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[for the Richmond Dispatch]
depredations upon the soldiers.

Camp Centreville, Oct. 19, 1861.
As the public press is the guardian of the rights of a free people, it is incumbent upon it at all times to exercise a strict watch over the public good. It may not, therefore, be amiss to call the attention of those in authority in the War Department of the Southern Confederacy to acts of plunder and robbery committed every day at Manassas Junction, under the very eyes of those who should take care of the interests of the soldiers and of the Government. It is admitted that in putting the machinery of a new Government into immediate operation there must necessarily be much confusion and irregularity in the branches of the various departments; but it cannot with any degree of allowance be granted that a point of operations as prominent as that of Manassas should continue so long in a state of anarchy and disorder. The soldier, who leaves his home, his family, and all that he holds near and dear upon earth, forsaking the ease and comforts of home, sacrificing his private interests, and going forth to expose his life in defence of his country, certainly deserves all the protection that the arms of the Confederacy can throw around him.

The infamous offenders of justice that continually prowl around the express trains and express office at the Junction, in the very blaze of broad day, and the hundreds of thieves that lurk under the covert of the night, committing depredations upon the property of the soldiers, ought to be brought to justice, and those whose business it is to attend to the transportation, delivery, and protection of such property, should be held responsible for the acts of injustice continually committed. If now and then a box of dainties which the loved ones at home send to their friends in the army, as an acceptable token of their esteem, and as a change from the coarse fare of the camp, was all that could be lost, it could be borne; but when the poor soldier receiving the pitiful sum of a private's pay, and a small bounty of three and a half dollars per month from which to clothe himself, finds, after spending all his means and drawing from his resources at home to protect him from the piercing winds and cold frosts of winter, that his blankets and his new thick clothing which he had so carefully ordered to suit his peculiar necessities, just upon reaching the point of destination are taken away, almost from his own grasp, it is enough to excite in his breast the deepest indignation towards those who do not care for his wants, or protect him in procuring the necessities of life. It is to be hoped that the authorities will speedily take some active step to protect the rights of those who are now in their country's service, and who, as defenders of the Government, deserve in return the control of the Government in their behalf. H* * * * *

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October 19th, 1861 AD (1)
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