which can be of service to our forces. As the rebel Government has laid all grain and produce under conscription, to be taken at will for the use of its armed adherents, you will be justified in destroying all stores of this kind which you shall not be able to remove; but the destruction of crops in the ground, which may not be fit for use until the rebellion is over, or which may when ripe be of service to the forces of our Government occupying the enemy's country, you will not engage in without mature consideration. This right of war, though unquestionable in certain extreme cases, is not to be slightly used, and if wantonly used might fall under that part of the instructions which prohibits devastation. All household furniture, libraries, churches, and hospitals you will of course spare.
That the wickedness and folly of the enemy may soon place us in a position where the immutable laws of self-defense and the stern necessity of retaliation will not only justify but enjoin every conceivable species of injury is only to be too clearly apprehended; but until such time shall have arrived, and until the proof, not merely of declarations or resolves but of acts, is unmistakable, it will be both right and wise to hold the troops under your command to the very strictest interpretation of the laws and usages of civilized warfare.
Expressing the highest confidence in your courage, skill, humanity, and discretion, I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully yours,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C., June 10, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief U. S. Army City, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram directing that all exchange shall cease, and that all rebel prisoners shall be held in close custody under guard until further orders.
I take this occasion to renew most respectfully my request for a regiment of cavalry, or that the two battalions First Massachusetts Cavalry, now at the North, may be remanded to service in this department, which one battalion of the regiment (our entire cavalry force) has never left. A statement of the circumstances under which these two battalions were sent North will, I believe, justify my urgent request for their return.
The whole regiment was ordered North last August, partly no doubt from a pressing need for re-enforcements to the Army of the Potomac, but still more perhaps in answer to the unofficial appeals of Major Robert Williams, assistant adjutant-general, then its colonel. Immediately on receiving the order to send the regiment North I at once hastened to comply therewith, at the same time forwarding a respectful remonstrance against stripping this department of its cavalry; a department from the extent of its exposed fronts particularly needing cavalry for picket and patrol duty .
The justice of the remonstrance was promptly acknowledged by an order for the attention of the First Massachusetts Cavalry in the department, but before this revocation was received my promptness in executing the first had left only one battalion to be retained.