of one of the arrested parties, and a few in the handwriting of another directed to his friends at the North. From these letters I obtained the most positive evidence of a determination upon the part of these men and others to organize for the purpose of aiding the enemy and overthrowing the Government of the Confederate States. I did not hesitate a moment in acting as I believed then, and still believe, was in strict accordance with my duty, and I cheerfully assumed the responsibility of placing these traitors in confinement.
Shortly after the arrest of Baldwin, Peebles, and Zinke I addressed the troops at Camp Lubbock, and in the course of my remarks alluded to the fact of these arrests being made, and also gave some of the reasons which influenced me in having these men taken into custody. I believe all who were present admitted the wisdom of my action; such at least I have been led to believe was the universal sentiment expressed. Since that time other arrests have been made from the fact that names were mentioned in the correspondence of these arrested parties, as friends in a political point of view, and I was determined if a dangerous organization had been effected against the Confederate and State governments that I would secure, if possible, the leaders in it. All the parties thus arrested, save in the cases of Baldwin, Peebles, and Zinke, were examined and discharged, not because there were no grounds for suspicion, but because there was not sufficient evidence against them to warrant me in keeping them in confinement.
Some of these men, perhaps, were entirely innocent of any intention to participate in the contemplated treason of those now in custody, but there were strong grounds in favor of the opinion that all whom I caused to be arrested were sympathizers with and aiders abettors if Baldwin and his associates. I do not desire to assume authority that does not properly and legitimately attach to my position as commanding general of this district. I have usurp power and disregard the restraints thrown around me by the civil law of the land. I desire, as all good citizens should, to obey the laws and resist oppression. But there are times and circumstances when a military commander must act upon the moment, when to delay would not only be dangerous, but might be fatal, and at such time and under such circumstances I shall never shrink from the responsibility of acting.
I have cause to be sent to the Governor of the State a synopsis of the testimony against the men now in custody, together with other documents, showing the fact of an organization of a most dangerous character, and have asked that these papers be laid before the Legislature now in session, that some sufficiently stringent law may be passed by which the military authorities may be relieved from the necessity of arresting and confining men who should be dealt with by the civil tribunals. I hope the Legislature will take such action as will secure the speedy punishment of all men intending treason when the intention can be proved. If such a law be passed the evil may be eradicated.
For the information of the citizens in and out of the army I give the following statement of the evidence I have obtained from the papers od those whom I still hold in custody, which, taken in connection with that made public by me in my address at Camp Lubbock to the soldiers, will give a correct idea of what these men are and the reasons for my having placed them in confinement and away from any intercourse with the citizens of the State.
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
Major General, Commanding District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
36 R R-SERIES II, VOL VI