MILLERSBURG, June 22, 1863.
DEAR SIR: On Wednesday last, upon learning that troops had been sent into this county to aid the civil authorities, a few of us here in town agreed to make the effort to prevent a conflict. By 3 a. m. Colonel French and myself started for the scene of action, learning that many of the citizens were in arms, and that one of them, who lived some ways from there, had been shot, wounded. With difficulty we found some of them, and showed them that the enrollment was legal, that by the Constitution of the United States Congress was empowered to provide means for calling out the militia, and whether we approved of the law or not, still it was the law, and, as good, law-abiding citizens, should make no resistance; and by the law, when resistance was made, the provost-marshal had the power to arrest without warrant and hand over to the civil authorities for trial, and that a rescue from the provost-marshal placed the rescuers in the same category as if they had rescued from a civil marshal.
By our efforts they agreed to lay down their arms, first knowing the terms required by Colonel Wallace and the marshal. We repaired to the camp, and it was agreed that if the prisoners rescued were delivered up, together with thirteen of the most violent of the rescuers, that [the] rest might be dropped, but writs for others were already in the hands of the deputy marshal, over which he had no control, of course.
We repaired to the citizens in arms for consultation. Of this thirteen, most of them were French, and whereabouts in the hills they were located were known, and after an effort to find them without avail, the citizens agreed, as the only alternative they could offer, that the marshal might arrest or serve warrants and take all those who were implicated in the rescue without molestation.
We repaired to headquarters with our report, with three of the four rescued prisoners, pledging myself that the other should be in Cleveland on Saturday, the next day, which pledge was redeemed, and Colonel Wallace agreed to withdraw his force. The last part of the agreement has not been fully complied with, and what undue influence was brought to bear upon him after we left I know not, unless that influence which showed itself in camp by men professing religion, with others, to precipitate the forces upon the citizens, while we were trying to reconcile and prevent bloodshed.
Seventy-five or one hundred troops were left, and are a great annoyance to the people, entering the houses and stealing from the poor and defenseless as well as those who are able. Men as respectable and as truthful as there is in Ohio are here to-day, and at their instance I write this letter, requesting you to order their withdrawal. Men cannot leave their dwellings for fear of the soldiers. On yesterday, under the direction of one of the most unprincipled men in the township, fifteen soldiers were going from house to house under the pretence of hunting up prisoners. The citizens will bear it no longer. They will wait for your answer, and please to answer me as soon as possible, that I may be able to keep down this disturbance. I am sure that the deputy marshal can take unmolested any man he pleases if he has not left the country, for all I saw were willing to go with him when required.
Hastily and respectfully, yours,
D. P. LEADBETTER.