more in Illinois who will come to their assistance when necessary. I do not put much confidence in this statement, yet have no doubt, from all the information I can get, that their numbers exceed 1,000-possibly reach from 1,200 to 1,500-armed with squirrel rifles, guns, and pistols, and knives. These men are generally exceedingly ignorant and are completely under the control of a few leaders, who keep them excited and inflamed to an intense degree by all sorts of stories about Government oppression, outrage, &c.
Just as I have written thus far, 9.30 o"clock at night, I have had an intercourse with a citizen of Sullivan just from there, who brings me word directly from a man in the confidence of the disaffected party that they say they are ready for a fight, and that they think they can raise 3,000 men in this State and Illinois. It is, therefore, within the range of probability that if a military force is sent down there will be a fight. By all means, then, if this is done, let it be large enough to do the work up well. It would do no good to send a few men. I am convinced that it would only make the matter worse. I would send also a few pieces of artillery. This man also tells me that they have resolved to tear up the railroad bridges and track some time before the troops can reach there, and that it may probably by done before morning.
If these people mean to fight, then the sending of troops down there will result in war at home, and this is a consideration of the utmost magnitude. Of course they will say that the Government has made war upon them by sending troops there because a man was murdered-a thing which has often occurred before. If, however, they get together under arms or destroy the railroad, or make any other warlike demonstration, this will show that the murder was the result of a concerted plan and take away from them all pretext of innocence.
All these considerations are of the gravest character, and I am sorry Governor Morton is not at home. I fear if nothing is done before he returns that the remaining enrolling officers in Sullivan will be driven off or murdered, and there may be the same thing in other counties.
The fact is, that in my opinion the thing has to be met, and effectually, or else it will now be impossible to enroll a number of townships.
The papers (completed) were stolen in one township of Owen County a few nights ago. Also one in Clay, and in many places they have resolved that they shall never leave the counties.
If I could I would go over in the morning, but cannot, as the business in my office requires my personal presence all the time.
I have no time to copy this letter, and must ask you to have it copied for me.
Yours, very respectfully, &c.,
R. W. THOMPSON,
Washington, June 20, 1863.
Honorable SCHUYLER COLFAX,
South Bend, Ind.:
There is a lamentable want of activity and efficiency in the Board of Enrollment in your district. Please invigorate them. I write you by mail.
JAMES B. FRY,