Doc. 95.-General Polk's General order.
General order no. 1.Valley of the Mississippi which is embraced within the boundaries of Division No. 2, I hereby assume command. All officers on duty within the limits of said Divison will report accordingly. In assuming this very grave responsibility, the General in command is constrained to declare his deep and long-settled conviction that the war in which we are engaged is one not warranted by reason or any necessity, political or social, of our existing condition, but that it is indefensible and of unparalleled atrocity. We have protested, and do protest, that all we desire is to be let alone, to repose in quietness under our own vine and our own fig-tree. We have sought, and only sought, the undisturbed enjoyment of the inherent and indefeasible right of self-government — a right which freemen can never relinquish, and which none but tyrants could ever seek to wrest from us. Those with whom we have been lately associated in the bonds of a pretended fraternal regard, have wished and endeavored to deprive us of this, our great birthright as American freemen Nor is this all: they have sought to deprive us of this inestimable right by a merciless war, which can attain no other possible end than the ruin of fortunes and the destruction of lives, for the subjugation of Christian freemen is out of the question. A war which has thus no motive except lust or hate, and no object except ruin and devastation, under the shallow pretence of the restoration of the Union, is surely a war against Heaven as well as a war against earth. Of all the absurdities ever enacted, of all the hypocrisies ever practised, an attempt to restore a union of minds, and hearts, and wills, like that which once existed in North America, by the ravages of fire and sword, is assuredly among the most prodigious. As sure as there is a righteous Ruler of the Universe, such a war must end in disaster to those by whom it was inaugurated, and by whom it is now prosecuted with circumstances of barbarity which, it is fondly believed, would never more disgrace the annals of a civilized people. Numbers may be against us, but the battle is not always to the strong. Justice will triumph, and an earnest of this triumph is already beheld in the mighty uprising of the whole Southern heart. Almost as one man this great section comes to the rescue, resolved to perish rather than yield to the oppressor, who, in the name of freedom, yet under the prime inspiration of an infidel horde, seeks to reduce eight millions of freemen to abject bondage and subjection. All ages and conditions are united in one grand and holy purpose of rolling back the desolating tide of invasion and of restoring to the people of the South that peace, independence, and right of self-government to which they are, by nature and nature's God, as justly entitled as those who seek thus ruthlessly to invade them. The General in command, having the strongest confidence in the intelligence and firmness of purpose of those belonging to his department, enjoins upon them the maintenance of a calm, patient, persistent, and undaunted determination to resist the invasion at all hazards, and to the last extremity. It comes bringing with it a contempt for constitutional liberty, and the withering influence of the infidelity of New England and Germany combined. Its success would deprive us of a future. The best men among our invaders opposed the course they are pursuing at the first, but they have been overborne or swept into the wake of the prevailing current, and now under the promptings of their fears, or the delusions of some idolatrous reverence due to a favorite symbol, are as active as any in instigating this unnatural, unchristian, and cruel war. Our protests, which we here solemnly repeat in the face of the civilized world, have been hitherto unheeded, and we are left alone, under God, to the resources of our own minds and our hearts — to the resources of our manhood. Upon them, knowing as he does those whom he addresses as well as those with whom you are cooperating throughout the South, the General in command feels he may rely with unwavering confidence. Let every man, then, throughout the land arm himself in the most effective manner, and hold himself in readiness to support the combined resistance. A cause which has for its object nothing less than the  security of civil liberty and the preservation of the purity of religious truth, is the cause of Heaven, and may well challenge the homage and service of the patriot and the Christian. In God is our trust.
Leonidas Polk, Major-General P. A. C. S. Commanding.