J. H. Baker's correspondence as Union Provost Marshal of St. Louis in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion:


HEADQUARTERS FIRST SUB-DISTRICT,
Saint Louis, Mo., August 26, 1864.

 Lieut. H. HANNAHS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:

In accordance with instructions contained in circular from district headquarters dated August 6, 1864. I have the honor to report that I have no positive evidence of the presence of the enemy in any force within the limits of my sub-district during the past month, yet there are matters of daily occurrence which lead me to believe that disloyal persons are numerous in the First Sub-District. Over thirty horses have been stolen within the last two weeks in the western and northern portions of Saint Louis County, among them twelve Government horses. Many circumstances connected with the stealing of these horses have led citizens to believe it to be mainly the work of guerrillas. My attention has been called to frequent meetings of men of known disloyal sentiments near Creve Coeur Lake in the northern part of Saint Louis County.

On the -- instant I ordered Captain Bulkley, Company E, Second Missouri Cavalry, to make a descent on one of these meetings, with a view of ascertaining the true character of the meeting. By Captain Bulkley's report it appears that the party was fully informed of the proposed military visit and were on their guard, so that nothing could be found in any manner criminating them as disloyal; they had previously assembled with arms; on that day they were not armed. Measures have been taken to watch their future proceedings with great vigilance. Union citizens of established loyalty in that locality are fully convinced that these meetings have been held for purposes hostile to the Government. I am fully satisfied that guerrillas and thieves have frequently passed over from the State of Illinois to Jefferson, Washington, and adjacent counties, near Selma, Iowa, on the Union River, and have perpetrated outrages from time to time in the above-mentioned counties. I desire, as soon as the forces at my disposal will permit, to establish a small post at or near Selma, Iowa, with a view of preventing these periodical marauding incursions from Illinois.

That the city of Saint Louis is filled with men notoriously disloyal to the Government and having arms in their possession is no longer a matter of doubt in my mind; men who cannot live at their homes in various portions of the State because of their known disloyalty; others hitherto members of military organizations in the South, but formerly from this State, and whose term of service has expired; others again, perhaps, under secret orders from Confederate authorities; vagrants-- men without any visible means of support; members of secret societies hostile to the Government. All these have gathered into this city as a place of refuge or to find opportunities for disloyal practices. While I have no definite knowledge, I believe that the aggregate of such characters now in this city number several thousand, and if they have, as is altogether probable, an understanding in common, they constitute a power for evil not lightly to be considered. The brigadier-general commanding I trust will see that while I fully believe the above condition of things to exist, that it is quite impossible for me to furnish correct estimates of the number or objects of such persons. I can only make these general statements, which seem to me to be fully warranted by facts and rumors which in various ways reach me. I have no other information at present of parties hostile to the Government within the limits of my command.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

 J. H. BAKER,

 Colonel, Commanding First Sub-District.


HEADQUARTERS POST OF SAINT LOUIS,
Saint Louis, Mo., September 25, 1864.

 Col. O. D. GREENE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Missouri:

