War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0591 Chapter XLIV. FORREST'S EXPEDITION INTO W. TENN. AND KY.

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hands, which clearly conveys to my mind two very distinct impressions. The first is that in not giving them instructions and orders you have left the matter entirely to the discretion of the negroes as to how they should dispose of prisoners; second, and implied threat to give such orders as will lead to "consequences too fearful for contemplation." In confirmation of the correctness of the first impression (which your language now fully develops), I refer you most respectfully to my letter from the battle-field of Tishomingo Creek and forwarded you by flag of truce on the 14th instant. As to the second impression, you seem disposed to take into your own hands the settlements which belong to, and can only be settled by, your Government, but if you are prepared to take upon yourself the responsibility of inaugurating a system of warfare contrary to civilized usages, the onus as well as the consequences will be chargeable to yourself.

Deprecating, as I should do, such a state of affairs, determined as I am not to be instrumental in bringing it about, feeling and knowing as I do that I have the approval of my Government, my people, and my own conscience, as to the past, and with the firm belief that I will be sustained by them in my future policy, it is left with you to determine what that policy shall be-whether in accordance with the laws of civilized nations or in violation of them.

I am, general, yours, very respectfully,

N. B. FORREST,

Major-General.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.]

HEADQUARTERS FORREST'S CAVALRY,

In the Field, June 23, 1864.

Major General C. C. WASHBURN,

Commanding U. S. Forces, Memphis, Tenn.:

GENERAL: Your communication of the 19th instant is received, in which you say "you are left in doubt as to the course the Confederate Government intends to pursue hereafter in regard to colored troops."

Allow me to say that this is a subject upon which I did not and do not propose to enlighten you. It is a matter to be settled by our Governments through their proper officers, and I respectfully refer you to them for a solution of your doubts. You ask me to state whether " I contemplate either their slaughter or their return to slavery." I answer that I slaughter no man except in open warfare, and that my prisoners, both white and black, are turned over to my Government to be dealt with as it may direct. My Government is in possession of all the facts as regards my official conduct and the operations of my command since I entered the service, and if you desire a proper discussion and decision, I refer you again to the President of the Confederate States.

I would not have you understand, however, that in a matter of so much importance I am indisposed to place at your command and disposal any facts desired, when applied for in a manner becoming an officer holding your rank and position, for it is certainly desirable to every one occupying a public position to be placed right before the world, and there has been no time since the capture of Fort Pillow that I would not have furnished all the facts connected with its capture had they been applied for properly; but now the matter