In all my operations since the war began I have conducted the war on civilized principles, and desire still to do so, but it is due to my command that they should know the position they occupy and the policy you intend to pursue. I therefore respectfully ask whether my men now in your hands are treated as other Confederate prisoners; also, the course intended to be pursued in regard to those who may thereafter fall into your hands.
I have in my possession quite a number of wounded officers and men of General Sturgis' command, all of whom have been treated as well as we were able to treat them, and are mostly in charge of a surgeon left at Ripley by General Sturgis to look after the wounded. Some of them are too severely wounded to be removed at present. I am willing to exchange them for any men of my command you may have, and as soon as they are able to removed will give them safe escort through my lines in charge of the surgeon left with them. I made such an arrangement with Major-General Hurlbut when he was in command at Memphis, and am willing to renew it, provided it is desired, as it would be better than to subject them to the long and fatiguing trip necessary to a regular exchange at City Point, Va.
I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
N. B. FORREST,
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE,
Memphis, Tenn., July [June] 17, 1864.
Major General S. D. LEE,
Commanding Confederate Forces, near Tupelo, Miss.:
GENERAL: When I heard that the forces of Brigadier-General Sturgis had been driven back and a portion of them probably captured, I felt considerable solicitude for the fate of the two colored regiments that formed a part of the command, until I was informed that the Confederate forces were commanded by you. When I upon these troops, but that they would receive the treatment which humanity as well as their gallant conduct demanded.
I regret to say that the hope that I entertained has been dispelled by facts which have recently come to my knowledge. From statements that have been made to me by colored soldiers who were eyewitnesses, it would seem that the massacre to Fort Pillow had been reproduced at the late affair at Brice's Cross-Roads. The details of the atrocities there committed I will not trouble you with. If true and not disavowed they must lead to consequences hereafter fearful to contemplate.
It is best that we should now have a fair understanding upon the question of the treatment of this class of soldiers. If it is contemplated by the Confederate Government to murder all colored troops that may be the chance of war fall into their hands, as was the case at Fort Pillow, it is but fair that it should be freely and frankly avowed. Within the last six weeks I have on two occasions sent colored troops into the field from this point. In the expectation that the Confederate Government would disavow the action of the commanding general at the Fort Pillow massacre I have forborne to issue any instructions to the colored troops as to the course they should pursue toward Confederate soldiers that might fall into their hands; but seeing no disavowal on the part of the Confederate Government, but on the contrary laudation from the