War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0850 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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sent out a small boat to meet her, and she was stopped and brought to anchor about 1 mile above Decrow's Point. Two officers of General Magruder's staff were found on board, bearing the inclosed dispatch from General Magruder. I returned a reply, of which I inclose a copy. There can be no doubt but their real object was to ascertain the amount of our force and its destination when we shall move from here. They return no wisher than they came.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,



[Inclosure Numbers 1.]


Matagorda, Tex., December 10, 1863.

Major General N. P. BANKS, U. S. Army,

Or officer in command of U. S. Forces at or near Saluria, Tex.:

SIR: Brigadier-General Bee informs me that your deemed his sending a flag of truce to inquire as to the fate and condition of the garrison captured by your forces at Aransas improper, and had therefore detained his messenger. I have also received information, which seems to be reliable, that 2 men, citizens of Texas, or residents within her limits, were seen a few days since hanging in the rigging of one of the small sail craft taken possession of by your command in Matagorda Bay.

I am also informed that citizens of Texas have been captured on the Matagorda Peninsula, and have been assured that on the arrival of the permanent commanding officer in that quarter they will be made to take the oath of allegiance to the United States Government, and that if they attempt previously to escape they will be shot.

In reference to the above, I have the honor to state that the sending of flags of truce to inquire as to the state and disposition of prisoners of war is in accordance with the usages of civilized warfare; that it has been practiced frequently by the commanding officer of the United States naval forces in their intercourse with me during the early part of this year, and more recently for this precise purpose after the repulse of your forces at Sabine pass, and that all such communications have been answered by me and the officers under similar circumstances. With regard to the reported hanging and the alleged threat of death to our citizens. I have to inform you that the citizens of Texas have had their remembrance of the massacres of Goliad and the Alamo kept fresh in their minds by the atrocities of the savage Indians with whom they are constantly at war; that they are quite willing to trust to their own bravery in battle for the safety of their lives, and that if the act alleged to have been done by you or your officers be true, and the threats alleged to have been done by you or your officers be true, and the threats alleged to have been made be carried out, no earthly power can prevent such retaliation as will astonish the world. Up to this time, in this part of the country, the war has been conducted by me strictly in accordance with the rules of civilized warfare.

Those bearing flags of truce have been treated with courtesy and dispatched promptly. No prisoner of war has ever received even a momentary insult, and all have been cared for as well as the circumstances of the country would permit. It is my desire to do this in future, and I am determined that the civilized world shall know that the black flag