are very generally armed I have no doubt, but that these arms will ever be turned against the Government I think entirely improbable.
I have witnessed in this State the application of all policies upon this subject; I urged the issuance, and aided in carrying out, the first order disarming the whole population of Missouri. I believed then that it would be productive of good; experience, however, has satisfied me that the result was otherwise. In my whole experience, dating from the inception of the rebellion, I have never found or heard of a solitary rebel soldier, guerrilla, thief or marauder in Missouri in want of arms and ammunition. The time has never been when they could not procure all they desired, not even when every county town was garrisoned with Federal troops. They can procure them now by the wagon load, if they desire them, from Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and even from Saint Louis. In the States named there are, as far as I am advised, no restrictions upon the sale of arms and ammunition and never have been. In a word, my opinion is that the peace of Missouri is in no way dependent upon the ability of the people to procure arms, but upon their disposition to use them against the Government.
I may be mistaken, but with my experience and knowledge of the people I ought not to be, when I ascent it as my most deliberate conviction that if General Sterling Price was permitted to go through the District of North Missouri and canvass the country for recruits unmolested, he cold not find 500 men so reckless or so deluded as to be willing to enlist under the rebel standard. The effort was made last year, when the prospects of the Confederates were certainly brighter than they are now. I had but few more troops in the district than there at present, yet with all their efforts they did not succeed in enlisting 75 men. There is a prevailing sentiment and feeling among rebel sympathizers in North Missouri, and one which many of them do not attempt to conceal, that the cause of the rebellion is hopeless, and as far as Missouri is concerned, utterly hopeless; with this opinion, like rats, they are trying to escape from the sinking ship. In the main, the rebels of North Missouri are subjugated and will remain so unless some terrible reverse should overtake our fortunes.
The season for sensation reports is near at hand; it comes with the swelling buds and opening blossoms, and on every breeze freighted with their rich fragrance will be borne rumors of untold thousands rallying to the clansman's call. Instead of there being only 3,000 recruited and ready to march in Platte, there will be double that number in every county in North Missouri.
I have felt it due to submit this candid statement of my opinion in the premises, assured that if the commanding general does not appreciate it now, he will before the summer is past and the war is ended. I omitted to give the reason why I thought the policy of disarming the whole population had been productive of no good result. Had the loyal men of the State been allowed to retain their arms, I am satisfied that, in hundreds of cases, they would have used them in protecting their lives and property against the incursions of the thieves and marauders who have infested the country. Unarmed and defenseless as they were left, they were murdered with impunity and robbed without the power of resistance.