War of the Rebellion: Serial 102 Page 0034 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LX.

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prisoners at Saint Joseph, Mo., indicating the illegal arrests had been made, and that there was a collusion between the assistant provost-marshal and certain attorneys and law firms at that place, by which good, law-abiding citizens who were known to possess considerable means were arrested and incarcerated in prison and made the victims of a premeditated scheme of rascality, I at once determined to give the matter a through examination and eradicate the evils if found to exist. Fort his purpose I proceeded in person to Saint Joseph on the 25th ultimo and made a searching investigation. I took the statement of thirty witnesses, making upward of 100 pages of testimony. The facts as developed in my examination seemed to more than justify the reports that had reached my ears, in fact, I found the state of affairs much worse than I had any reason to anticipate. It seems that for some time past, through some agency which I was not able to fully trace out, witnesses have been brought, or came voluntarily, before the provost-marshal and made affidavits to show the disloyal character of certain individuals residing within the limits of the sub-district. The parties against whom such affidavits were filed were in all cases men of considerable wealth, and resided generally at some distance from the post. Upon these affidavits, no matter how flimsy, against an individual the provost-marshal would send out a scout of picked men selected by himself and arrest the man, bring him in, and incarcerate him in jail. If the prisoners demanded to know the charges against him he was informed that he would find out soon enough, or that he could not know. In any event, he received no satisfaction, but was hurried off to prison. Once in prison no one, not even his wife of any member of his family, was permitted to see or have any communication with him whatever, except a few members of the legal profession who were in favor with the provost-marshal. These were allowed to pass to and from the prison ad libitum. After the prisoner had been confined several days, long enough to realize all the horrors of his situation and ready to sacrifice almost anything to regain his liberty, an attorney visits the prisons ostensibly to see some client. Our prisoners, anxious to learn something of his own probable fate, approaches him and inquires if he knows anything of the charges against him. Attorney shakes his head ominously and tells him that he has heard something of them from the provost-marshal, and that it is a very bad case. Prisoner wants to know if he can do anything for him. Attorney replies that he will see what can be done. Says he possesses great influence with the authorities, and if any one can save him he is the man, but that he would not think of touching the case for less than $1,000. Next day attorney calls again. Says he has examined the papers and finds it a much worse case than he had anticipated; that if the case ever comes before a military commissions his (prisoner's) life is not worth a cent. But he says further that he is a brother-in-law of the provost-marshal, and that he may possibly be able to induce him to suppress the charges and not bring the case to trial, but says if he does undertake the case he must have $1,500; and he works upon the fears of the prisoner until he finally secures that sum. He then tells the prisoner that his only hope of saving his neck is to make or sign a written application to the commanding general to be banished from the State, not to return during the war. This the prisoner finally does. His application is of course granted, and the provost-marshal releases him from custody upon these conditions, giving him twenty days to make his arrangements for moving. Before he is released, however, this attorney exacts from him a promise under oath that he will reveal nothing that has passed between them. Then, to more fully illustrate the