War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0152 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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that he rode toward the flag to claim its protection, but was not of the party. All who came over were respected.

I examined there of the men, and not one of them claimed that he was of the flag part, and four note of this morning gives me the first intimation that nay one of the prisoners was not on post or on the relief, or acting as courier to the pickets.

From the tenor of your note, a misunderstanding must have occurred between the party in charge of the flag and my officer. He reported to me that he had written down at the time the language used by him, which was that he was instructed by you to say, "that the flag of truce did not cover operations off from the turnpike, and only on it to the party with the flag." This was read by me before I knew of the success of my party over the river. I believe, general, that the men were fairly taken . Unquestionably the pickets were, and I must hold them.

If, upon examination, I find that one of these has a shadow of a claim to the protection of the flag, I will release him.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding at Williamsport.

[Inclosure Numbers 6.]


Martinsburg, [Va.], November 1, 1862.

Brigadier-General KENLY:

GENERAL: I beg to acknowledge your letter of the 30th ultimo, in reference to the 6 men who were captured on the day previous. As I desired to obtain the fullest information as to all the facts attending this capture, I have delayed my answer to your letter until I could procure from Lieutenant Smith, who bore the flag of truce, a statement of the affair. This paper you will find inclosed, and I hope that it will induce a reconsideration of the determination you express not to deliver up the captured men.

The fact that you had ordered an attempt to capture the pickets before the flag came in sight does not at all change the aspect of the affair. My understanding of the conditions of the truce was, that in the first place no one should be entitled to the protection of the flag but the party along with it; and, in the next, that all operations on the road by which this flag was transmitted (the Williamsport pike) should be suspended. In other words, that a truce extended during the passage of the flag on the Williamsport road. There can be no question but that the capture of these men would have been given by me as to what I regarded as the limits of the ground protected by the truce. Had no limits been assigned, all operations on the line would have ceased. But knowing the extent of this line, and that a party of my men were on a scout, I feared that by some accident there might seem to be on my part a violation on the sacred obligations which guard a flag of truce. To prevent this, I gave the notice that the truce extended only to the Williamsport pike; operations elsewhere not to be governed by it. The fact that the pickets were not literally on the pike is a matter of no consequence. Their post was on the Williamsport road, opposite the town, and if they were in the edge of the field, it was only for the town, and if they were in the edge of the field, it was only for the purposes of better observation. The men all saw the flag of truce, and they supposed its presence was a protection.