SIR: In obedience to the directions of the major-general commanding the department, I have the honor herewith to submit a report in reference to the outrages committed by soldiers at the McClellan meeting in front of the Lindell Hotel on the evening of the 15th instant, and their proposed attempt to remove the McClellan flag from the Republican office on the evening of the 17th instant, and other matters connected therewith. I have encountered serious difficulties in identifying the parties, from the fact that soldiers, as is well known to every officer in the service, generally make it a point of honor to befriend each other, while citizens in the dusk of the evening were unable to distinguish one soldier from another. About ninety soldiers in all have been arrested and examined under oath. They were mostly from the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, some from Merrill's Horse, and three from the Tenth Kansas. Their concurrent statements go to show that they came to the city on the evening of the outrage at the Lindell Hotel for the purpose of attending the Fletcher or Union meeting in front of Guenadon's, on Washington avenue, and nearly all deny that they had any previous knowledge that a McClellan meeting was to be held at the Lindell Hotel, being apprised of the fact of the Democratic meeting only after their arrival at the place of the Fletcher meeting. A careful examination of the testimony, together with the above statement, leads me to conclude that if they did participate in the riot they did so from the impulse of the moment, and not from preconcerted arrangement. I must, however, here call special attention to the testimony of Sergeant Henderson, of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, who states that officers of his battalion had in camp counseled and advised the breaking up of meetings such as the Democrats had previously held in Saint Louis, on the ground that they were disloyal. There is no testimony other than the above going to show that the soldiers were ever instigated to these lawless acts by any one. What they did was evidently of their own volition, though citizens participated with them. Certainly there is no testimony whatever showing that citizens incited them to violence. Sergeant Henderson further affirms that he does know of men belonging to his regiment who did participate in the riot by throwing stones, but declines at present to give their names. There is abundance of testimony going to show that a majority at least of the soldiers engaged in the affair of the Lindell Hotel belonged to the Sixth Missouri Cavalry. There were other soldiers there present mingled with them, but they constituted the main body. The public prints have given currency to the statement that the rioters were chiefly from the Tenth Kansas; but the testimony does not show this to be true. But three men of the Tenth Kansas were present. Their affidavits will be found with the inclosed documents. Attention is respectfully invited to the accompanying statement of Private Harris, of Company B, Tenth Kansas, who affirms that he was standing among the soldiers opposite the Lindell Hotel, and that the first stones cast came from the crowd which hurrahed for McClellan. This statement is corroborated by that of Lieut. F. W. Becker, who is on duty with the chief of ordnance of the Department of the Missouri. Though this is doubtless true, yet it is equally true that the soldiers standing thereabouts had stones in their hands before this, evidently awaiting a favorable moment in which to throw them. It has been alleged that soldiers of the Tenth Kansas openly and defiantly carried the flags taken from the speaker's stand to their own quarters. The flags were so taken, but by members of the guard who had rescued them from the rioters under the direction of Lieutenant Thorpe and Captain Hills. These flags have since been returned to the committee. It has been charged that an officer of the army was personally engaged in the emeute, aiding and inciting the soldiers. Lieut. F. W. Becker, assistant to the chief of ordnance, has been designated as the officer. His statement is herewith inclosed. Until successfully contradicted it is entitled to credence. He has been confronted with Messrs. Creveling and Marsh, citizens, who thought they could recognize the officer, but failed to identify him as the one. After the main difficulty at the front of the Lindell Hotel another occurred within their building, in which Capt. J. M. Adams, of the First Missouri Cavalry, temporarily here under orders from Major-General Steele, was the principal character. His statement, supported by that of Mr. N. H. Clark, a well-known citizen, is herewith submitted. He was evidently more "sinned against than sinning," and may rejoice at his narrow escape. From the great mass of testimony taken from men who were upon the ground, it is extraordinary that the guilty parties cannot be identified. It can only be accounted for on the supposition before stated that soldiers make it a point of honor to shield each other in matters of this kind. It is evident that Sergeant Henderson knows sufficient to give a clew to the whole affair. But in what manner he is to be compelled to give the information is for my superior officers to direct. The major-general commanding may rest assured that the most diligent and persistent efforts have been made to ascertain the guilty, over ninety men having been arrested and examined and every clue faithfully followed. I desire here to remark that the evidence clearly shows that citizens as well as soldiers participated in the outrages. So far as the throwing of stones was concerned there were evidently as many citizens so engaged as soldiers. The number of soldiers actually taking part as stated in the public prints is a palpable exaggeration. It is a very easy thing for idle rumor to place the burden all upon the shoulders of the soldier, but evidence by no means sustains the indictment.

As to the proposed outrage at the Republican office, I feel sure that I shall be able to identify most of the parties. As new and important testimony in reference to that affair has just been developed, I will report again at an early day. The evidence shows that the assailants in this latter case were nearly all from the Sixth Missouri Cavalry. Some officers of that regiment have doubtless been guilty of encouraging the men to lawless acts and derelict of duty in failing to enforce wholesome discipline. A full statement of these points will be made hereafter.

