Doc. 71.-General Curtis's address to the people of the Southwest.
headquarters army of the Southwest, camp Halleck, Ark., March 1, 1862.I have received a private communication from an intelligent writer, a citizen of Arkansas, who says: “We, as citizens, have left our homes and firesides for the purpose, as we supposed, of having to defend ourselves against a brutal soldiery that would lay waste our humble homes, and outrage the chastity of our wives and daughters, and place our own lives in jeopardy. We have organized what is called Home Guard Companies, partly of Union men and partly of Southern men, all of whom are anxious to return to their homes. We are happy to find that you and your men are not composed of that class of persons commonly called jayhawkers, who do not regard the rights of citizens and property, but confine the war to its legitimate object.” The falsehoods circulated concerning us have driven thousands from their homes, and I take the liberty of responding publicly to the sentiments expressed by the writer, because these falsehoods have involved the whole community in the troubles which he seeks to mitigate. The only legitimate object of the war is peace, and the writer only does me justice when he says I adhere to this legitimate object. Peace able citizens shall be protected as far as possible. I act under strict orders of Major-Gen. Halleck. The flight of our foes from their camps, and the imitation of their conduct by the citizens, in fleeing from their homes, leaving their effects abandoned as it were for their victors, has much embarrassed me in my efforts to preserve discipline in my command, as these circumstances offered extraordinary temptations. The burning of farms and fields of grain in Missouri, and extensive barracks and valuable mills in Arkansas by the enemy, has induced some resentments on the part of my troops, which I have severely punished. Necessary supplies for my command could not keep up with my rapid movements, and peaceable citizens not being at home to sell them to my quartermasters, I am compelled to take them without purchase, making settlement difficult and doubtful; occasioning irregularities which I have always labored to counteract. If peaceably disposed citizens will stay at home, or return home, and check the clandestine, stealthy warfare that is carried on under the cover and cloak of peaceable citizens, much of the havoc of war will be avoided, and many poor families can be protected from distress and misery. I have followed the war-path through the entire State of Missouri, have seen the havoc and devastation surrounding it, and I deplore the prospect of these disasters in the virgin soil of Arkansas. Armed men, in the garb of citizens, are concealed by citizens, and the unfortunate condition of Missouri will be transferred to Arkansas, if you allow this complicity of yourselves in the struggle. If you do not discriminate by requiring soldiers to wear some distinctive badge, you must not complain if we cannot discriminate. There is no honor, no glory, no good that can be gained by taking up arms in this way, to defend your homes, for we do not wish to molest them if you are peaceably disposed. We only wish to put down rebellion by making war against those in arms, their aiders and abettors. We come to vindicate the Constitution, to preserve and perpetuate civil and religious liberty, under a flag that was embalmed in the blood of our Revolutionary fathers. Under that flag we have lived in peace and prosperity until the flag of rebellion involved us in the horrors of civil war. We have restored the Stars and Stripes to Northwestern Arkansas, where I am glad to find many who rejoice to see the emblem of their former glory, and hope for a restoration of the peace and happiness they have enjoyed under its folds. A surrender to such a flag is only a return to your natural allegiance, and is more honorable than to persist in a rebellion that surrendered to the National  power at Forts Henry and Donelson, at Nashville and at Roanoke, and throughout the most powerful Southern States. Why then shall the West be devastated to prolong a struggle which the States of Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, North-Carolina and Tennessee cannot successfully maintain? Disband your companies; surrender your arms; for in all instances where men in arms have voluntarily surrendered and taken the oath of allegiance to our common country, they have been discharged. No prisoners have, to my knowledge, been shot or hung, or cruelly treated by us. I know of no instance where my troops have treated females with violence, and I have not heard of a complaint of any kind. I enjoin on the troops kindness, protection and support for women and children. I shall, to the best of my ability, maintain our country's flag in Arkansas, and continue to make relentless war on its foes, but shall rejoice to see the restoration of peace in all the States and Territories of our country — that peace which we formerly enjoyed and earnestly desire; and I implore for each and all of us that ultimate, eternal peace “which the world cannot give or take away.” I have the honor to be, Very respectfully, your obedient servant,