SAINT LOUIS, MO., ARSENAL, February 20, 1864.
Major General W. S. ROSECRANS,
Commanding Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis:
GENERAL: I respectfully submit to your consideration the following rough plan to prevent further disturbances by bushwhackers, &c., to the population of the State of Missouri:
First. To advise and assist in forming an organization of loyal inhabitants for mutual protection (similar to those against horsethieves), in each township or two, according the geographical location, throughout the whole State; the members of each organization to be divided in seven squads, each to serve one day during the week for the purpose of patrolling their district, visiting localities, houses, &c., most likely to serve as hiding places, discovering suspicious characters, and watching the actions of persona of doubtful loyalty.
Second. To select a suitable rendezvous as near the center of the township as practicable, barricade the same by means of fence rails or other material (almost any house may serve for that purpose), and surround the same with a simple ditch, about as here:*
A number of arms, with ammunition, to be kept therein in readiness, and a signal to be agreed upon by the inhabitants of the township or district to meet at the rendezvous in case of nay emergency. Some horses to be kept there, if possible, for forwarding information to the adjacent townships and giving and alarm if large bodies of bush whackers are discovered or are observed to have passed from one township to another. Depopulated counties that have not a sufficient number of men may be protected by the State militia cavalry, and thus the whole State made network, out of which no intruder against the quiet and peace of the inhabitants may possibly effort his escape. The plan as suggested before may have at least the advantage that every farmer or business man may do his work during five days in the week, and be not longer absent from his home than one day and one night. I would also remove the fears of many that power would finally be taken from the people and our affairs end in military despotism.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. DE WERTHERN,
Captain and Adjt. 24th Regiment E. Mo. Militia (Arsenal Regiment)
LIBERTY, MO., February 20, 1864.
Major General W. S. ROSECRANS:
SIR: Inclosed you will find a copy of a letter addressed to the major-general [commanidng] the Department of the Missouri, the original being here in the hands of Colonel Moss. From an indorsement on the original by the adjutant-general, the matter was referred to General Guitar, by him to Colonel Williams, and by Colonel Williams to Colonel Moss. Under date of our letter to you of February 11, we asked that you appoint an officer of known and decided loyalty to conduct the investigation, and that as some persons were not willing to testify without some military protection,