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[517] me out of the small forces withheld by you from the armies of Generals Grant, Steel, and Blunt numbering less than three thousand officers and men for duty, and having over twenty-five separate stations or fields of operations throughout the district, have worked hard, and (until this raid) successfully in hunting down the guerrillas and protecting the stations and the border. They have killed more than a hundred of them in petty skirmishes and engagements between the eighteenth of June and the twentieth instant.

On the twenty-fifth instant I issued an order requiring all residents of the counties of Jackson, Cass, Bates, and that part of Vernon included in this district, except those within a mile of the limits of the military stations and the garrisoned towns, and those north of Bush Creek and west of Big Blue, to remove from their present places of residence within fifteen days from that date — those who proved their loyalty to be allowed to move out of the district or to any military station in it, or to any part of Kansas west of the border counties — all others to remove out of the district.

When the war broke out, the district to which this order applies was peopled by a community three fourths of whom were intensely disloyal. The avowed loyalists have been driven from their farms long since, and their houses and improvements generally destroyed. They are living in Kansas, and at military stations in Missouri, unable to return to their homes. None remain on their farms but rebel and neutral families, and practically the condition of their tenure is that they shall feed, clothe, and shelter the guerrillas, furnish them information, and deceive or withhold information from us. The exceptions are few — perhaps twenty families in those parts of the counties to which the order applies. Two thirds of those who left their families on the border and went to the rebel armies have returned. They dare not stay at home, and no matter what terms of amnesty may be granted, they can never live in the country except as brigands; and so long as their families and associates remain, they will stay until the last man is killed, to ravage every neighborhood of the border. With your approval, I was about adopting before this raid measures for the removal of the families of the guerrillas and of known rebels, under which two thirds of the families affected by this order would have been compelled to go. That order would have been most difficult of execution, and not half so effectual as this. Though this measure may seem too severe, I believe it will prove not inhumane, but merciful to the non-combatants affected by it. Those who prove their loyalty will find houses enough at the stations, and will not be allowed to suffer for want of food. Among them there are but few dissatisfied with the order, notwithstanding the present hardship it imposes. Among the Union refugees it is regarded as the best assurance they have ever had of a return to their homes, and permanent peace there.

To obtain the full military advantages of this removal of the people, I have ordered the destruction of all grain and hay, in shed or in the field, not near enough to military stations for removal there. I have also ordered from the towns occupied as military stations, a large number of persons either openly or secretly disloyal, to prevent the guerrillas getting information of the townspeople, which they will no longer be able to get of the farmers. The execution of these orders will possibly lead to a still fiercer and more active struggle, requiring the best use of the additional troops the General Commanding has sent me, but will soon result, though with much unmerited loss and suffering, in putting an end to this savage border war.

I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Thomas Ewing, Jr., Brigadier-General.

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