War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0079 Chapter XXXIV. BATTLE OF PRAIRIE GROVE, ARK.

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I only directed General Herron to keep his men in the rear while out personal interview lasted, and it was in compliance with your earnest and repeated request that I gave you six hours to secure your own personal safety and that of your staff and body guard, which time I have learned you made good use of, instead of the thirty-six hours that you petitioned for, and which I refused, to enable your whole army to stampede to Van Buren. A flag of truce, which should always be respected by billigerents, is a thing too sacred to be abused, as has been the case of late by the Confederate forces under your command not only in the instance referred to, clearly to cover the retreat of your defeated army, but also at the battle of Cane Hill, on November 28, when your artillery was on the very point of being captured. Just in time to save the rear of your retreating column from being annihilated, and to enable him to retire under cover of the night, and obtain possession of one of his guns that had been disabled and thrown into a creek, an officer from General Marmaduke, upon that occasion, came galloping up with a flag of truce.

In this connection also I may call your attention to the flag of truce sent with Captain Stanley to my camp, near Maysville, which resulted in no benefit to either army, other than to enable your flag-bearer to spy out my force and position, which I trust was entirely satisfactory to him.

Still another instance that may be mentioned, where this privilege has been abused, is that of a party sen under a flag of truce, with Major [J. M.] Hubbard, of the First Missouri Regiment, and Lieutenant Bassett, of the Second Kansas, who were taken prisoners during the battle of the 7th instant, to Cane Hill, Cincinnati, and Fayetteville, with the ostensible object of conducting them within my lines, but with the actual purpose of ascertaining whether a portion of my forces was not at some of the points named. This may have been considered by you as strategy, or, perhaps, that other thing, called chivalry. If the latter, it is not of the kind that I have so often heard discussed as being the boat of the South, or else it must have become of late woefully deteriorated.

Whatever method you may adopt, I do not propose to avail myself of a flag of truce to cover a retreat, o to ascertain the enemy's position. Notwithstanding that I am in an enemy's country, and labor under every disadvantage in obtaining information, it shall never be said of me, when this contest has closed, that I have violated any of the prescribed rules of civilized warfare. I avail myself of this occasion to inform you that, after we had agreed to consider sick and wounded soldiers, as well as those connected with the hospital department, as not being prisoners of war, when a portion of your forces retreated through Cane Hill, on the night of the 7th instant, they not only paroled my sick left there, but robbed them of their clothes and hospital supplies.

I must also call your attention to the fact that several of my men were brutally murdered by your command after they fell, wounded, upon the field, which one of your officers vouches for. such conduct contrasts very unfavorably with the kind treatment that has been extended by my command to your wounded, whom you were compelled to leave upon the battle-field.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

P. S.- If your claim the field of Prairie Grove, as your communication complaining of General Herron's taking away arms would seem to indi-