HEADQUARTERS MARMADUKE'S DIVISION,
Jacksonport, Ark., June 6, 1863.
Major L. A. MACLEAN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Price's Division:
MAJOR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of General Orders, Numbers 5, Headquarters Price's division, June 6, 1863. I desire to call the attention of the major-general commanding to the following words of Paragraph VI of said orders:
The major-general commanding has heard with the most profound regret that the troops in this vicinity have been guilty of acts of lawlessness, which are calculated not only to bring disgrace upon themselves, but, by disaffecting toward us those who would otherwise be our friends, to entail disaster, if not ruin, upon our cause. He hopes that he has been misinformed, and that the acts of a few thoughtless men have been grossly exaggerated to the prejudice of the many. Be that as it may, he will not permit the troops under his command to pillage and plunder either friend or foe. The property and persons of women and children and other non-combatants shall not be interfered with except by legitimate authority.
From the fact that no troops save those under my command have been lately encamped in this vicinity, I am justified in supposing that the paragraph was intended to apply exclusively to them, and I cannot consider it as operating otherwise than unjustly to both myself and my troops. It implies directly that charges of a serious character have been preferred against my command, and have been entertained by the major-general commanding, without my having been informed of their existence or nature, thus depriving me of an opportunity of vindicating myself and my command. It further indirectly implies that depredations have been committed by my men, and that I have not taken prompt and active measures to prevent their recurrence or bring the perpetrators to punishment. I am convinced that a very small amount of investigation will show that these charges are entirely general in their character; that specific acts of lawlessness are not alleged; that they are idle tales, growing in proportion to the distance they travel; and that when they have any foundation in fact, and are investigated, they will prove to be the acts of organized bands of deserters and conscripts fleeing from the law, and professional marauders, made up from all the divisions and brigades of the army. I most distinctly assert that but few specific charges of lawlessness have been brought to my notice or the notice of the different brigade commanders of my division, and that in every instance I have exerted myself to right the wrong of the aggrieved party, and do substantial justice to both citizen and soldier. I have not only given my attention to the matters brought immediately before me, but have kept scouting parties out in different directions, with positive orders to arrest and bring to punishment all lawless and suspected persons, whether belonging to my command or not. I do not pretend that my command has done no wrong or perpetrated no outrage, but I do assert that punishment and restitution have always followed where the guilt could be fixed, and I submit that the conduct of my division has not been such as to justify the invidious language of Paragraph VI.
I call the attention of the major-general commanding to these facts more particularly because it has become quite common with many officers to attempt to hold my command responsible for all the lawlessness incident to the border line between the two armies, and to make serious charges reflecting upon myself as a commander and my men as soldiers, without any knowledge whatever of the matter of which they speak.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. S. MARMADUKE,