are facts that can be proved beyond all question. Desertion from the army, trading with the enemy, and the removal of deserters and their families into the lines and supposed lines of the enemy is now the order of the day, and the citizen who opposes these things stands almost alone and in great personal danger.
Many of the men not liable to military service and nearly all the women are openly at work to weaken our army, procure desertion, and assail the Confederacy, Unless this things is speedily arrested. the army and people of Mississippi will soon be so demoralized that no remedy can be found; no temporizing policy will answer. The most radical and severe treatment is required. The women and non-combatants must be handled speedily and roughly. Deserters must be put to death or in service most remote from their homes. I know many deserters now in desertion for the fourth, fifth, and sixth times who have never been punished. I am glad to see that the writ of habeas corpus is suspended in certain cases, and hope the offenders will be promptly arrested.
Our only salvation is in the most rigid and energetic efforts. Let those who trade with the enemy, those who desert the army, those who give aid and comfort to deserters, those who assail the Confederacy, early feel the hospitalities of the prisoners and short rations. The State in now under the tacit rule of deserters, thieves, and disloyal men and women. The lower and middle tier of counties are vastly rotten. Confederate muskets, rifles, and cartridges are in every disloyal house, and defiance bid to the powers that be.
Many of our soldiers who remain in or along with the service are as destructive to property as the Yankee; they steal, destroy, and appropriate without restraint; everything useful or valuable to the citizen that can be reached by them is grasped. Open-day and mid-night robbery is practiced every day and night in every neighborhood by deserters, pretended soldiers, and soldiers with their commands. Officers in command are much to blame for this, and they alone can correct it, yet they often in effect encourage it. Privates steal, and soldiers refuse to give up the property when identified by the citizens, and even punish the citizens for making claim to it. The discipline is awfully bad. These things tend to desired and disaffect our best citizens, and are swelling the tide against us.
I have admired your and the broad liberty allowed to all, but it has ceased to be appreciated or improved. It is now simply casting pearls before swine, and is used to sap the Government and outrage the families of the good and true. I now hope to see an iron rule enforced with iron hand and hearts of stone. Mississippi is almost a Sodom and Gomorrah; the purifying element is with you, and the day of our salvation, if neglected for a day, is forever gone. I am no alarmist, but tremble in view of a just comprehension and full knowledge of the extent, depth, and magnitude of these evils.
the cavalry sent among us to arrest conscripts and deserters have been a nuisance to the cause and country in a large degree. They spend a large part of their time in gaming parties, drunkenness, marrying, horse-racing, and stealing.
Captain Jonathan Davis, of Twentieth Mississippi regiment, Walthall's brigade, now with his company, was the only recruiting officer in my knowledge who did his duty, and when here, did rid the country of conscripts and deserters when all others had signally failed because they were failures anyway.