War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0602 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

In regard to the treatment of Major Bradford, I refer you to the testimony contained in that report, from which you will see that he was not attempting to escape when shot. It will be easy to bring the perpetrators of the outrage to justice if you so desire. I will add to what I have heretofore said, that I have it from responsible and truthful citizens of Brownsville, that when Major Bradford was started under an escort for your headquarters at Jackson, General CHalmers remarked that he "would never reach there." You call attention apparently as an offset to this affair of Major Bradford to outrages said to have been committed by Colonel Fielding Hurst and others of his regiment (Sixth Tennessee Cavalry). The outrages, if committed as stated by you, are disgraceful and abhorrent to every brave and sensitive mind. On receiving your letter, I sent at once for Colonel Hurst, and read him the extract pertaining to him. He indignantly denies parties murdered, and the time when, and the place where, the offense was committed, with names of witnesses, it is impossible for me to act. When you do that, you may rest assured that I shall use every effort in my power to have the parties accused tried, and, if found guilty, properly punished.

In regard to the treatment of colored soldiers, it is evidently useless to discuss the question further. Your attempt to shift from yourself upon me the responsibility of the inauguration of a "worse than savage warfare," is too strained and far-fetched to require any response. The full and cumulative evidence contained in the Congressional for the barbarisms already committed. It was your soldiers who at Fort Pillow raised the black flag, and while shooting, bayoneting, and otherwise maltreating the Federal prisoners in their hands, shouted to each other in the hearing of their victims that it was done by "Forrest's orders." Thus far, I cannot learn that you have made any disavowal of these barbarities. Your letters to me inform me confidently that you have always treated our prisoners according to the rules of civilized warfare, but your disavowal of the Fort Pillow barbarities, if you intend to make any, should be full, clear, explicit, and published to the world. United States Government is, as it always has been, lenient and forbearing, and it is not yet too late for you to secure for yourself and soldiers a continuance of the treatment due to honorable warriors, by a public disclaimer of barbarities already committed, and a vigorous effort to punish the wretches who committed them. But I say to you now, clearly and unequivocally, that such measure of treatment as you mete out to Federal soldiers will be measured to you again. If you give no quarter, you must expect none; if you observe the rules of civilized warfare, and treat our prisoners in accordance with the laws of war, your prisoners will be treated, as they ever have been, with kindness. If you depart from these principles, you may expect such retaliation as the laws of war justify. That you may know what the laws of war are, as understood by my Government, I beg leave to inclose a copy of General Orders, Numbers 100, from the War Department, Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, April 24, 1863.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, yours.