Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
December 9, 1864

The Journal
December 28, 1864

The Right Thing at Last

The following circular has just been issued by Gen. Crook, relative to the treatment of bushwhackers and rebel horse-thieves by the Union citizens. His recommendations are exactly what we have all along contended should be done. It simply means, organize for home protection, hunt and kill in any manner you please these rebel thieves. But the order explains itself:

Head Qr's Dept. West Va.,
Cumberland, Md., Dec. 9th, 1864.
As the borders of this department are infested with small disreputable bands of men, who in civil times, would be called horsethieves and murderers, but who dignify themselves with the title of guerrillas, claiming to belong to the service of the so-called Confederate States, and are following their unlawful calling under the cover and guise of either army, seeking protection within the mountains when pursued - it becomes necessary that some measures be taken by citizens living within this department, and whose property is so threatened, for their own protection.

Citizens are called upon to organize for the destruction of all bands of these villains, who have no just claim to the protection of any government, and all possible assistance for their destruction will be given them.

Such men, banded together for purposes of plunder and dishonorable personal advantages, are unworthy of, and should receive, no quarter, and when taken, any disposition that may be deemed necessary by the captors themselves toward their persons will be fully upheld and justified. It is impossible to hunt down and destroy these parties by large military organizations, while citizen residents - able at all times to know of their whereabouts - may speedily organize for their destruction.

Citizens living within this department must protect themselves in the same manner as in civil times, when over-run by these plundering, marauding and thieving bands, and rise with a determination to rid themselves of them at once, and for all, resting upon the assurance that all the assistance possible will be given them by the department commander.

By command of Maj-Gen. Crook,
Robert P. Kennedy,
Ass't Adj't General.

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: December 1864

West Virginia Archives and History