December 14, 1864
An Important Order In Relation To Bushwhackers. – We yesterday saw at the office of Adjutant General Peirpoint, a copy of a circular order lately issued by Gen. Crook, in relation to bushwhacking, which ought to be responded to by the loyal people of the borders. The order sets forth that as the borders of this Department are infested with small disreputable bands of men, who, in civil times, would be called horse thieves and murderers, but who now 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 towards their persons, will be fully upheld and justified. It is impossible to hunt down and destroy these parties by large military organizations, while citizens resident – 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 overrun 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.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: Undated: December 1864