ATCHER'S LANDING, MO., March 21, 1864
Commanding Post, Charleston, Mo.;
SIR: Matters transpired in Charleston to-day which have induced me to take a step of which I deem it my duty to myself as well as to you to inform you before proceeding to put my plans into execution. I did not get to town this morning until after you had left with a scouting party. I was then informed you had my name on the list, and intendend I should have been one of the party. This evening I was sent for by Lieutenant Reid, and ordered to take a dispatch and follow after until I overtook and delivered it to you. It is unnecessary for me to receive all that was said relative to my going, pro and con (for this I respectfully refer you to the lieutenant, not doubting he will do me justice): suffice it to say that during the conversation I asked the lieutenant what would be the alternative if I declined to take the dispatch. This, I believe, he did not answer. I then asked if imprisonment would be the worst penalty. He replied he would not imprison me, but he did not know what you would do upon your return.
After another had been found to convey the dispatch, and upon leaving the lieutenant, I told him I wished it to be distinctly understood that in what I had said I meant no disrespect to him or to you, either as individuals or in your official capacities, but that I only meant, with due deference to you both, to claim what I esteemed to be my rights as a private citizen. I afterward saw the lieutenant and inquired if I should report to you upon your arrival. He told me not unless you sent for me. Had he required me to remain in town and had I promised to do so, having never in life broken my faith, I should certainly not have done so in this case, let the consequences have been what they might. But left free to act as I chose, and not knowing what penalty you might in a moment of irritation visit upon me-in a word, having no satisfaction upon this subject, and relying upon the rectitude of my intentions, feeling satisfied of an honorable acquittal before any impartial tribunal, I at once determined to go to Saint Louis and surrender myself to General Fisk, with a full statement of all the circumstances attending my offense, if offense I have committed.
During the trying vicissitudes through which the people of this county have passed during the last three years, I have, as you are doubtless informed, remained constantly at home attending to my legitimate avocations. Some were carried into the rebellion, others of our citizens have been accused of disloyalty and for a time imprisoned; but during all of that time, though never absent from my post, by no means a secluded one, constantly brought in contact with Federal officers and soldiers, my loyalty has never been impugned. I have never been under arrest; never seen the inside of a guard-house. I have, so far as a citizen is required to do so, complied with every civil and military law of the State and of the United States. In a word, I have to the best of my ability discharged all the duties incumbent upon a citizen.
I did not permit myself to be persuaded into joining the rebellion; I long since determined I would not be driven into it. I have suffered many annoyances from those whose duty it was to protect persons in my position, but I have never been driven to the ne plus