Attention is respectfully invited to the inclosed statements of the different commanding officers of regiments and detachments serving at this post as to the participation in these outrages of the men of their respective commands. Especial attention is asked to the report of Captain Jones, of the provost guard.

I have taken such measures as have insured peace and good order at all the meetings held subsequent to those above mentioned. I have given the matter my personal attention, having been present at the meetings. Various members of the Democratic committee have assured me that they were satisfied that their future gatherings under the ample arrangements I have made would be unmolested. Not willing that the brave and gallant soldiers at this post should be denied the privilege of attending such political meetings as they may desire when not on duty, I have issued a general order relative to that subject, a copy of which is herewith inclosed, and I trust that it may meet the approbation of the major-general commanding. I shall still continue my efforts to apprehend the guilty and bring them to punishment, but I could not longer delay placing such facts as were already in my possession before the major-general commanding, and also to take the opportunity of assuring him that such measures had been taken as to secure peace and good order at future political meetings in this city.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

 J. H. BAKER,

Colonel Tenth Minnesota Infantry, Commanding Post.

[Sub-inclosure.]

SOLDIERS AT POLITICAL MEETINGS.

GENERAL ORDERS No. 11.

HEADQUARTERS POST OF SAINT LOUIS,
Saint Louis, Mo., September 21, 1864.

Recent events in this city have made it necessary that some rule of conduct be adopted for the government of troops at this post in their attendance upon political meetings. The soldier has the same political rights as a citizen, and when not on duty or restrained by post regulations is not to be denied the privileges of an American freeman in hearing discussions and deliberating upon the grave questions which involve the destiny of his country. But a republic may justly be jealous of military interference with rights so sacred as those of free assemblages and free discussion for all legitimate purposes. Reflection will teach the intelligent soldier that he, the chosen custodian of law and defender of constitutional rights, should be the last man in the Republic to do violence to the very principles he is called to defend. A faithful soldier is the most exalted type of a patriot. He should permit no man to excel him in devotion to established rights, and should scorn to cast a stain upon the honor of his high vocation. If there is a lawless abuse of liberty in our community working evil to the Government, if disloyal sentiments are uttered at political meetings, your superior officers, when the military authority ought so to do, will interfere to arrest and punish the guilty. The soldier may rest assured that his rights also shall be duly respected, and that studied insults offered shall not go unrebuked and unpunished. But action in these matters must be left to his superior officers, who are responsible for the proper discharge of their official duties. It is therefore ordered:

I. Enlisted men at this post not on duty may attend political meetings when their purpose is peaceably to hear the discussions; but under no circumstances shall they in any manner whatever interfere with such meetings. Any soldier violating this order will be immediately arrested by the provost guard and held for severe punishment.

II. All officers on duty at this post are enjoined to aid in the strict execution of this order and will at all times, when present at such meetings, use their utmost endeavors to prevent any interference by soldiers. And any officer found guilty of aiding, abetting, or counseling soldiers to riotous proceedings at such meetings will be reported for summary dismissal from the service.

III. The commanding officer of the provost guard is charged with the execution of this order, and will detail a sufficient force, under trusty officers, to attend and enforce this order at all political meetings in this city.

By order of J. H. Baker, colonel Tenth Minnesota Infantry, commanding post:

 J. C. BRADEN,

Post Adjutant.

 


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
OFFICE OF PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL,
Saint Louis, March 29, 1865.

