War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0193 Chapter XXXVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

it to your Union paper has the greatest circulation in these counties, with my request to the editor that he will publish it in his daily and weekly.

I also inclose a letter I have addressed to Major-General Schenck, suggesting my views of a policy that should, in my judgment, be adopted to purge your new State of the disloyal families making habitual mischief while remaining within our lines. Should my views accord with yours, you may aid me in persuading General Schenck, or the War Department, to adopt them.

I am, Governor, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. S. ROBERTS,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure.]

BUCKHANNON, VA.,

April 7, 1863.

Colonel W. H. CHESEBROUGH,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: I have the honor to suggest to the commanding general of the department the line of policy I wish to pursue in my regulation of the district of country embraced in my command toward that class of people who favor secession and the rebellion, and who are alike apposed to the new State government of Western Virginia and the Federal Government of the Union.

This class is very much more numerous than I had expected to find them, and are much more dangerous here than they could possibly be in open rebellion and in arms within the rebel lines. They harbor and give shelter to the guerrillas, and to rebel soldiers who, in disguise, pass into our lines, bringing information, and returning with intelligence for our enemies, and carry off horses and other property they steal from Union citizens, or that are supplied to them by the class who conceal them. They are especially active at this time, and prompt and severe measures must be adopted to strike down this great mischief. The character of this country favors this kind of brigandage, and the disloyal portions of the citizens who claim to be neutrals can, as a general thing, escape detection.

I propose to compel this class to go beyond our lines, making few exceptions, if any, and to take with them their families, old and young, but not their property, or anything that could aid the rebels. I see neither humanity, justice, nor any wisdom in permitting them to live under the protection of the new State government of Western Virginia, or the Federal Government, while they withhold their allegiance to either, and covertly aid the rebellion, vexing the loyal citizens, inflaming resentments, and encouraging the raids of the guerrillas in the destruction of their property, and in continuing the system of brigandage, planned by Governor Letcher at Richmond, for the overthrow of the new State government at Wheeling.

There is another class that should be sent at once into the enemy's lines. They are the wives and families of officers and soldiers in the Confederate service. They carry information and supplies from point to point in these mountains, where they meet their friends, and thus keep up a channel of communication that can only be broken up by expelling them from the country.

I have consulted with the prominent and most intelligent Union citizens in and about this region, and there is but one sentiment among

13 R R-VOL XXV, PT II