War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 0245 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records


Davenport, Iowa, October 25, 1864.

Major J. F. MELINE,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Dept. of the Northwest, Milwaukee, Wis.:

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that in accordance with instructions received from department headquarters by telegraph on the 22nd instant, I proceeded to Keokuk, Iowa, to examine into the troubles on the southern border. I arrived at Keokuk on the morning of the 23rd instant, and at once consulted with Mr. Hiatt, mayor of the city, Captain Willes, assistant quartermaster, commanding post, and other prominent citizens. The feeling of all was that there was probability that the guerrillas of Missouri would make a raid on Keokuk. There is only one company of the militia armed in the city, and that is so scattered that it would be of little use in case of a night attack. There are, however, about 300 or 400 men in hospital who are not yet able for active filed duty, but are able to do good service there if they were only armed. I think if these men had arms and a good officer to organize them that there would be no danger of the guerrillas making any raid on Keokuk; but as the city is now I think there is a chance that they may make a dash on the town for plunder at any time, as the amount of Government and private property there must be a great temptation to them. I went to Alexandria, in Missouri, a few miles below Keokuk, to see what the feeling was there. I wound the whole community under arms and the town barricaded. It is evident that people along the border do not know when they may be attacked. Mayor Hiatt stated that one reason they felt so unsafe was that they had no officer whom they had confidence in to take charge of matters, and thought if they had some one of experience at the head that they could soon organize so as to make themselves safe. They also seem anxious to have that part of the State under martial law, as there are constantly persons passing through whom they are sure of rebels, but the civil law cannot touch them. I consulted with Lieutenant-Colonel Viall, aide-de-camp to the Governor of Iowa, who has charge of the militia in the southern part of the State, and he assures me that they are strong and well armed enough to protect themselves. The result of my visit to Keokuk is to satisfy me that there is no danger of any large force coming into Iowa at present, but that at any time it is possible for 100 or 200 men to come down on such towns as Keokuk and do great damage to the Government and citizens; but if it were known that 200 men were there with arms I do not think that any such attempt would be made. In stating that the people of Keokuk wish some officer of experience at the head there I would say that they all seemed to like Captain Willes, commanding post, and to think that he was endeavoring to do the best he could, but that he had not much experience in the management of troops. I telegraphed to you with regard to sending arms for these convalescents, but have received no answer yet. I will inform you at once by telegraph if anything of importance happens.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major Sixth Iowa Cavalry, in Charge of Hdqrs. Dist. of Iowa.



Milwaukee, Wis., October 25, 1864.

In accordance with the terms of General Orders, Numbers 251, current series, from the War Department, Adjutant-General's Office, the command of