effects of individuals were seized and appropriated without any military or legal sanction in violation of all principles of justice and right.
I am firmly convinced that much of the bad feeling which has existed and still exists in Kentucky is to be attributed to the causes which I have enumerated. Had a different course of policy been pursued - a policy which would have kept distinct and well defined the military from the civil power - a policy which would have made property and liberty both secure except in clearly proven cases of disloyalty, and would have prevented the incarceration or banishment of citizens through feelings of personal enmity and prejudice - much of the bloodshed and devastation which has marked the State for a year past would have been avoided.
It may be asked, how was this to be done? I answer by placing military power in the hands of military men only, who could be held amenable to military law for the abuse of that power, and by leaving the civil authorities unobstructed whenever their loyalty was known. If instead of appointing a hundred or more civilians as provost-marshal with no guide for their action but their individual judgment and prejudice those positions had been filled by officers of the Army only and a regular system established by competent authority for their government, complaints would not now be so generally nor so justly made about despotic arrests and seizures. The system that has been in operation was no system at all, for under it in one county citizens would be arrested and imprisoned by scores while in the adjoining country parties equally guilty would go unmolested.
I refer to these matters only for the purpose of doing what I can to remedy an evil and prevent its continuance. I consider Kentucky a loyal State. Her civil government and courts of justice are known to be loyal to the Constitution and laws of the United States. Her soil is now free from the dominion of rebel soldiery and it is difficult to imagine a case of disloyalty arising among her citizens which cannot be met and punished under the operation of civil power. The mistake in my judgment has been all along in considering this Commonwealth as a treasonable Commonwealth and in endeavoring to crush her by the exercise of power instead of appealing to her in the language of reason.
In the disposition of some cases brought before me and in many tried by other military commanders and provost-marshal throughout the State bonds were taken for the good and loyal conduct of the accused. These bounds vary in amount from $20,000 and are I believe generally drawn in proper from and well secured. It is questionable whether these obligations if forfeited by the traitorous conduct of the parties bound by them could be collected by due process of law, because there is so far as my knowledge extends no statute authorizing or empowering the military authorities to take them. I would therefore respectfully suggest that the omission be remedied by having these bonds legalized and that they be ordered to be filed with the clerks of the U. S. courts in Kentucky to be enforced under the direction of those tribunals.
I have the honor to be, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,
WM. B. SIPES,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Post.
7 R R-SERIES II, VOL V