My object in addressing you is to give you assurance that I come among you not for the purpose of destroying you, but for your protection in all your rights, civil, social, and political. I am here, backed by the forces of the United States, to protect you in the rights of property as well as person, so long as you are peaceful citizens and loyal to the Government of the United States, the flag of which has so long and so well protected you, and under the folds of which you have lived long, happily, and prosperously.
But if you attempt to carry on a guerilla warfare against my troops, by attacking my wagon-trains or messengers, or shooting my guards or pickets, you will be considered as enemies of your country, and treated accordingly. I shall put as few restrictions upon the ordinary business of the people as possible, and will give as free ingress and egress to and from Romney as the safety of my troops will admit. Citizens who have fled, under the erroneous belief that they would be imprisoned or killed, are invited to return to their homes and families, assured that they shall be protected whenever they can give evidence that they will be loyal, peaceful, and quiet citizens. Every reasonable facility will be given the people to seek a market on the railroad for their surplus produce, and to obtain supplies of merchandise, groceries, &c.
All persons who have taken up arms against the Government are required to lay them down, return to their homes, and take an oath of allegiance to support the Government of the United States; by so doing they will receive all the protection due to an American citizen.
B. F. KELLEY,
BENJ. F. HAWKES, Assist. Adj.-Gen.
ROMNEY, Va., Oct. 28, 1861.