Phelps, assistant provost-marshal of Fulton County, that the law cannot be enforced in arresting deserters without at least one company of well-armed troops, and from my own personal observation and intercourse with such men in the country I am satisfied force will be absolutely necessary. The leaders in the opposition are in every instance deserters, and if they were disposed of the country could be properly controlled.
I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. R. RANDALL.
HDQRS. PROVOST-MARSHAL'S OFFICE, NINTH DISTRICT, Mount Sterling, Ill., July 15, 1863.
COLONEL: In reply to your of the 13th instant, in relation to report of the condition of affairs in Fulton County by my special agent, R. R. Randall, I desire to say that while I am strongly disposed to believe that the necessity at this moment exist for the presence of an armed force not only in Fulton County, but also at these headquarters, yet having thus far conducted the business in this district successfully without these auxiliaries, I still hope that present appearances may prove deceptive. The disaffected and rebellious element in this district have been aroused to more active and overt demonstrations from the late riotous conduct of the same classes in New York City, and my hope for the speedy change here for the better is based upon the prospective dispersion and punishment of those rioters. I have just received information from a secret spy, sent a few days since into the souther part of this (Brown) county, by which I learned that an organized band of men have established themselves in the vicinity of La Grange, who are pledged to resist the draft and also the recovers, and are said to have a large supply of powder and lead. I am closely watching these fellows through a spy ins their midst, and should it become clearly apparent that a military force is indispensable to preserve order and enforce the laws I will telegraph you for that purpose.
I am expecting further information from Fulton County, which, when received, will probably enable me to decide at once upon the necessity of asking for military aid.
I have also received information this day from a source entitled to credit that an attempt will be made to destroy the rolls in this office in the event of a draft. I am exerting myself to get at the bottom of these reports and will advise you from time to time in the premises.
If you will give me the men in number and my own choosing, I will send al the deserters out of my district. No man not actually acquadistrict can form any idea of making arrests, yet with the small force allowed I have and will do all that I can.
I shall send fourteen in the morning.
I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. F. WESTLAKE,
Captain and Provost-Marshal, Ninth District of Illinois.