Confederate uniform all the dread and terror which used to attach to the Lincoln blue. The last horse is taken from the widow and orphan, whose husband and father has fallen in the country's service. No respect is shown to age, sex, or condition. Women are insulted and abused. On the other hand, General Steele, the Federal commander, is winning golden opinions by his forbearance, justice, and urbanity. I state this without amplifying. Any one can judge what will follow. If I dare venture a suggestion, it would be that the men who have thus deported themselves should be removed from the district, for their very names have become omens of evil. If you wish to get at the truth of these things, send a commission in a legal way. Every word will be attested by a cloud of witnesses. Yet these men have friends in high, very high, places; that constitutes the difficulty. That is the only reason why I trouble you with it. The evil must be remedied; you alone have the wisdom and power to do it. I have written of these things at greater length to General Harris and Colonel Waldo P. Johnson, the latter of whom, I think, must have considerable knowledge on the subject, acquired in mischief. There are too many men implicated in these wrongs, too much whisky drank in high places, too much disorganization in this army corps for these things to be redressed here by the powers that be. I feel as if I knew that in all of these things General Smith is above reproach; yet, as these culprits, from their positions, are the only conduits which the law has provided through which he is to receive his information of the status and condition of things in the army, it is almost impossible for him to correct these things.
In the beginning of the war I thought and hoped everything could be carried on with that decency and regularity that characterized the old army in the field. I soon learned that where untrained officers had to discipline untried men, all of whom were their equals, many their superiors, no such thing was possible. I became reconciled to it, and so still; but, soon after, I resigned rather than command a regiment in a mob, and Price's Missouri State Guard became nothing more. Things must change, or his army will soon be nothing less. In the late Shelby raid, which extended to the Missouri River, not one recruit was added to the list from the State of Missouri, which can be attributed to nothing but the bad conduct of this army, under its present commander.
Having traveled extensively through Illinois recently, I found everything working there just as we would desire. Your army and Government have a spotless name, and the respect of all, and the sympathy of many there. Then to return here, and find our own dear and faithful women in dread of our army is too bad. My high regard for your character makes me think that whatever is right has your sanction; whatever is wrong has your condemnation. Then I conclude that, with an army of which you are the chief, private property must be respected, and, when taken, which can only be for army use, it must be paid for, or some receipt given binding the Government. Also that the very name of woman must be sacred. I will not insult my glorious chief by intimating that it could be possible for him not to hold to these propositions, especially the latter. However, should you discover in anything that I am not orthodox, your permission to retire from the army will set all to rights with me.
Permit me to reiterate: I do not wish to trust either myself, my men, or my cause to any drunken officer. I do not wish to belong to a mob, or an army which, by its conduct, cannot be distinguished from one. I