I am confident, general, that this treachery was committed entirely without your knowledge, and that you will at once order the release of this man with his arms, accouterments, and horse, and will duly punish those who have thus compromised your honor and good faith. Until this is done, I can of course send no other answer to your communication.
I am just informed that during the flag of truce sent in by my on the 21st ultimo, a similar attack was made upon my pickets, but without result, which by some oversight was not reported to me until this moment. It is evident, therefore that some of the officers of your outposts regard the sending of a flag of truce as a mere trick to throw our vedettes off their guard so as to attack them at an advantage. Unless the laws of honorable warfare are better observed in future all communications by flag of truce will become impossible.
I have the honor to remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DISTRICT OF FLORIDA,
Camp Milton, May 1, 1864.
Brigadier General WILLIAM BIRNEY:
Commanding U. S. Forces Jacksonville, Fla.:
GENERAL: I have just learned that while the flag of truce was pending yesterday, the officer commanding my advance of the King's Ferry road, not being aware of the flag, made a dash upon and captured one of your vedettes. I have the honor to return the man to your lines and beg that you will accept the assurance of my regret for this untoward occurrence.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. CAVALRY BRIGADE, ARMY OF EAST FLORIDA,
May 1, 1864-11.30 a. m.
Brigadier General WILLIAM BIRNEY,
Commanding U. S. Forces, Jacksonville, Fla.:
GENERAL: I have the honor very respectfully to forward to you, under flag of truce, one of your vedettes, Private Allen Vankirk, of Company H, Seventy-fifth Ohio Mounted Infantry, who was captured on your right yesterday afternoon pending a flag of truce on your left.
The officer who made the attack on your lines, though ignorant that a flag of truce had been sent to your lines, is nevertheless culpable for making any movement without the proper authority. The case is now undergoing rigid investigation, and proper steps will be taken to prevent any repetition of such irregular conduct.
Deeply regretting the occurrence, I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. H. ANDERSON,
6 R R-VOL XXXV, PT II