in reply to one from me calling your attention to the treatment of certain medical officers of my command, and to the case of Private Kerchival.
I am gratified to find that the officers who were concerned in the arrest of Drs. Hinckley and Devine were not of your command, and that they were ultimately indebted to your advice for their release. The charge upon which they were imprisoned still seems to me inadequate to have warranted such severity. If they were guilty of misconduct, the testimony of intoxicated men was insufficient to establish the fact, while the charge seems to have fallen to the ground upon investigation. Any abuse of the privileges of a parole, if called to the attention of my Government, will receive prompt attention.
In reference to Private Kerchival, I must respectfully insist that the statement of General Negley does not alter the aspects of the case. He admits the use of gross language too the prisoner, and when a general officer so far forgets himself as to bandy abusive epithets with a private while performing the duties of a subordinate, he should not make his prisoner, because possessing spirit to resent an insult, suffer for an offense to which his own conduct invited him. I shall look for the release of Private Kerchival at an early day with confident interest.
With respect to matters of compliant indirectly communicated through General Negley's letter, they shall have prompt attention and correction,as far as within my power.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Murfreesborough, Tenn., December 8, 1862
Major General W. S. ROSECRANS,
Commanding United States Forces at Nashville, Tenn.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 4th instant, in reply to my communication inclosing General Orders, Numbers 84.,and other papers for your consideration. In regard to the means which my Government has adopted to check the abuses of your subordinate officers, and which you are pleased to characterize as inhuman and barbarous, I will merely state that they have been restored to as the only resource for the protection of our citizens in quarters where the humanities of war have been disregarded. Should the officers against whom this order is specially directed be captured, as contemplated therein, they shall receive a full hearing before the execution of the penalties prescribed for their alleged acts.
In referring to the complaints upon which you presume the order to have been predicated, you are pleased to say that they have, no doubt, been made by persons, "who have been following the savage and disgraceful system of guerrilla warfare," the effects of which you properly characterize as pernicious and disgraceful. In your general condemnation of a system of guerrilla warfare, I cannot too strongly express my concurrence of opinion. It should be regarded as to abhorrent to the advanced civilization of our times to receive the countenance of either belligerent. But if in your allusion you design to animadvert upon the exploits of the Confederate cavalry as belonging to the system, I protest against such a construction. All the cavalry in the Confederate service are regularly enlisted and organized bodies of men, with duly commissioned officers, responsible to their superiors and acting under orders issued to them as to infantry, and are in no respect entitled to be classed