All this state of things results from the secret aid and countenance which these outlaws receive from oath-made loyal men who are yet secret sympathizers in the rebellion and rejoice to see the Union men and power which have subdued them in turn subdued, and if possible eradicated.
This feature of the rebellion is one, in my judgment, which calls for some more prompt action of the Government than supplying soldiers to correct it. My experience among these people has taught me that pecuniary interest is a strong lever upon their actions, if it can be properly used; I would, therefore, most respectfully suggest whether, in the absence of any better measure, the issuing of an order embracing the substance of the following would not assure the Union men that the Government is taking every measure in its power to protect their lives and property:
In case a military district is infested with bushwhackers, marauders, and thieves, during the rebellion, who are depredating upon the lives and property of loyal citizens, the district commander, with the approval of the department commander, shall declare the said district under martial law, if the same has not been so declared by competent authority, for the purposes hereinafter named.
In such cases, the district commander shall appointed one or more military commissions, composed of prudent and judicious officers, with the approval of the department commander, whose duty it shall be to investigate all cases of the loss of life or property of loyal Union men by bushwhackers, marauders, and thieves, which facts shall be determined by the testimony of reliable, loyal persons.
The value of the property lost, or destroyed by such means shall be based upon its value in the currency of the United States, and the value of each lie (a non-combatant) lost shall be estimated at $5,000 in like currency. The said appraisement and finding of the commission, signed by the members of the commission, whose duty it shall be to sign the same on a finding by a majority of the members, shall be a just and true debt against the county, and a lien against all the real estate in said county where the depredations were committed, from the date of the finding of said military commission, in three-fourths of the amount so found except in cases clearly proven the commission that such depredations were committed by persons from the adjoining county in another State, in which case the certificate of loss will be a just and true debt against the county, and a lien against all the real estate in said county where the depredations were committed, in three-eighths of the amount so found, and three-eighths of such original amount so found shall be a just and true debt against said county in the adjoining State from which the depredators came, and shall in like manner be a lien against the real estate in said county, and the certificate shall be made to the parties, their heirs or assigns, accordingly.
The amount so found shall be filed in the county clerk's office; but a failure to file shall not prevent their being a lien upon the real estate of said country.
District commanders will cause county officers to collect the various amounts so found every 1st July and 1st January by a pro rata tax upon the same valuation as all county and State taxes are levied and collected; and the lien upon the real estate in said county shall remain in full force and effect until the said amounts are collected and