the case, such party or parties shall be brought to immediate punishment, and such reparation given you as the offense demands.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. C. HOLBROOK,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
Mobile, Ala., September 21, 1863.
Commanding Officer Federal Forces, near Pensacola, Fla.:
SIR: It has been reported to me that several officers and men of my command have been made prisoners by troops acting under your orders while in the house of the Spanish vice-consul, at Pensacola, and under the protection of the flag of Spain.
I protest against this act as a violation of the rules of civilized warfare, and demand the restoration of those officers to the lines of my army. I inclose a list containing their names.
I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
DABNEY H. MAURY,
DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
Barrancas, Fla., September 30, 1863.
Major General DABNEY H. MAURY,
Commanding Confederate Forces, Mobile, Ala.:
SIR: I am in receipt of your communication dated "Headquarters Department of the Gulf, Mobile, Ala., September 21, 1863," and in reply I have the honor to state that a scouting party from my command captured the party at the place and time referred to in your letter.
At the time of the capture, neither the Spanish consul nor the party captured claimed that they (the Confederates) were under the protection of the Spanish or Mexican flag, nor do they (the Confederates) claim so now. I understand, however, that since the capture the Spanish consul makes some such claim as you refer to.
As soon as the Confederates were brought within my lines, I investigated thoroughly the facts in the case, and I find that they (the Confederates) rode into Pensacola without displaying a flag of truce, and they were very particular to examine the hollow ways and bushes, as thought expecting to find an enemy concealed there; and finally, after a careful survey of the grounds, they returned to the consulate, where they were captured. The commander of the captured party states that he had no ostensible business in Pensacola, but came in, as he expressed it, "for a ride, and to see how it looked about there."
Without entering into any argument as to the rights and privileges of a consul credited to the United States Government who persists in remaining within the lines of that (United States) Government's enemies, after having had extended to him every facility for moving within the United States lines, I shall respectfully decline complying with your demands, as I do not feel authorized nor can I assume the responsibility of giving up what I consider lawful prisoners of war. I will, however, refer the case to the consideration of the major-general commanding this department, for his orders thereon.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. C. HOLBROOK,
Colonel, Commanding Troops in West Florida.