HDQRS. SECOND BATTN., THIRD MISSOURI STATE MIL. CAV.
July 27, 1864. (Via Sturgeon.)
Scouts sent out last night have just returned. They report that the guerrillas are moving in small squads toward the Missouri River. I have sent my wagons and sick under proper escort to Columbia. We will kill the robbers off as soon as possible.
HDQRS. FIFTIETH Regiment ENROLLED MISSOURI MILITIA,
Edina, Knox County, Mo., July 27, 1864.
Major General W. S. ROSECRANS,
Commanding Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo.:
GENERAL: The greatly disturbed condition of the country has produced great excitement in this county. I have had deputations from different parts of this county to-day urging me to call out the militia under my command into active service, and a large meeting was held to-day in our down in which resolutions were passed requesting me to call out eighty-five mounted men for immediate service. I am placed in a most unpleasant position, as people think I ought to do something for the country. I have taken the responsibility to order out eighty-five mounted men for present duty. I have also given orders to those men as far as possible to take all fire-arms from the possession of disloyal persons and those who are exempt from military duty. There is no doubt but that the country is filled with armed guerrillas. Shelbina, thirty-five miles from this place, was burned yesterday and other depredations are being done daily, and unless we have authority to call into service the militia of the country Northeast Missouri will be a desolation. Already all our merchants are moving off their goods and the best horses are being moved off and a general terror pervades the whole country. I request, therefore, general, that you issue an order authorizing me to call active service my regiment, so long as the necessity of the case may require. I would also request that you authorize me to take all the guns in the hands of the disloyal or sympathizers, and that I am authorized to subsist my men off the country until arrangements can ba made to get Government subsistence. And I would further request that this order be dated from this date, July 27, 1864, to cover my present action. I am aware, general, that the usual formula would be to have the order made through General Fisk to General Douglass, and from him to me; but the emergency requires that whatever is done should be done forthwith or the county is destroyed (and our faith is not strong in our State government). Therefore we make the application direct to you, believing that you will make the order and I can report then to General Fisk by letter. Reverend McManary will carry this letter. He will be able to give you a full history of affairs in this country; is a Union man. The loyal men of Missouri have full faith in you and believe that you will do everything in your power to keep us from destruction.
I have the honor, general, to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. M. WIRT,
Colonel Fiftieth Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia.
P. S.-I wrote to you last Monday bearing on the same subject, and only the great terror of the country induces me to again trouble you before hearing from my first letter.
S. M. W.