difficulties and embarrassments which will be certain to spring up around me in my present service. I did not then, nor can I now, do the small dirty work which some extreme men in this latitude demand at the hands of a military commandant. Judging from your orders, my views of the situation in North Missouri and of the appropriate remedies will not materially differ from your own. For guerrillas and bushwhackers, and all those who willingly harbor or conceal them, I would have but one rule of action, and that is swift and certain destruction. They are not only enemies of our country, but of Christianity and civilization, and even of our race, and the only remedy for the disease is to kill them. For the remainder of the disorder amongst us I would counsel obedience to law and to the constitutional authorities, and would at the same time enforce either civil or military law as the exigencies might seem to require against all offenders without distinction. The enforcement of this policy by a local commander often involves the punishment of men professing extreme loyalty, and brings down upon him the denunciations and abuse of a class of men who claim that loyal men should not be punished for acts of lawlessness on the persons or property of rebels. Next to the troubles which the guerrillas give, is that produced by a disposition on the part of a class of men (now growing fearfully large) of taking things into their own hands and inflicting summary punishment on all those whom they may deem inimical to their peculiar views of loyalty. I favor the punishment of rebels, but only by proper authority and in the mode prescribed by civil or military law. For maintaining these views I have been denounced by extreme men and persecuted by bad men to an extent which demanded all the forbearance I could summon to my aid to patiently endure. I have, however, kept steadily forward and shall continue to denounce this spirit of lawlessness be the consequences to me personally what they may. The times are precarious and our country full of destruction and woe, yet the line between right and wrong was never clearer to my view than now, and the necessity was never so great for all good men to unite in one grand effort to destroy, first, the great cause of all our woe, the rebellion, and next to restore peace and order among the masses of our now distracted and bleeding country. A good constitution and laws do not of themselves make a good government. These must be respected by the people and enforced by the authorities or they will be unstable and fail of the object for which governments are instituted.
I have deemed it proper to lay my views before you at the beginning of my service under you. These views I hold conscientiously and cannot adopt a line of policy inconsistent with them while left to guide my own actions. But my rule in military affairs is to enforce the orders of my superiors in command to the letter without question as to their propriety. I would serve my country in such capacity as would enable me to accomplish the most for her good, and with no higher ambition than to have it truthfully said that I had served honestly, faithfully, and int he fear of that God to whom we must all woe. I will accept it as a favor to be relieved from this service at any time you may be willing to dispense with my services. Till then I will throw my whole heart in the work before me.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. SHANKLIN,