HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE SUSQUEHANNA,
Chambersburg, Pa., November 14, 1863.
Major-General FRANZ SIGEL,
Commanding Lehigh District:
GENERAL: I telegraphed you this morning that Captain Roach, deputy provost-marshal, should furnish the charges against those men arrested in Hazelton region. I so told him the morning of the day we met at Readying.
He was informed that the United States could not try men for offenses that were exclusively State ones. But if any of the party, or all, had conspired to resist the draft, or harbored deserters, or-resisted the military forces in the execution of their lawful duty regarding the draft, undoubtedly they could be tried by military courts.
The subject is one of exceeding delicacy. The State is utterly powerless in the execution of her laws in the mining region, and we must be very cautious about substituting military law for civil. However, the loyal, good people in that region are desirous of having martial law declared, and would bless you if your would hang 100 men a day for a week. One thing is clear, that these men who have been arrested against whom no charges can be preferred, should not at present be set at liberty.
Have you examined the acts of Congress, Articles of War, &c., in reference to your powers as to appointing a military commission? I confess to you that I am not able to decide, nor have been able to get an opinion on the subject. General Cadwalader some time since ordered a general court-martial, but his authority came directly from the War Department. If we meet at Gettysburg, as I think we shall, perhaps more light can be gathered on the subject.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[D. N. COUCH,]
HDQRS. ARMY AND DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
New Berne, N. C., November 14, 1863.
Major General BENJAMIN F. BUTLER,
Commanding Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina:
GENERAL: During a recent visit at Plymouth, I found the senior naval officer somewhat nervous, in consequence of a report having reached General Wessells of an examination of the Roanoke, with a view of bringing down a ram at Edwards Ferry, some 12 or 15 miles below Halifax. All sorts of reports are put afloat, for the purpose of influencing our operations. My latest advices are that the is not yet complete. Since assuming the command in North Carolina, I have kept strict watch over this matter, and frequently advised General Forster respecting the progress of the work on the iron-clad. I suggested the propriety of burning it in August, but the general did not feel very apprehensive, and replied that the troops at our command would not warrant the enterprise.
The fortifications at Plymouth have been pushed with great vigor, and I have added materially to the armaments. A water battery is in progress for a 200-pounder rifle with a center pintle carriage, which will complete the river works. While waiting for the 200-