GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Winchester, Tenn., March [July] 28, 1863.
ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND: By the favor of God you have expelled the insurgents from Middle Tennessee. You are now called upon to aid your unfortunate fellow-citizens of this section of the State in restoring law, and securing its protection to persons and property, the right of every free people. Without prompt and united efforts to prevent it, this beautiful region be plundered and desolated by robbers and guerrillas; its industry will be suspended or destroyed, and a large part of the population left without sufficient food for the coming winter. It is true, many of the people have favored the rebellion, but many were dragged unwillingly into it by a current of mad passion they could not, ordered not, resist. The conspirators and traitors, bankrupts in fortunes and in reputation; political swindlers, who forced us from our homes to defend the Government of our fathers, have forced the inhabitants of Middle Tennessee into this unnatural attempt to ruin and destroy it. Remember, we fight for common rights; what we ask for ourselves, we willingly accord to others-freedom under the Constitution and laws of our country-the country of Washington and of Jackson. Assure Tennesseeans of this. Assure them that, foreseeing the waste and suffering that must ensue from a state of anarchy, you stand ready to aid them in re-establishing and maintaining civil order. Tell them to assert their former rights against an arbitrary and cruel revolutionary party, that has ruined their State, impoverished their families, rendered their slave property insecure, if not altogether valueless; dragged their sons, furthers, and brothers from home, and caused their blood to be shed for an insane project, the success of which would be the proclamation of interminable war, and the death-knell of States' rights as well as individual freedom; and, if they are willing to help themselves, give them every assistance and protection consistent with you military duties.
I. Officers and soldiers of the Army of the Cumberland: Some grave outrages and wrongs have been perpetrated on loyal citizens and help-less women, by lawless and unprincipled men, wearing our uniform and calling themselves soldiers . Such violation of orders disgraces our country and cause. I appeal to you by your honor, your love of country, and the noble cause in which you serve, to denounce and bring to punishment all such offenders. Let not the slightest stain tarnish your brilliant record. Let no thief, pillager, or invader of the rights of person or property go unpunished. Remember that the truly brave and noble are always just and merciful, and that by a strict observance of orders you will crown your noble work, and establish your claims to the respect and gratitude of our country.
II. Stragglers and marauders, separated from their commands without authority, who go thieving and pillaging around the country, are not entitled to the privileges of soldiers and prisoners of war . They are to be regarded as brigands, enemies of making, and are to be treated accordingly.
III. Deserters, conscript agents, and prisoners of war desirous of abandoning the rebellion and becoming peaceable citizens, will be paroled as prisoners of war, and permitted to return to their homes, on giving bonds and security, or satisfactory assurance, for the faithful observance of their paroles, and will not be exchanged unless they violate their promises.
IV. All citizens are invited to unite in restoring law and order, and in suppressing marauders and guerrillas. All privileges and protection