comply with General Orders, Numbers 20. I find also several men gathering up hogs in the eastern part of Bates County, who have passes from the commanding officer at Clinton, by authority of the general commanding District of the Border.
The country is very devastated by prairie fires, many good farms being destroyed, and the loss seems to have fallen heavier on the loyal than disloyal.
I saw and conversed with some of the best and most reliable Union men (now in Henry County), formerly of Bates, who intend to avail themselves of the privileges of Orders, Numbers 20, as soon as they find that enough will attempt it to make if safe.