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Doc. 194. General Halleck's order. In reference to irregularities in his Department.

Headquarters Department of the Missouri, St. Louis, Nov. 26, 1861.
General Orders No. 8:
1. It having been represented that many of the troops in this Department are in want of pay, clothing, blankets, &c., and that this want results from the irregularities and neglect in the appointment of the officers and the mustering of the troops, or in the making of requisitions on the proper departments for supplies, inspecting and mustering officers will be immediately sent to the different divisions, brigades, posts, and detachments, to apply, as speedily as possible, a remedy for these evils. The officers so detailed will, where no proper musters have been made, muster or remuster the troops so as to cover the full time of their service, and will see that the proper requisitions for supplies be made out and duly presented. The General Commanding is convinced that the present wants of the forces under his command result from the ignorance or culpable neglect of those whose duty it was to have them organized according to law, and properly furnished with arms, clothing, and provisions, and he will hereafter punish with severity every neglect of this kind.

2. Where it is necessary that requisitions for supplies be sent to Headquarters, St. Louis, they must be directed to the heads of Departments, who, if they require the approval of the General Commanding, will present them for such approval. In case such requisitions are not filled or replied to promptly, the facts will be reported to Headquarters, and all official neglect in such matters will be speedily inquired into and punished. Such requisitions should be transmitted by mail, where practicable, and the sending of officers to Headquarters for this purpose, without permission, is strictly forbidden.

3. Numerous cases have been brought to the attention of the Commanding General, of alleged seizure and destruction of private property in this Department, showing an outrageous abuse of power, and a violation of the laws of war. To avoid a recurrence of these evils, the following rules will hereafter be observed:

1. No private property will be taken except where necessary for the subsistence or transportation of the troops, or in cases of persons in arms against the United States, or affording aid and assistance to the enemy.

2. Where it becomes necessary to take private property for the former purpose, intelligent and responsible officers will be detailed for that purpose, who will take an accurate account of the property so taken, and give receipts therefor. All such property must be duly returned and accounted for, and the authority for the seizures must be stated in the receipts and returns. Any unauthorized and unnecessary seizure or destruction of private property will be punished with the extreme penalty imposed by the laws of war, which is death.

3. The seizure and conversion of the private property of an enemy, (where not required for immediate supplies as provided in the foregoing paragraph,) is justifiable only in particular cases, provided for by the laws of the United States, and the general laws of war, and should never be made except by the orders of an officer highest in command, who will be held accountable [431] for the exercise of this power. Great caution should be used in this matter, as much injustice has been done to individuals who are not enemies; and much discredit cast upon our patriotic army by excesses committed by unauthorized persons pretending to act in the name of the United States. All property taken from alleged enemies must be inventoried and duly accounted for.

Any person violating these rules will be immediately arrested and reported to headquarters.

4. In all cases where prisoners are taken at other posts or in the field, and sent to St. Louis, they will be accompanied with a written statement of the charges against them, and the evidence on which the arrest was based. Otherwise, prisoners so sent will be released on their arrival here.

5. No person will be hereafter arrested without good and substantial reasons, and officers making arrests without sufficient cause or without authority, will be held to account and punished. And officers sending prisoners to St. Louis without charges, proofs, or proper explanations, will be charged with the expenses of their transportation.

By order of Maj.-Gen. Halleck.

John C. Kelton, A. A. G.

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