Hannibal, Mo., December 12, 1864.
Brigadier General CLINTON B. FISK,
GENERAL: Last Friday there were two bushwhackers came into Monroe Station and did a little mischief. With this exception I have heard of no trouble in by district for near a month, and this is on the edge of Monroe County. The policy I have pursued of ridding the country of these men so fast as found, and bringing a pressure to bear on those who aid them, has restored quiet. I wish, however, most earnestly to urge upon you the importance of such measures this winter as will give us peace next year. We have now had three winters' experience, and during each guerrilla operations have been mainly suspended. There have not been wanting men who, as soon as it was quiet, urged upon our authorities that the people were tired of this kind of warfare and wanted peace, and that nearly every man in the community was opposed to bushwhacking. The result has been heretofore that operations against all disturbers of the peace have been mainly suspended in the winter, and in the leafy, warm season the same trouble has again broken out, and each yea with increased violence. I think it should be considered as settled that there are a large number of men and women who stay at home and pretend to be loyal in presence of our troops, and yet who in every way they can encourage and aid the men in the brush. I know this to be true and you must know it, and I fully believe that we cannot have quiet as long as these people live among us. The winter I think the best time to ferret out these persons and dispose of them. There are also many now skulking at home who have been in the brush, while others, and perhaps the largest number, have gone to Illinois. I feel sure that many such will return in the course of the winter and with vigilance can be picked up. My own judgment is to kill every man who can be caught who has been a bushwhacker, and also all others who have heartily aided them. In this way you would strike greater terror into those you do not catch, especially those at home, as they will never know when their turn will come. Such will move out of the country themselves soon. The women you can't kill, but they certainly should not be allowed to remain gere to encourage marauding next year.
We have had four years of strife. All loyal men want peace. Let these disturbers know that Missouri will be quiet, if it is the peace that follows death and desolation. In this way we shall have peace. It would no doubt work admirably if the disloyal men could be made to know that they must pay for all depredations committed by marauders. There can be no doubt that all this trouble must cease whenever a whole community sets its face against it. Why is it quiet in all the loyal counties? Because there are none there to harbor and screen the rascals, and without that no band can long live in any community. I feel as sure as of anything in the future that if, because these bushwhackers do not work much in the winter, we send off all our troops, do nothing but sing songs of peace, we shall have a worse state of things next spring than ever before, and the result will then most likely be that loyal men, out of all patience, will fall to and massacre the disloyal, introducing such a state of society as will be dreadful to contemplate, and which ought to be averted by a wholesome sign by the military authorities. If I have said too much, pardon me. I feel a deep per-