Today in History:

10 Series I Volume XIII- Serial 19 - Missouri - Arkansas Campaign

Page 10 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXV.

the homes of loyal people throughout the State, which latter would have been to give the entire State over to pillage and destruction.

About this time commenced the execution of a well-devised scheme of the rebel Government to obtain large re-enforcements from Missouri and ultimately to regain possession of the State. A large number of Missourians in the rebel army were sent home with commissions to raise and organize troops for the rebel army. Many of these succeeded in secretly passing our lines and in eluding arrest. Some were arrested, and others voluntarily surrendered themselves, professing their desire to return to their allegiance, and were permitted to take the oath of allegiance and return to their homes as loyal citizens. These emissaries spread themselves over the State, and, while maintaining outwardly the character of loyal citizens or evading our troops, secretly enrolled, organized, and officered a very large number of men, estimated by their friends at from 30,000 to 50,000. Places of rendezvous were designated, where all were to assemble at an appointed signal, and, by a sudden coup de main, seize the important points in the State, surprise and capture our small detachments guarding railroads, &c., thus securing arms and ammunition and co-operate with an invading army from Arkansas. At an early day I became aware of the impending danger, and asked for co-operation from the force at Helena and for re-enforcements in Missouri. The former was promised, but failed. To the latter request I received the reply that none could be furnished. The plan of the enemy had already begun to be developed. For the purpose of procuring arms for the large force enrolled several bands of considerable strength suddenly sprang into existence and attempted the surprise and capture of some of my small detachments, passing rapidly from post to post, plundering and murdering the loyal people in their path.

Thanks to the activity and stubborn resistance of our troops the rebels met with very limited success; but with their failure, although repeatedly beaten by our troops, their numbers rapidly augmented. New bands made their appearance in all parts of the State and commenced the work of robbery and murder, for which they had been organized. A very large and immediate increase of the force under my command could alone save the State. To obtain this force from troops then in service was impossible. None could be spared from any quarter. Under these circumstances I determined to call upon the Governor of Missouri for authority to organize all the militia of the State and to call into active service such force as might be necessary to aid me in destroying the guerrilla bands and in restoring a state of to aid me in destroying the guerrilla bands and in restoring a state of peace. The authority was readily granted, and the work of enrollment, organization, and arming was immediately commenced.

The difficulties attending the execution of this project of making available the entire military power of the State were at first so great owing to various causes, and the results of its successful prosecution have been of so great importance, that the subject seems to demand of me more than a passing notice.

It was the first attempt of the kind in this or any other country under similar circumstances, and hence was to a great degree an experiment, in which much was to be learned before it could be prosecuted to perfect results. The first effect, and which was to be expected, was to cause every rebel in the State who could possess himself of a weapon of any kind to spring to arms and join the nearest guerrilla band, thus largely and suddenly increasing the force with which we had to contend, while thousands of others ran to the brush to avoid the required

Page 10 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXV.