War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 1056 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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and with apparent frankness. He mentioned the order of General But- ler relative to females in New Orleans, and in doing so evinced much feeling. He said that all Southern men regarded it as they would a direct insult offered to their mothers, sisters, and wives. General Cobbs brigade is in the fi~ont, where the skirmishing is con- stant. He was well dressed, and bore no appearance of privation or discouragement. I will venture to state the impressions made upon my mind by the interview. They are these: That the rebels are in great force at Richmond, and mean to fight a general battle in defense of it; that the Confederate leaders have not the power to control the move- ment which they have inaugurated; that there is little hope of recon- S struction so long as the rebels have a large army in the field anywhere; that it may be found necessary in particular States, if not in all, to destroy the class which has ct~eated this rebellion, by destroying the institution which has created them. Trnsting that I may not be considered as having committed any im- propriety in the interview or in this comniunication, I am, respectfully, your obedient servant, THOMAS M. KEY, Colonel and Aide-de- Camp. WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, D. C., June 21, 1862. Major-General MCCLELLAN: GENERAL: Your letter ~of 17th instant], with the accompanying let- ter of Colonel Key respecting his conference with howell Cobb, acting as a brigade general in the rebel army, has been received and laid be- fore the President, according to your request. The Presidents instructions respecting any further effort at exchange will be speedily communicated to you. I will only remark now that it is not deemed proper for officers bearing flags of truce in respect to the exchange of prisoners to hold any conference with the rebel officers upon the general subject of the existing contest or upon any other sub- ject than what relates to the exchange of prisoners. Yours, truly, EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War. No. 2. Report of Col. James if. Simpson, Fourth New Jersey infantry. OFFICE U. S. ENGINEERS, DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY, Cincinnati, Ohio, September 12, 1864. SIR: Permit me to address to you directly the inclosed documents. It is possible that the report which I made June 16, 1862, of a parley held by Col. Thomas M. Key, of General McClellans staff, with Gen- eral Howell Cobb, of the rebel service, within our lines, at the Mechanics- ville Bridge, over the Chickahomniny, on the 15th June, 1862, may have been already seen by you; but lest it may not, and in order that the Government may have all the facts, I have thought it my duty to send