with satisfaction the intimation in your letter that the recent slaughter of colored troops at the battle of Tishomingo Creek resulted rather from the desperation with which they fought than a predetermined intention to give them no quarter. You must have learned by this time that the attempt to intimidate the colored troops by indiscriminate slaughter has signally failed, and that instead of a feeling of terror you have aroused a spirit of courage and desperation that will not down at your bidding.
I am left in doubt by your letter as to the course you and the Confederate Government intend to pursue hereafter in regard to colored troops, and I beg you to advise me with as little delay as possible as to your intention. If you intend to treat such of them as fall into your hands as prisoners of war, please so state. If you do not so intend, but contemplate either their slaughter or their return to slavery, please state that, so that we may have no misunderstanding hereafter. If the former is your intention, I shall receive the announcement with pleasure, and shall explain the fact to the colored troops at once, and desire that they recall the oath that they have taken. If the latter is the case, then let the oath stand, and upon those who have aroused this spirit by their atrocities, and upon the Government and the people who sanction it, be the consequences.
In regard to your inquiry relating to prisoners of your command in our hands, I state that they have always received the treatment which a great and humane Government extends to its prisoners. What course will be pursued hereafter toward them must of course depend on circumstances that may arise. If your command hereafter do nothing which should properly exclude them from being treated a prisoners of war, they will be so treated. I thank you for your offer to exchange wounded officers and men in your hands. If you will send them in I will exchange, man for man, so far as I have the ability to do so.
Before closing this letter I wish to call your attention to one case of unparalleled outrage and murder that has been brought to my notice, and in regard to which the evidence is overwhelming. Among the prisoners captured at Fort Pillow was Major Bradford, who had charge of the defenses of the fort, after the fall of Major Booth. After being taken prisoner he was started with other prisoners in charge of Colonel Duckworth for Jackson. At Brownsville they rested over night. The following morning two companies were detailed by Colonel Duckworth to proceed to Jackson with the prisoners. After they had started and proceeded a very short distance, 5 soldiers were recalled by Colonel Duckworth and were conferred with by him. They then rejoined the column, and after proceeding about 5 miles from Brownsville the column was halted and Major Bradford taken about 50 yards from the roadside and deliberately shot by the 5 men who had been recalled by Colonel Duckworth, and his body left unburied upon the ground where he fell. He now lies buried near the spot, and if you desire, you can easily satisfy yourself of the truth of what I assert. I beg leave to say to you that this transaction hardly justifies your remark that your operations have been conducted on civilized principles, and until you take some steps to bring the perpetrators of this outrage to justice the world will not fail to believe that it had your sanction.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. C. WASHBURN,