olina. In relation to prisoners of war when they have been paroled I can say that never to my knowledge have they been, nor have I ever heard of their having been, employed in the performance of any duty for the Government. As my Government has no faithfully respected the parole of prisoners I am the more astonished that you should have brought a merely hearsay rumor that came to the ears of the editor of the Raleigh Standard to my notice, when an order was issued from the War Department of the United States requiring, as I remember, paroled prisoners to instruct recruits, garrison fortresses in the rear of the army, and guard prisoners. While our press - as the extract you send me shows - would denounce such violations of a parole of honor, I have seen yours teeming with the demand that the prisoners you have captured and paroled should be sent to Minnesota to repel the Indians then at war with your people. You ask me to answer whether the acts complained of by Governor Stanly have my sanction, "and whether, as he desires to know, the negroes mentioned will be returned to their master?" His allegation is that our forces recently invaded the county of Washington and, among other depredations committed upon innocent citizens, we seized, carried away, against the consent of their owners, a large number of slaves; that from the house of Mr. M. Bowen we took away several of his negroes who had been faithful to him and whom he protected and humanely supported; that this outrage has not the defense attempted for the African slave trade - "that it brought uncivilized beings under the influence of Christianity and civilization;" that this robbery takes civilized beings from their families and homes; it deprives a kind master of his property and punishes slaves for their fidelity to him. It is true our forces did invade the county of Washington, and the officer in command did report to me that he brought out with him some negroes. Mr. Stanly is a representative of the United States Government, and I take it for granted speaks by authority, and if it be the determination of your Government to deliver up to their owners the 100,000 slaves you have stolen from their kind and humane masters I am sure my Government will immediately cause this one little act of "robbery" to be discountenanced and cause the negroes to be restored, and thus return to their kind masters their property; and to this end I will transmit to the proper authority your communication and Mr. Stanly's letter.
As it is an acknowledge principle among Christian nations to respect private property on land I am sure my Government will hail this as an evidence that hereafter you will cease to deprive private citizens of their private property. I deplore as much as Mr. Stanly does this taking of civilized beings from their families and homes and depriving owners of their property, and I would it were the only robbery of the kind that has occurred; but so many have been committed by the forces of the United States that it is now regarded as legitimate and proper, "fit and necessary was measure." As Mr. Stanly says the voice of civil authority outside your lines has no longer any potency, you may rest assured I will do all in my power to have those negroes delivered up to those to whom their services may be due, and will in every way discountenance and forbid negro stealing, and in this I am sure both you and the good people of North Carolina will justify me.
I do not think the town of Plymouth was barbarously and willfully burned, but, as reported to me, a house was fired in which your troops made a stand and from which they fired on our troops. Such things will happen in war, and often for no cause except the spirit of destruction, as seen on the banks of the Mississippi, the Potomac, Roanoke,