War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0468 W.FLA., S.ALA., S.MISS., LA., TEX., N.MEX. Chapter XXVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

Williams, and William Stanley, condemned to death for violating their parole, given at the surrender of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip, by organizing a military company to break the pickets of your camp and join the army of Beauregard at Corinth.

Tried and convicted by a board of officers whose honor and integrity are known to all, these men are justly liable to that condign punishment which the miliary law metes out to so grave and heinous an offense. But a powerful government never diminishes its strength by acts of clemency and mercy. No doubt, general, these men were partly driven by want, partly deluded, and have long been so, superior minds having given them hereford false impressions, and they have been acting under such errors as have at brought them to the threshold of the grave.

Unknown to us even front report prior to their trial and conviction, we see in them only men and brethren who have erred and are in danger.

General, the event has shown that these men were unable to resist the force of the Government or to elude the vigilance and fidelity of its officers. They are subdued and powerless. Their case excites our commiseration and that of hundreds of others. We ask your mercy upon them.

At the present moment the Government needs no excessive rigor to enforce obedience or to command respect.

Pardon their offense. The act will them with gratitude to you and to the powerful Government you represent. It will demonstrate the mildness of authority, and convince our fellow-citizens that mercy and clemency no less than force and strength are essential attributes of the power you represent.

General, receive this prayer for life in the spirit which dictates it-- an earnest and heartfelt desire to promote reconciliation and peace.

We remain, general, with profound respect, your obedient servant,

J. AD. ROZIER,

THOMAS J. DURANT.

In pursuance of this feeling petition and in the interest of humanity Major-General Butler issued the following order:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF, New Orleans, June 3, 1862.

J. AD. ROZIER, Esq.,

THOMAS J. DURANT, Esq.:l

GENTLEMEN: Your communication to-day concerning the unfortunate men who are under sentence of be executed to-morrow has received, as it deserved, most serious consideration.

The representations of gentleman of your known probity, intelligence, high social position, and thorough acquaintance with the character, temper, habits of thought, and motives of action of the people of New Orleans ought to have great determining weight with me, a stranger among you, called upon to act promptly, under the best lights I may, in matters affecting the administration of justice. In addition, your well-known and fully appreciated unwavering attachment to the Government of the United States renders it certain that nothing but the best interests of the country could have influenced your opinions.

Of the institute with calls for the death of these men I can have no doubt. The mercy it would be to others in like cases tempted to offend