 Brig. Gen. LEWIS B. PARSONS,
Assistant Quartermaster-General, Washington, D.C.:

GENERAL: Immediately upon entering on my duties here as provost-marshal-general my attention was drawn to the numerous cases of steam-boat burning by rebel emissaries on the Mississippi River and its tributaries. I received direct information from several quarters of the existence of organized bands sent here by the chiefs of the so-called Confederate Government to carry out their designs on our western transportation. The records of this office also furnished evidence, collected by my predecessors, to the same effect. Believing that an energetic effort on my part would result in exposing and securing some of the parties engaged in this infamous and murderous business, and perhaps of breaking it up altogether, I began a secret and thorough investigation of the matter here in this city, gradually enlarging the field of my operations until I had detectives in several of the principal river cities in other departments, and on one occasion I sent my agents beyond the lines. My most sanguine expectations were more than realized. I procured not only evidence of the existence of these organized bands, but also the names of the leaders of some of them, and the modus operandi of carrying on their work, together with the names and location of men inside the rebel lines who have the immediate charge of it, under the Secretary of War. Some of the parties have been arrested and are now in Gratiot Street prison awaiting trial, among whom is the leader of a gang operating in Louisville, Cairo, Memphis, and  Saint Louis, with headquarters here. The evidence shows that these men were at Richmond and Mobile last summer; that they had passes signed by James A. Seddon, Secretary of War, to enable them to move through rebel territory; that they crossed the lines in Mississippi within twenty-five miles of Memphis and subsequently scattered in various directions; that they brought a large amount of gold from Richmond, which it was understood among themselves was to pay for the burning of certain Government property at Louisville and Cairo last summer, &c. Charges have been drawn up against some of them, and their cases will be brought before a military commission at an early day. I am now on the track of other parties in New Orleans, Saint Louis, Mississippi, and Ohio, but at this juncture, just as I have got the matter fairly in hand, and have become acquainted with the names of parties, their haunts, and operations, the money at my command has given out and I am powerless to pursue the investigation further without means are furnished me for that purpose. From the knowledge I have acquired of boat burners and their operations, from New Orleans to Saint Paul, and from beyond the Mississippi to New York and the Atlantic coast, from the favorable location in which I am now placed to gain information of this character, and from having agents already trained to the service at my command, I am satisfied that I could, if the only draw back, the lack of money, was removed, not only effectually break up boat burning in the West, but also bring many of the boat burners and their abettors to punishment.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

 J. H. BAKER,

Colonel and Provost-Marshal-General, Department of the Missouri.


 

SAINT LOUIS, Mo., April 7, 1865--2 p.m.

 Maj. II. H. HEATH,
District Provost-Marshal, Leavenworth:

Holtzclaw, Gooch, Bragg, and three Peytons, Missouri guerrillas of the worst stamp, are at the Prairie House, near Nebraska City. Take prompt measures to secure them.

 J. H. BAKER,

 Colonel and Provost. Marshal. General.


MAY 24, 1865---3.35 p.m.

 Capt. L. BULKLEY,
 New Madrid:

There are no terms for rebel Congressmen now but unconditional surrender. They are excluded from the amnesty. The forthcoming proclamation may designate terms for such men. Arrest him if you can.

 J. H. BAKER,

 Provost. Marshal-General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
 June 7, 1865.

 Major DE BOLT,
Macon:

To all returning Missouri rebel soldiers administer the oath of allegiance. They are excepted from the benefits of the amnesty by article 10 of President Johnson's proclamation. On the oath of allegiance they will be permitted to return to their homes. Keep a careful record in each case.

By command of Major-General Dodge:

 J. H. BAKER,

 Provost. Marshal- General.


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
OFFICE PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL,
Saint Louis, Mo., June 19, 1865.

 Surgeon RANDOLPH,
Medical Director, Dept. of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo.:

SIR: The major-general commanding has directed that such paroled rebels as are unable to proceed to their homes shall be received into the military hospitals and medical aid rendered them. A large number of paroled men are here on the levee, some of whom are too sick to move and are in a very bad condition. Will you please notify me immediately to what hospital or hospitals they must be sent, in compliance with the general's directions?

Very respectfully,

 J. H. BAKER,

Colonel and Provost-Marshal-General.

 


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