General demands end to guerrilla hunter’s ‘villainous conduct’

by Caveat Lector

By RUDI KELLER  June 8, 2014

EXCERPT: “ST. LOUIS — Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans again insisted that President Abraham Lincoln send a responsible agent to personally receive a report on the activities of secret societies dedicated to overthrowing the government.

The previous day, Lincoln had assured Rosecrans the report would be safe in the hands of an express courier.

“The nature of the information is too grave involving the interests of the country and the safety of individuals to admit of transacting the business through the express,” Rosecrans responded.

Provost Marshal General John Sanderson was working on a report detailing the activities of an organization known variously as the Knights of the Golden Circle or the Order of American Knights. Waves of arrests were already underway. Two suspects from Callaway County, Thomas Howard and his son, John Howard, both denied involvement when they were interrogated this day.

The older Howard, 67, said he kept to his business as a physician and did not engage in politics. “I have no knowledge of any lodge of the Knights of the Golden Circle in Fulton,” he said in his deposition. “I am not a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle. I belong to no secret political organizations.”

One agent, operating under the name William Taylor, reported from Renick that Maj. Reeves Leonard had arrested several members from that town and placed them on parole in Fayette.”

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