Transcriber's Note: This letter was addressed to Lt, Col, Jos, Mc C, Bell Asst Adjt Genl and, in handwritten form, is 19 pages long.

London, Canada West.
Aug. 17th 1865
Col.

Nothing but a sense of honor to myself and justice to my fellow returned Confederate soldiers _ whom I in part had the honor to command recently_
could impel me to cast aside that reluctance that ever fallen foe must naturally experience in intruding himself upon the notice of those who have
been instrumental in his overthrow to claim that protection which he had been led by fair and sacred promises to believe would be cordially and
promptly extended toward him in the event that he would cease his resistance and comply with the requirements of his vanquishers. But with all its
repugnance, I find myself under the necessity of asking through you the indulgence of submitting to Maj Genl Pope Comdg the Dept of Mo: the
following statement of facts for his consideration and disposal believing that his administration will be characterized by a disposition to secure the
rights and privileges that were granted to the Confederate soldiers in the late Capitulations.

In June 1861, I enlisted
as a soldier in a military organization known and designated as the “Missouri State Guard”, commanded by Maj Genl Price and called into actual
service by the then Governor of the State _ and arrayed in hostility to authority of the government of the United States. I was in a few days thereafter
promoted to the rank of Captain and assigned to duty in the Staff department where I continued to serve with the main army during the campaign of
that year until in December when I expressed  the desire to enter the “line”, and was by Genl Price’s order furnished with recruiting papers papers,
and ordered to proceed to Dade and adjoining counties to enlist troops with orders to consult the wish of the men recruited and to accept them either
as cavalry or infantry, and for the State or Confederate Service and with express orders to arm, mount and equip my recruits off of the country.
In obedience to my orders I proceeded to the counties mentioned and began to carry into execution my instructions when about the 12th of the next
February I was advised that Genl Price was retreating from Springfield. I immediately followed and joined the command in Arkansas and was on the
27th day of that month promoted to the rank of Lt Col, and placed in command of a battalion. After Genl Van Dorn’s retreat from “Elk Horn Tavern”,
in the following March I continued with the main army until it reached Memphis Tenn where in the latter part of May 1862 I was again ordered on the
recruiting service for the Confederate army. I raised a company in June following and attached it to a regiment (I accepting the command as Captain
of the Company) with which I have ever since served until the surrender of the Trans Miss Dept by Genl E Kirby Smith_ the regiment being at that
time designated as the 16th Regt Mo; Infty, and I being the Lt Col. thereof. I have given you this statement that you may perceive that I have been in
the regular service during the entire struggle. After the surrender of Genl Smith I accepted of my parole at Shreveport, La, on the 8th day of June
1865 in accordance with the terms of capitulation. We were repeatedly assured by Maj Genl Herron and many other federal officers in high rank, that
the Government of the United States intended to pursue a liberal and conciliatory policy toward those that had thus complied with the terms of the
surrender, and that all who would take the oath of allegiance would thereby avail themselves of the amnesty Proclamation of the President of the
United States and be fully pardoned for all acts of a military nature, and could return home and remain unmolested and should be protected against
prosecutions for former military acts. The troops from Mo, were publicly commended for their good conduct and the good faith manifestice by them in
preserving for and delivering to the United States authorities the public property surrendered in a special order issued by Maj Genl Herron and they
were urged to evince their fidelity to the Government by relying with the utmost confidence upon the plighted faith of that government and to return to
their homes in Missouri, and not fear that the promise of protection which had in a large decree influenced their surrender should be violated.
Trusting in these solemn assurances I (among thousands of others) returned to St Louis and there complied with every requirement and dispersed to
our various homes. I then proceeded to Richmond Ray County Mo. Where my family had moved during my absence (I having formerly resided at
Greenfield Dade County Mo) I had enjoyed the pleasures of peace and repose less less than one month before I was arrested by the Sheriff of Ray
County by virtue of a writ issued by J C Price judge of the 13th judicial Circuit and purporting to be based upon an affidavit made by one Mrs
Henderson (a Copy of which warrant is herewith enclosed) who charged me with robbery. You will observe that the very face of this writ distinctly
indicates that the alleged offense was a military act and the very fact of demanding arms and men as set forth clearly shows that the offense
complained of was purely a military act and not a felony. You will observe that the alleged offense is stated to have been committed more than three
years ago, and this process upon which I was arrested is not a capias issued upon a bill of indictment, although several terms of court has since
elapsed yet no Grand Jury had ever found a bill of indictment against me for this alleged high crime. I will here further state that in 1862 after the
date of this charged crime, and I was wounded in an engagement, and had to be left at the “hospital”, and in November of that year was captured by
the forces of the United States and carried to Springfield Mo, and after remaining there for more than a month I was sent to St Louis as a prisoner of
war, This identical woman’s husband was one of my captors and guards.

