War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0067 UNION AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

openly avowed and advocated by many persons in the State. Lieutenant Henry came to see men in regard to the matter mentioned in his letter to Marshal Hoxie, and at my instance Captain Hendershott furnished him a detail of ten armed men to go with him to his place or rendezvous in Madison Country and remain with him. I also sent by him forty or fifty muskets and some ammunition to place in the hands of loyal men. I have not heard from him since his return. There is undoubtedly a feverish and excited state of the public mind, and matter must be managed here prudently and firmly, or a collision may ensue. I wrote you a few days since, asking that you send me some arms, and also that you allow me to raise two or three regiments as a State Guard, not to leave the State. I regard these measures both as measures of precaution and prevention. Much that is said in regard to resistance of the laws is no doubt mere bluster, and by self- important men of small caliber and small ambition, to give themselves local importance and to secure for themselves petty offices, and who, if an outbreak were to occur, would not be in the way of danger.

But I also believe there are engaged in this work men of desperate fortunes, political and otherwise, who would have the courage to lead an outbreak, and who would rejoice in the opportunity. I think it extremely probable there are in this and other Northern States paid agents of the rebels who are organizing the machinery and using the means to effect the purposes herein attributed to the Knights of the Golden Circle, and there is real danger that the efforts of these men may so far operate on the minds of these honest by deluded followers in some locality as to cause a collision among our people. If we had arms in the hands of our loyal people, and a State Guard, as I suggest it might and I think would prevent this. The condition of things is such in my judgment that the Government can only make itself properly respected by convincing those disposed to be troublesome of its determination and ability to preserve the peace and enforce the laws. The dismissal of those "arbitrality arrested," as the phrase goes, has had a bad effect in this, that it has led many to suppose the Government has not the power to punish. Let me impress upon you my conviction that in case of any armed resistance to the laws the punishment be prompt, certain, and sharp, and the action of those who may be resisted of the same character. Anything looking like indecision or timidity would be disastrous.

I scarcely what to advise in regard to these men who are talking treason, huzzaing for Jeff. Davis, organizing the Knights of the Golden Circle, &c. It would be worse than useless to arrest them unless they can be tried, and if found guilty, punished. If arrests could be made, trials and convictions had, and punishment sharply administered, the effect would be excellent. Has the U. S. district attorney of this State had hishis matter? It seems to me if it has it should be done, and her or the marshal furnished with the necessary money to detect and punish some of these active scoundrels who are producing so much mischief.

I have already organized and armed a company in each one of the southern tier of counties in this State. These have been placed under the order of Provost-Marshal Heath, at Keokuk, and will be placed under the orders of the new provost-marshal in the Congressional districts as soon as I am advised of their appointment and names.

I hope good selections have been made. I am now organizing a company in each of the second tier of counties from the south line, and when organized and armed I will place them all at the disposal