For several months I have been carefully considering your situation, influenced by a due sense of the responsibility of my position, and a sincere desire for your welfare.

With a great and populous State, a fertile soil, [???]st mineral wealth, supplied with outlets by water and railroads for all your productions, no actual war within your borders for the last two years, and yet plundering, robbery and arson have prevailed everywhere to a certain extent, except at points garrisoned by troops, and some few strictly loyal sections of the State.

Daily appeals come to me from all quarters, invoking protection for person, property, industry and its fruits, accompanied by assurances from all, without regard to political or sectional sympathies, that the great mass of the people are ready and willing to unite for the preservation of the public peace, against those who, in violation to any law of war and humanity, under the title of Confederate soldiers, guerrillas and bushwhackers, invade, plunder and murder the peaceful inhabitants of your State.

With this condition of things in view, being fully determined, as far as possible, to restore civil law and order, and persuaded that you have the intelligence and public spirit to see that the question, whether you will have a Government of law and order, or one of brute force, is before you to be met, and that you are ready to forego all party considerations to co-operate with the military authorities for the purpose of securing protection, I have determined upon the following measures:

1. You are requested immediately, by public meetings in townships or counties, to unite in saying whether you will take the ground indicated above or not; and non-action will be considered as a refusal to aid in the work of peace and protection. Township committees of public safety, composed of three of the most discreet citizens, in whom all will have confidence, should be chosen at these meetings, to correspond with a committee of five similarly selected in each county, who will correspond with the local District Commanders, and through them with Department Commanders, as often as necessary, giving them such advice and information as may be useful against the public and private enemies of your peace and safety.

By agreement with the Governor of this State, you will choose and organize out of the Enrolled State Militia of your locality one or two companies of about one hundred (100) men each, selected for courage, energy and willingness to serve for the protection of your respective counties.

They ought to be so chosen as to command the confidence of the citizens generally, without regard to party; and the best officers selected and recommended by the proper Enrolled Militia Colonels and Brigadier-Generals of the districts in which they belong, approved by the United States District Commander, who will forward their names and the rolls of the men to His Excellency the Governor, through these headquarters, as soon as possible, upon which commissions and orders will be issued from the State headquarters for arming, equipping and calling the men into service, so far as may be deemed necessary for the ends of local defence.

Such organizations will be paid by the State when actually on duty, but in all cases they must be on duty with the approval of the Governor, to receive pay.

In organizing these forces, and in all local measures for active defence after organization, the District Commanders of this Department, and the Brigadier-Generals of the various Districts of the E.S.M. are desired to cooperate and consult, constantly and freely.

I confidently rely upon all good men in the State to unite in this movement in behalf of humanity, and for the protection of life and property. I am fully persuaded, if you do so unite, with zeal, energy, and in good faith, a short time will restore a state of profound quiet within your now distracted borders.

Major-General Commanding.

District Commanders are charged with the prompt publication of this order, so far as practicable, to every citizen resident within the limits of their commands, and will afford all necessary aid and protection to the meetings which may be called.

By command of Maj.-Gen. ROSECRANS.

O.D. GREENE, Assistant Adjutant-General.
FRANK ENO, Assistant Adjutant-General.