November 4, 1862,
Central District of
Brigadier-General Ben Loan to Major General Samuel R. Curtis
HEADQUARTERS CENTRAL DISTRICT OF MISSOURI,
November 4, 1862.
Maj. Gen. SAMUEL R. CURTIS, Saint Louis, Mo.:
GENERAL: I design leaving here for Independence to-morrow. I have been detained here much longer than I expected to be on my arrival. The inhabitants are generally disloyal, and a large majority of them are actively so. They are fierce, overbearing, defiant, and insulting; whilst the Union spirit is cowed and disposed to be submissive. There is no earthly hope for peace in this portion of the State until a separation can be effected. With a view to this end I have caused the disloyal to be arrested and held in close custody. The milder prisoners I have allowed to give their parole to leave the State in ten days, not to return; many are availing themselves of this privilege. The others must be sent out of the State and held in custody until the close of the war, or at least until society is so far reconstructed here as to allow the courts to be held and civil rights to be enforced. Another reason that has induced me to have these disloyal persons arrested is to break up the social relations here. Good society here, as it is termed, is exclusively rebel. Another motive is that the traders, merchants, and bankers, who transact the business of the country, are all traitors, and out of the monopolies secured to them by the employment of their competitors, who are loyal, in military services in suppressing the troubles that these traitors incite, are making large fortunes as the reward for their disloyalty, and who have the bad taste to laugh at honest patriots for serving so faithfully a Government that discriminates against them so fearfully. It requires a high and noble patriotism that can bear the comparison. The business of the country must be conducted by loyal men only, and loyal men only must be left here to do it. Regulations of trade which have no stronger guard than oaths and bonds will not exclude a rebel from embarking in the trade of the country that promises a profit. Nineteen out of every twenty traders in stock who supply the Government from this part of the country are disloyal, and it is through these channels that such bands as Quantrill's find a market for their stolen property. I have had scouts out almost daily in every direction for the last ten days, and I think have driven the bushwhackers out of the county, but they will return immediately. It is much easier to catch a rat with your hands in a warehouse filled with a thousand flour barrels than it is to catch a band of guerrillas where every, or almost every, man, woman, and child are their spies, pickets, or couriers. There are some 200 here held as prisoners on the general charge of disloyalty. They are generally actively disloyal. The remainder of the disloyal inhabitants I propose to have brought in as rapidly as possible. In Jackson, Cass, Johnson, and Saline the same course will be pursued, until none but loyal men will be allowed to remain at large in the country. Among the prisoners captured are some notoriously bad men; others of like character have fled the country precipitately. If you would direct the transfer of these prisoners (or the worst of them) to some depot for prisoners the effect would be most beneficial. I am in hopes that in course of thirty days I shall be able to report that all is quiet on the frontier. To-day I have directed that Vincent Marmaduke, a disloyal member of the State Convention, be permitted to give his parole to leave the State within ten days and not return during the war. Sample Orr, another disloyal member of the State Convention, and register of lands in Jefferson City, who I had confined for uttering disloyal sentiments in delivering a speech in Jefferson, was released by order of Governor Gamble. Whilst gentlemen who occupy high official positions are allowed to preach treason in the capital of the State it will require the most active, zealous, and energetic action on the part of the loyal troops to preserve law and order.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Missouri State Militia.
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