I intended to call your attention, was the violation of the sanctity of the Spanish flag, in the forcible taking from under its folds men who were on business with me at the time.
If Captain Young is under the impression that I did not claim that the men in question were under the protection of the Spanish flag, he must have been very inattentive to what I said, as I advised the men more than once, and in a voice which could hardly fail to be head by all present, not to leave my premises, for that they were under my official protection. But, be this as it may, it does not affect the question, unless it can be deemed that the commander of the United States forces then present was unacquainted with my consular capacity, or character and authority, which is certainly not the fact. I have, however, referred the matter to the Spanish embassador at Washington, and have only to add that, in my official capacity, I can know no distinction between Federals and Confederates; they are alike entitled to protection when under my flag.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Vice-Consul of Spain.
HEADQUARTERS TROOPS IN WEST FLORIDA,
Barrancas, Fla., September 17, 1863.
Spanish and Mexican Consul, Pensacola, Fla.:
SIR: I have the honor to inform you that I am in receipt of your communication, dated "Office of the Spanish Consulate, Pensacola, September 8, 1863." I fully appreciate your curtesy in referring the matter to my consideration. I have fully considered the facts in the case of the capture of the Confederate cavalry by Captain Young, and I find that the party captured by Captain Young displayed no flag of truce, nor do they claim to have been under the protection of such flag.
They had no ostensible reason for coming into Pensacola, and I should judge visited that place, as they habitually have, to get information and for amusement.
I understand from Captain Young's statement that neither you nor the Confederate prisoners, at the time of the capture, claimed that they were under the protection of the Spanish or Mexican flag, nor do they claim so now, and that none of his command encroached on your premises with hostile intent, and that no force or violence was used in capturing the party aforementioned, they surrendering immediately.
I furthermore learn from officers who were present that the conduct and behavior of Captain Young and party was exceedingly polite and courteous to all at the consulate.
No flag of truce is legitimate unless the party bearing such flag has authority from his Government, or the commanding officer of an army, or detached post, or fleet, to communicate with the opposing Government forces or fleet in the immediate vicinity; then, and only then, is or can a flag of truce be sacred or respected. If the case were otherwise, any party might avail themselves of a flag of truce if in danger of capture, thereby abrogating its object and sanctity.
Any legitimate flag of truce I will respect with due deference, but in this case the party captured do not claim that protection. I should regret, sir, if any officer or soldier from my command had imposed on or insulted you or the Spanish or Mexican flag in any way, and if such is