and its horrors cannot, with truth, be attributed to me. Should they occur, they will result from the views you are said to entertain, and the responsibility will rest with you and your Government alone.
In this connection I have the honor to remind you that I have several hundred prisoners of war in my hands, including officers of the rank of colonel in the army and lieutenant-commander in the navy of the United States, and that my treatment of these prisoners will be rigorously and mercilessly regulated by your adherence to or departure from the known laws of civilized warfare.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
Major-General, Commanding District of Texas, &c.
[P. S.] - This communication will be borne by Major William Kearny and Lieutenant J. Adair Murray, members of my staff.
Two men who accompanied Lieutenant Mann did not leave the island
and return with him. If this be so, I request, as they are citizens, that they be permitted to leave the island and return to their homes.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES
Saluria, Tex., December 13, 1863
Major General J. B. MAGRUDER,
Commanding District of Texas, &c.:
SIR: Your communication dated the 10th instant, addressed to Major-General Banks, or the officer in command of United States forces at or near Saluria, Tex., has been received.
As to the course that may have been pursued by Major-General Banks in regard to flags of truce said to have been sent to him by Brigadier-General Bee, I have no knowledge, whatever. His action was-I have no doubt that it was-strictly proper, and such as the circumstances fully justified.
The reliable information you have received in regard to the hanging of two men, citizens of Texas, in the rigging of one of the small sail craft, taken possession of by this command in Matagorda Bay, is entirely destitute of truth, but is not more false than your information in regard to citizens captured on Matagorda Peninsula. I am not aware that any such persons have been captured, but had they been no one knows better than you (and that, too, without sending a flag of truce to inquire) that they would receive the treatment that a powerful and humane Government has always extended to its prisoners, and you have evidently been hard pressed for an excuse to send within my lines. If you have none better to offer than those contained in your communication, I should be fully justified in detaining the bearer of your dispatch, as its object is too transparent.
Your threat of "merciless retaliation," and the disclosure of your intention to raise the black flag, I do not deem it important to advert to, neither to the general tone and temper of your dispatch.
The desperate fortunes of a bad cause induce me to pardon much which, under other circumstances, would not be lightly passed over.
I conclusion, I beg to say that flags of truce will always be recognized by me when made use of for a legitimate purpose, and such as the usages of war recognize, but I notify you now that if any more are sent