and other officers of junior grades have told me that they habitually give orders to their scouting parties "to bring in no prisoners." This course has, without doubt, induced many to continued their guerrilla warfare, and to make them fight to desperation,as they dare not return to their homes or give themselves up to the military authorities for fear of being instantly put to death.
These bushwhackers undoubtedly deserve the most severe chastisement for the atrocities they have committed, but when they surrender, it seems to me that they should be speedily taken before a complement tribunal and given the opportunity to prove their innocence before being executed. The existing practice enables evil-disposed solder to rob and murder loyal and inoffensive citizens under the plea that they were acting as bushwhackers, and it unquestionably tends greatly to demoralize troops. After having had a good opportunity of witnessing the practical working of the policy, I am decidedly of the opinion that great detriment to the service results from stationing troops in the vicinity of their homes, as has often been the case in this department. Officers and soldiers serving in the neighborhood of their relatives and friends are anxious to visit and be visited by them frequently, and their attention is thus drawn away from their appropriate military duties.
In Missouri many of the soldiers and their families have suffered from the department committed upon them by rebels, and they have their enemies whom they desire to punish, and they are very prone to use the power which their military position give them to accomplish unwise purposes. The evils of this are seen on every hand along the beautiful country bordering Kansas, where nearly all the houses, barns,and fences have been burned to the ground, and where it is now unsafe for a man, either Union of rebel, to live away from the immediate vicinity of the militia stations. The Second Colorado Cavalry is now stationed in that unfortunate section, and I am happy to say that their presence seems to give very general satisfaction to the inhabitants, and I further believe that if troops from other States were made use of exclusively in Missouri, and the troops of the State sent elsewhere, that it would give much more satisfaction to the orderly and law-abiding population of the country, and that it would tend to promote peace and quiet where murder, highway robbery, pillage, and other kindred crimes are now of almost daily occurrence.
Another subject to which I beg leave to call the attention of the commanding general is in regard to the line of mail-stages which run daily each way between Rolla and Springfield, Mo. It now requires some 600 cavalry troops to escort these stages,and the rapid driving which they make renders the service exceedingly hard upon the cavalry horses; so much so, indeed, that in my judgment the benefits derive from the transit of the mails and passengers are not at all commensurate with the expense to the Government in furnishing escort. In addition to this there is also I am informed, a daily line of stages between Sedelia and Springfield, thereby furnishing two daily mails from Saint Louis to Springfield. The class of persons who travel in these stages are, as a general rule, people who confer no service to the Government by their transit. I should therefore suppose that a mail carried over the Rolla road once of twice a week would be amply sufficient for all the requirements of the service, and this would make a very material reduction in the number of troops necessary for the escorts. There is, as the commanding