War of the Rebellion: Serial 084 Page 0499 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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manding officers as well as of the picket guards themselves. In this connection he wishes me also to say that Colonel Davis' cavalry scouts occasionally meet men of your command outside the lines mounted who claim to belong to your escort company and to have been sent out either with a view of foraging or reconnoitering. To prevent their possible capture by the enemy or conflict with Colonel Davis' men you will please give orders to prevent their passing out for the future unless they accompany parties dispatched by Colonel Davis, who commands the cavalry forces here, or go themselves in force sufficiently strong to guard against capture, in which case due notice of their going will be sent ot these headquarters. Attention is invited to the inclosed circular.

With great respect, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

AUGUST [1], 1864.

Major General F. STEELE,

Little Rock, Ark.:

GENERAL: The Secretary of War has received a copy of resolutions of the Legislature of Arkansas, approved May 31, with your indorsement of July 27, asking for instructions. In cases of real suffering and distress of particular individuals or families caused by their rebel fellow citizens, it is always within the power of the military commander to levy contributions for their relief. These may be imposed on a particular place or a particular class, as, for example, those hostile to the occupying power or who have given aid and comfort to the enemy. But to levy such contributions upon one class of citizens for the general benefit of another class, or to enable this other class to prey upon or enjoy the property of their neighbors, is not only wrong in itself, but inevitably produces bitter animosities which are more difficult to meet and overcome than armed enemies in the field. To justify such assessment for the benefit of individuals or families, the suffering and want must be real and not pretended and the contributions levied must be applied directly to their object and not permitted to touch the hands of mercenaries. With these views the Secretary of War leaves the matter of military assessments or contributions to your own judgment, believing that the authority will be exercised with proper discretion.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Little Rock, August 1, 1864.

Major General E. R. S. CANBY,

Commanding Military Division of West Mississippi:

GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose copy of report* of General Buford of a skirmish with the enemy near Big Creek. From this report it appears that Shelby, with the principal part of his force, is within striking distance of either Helena or Clarendon. I presume this is so. An old woman who lives on White River, and who had a son killed on the gun-boat at Clarendon, told me to-day that Shelby's troops,


* See Part I, p. 16.