HDQRS. ASSISTANT PROVOST-MARSHA-GENERAL,
Indianapolis, Ind., September 12, 1864.
Brigadier General JAMES B. FRY,
A very large number of men are coming to this State from Kentucky and farther South; some coming voluntarily and others having been banished by military commanders. With scarcely an exception they are in sentiment and feeling rebels, and very naturally affiliate with the Sons of Liberty, and every circumstance tends to the conclusion that many of them come here upon invitation and for the purpose of voting the Democratic ticket. No Union man here doubts that the Democrats, almost every one of whom is armed, intend to put in all such votes at precincts where they have the power, regardless of the law, which requires six months" bona fide residence in the State and actual residence at the time in the township where the vote is given.
General Hovey, commanding this district, recently issued an order, the object of which was to prevent the stuffing of ballot boxes with such votes. This order requires the provost-marshals to register all such persons, giving in the register such facts as will serve to prevent or detect the fraud.
I was not unwilling that such a registry should be made if the provost-marshals and their deputies could find time to make it, and therefore have said nothing, except to two provost-marshals, who said they could not do it with their present force.
These two I instructed that they must not neglect the duties imposed by the law and the regulations and orders emanating from the War Department for the purpose of complying with General Hovey's order. Department Hovey showed me the order before it was issued, and suggested himself that his power to control the provost-marshals was at least doubtful. We concurred, however, in the opinion that this or some other course should be adopted to prevent a stupendous fraud upon the Union party, which is contemplated beyond all doubt. The order of General Heintzelman prohibiting the sale of arms, &c., is operating injuriously to the Union men, but few of whom are armed, while the Sons of Liberty are all armed. Just now a citizen of Owen County, in which the butternut element is dominant, arrived here in great haste to inform me and General Hovey that some sixty Democrats, an organized body of armed men, had assembled in the vicinity of a village in that county for the avowed purpose of killing a few leading Union men and burning their houses and mills, and that when he left these men were awaiting the arrival of re- enforcements. he says, further, that the Union men could only find arms for about twenty of their number. The cause of this demonstration was that at a Union meeting a soldier took occasion to soundly thrash two mn who shouted for Jeff. Davis and Dan. Voorhees. I respectfully suggest that, in view of the fact that the copperheads are already armed, the Union men, if not provided with arms by the Government, ought at least to be permitted to arm themselves. In several counties the Sons of Liberty drill several times a week, and public now their determination to resist a draft, and the facts above stated show how trifling a circumstance may be sufficient to inaugurate civil war in many parts of the State. A Son of Liberty who is well informed incautiously stated that the Democrats have the control of largely more than one-half