War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0409 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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has resulted in the most undeniable proof that they were guerrilla ruffians; that they knew it was the U. S. troops on whom they fired from an inaccessible ambush and that they were organized for the purpose of waylaying and murdering small bodies of troops sent to patrol the country. It seems to me that it is necessary that a military commission should be ordered to sit here to try them, and it would be very beneficial as an example to have them executed here. I am satisfied that the country south of this point is overrun with similar bands or with the material from which they will be found wherever a favorable opportunity offers for doing mischief. These prisoners if not tried here should be sent to some other place, as here they occupy room needed for the confinement of military prisoners and require a strong guard which the garrison can ill afford. May I ask your attention to this question and suggest that the plan of trying the prisoners here seems to me to offer decided advantages.

Captain Wuerpel, my assistant provost-marshal, has adopted the plan of ordering all millers in the vicinity not to grind grain for farmers who do not procure a certificate that they have taken the oath of allegiance. The result of this course has been the sudden and very complete conversion to loyalty of the entire population for a circuit of from twenty to thirty miles from the post. Over 500 have been sworn during the past ten days.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Fourth Missouri Cavalry, Commanding Post.

[First indorsement.]


March 31, 1862.

Respectfully referred to Captain N. H. McLean, assistant adjutant-general, for instructions.



[Second indorsement.]


Saint Louis, April 5, 1862.

Respectfully referred back to Major-General Curtis, who will see by General Orders, Numbers 13, current series, from these headquarters, a copy* of which is inclosed, that he is authorized to order military commissions. I also inclose a copy of General Orders, Numbers 1,* of 1862, Department of the Missouri.

By order of Major-General Halleck:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

SAINT LOUIS, March 29, 1862.

General LESLIE COOMBS, Frankfort, Ky.

GENERAL: Yours of the 27th inclosing a letter from Mrs. Menefee is just received. I agree with you in regard to the general policy of releasing rebel officers prisoners of war on parole. I have released but one from Kentucky, and in that case I had the strong solicitation of


* Omitted here; see Vol. I, this Series, p. 177, for General Orders, Numbers 13, and same volume, p. 247, for General Orders, Numbers 1.