tried, if convicted of the offense or offenses as stated, are viewed as lawful subjects for capital punishment.
These statements, brought to me in various ways, I cannot believe to be correct. It is upon this subject that I now propose to address you. It is necessary that we understand each other and have some guiding knowledge of that character of warfare which is to be waged by our respective Governments. This understanding should be given at once. It is desirable both by you and me. Both armies desire it, and the exigencies of the war demand that some certain rules should be the basis of our conduct and control. Delay is vital. It cannot be allowed. We must understand each other. Do you intend to continue the arrest of citizens engaged in their ordinary peaceful pursuits and treat them as traitors and rebels; if so, will you make exchanges with me for such as I may or will make for similar causes? Do you intend to regard members of this army as persons deserving death whenever and wherever they may be captured, or will you extend the recognized rights of prisoners of war by the code of the civilized world?
Do you regard - and state as such the law governing your army-the destruction of important roads, transportation facilities, &c., for military purposes, as the legal right of a belligerent power? Do you intend to regard men whom I have specially dispatched to destroy roads, burn bridges, tear up culverts, &c., as amenable to an enemy's court-martial, or will you have them to be tried as usual, by the proper authorities, according to the statutes of the State? It is vastly important to the interests of all parties concerned that these momentous issues should be determined. No man deplores the horrors of war more than I do; no one will sacrifice more to avert its desolating march. Each party must be heard. Each must have a kind of common protection. I am willing to afford this. It remains with you to decide the question with that frankness which attends your official communications. I await your reply.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Numbers S. G.
SPRINGFIELD, January 4, 1862.
P. S. - A fac-simile of the above was dispatched to you on the day of its date. Kindred to the same subject-matter allow me to call your attention to an extended system of spoliation carried on in many parts of the State; I mean the firing of private houses, barns, mills, &c., as also the burning of towns. It does seem to me that the necessities of neither party requires nor should admit of such vandalism, and although I am loath to believe such acts were perpetrated by your authority, I have seen no condemnation of them from yourself or the commanders of any posts within the neighborhood so desolated. Do you condemn this system or do you intend to continue it, either by express orders or allow it to be continued by your silence on the subject? I trust that it is unnecessary to urge upon you an explicit and prompt reply to this communication in all its several points.
I am, &c.,
32 R R-VOL VIII