War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0906 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas a communication was addressed on the 6th day of July last (1862) by General Robert E. Lee, acting under the instructions of the Secretary of War of the Confederate States of America, to General H. W. Halleck, general-in-chief of the United States Army, informing the latter that a report had reached this Government that William B. Mumford, a citizen of the Confederate States, had been executed by the United States authorities at New Orleans for having pulled down the United States flag in that city before its occupation by the forces of the United States, and calling for a statement of the facts, with a view to retaliation, if such an outrage had really been committed under sanction of the authorities of the United States;

And whereas (no answer having been received to said letter) another letter was, on the 2nd August last (1862), addressed by General Lee, under my instructions, to General Halleck, renewing the inquiry in relation to the said execution of said Mumford, with the information that in the event of not receiving a reply within fifteen days it would be assumed that the fact alleged was true and was sanctioned by the Government of the United States;

And whereas an answer, dated on the 7th August last (1862), was addressed to General Lee by General H. W. Halleck, the said general-in-chief of the armies of the United States, alleging sufficient cause for failure to make early reply to said letter of 6th July, asserting that "No authentic information had been received in relation to the execution of Mumford, but measures will be immediately taken to ascertain the facts of the alleged execution," and premising that General Lee should be duly informed thereof;

And whereas on the 29th November last (1862) another letter was addressed, under my instructions, by Robert Oulc, Confederate agent for the exchange of prisoners, under the cartel between the two Governments, to Lieutenant Col. W. H. Ludlow, agent of the United States under said cartel, informing him that the explanations promised in the said letter of General Halleck of 7th of August last had not yet been received, and that if no answer was sent to the Government within fifteen days from he delivery of this last communication it would be considered that an answer is declined,

And whereas, by letter dated on the 3rd day of the present month of December, the said Lieutenant-colonel Ludlow apprised the said Robert Ould that the above-recited communication of 29th of November had been received and forwarded to the Secretary of War of the United States;

And whereas this last delay of fifteen days allowed for answer has elapsed and no answer has been received;*

And whereas, in addition to the tacit admission resulting from the above refusal to answer, I have received evidence fully establishing the truth of the fact that the said William B. Mumford, a citizen of this Confederacy, was actually and publicly executed in cold blood by hanging after the occupation of the city of New Orleans by the forces under the command of General Benjamin F. Butler, when said Mumford was an unresisting and non-combatant captive, and for no offense even alleged to have been committed by him subsequent to the date of the capture of the said city;

And whereas the silence of the Government of the United States and its maintaining of said Butler in high office under its authority for many months after his commission of an act that can be viewed in no other light than as a deliberate murder, as well as of numerous other outrages and atrocities hereafter to be mentioned, afford evidence only too conclusive that the said Government sanctions the conduct of said Butler and is determined that he shall remain unpunished for his crimes:

Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, and in their name, do pronounce and declare the said Benjamin F. Butler to be a felon, deserving of capital punishment. I do order that he be no longer considered or treated simply as a public enemy of the Confederate States of America, but as an outlaw and common enemy of mankind, and that in the event of his capture the officer in command of the capturing force do cause him to be immediately executed by hanging; and I do further order that no commissioned officer of the United States taken captive shall be released on parole before exchange until the said Butler shall have met with due punishment for his crimes.

And whereas the hostilities waged against this Confederacy by the forces of the United States under the command of said Benjamin F. Butler have borne no resemblance to such warfare as is alone permissible by the rules international law or the usages of civilization, but have been characterized by repeated atrocities and outrages, among the large number of which the following may be cited as examples:

Peaceful and aged citizens, unresisting captives and non-combatants, have been

---------------

* Correspondence referred to in this proclamation will appear in Series II.

---------------