April 10 1863 Columbia MO
FULTON — Federal troops disarmed Company A of the Callaway County Enrolled Missouri Militia and arrested an officer and two privates for their role in attempting to capture a runaway slave in Mexico, the Missouri Telegraph reported.
The troops from Company D of the 2nd Missouri Cavalry, “Merrill’s Horse,” arrived in the evening. Earlier the same day, a justification of the action written by Capt. Isaac Snedecor, Company A’s commander, appeared in the Telegraph.
“The Callaway militia are as true and efficient soldiers as are in the service of the State,” Snedecor wrote. “They are ever ready and wiling to do all that is demanded of them as soldiers under the Constitution. Rebels, horse thieves, negro concealers and abolitionists who are striving to destroy this good Government will receive but little mercy at their hands.”
Lt. George Burdett and Pvts. Benjamin Wiggs and James Wills were arrested, the Telegraph reported. On March 18, Burdett and several members of Company A had attempted to retrieve a slave named Jim from the military hospital. Jim belonged to Peyton Stephens of Callaway County.
Provost Marshal O.A.A. Gardner had been pushing for the arrest of Snedecor, Burdett and others since the incident took place. Snedecor’s defense included attacks on Gardner and the Mexico Citizen, a newspaper Gardner published with Audrain County Sheriff Amos Ladd.
Snedecor wrote that the militia was enforcing state law. “This I shall continue to do, even should I have to reprimand some poor trifling puppy, who may accidentally occupy the position of provost marshal.”
Snedecor wrote that what Gardner and Ladd were most upset about was the disruption of their pleasures, not the legal questions of whether the militia had the authority to return slaves.
“Now I will state that I have no doubt but what the Callaway militia may have interfered with the ‘domestic concerns’ and ‘domestic relations’ of the editors of that paper when we scattered a contraband harem, in embryo, shielded, guarded and protected by these decent editors,” Snedecor wrote.
So it's clear Gardner and Snedecor were at odds, and certainly Snedecor's publicly published comments could be considered "fight'n words"! I would also make the assertion the Issac Snedecor, like Sample Orr, was an anti-abolition Unionist. Perhaps part of his clout came from Orr who was in Jeff City at this point in time. Certainly Orr had a significant portion of the populace that agreed with him.