War of the Rebellion: Serial 062 Page 0531 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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placed 4 Confederate officers in close confinement as hostages and now hold them as such. These 4 men of the Fourth Regiment Arkansas Mounted Infantry were Union men, claiming that they owed allegiance to the U. S. Government, but were forcibly taken from their homes, and by violence compelled to serve in the Confederate Army, from which they escaped as soon as practicable, and afterward joined Colonel Baxter's Fourth Regiment Arkansas Infantry. I hold that no act of others performed in violence can abrogate the allegiance of a citizen to his government, and that the act of returning to the ranks of his own government's army of any men, taken by force into the enemy's ranks, such return cannot under any circumstances be constructed into desertion.

I further learn that these men have been executed by your orders, but refrain from crediting this report until I ascertain positively that it is correct. War should be carried on as far as possible in a creditable manner and according to the customs and usages of a civilized people. It is the undoubted duty of all in authority to ameliorate as much as possible the calamities entailed by the condition of war, and I trust your own reputation as a soldier will bear me out in hoping that I only express your own views when I say so. Have the kindness, general, to inform me whether the report of the execution of these 4 men of the Fourth Arkansas is unfounded or not. The implied threat of retaliation in your communication I overlook as the result of zeal in behalf of your men, and assure you that it cannot in anywise influence me.

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


Colonel First Regiment Nebraska Cavalry, Commanding District.


Saint Louis, Mo., March 8, 1864.

Brigadier General E. B. BROWN,

Commanding Central Dist. of Missouri, Warrensburg, Mo.:

GENERAL: I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 1st instant. The commanding general approves of the disposition made of your troops as therein reported, and further directs that the most efficient means be provided for daily intercommunication between posts, by means of patrols or courier-lines, at different hours of the day, and that care be taken to scout the by-paths and woods.

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


Assistant Adjutant-General.


HDQRS. CENTRAL DIST. OF MISSOURI, No. 11. Warrensburg, Mo., March 8, 1864.

All citizens who formerly resided in the border counties of Missouri who desire to return to their homes can do so upon procuring from any assistant provost-marshal a certificate that will be evidence of good character, of loyalty to the Government of the United States.

These certificates should be approved by one of the sub-district