Now if I had been guilty of this crime why was I not turned over to the Civil law, and not have been treated as a soldier but punished as a Criminal? I
was in at Springfield in 35 miles of the place of alleged in the affidavit, When I visited this woman’s house her husband belonged was connected, or in
some capacity with the federal army, and her son was likewise in arms against us and was lying around home or was at least supposed to be and if
the saddle mentioned and charged to have been taken, was taken, it was taken and impressed for military purposes. The “impressment” of arms,
horses, saddles etc are the for military purposes are the legitimate results of war between the two belligerent powers and that the Confederate
government was a government “de facto”, has been so frequently decided by judicial authority in the case of the raider Burley, and in many other
cases that it will not now be seriously doubted or denied. Am I still amenable of to the criminal law for military acts for which I was induced to believe
that by taking the oath of allegiance I became the recipient and received the pardon of the President of the United States? If so where is the benefit
of that boasted protection that we were to receive by returning to our allegiance? No Sir: there were was private malice to be gratified and this case
that no Grand jury had notice was “trumped up”, for the purpose of arresting me and of depriving me of any means of defending myself, and then
place me in the power of a mob which it is well Known can be in these excitable and unsettled times as easily excited by the appearance of a rebel
under guard as a Spanish-bull at the sight of a red rag. This judge who had not the patriotism to go to the battlefield and assist in the suppression of
the rebellion but was securely living at home now steps forward to intermeddle with the rights and privileges granted by those whose energy and
perseverance aided by numerical force crush out the rebellion, To prevent the design of taking my life from being accomplished I affected my escape
from the custody of the sheriff and now appeal to the Maj Genl Comd’g  Dept of Mo, to enforce the solemn pledges of protection that to so great
extent induced us to return to our allegiance and to our homes. On making my escape, my first impulses were to proceed immediately to St Louis and
there surrender myself as a prisoner and claim the promised protection, but on remembering that many of my fellow returned Confederates had been
driven from their houses, and many of them executed by mobs and murdered by individuals and not Knowing of any effort being made to suppress
any reoccurrence of the lawless acts, I concluded to seek refuge in Her Majesty’s government until I could ascertain the views of the Maj Genl Comdg
upon the matter at issue, I say the murder of many of my former companions in arms and I will mention the case of Sergt Walker of St Clair County
and several of his comrades who were formerly members of my own regiment, You can scarcely pick up a news-paper that does not contain accounts
of the “Killing or driving off of returned rebels” and yet many indeed who perish without ever being mentioned in newspapers, their friends fearing to
mention the matter for fear that they will be doomed for having the temerity to cry out against the conduct of these lawless men. While those who are
ordered off frequently by partys in many instances who are illegally in possession of the property of the “returned rebel” leave prefer to leave their
homes and State quietly rather than to contend for their rights by laying their case before the authorities for fear of inciting either the military or civil
authorities and thereby render themselves obnoxious to one or the other party, I am desirous to return to my home and wish to Know if I am to do so
as a free man, or am I still liable to be dragged over the State from County to County like some felon, and be imprisoned and wait there until I am
tried and then show plead in bar of this prosecution my pardon from the President. This would afford not the slightest protection against the craft of
designing men, I will venture the assertion that but very few, if any recruiting officer either for the federal or confederate officer service at that early
day in Mo, that refrained from the “impressment” of arms, horses and saddles for the outfitting of his men. If we are required to prove that for all the
military acts that we were obeying orders of a Superior what an unnatural position we would have to occupy in Court, We would be required first to
introduce the order if written and if not to introduce verbal evidence, Of Course the order-books are not in our possession nor could not be obtained,
and as for verbal testimony it would be almost impossible and in many cases entirely so to procure the required testimony for it is a well Known fact
that nearly all the every general but bear one general from Mo, has returned and he was not connected with the Mo, Army as a general officer during
that campaign. of Many of the men who were generally present and probably may have at the time been had a Knowledge of the orders under which
his recruiting officer acted have since that time met the fatal casualities of the battlefield or died from disease incident to camp life while others have
left the United States or gone to some distant and unKnown point to the defendant and thus he would be placed in a condition entirely at the mercy
of the criminal court and thus unjustly made to suffer a punishment for a crime that he had never committed only in a purely military character and for
which  he had been fully pardoned, But believing that the Maj Genl Comdg, Dept, of Mo; still shares a deep solicitude to extend his protection over
those that have thus complied with the requirements of that Government which he represents I shall await his decision and abide thereby.

I am Col.
Your obt Servt
John M Stemmons
Late Lt Col, 16th Mo, Infty P.A.C.S.

      
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On the reverse side of one of the pages appears the following notations:

S136 also D Nov 2 1865
London Canada West Aug 17 1865
Stemmons, Jno. M.
Late Lt. Col. 16 Mo. Cav.
P.A.C.S.

Claims the protection for
himself and fellow soldiers
which were extended to them in
case they ceased resistance
Submits statement of facts
for consideration, to secure
rights and privileges allowed in
capitulation.

At the bottom of the notation is a date stamp showing HD. Qrs Dept of the MO.  ST. Louis
John M. Stemmons; 1865 Letter
Stemmons 1862 Letters
Stemmons 1863 Prison Questionaire