are willing to aid and assist the civil officers in the discharge of their official duties in the enforcement of the civil law, and extend protection to all classes of citizens who are loyal. The citizens of Wright County say they are perfectly willing to divide the last bushel of grain with troops who will protect them, and rely themselves on beef and wild meats until they can raise grain. I have never, in all my life, seen people so anxious to return to their homes, not only those who have been Union men from the beginning, but all appear both willing and anxious to do all in their power to restore peace and quiet.
I am informed this morning y one who knows that a number of citizens in the country of Wright and other counties have been recently killed by troops stationed at Lebanon and Waynesville, for what cause I did not learn. My friends here advise me that it would be unsafe for me to try to stay at home until times change there. They think that owing to the drunkenness and general demoralization of the troops at Lebanon, that I would be in danger from that quarter. I hope they are mistaken in that. You will excuse me for calling your attention to the liquor trade in the Southwest. While dealers in the article are permitted to ship it to the various military posts, military order, however stringent, will not prevent its excessive use amongst the officers and soldiers. At this time, at the little town of Lebanon, there are no less than eight liquor establishments, all, I am informed, doing a lucrative business. The owners of these establishments are growing rich, while families of citizens and soldiers in that vicinity are destitute of the commonest necessaries of life. Not only so, [but] the demoralization of the troops and the many depredations they have committed against persons and property is easily traceable to that cause. For instance, a scout is sent out, both officers and soldiers manage to get a supply of liquor, a few potations, and they are ready to take vengeance on any whom they may choose to look on as personal or political enemies; soon become unmanageable and insubordinate. These are facts that are patent to every one who is at all observant.
I cannot see any good reason why we cannot have peace and quiet in this part of the State if troops are placed at the proper points and do their duty. I am doing all I can to encourage the people to wait with patience for assistance; that the department commander must necessarily have time to learn the true state of affairs necessary to that end. Now, general, permit me to say in conclusion that if I can be of any service to you, in extending protection and restoring peace and quiet to that portion of the country, I will take great pleasure in doing so. We want law, order, peace, and quiet. I shall leave on the evening train for Lebanon. Would be much pleased to be enabled, by receiving a line there from you, to encourage the people who have not yet left to remain, and those who have left to return to their homes. I will write again when I arrive at Lebanon and look around awhile.
Forage in the Southwest is scarce, but as I said before the people are willing to divide the last bushel and live on rabbits and turkeys rather than not have protection. I would suggest that a few guns placed in the hands of the people of my county would be a good thing, as all were disarmed, and their guns never have been destroyed and not returned.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, &c.,
R. B. PALMER,
Colonel Seventy-third Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia.