August 25, 1863,
Major-General J. M. Schofield to Brigadier-General Ewing
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, August 25, 1863.
Commanding District of the Border, Kansas City, Mo.:
GENERAL: I inclose a draught of an order which I propose to issue in due time. I send it to you in order that you may make the necessary preparations for it. Such a measure will, of course, produce retaliation upon such loyal people as may be exposed to it, and they should, as far as possible, be removed to places of safety before the execution of the order is commenced or the purpose to execute it is made public. Also, it is necessary to be quite certain that you have the power to put down the rebel bands and prevent retaliation like that recently inflicted upon Lawrence, if, indeed, that can be regarded or was intended as an act of retaliation. My information relative to that distressing affair is too imperfect to enable me to judge accurately on this point. But it occurs to me as at least probable that the massacre and burning at Lawrence was the immediate consequence of the inauguration of the policy of removing from the border counties the slaves of rebels and the families of bushwhackers. If this is true, it would seem a strong argument against the wisdom of such policy. You are in position to judge of all this better than I can. At all events, I am pretty much convinced that the mode of carrying on the war on the border during the past two years has produced such a state of feeling that nothing short of total devastation of the districts which are made the haunts of guerrillas will be sufficient to put a stop to the evil. Please consider the matter fully and carefully, and give me your views in regard to the necessity for the application of such severe remedy, and of the wisdom of the method proposed. I will be guided mainly by your judgment in regard to it. If you desire the order to be issued as I have written it, or with any modifications which you may suggest, please inform me when you are ready for it.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
A band of robbers and murderers, under the notorious Quantrill, has been for a long time harbored and fed by the disloyal people of Jackson, Cuss, and Bates Counties, Missouri, and have driven out or murdered nearly all the loyal people of those counties; and, finally, on the of the present month these brigands, issuing suddenly from their hiding-places, made a descent upon the town of Lawrence, in Kansas, and in the most inhuman manner sacked and burned the town, and murdered in cold blood a large number of loyal and unoffending citizens. It is manifest that all ordinary means have failed to subdue the rebellious spirit of the people of the counties named, and that they are determined to harbor and encourage a band of scoundrels whose every object is plunder and murder. This state of things cannot be permitted longer to exist, and nothing less than the most radical remedy will be sufficient to remove the evil. It is therefore ordered that the disloyal people of Jackson, Cass, and Bates Counties will be given until the ----- day of ----- to remove from those counties, with such of their personal property as they may choose to carry away. At the end of the time named all houses, barns, provisions, and other property belonging to such disloyal persons, and which can be used to shelter, protect, or support the bands of robbers and murderers which infest those counties, will be destroyed or seized and appropriated to the use of the Government. Property situated at or near military posts, and in or near towns which can be protected by troops so as not to be used by the bands of robbers will not be destroyed, but will be appropriated to the use of such loyal or innocent persons as may be made homeless by the acts of guerrillas or by the execution of this order. The commanding general is aware that some innocent persons must suffer from these extreme measures, but such suffering is unavoidable, and will be made as light as possible. A district of country inhabited almost solely by rebels cannot be permitted to be made a hiding-place for robbers and murderers, from which to sally forth on their errands of rapine and death. It is sincerely hoped that it will not be necessary to apply this remedy to any other portion of Missouri. But if the people of disloyal districts wish to avoid it, they must unite to prevent its necessity, which is clearly in their power to do.
This order will be executed by Brigadier-General Ewing, commanding District of the Border, and such officers as he may specially detail for the purpose.
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