SAINT LOUIS, January 14, 1862.
L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General:
The superintendent of the Quincy and Palmyra Railroad declines to rebuid the bridges recently by the rebels. There are 600 tons of U. S. property at Quincy for transportation over this road. There are three plans proposed: First, that the United States rebuild these bridges, the Quartermaster's Department paying expenses to be reimbursed from ordinary rates of transportation; second, that the United States take possession of the road making repairs and using it for Government purpose; third, that secessionists of Marion and Rolla Counties be made to repair damages or pay expenses of such repairs. I approve the third plan and will execute it if authorized by the War Departmen. An immediate answer requested. The public service requires a prompt decision of the question. I am ready to act.
H. W. HALLECK,
WARRENTON, January 18, 1862.
Brigadie-General PRENTISS, Palmyra, Mo.:
I am informed that by the removal of the U. S. troops the bridges on the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad are left unguarded. The six months's State troops are to be mustered out on the 25th instant. Can you furnish troops enough to take care of the road or must I delay the mustering out? I will go to Hudson to-morrow. Where shall I find you?
J. M. SCHOFIELD.
SAINT LOUIS, January 22, 1862. *
General STERLING PRICE, Commanding, &c.
GENERAL: * * * You also complain that "individuals and parties of men specially appointed and instructed by you to destroy railroads, culverts and bridges by tearing them up, burning, &c., have been arrested and subjected to a general court-martial for alleged crimes. " This statement is in the main correct. Where "individuals and parties of men" violate the laws of war they will be tried and if found guilty will certainly be punished whether acting under your 'special appointment and instructions" or not. You must be aware, general, that no orders of yours can save from punishment spies, marauders, robbers, incendiaries, guerrilla bands, &c., who violate the laws of war. You cannot give immunity to crime.
But let us fully understand each other on this point. If you send armed forces wearing the garb of soldiers and duly organized and enrolled as legitimate belligerents to destroy railroads, bridges, &c., as a military act we shall kill them if possible in open warfare, or if we capture them we shall treat them as prisoners of war. But it is well understood that you have sent numbers of your adherents in the garb of peaceful citizens and nder false pretenses through our lines into Norther Missouri to rob and destroy the property of Union men and to burn and destroy railroad bridges thus endangering the lives of thousands, and this too without any military necessity or possible
*See Price to Halleck, p. 255.