GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DIST. OF CENTRAL MISSOURI, No. 17.
Jefferson City, Mo., April 22, 1862.
I. It is with feelings of unfeigned horror at the hellish crimes per petrated and a profound loathing, abhorrence and disgust for the fiendish outlaws who committed them that the brigadier-general commanding the District of Central Missouri once more calls the attention of the U. S. troops both volunteers and Missouri State Militia under his command to the necessity of increased and constant vigilance tempered with caution and prudence as well as justice and protection toward the innocent, in order that these great growing and terrible outrages of every sort may be put an end the outlaws infesting the district exterminated.
Reports of murders, robberies and indeed of ever crime known as felony and less criminal offenses reach these headquarters from every part of the district so that it has become dangerous for peaceful, law-abiding citizens and especially good Union citizens to pursue their legitimate vocation without molestation and imminent danger. The country is infested with bands of murderers, robbers and other outlaws of every shade of turpitude known to the criminal calendar, and in some instances (as recent evidence too plaintly proves) these wretches are disguised under the uniform of our patriotic army and are pretending to act under and by authority of the United States. These base and bloodthirsty beasts in human form have by their deeds, their boasts and their threats placed themselves beyond the pale of law ad must be dealt with accordingly. As the innocent victims of these miscreants are made to suffer without cause and without cause and without trial or hearing of any sort (save their cries for mercy uttered in the agonies of terror and death which pass unheeded) so must their brutal, lawless and vandal tormentors be dealt with and no mercy shown them. Reasoning with outlaws is of no avail. The law and its faithful officers are set at defiance by these armed and ruthless agents of anarchy and hence they must be subjected totheir own code and punished without mercy upon the spot when found enacting or banded together for the enactment of their foul deeds. It is therefore ordered for the observance of all concerned:
II. That hereafter wheneverand wherever bands of guerrillas, jayhawkers, marauders, murderers, &c., are found in arms in open opposition to the laws and legitimate authorities of the United States and the State of Missouri the miscreants of which they are composed are to be shot down by the military authorities when commanded by commissioned officers upon the spot where caught perpetrating their foul acts. And at all times and in all places when our troops no matter by whom commanded are forcibly opposed by outlaws these latter are to be exterminated at all hazards.
III. That all persons who have or shall in future knowingly harbor or in any manner encourage guerrillas, jayhawkers, robbe other outlaws in their nefarious deeds will be arrsted and kept in close confinement until tried by a military commission or other court as may be deemed expedient at the time.
IV. That where evidence cannot be produced to establish the guilt of parties accused of harboring and encouraging the lawless marauders,&c., above named but against whom there is strong circumstatntial evidence and suspicion they are to be placed under heavy bonds with good and reliable security to keep the peae and for their future good