Whilst wishing to avoid all discussion about the policy of the blockade here, in my reply of the 8th to yours of the 7th instant I endeavored to meet the scope of your questions by stating what my instructions, which I had some time before communicated to you, required me to do.
Allow me in conclusion to thank you for the frankness with which you have communicated to me your views, and to say that whatever may be the determination of the Government upon the points you have presented it will be my duty and effort at all times to carry out faithfully my instructions from the Department, and in the manner the most convenient to the administration of your branch of the public service.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, yours,
S. P. LEE,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, Commanding N. Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
Washington, October 10, 1862.
DEAR HOFFMAN: I inclose a copy of a letter sent by flag of truce, and copy of an order issued with regard to the shooting of vedettes or pickets, and the paroles of two wounded prisoners sent outside the lines. The letter and order were in accordance with instructions from General Foster.
* * * * * * *
EDWARD E. POTTER.
Washington, N. C., October 9, 1862.
Commanding Officer Confederate Forces nearest Washington:
SIR: I send by flag of truce, of which Captain Willson, Third New York Cavalry, is the bearer, Surgeon Stone and two paroled prisoners.
By the advice and suggestion of Major-General Foster, commanding the Department of North Carolina, I avail myself of this opportunity to inquire whether the inhuman and murderous practice of shooting pickets and vedettes is countenanced by the officers of the Confederate Army.
Brigadier-General Martin in conversation with General Burnside, and Captain Tucker while here a few days ago as the bearer of a flag of truce, both denounced this custom and agreed to use their best endeavors to put an end to it. Notwithstanding this agreement and these denunciations two of our vedettes were yesterday murdered in the most cold-blooded manner.
I desire to know whether these acts are committed by the authority and with the approval of officers. If such outrages be not checked I shall be compelled to resort to retaliation of the severest character.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
EDWARD E. POTTER,
Colonel, Commanding Post.
GENERAL ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS, Numbers 6.
Washington, October 8, 1862.
In order to check the inhuman and cowardly practice on the part of the enemy of shooting our vedettes and pickets it is hereby ordered that