directed by His Excellency Governor Seymour thus briefly to submit the foregoing for the consideration of the Secretary of War.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN T. SPRAGUE,
READING, BARKS COUNTY, PA.,
March 17, 1863.
L. C. TURNER, Esq.,
Judge-Advocate, Washington, D. C.:
DEAR SIR: We have received authentic information from a variety of sources in regard to organizations which have been formed in various parts of this country within the past two weeks, and which are doubtless increasing in number, the Object of which, so far as we can learn, is to resist the conscription and to set the laws of the United States at defiance. The members pay $1 as an indication fee, and take an oath, the nature of which is variously stated, but all agree that it has relation to an organized resistance to the draft. At one place we are told that 174 members were sworn in at one time. The parties meet at taverns, private houses, school-houses, and in barns. These combinations, if permitted to exist and increase, may become exceedingly dangerous, especially in this county, where the majority against the Government is so large, and where the people in the rural districts receive their information chiefly from the Reading Eagle, a German newspapers published here, bitterly hostile to the Government.
The friends of the Administration here are taking measures to procure accurate information in regard to number and objects of these societies. They should be nipped in the bud. The rank and file are timid and afraid of the law. If a few arrests were made in the proper way it would have the best effect. I do not know what acts of Congress will meet that case, nor would anything be learned from the Attorney-General at Washington. A letter or two which sent to his office, in relation to important public business, received the most vague, empty, perfunctory, and circumlocution-office-like replies.
Detective W. Y. Lyon thinks it would be well to send Chief Detective Baker to this place, particularly as he speaks German.
Very respectfully, yours,
JNO. S. RICHARDS.
Washington City, March 19, 1863.
C. A. DANA, Esq.,
Report to me fully from Cairo what the real condition of things is at Vicksburg and on the Mississippi; and do the same from Memphis, where you will await orders.
EDWIN M. STANTON.
March 19, 1863.
Brigadier General L. THOMAS,
Matters assume grave import. Two hundred mounted armed men in Rush County have to-day resisted arrest of deserters. Have sent