cinnati, and by your orders have been transferred to Camp Dennison. They are there now in a very uncomfortable condition; some have gone home (the officers and men of the One hundred and sixty-eighth Ohio National Guard have all gone home), and they say, as reported to me, as I came along, that they insist upon being exchanged before being sent to duty again, as they gave a solemn oath not to take up arms until exchanged, because if they are expect to be murdered if captured again. I make this statement in their behalf and ask action upon it.
The question submitted, upon which a decision of the Government is asked, is whether these line officers and men, not having been reduced within the permanent lines of the rebel armies, are prisoners of war at all; and whether General Morgan in letting them go with a parole, however formal, did not in fact abandon them, and they are thereby liberated. There may be some doubt upon the subject, but whatever the strict legal right may be under the cartel, still I believe it would be policy on the part of the Government to accept this parole and exchange them at once, in order that they be again put into the field. It will place them in a condition to go to duty more willingly and heartily, and not with the fear that if again captured they would be murdered. They have yet about two months and a half to serve. General Hobson and staff and the field officers are under a different obligation. Their parole binds them to return if a special exchange cannot be effected. They were treated with kindness and courtesy and do not desire or wish to violate their pledge. Although the proposition came from General Morgan, yet it was for our benefit, for if not accepted we would have been mounted on fresh horses and run into General Branch's [Vance's?] lines as soon as possible. This they told us after it had been arranged. If the principle of the cartel that we were not reduced to possession within the permanent lines of the army liberates us, we desire that the Government assume the responsibility of so deciding and then to protect us. I would beg the authorities to consider thoroughly, first, the point whether the agreement partly executed is not equivalent to ether in fact it was not such reduction of possession as to bring us within the provisions of the cartel. But in either case we are not to decide, and it will be for us to act as the authorities shall order. The arrangement was made in good faith and we desire it carried out. I would beg to ask the Government to be liberal in their action upon this matter, as well as in the construction of the rules of war under which it must be decided. We have fought hard and bravely, and to some purpose, too, as a short statement will show.
General Morgan had planned to sweep down the Licking River Valley, plunder as he went, ride into Covington, plunder and burn it, then turn the guns of the fortifications upon the city of Cincinnati, shell it until he was satisfied, then turn up the Ohio and ride out of the State via Maysville and Pound Gap. He had burned the bridges at Paris and Cynthiana to prevent troops following him on the railroad; he had made a feint upon Frankfort, to draw off General Burbridge, which he partially succeeded in doing. He had fresh horses, was twenty-four hours the start, with no force at Covington, and none on the line of march except ours. Our fight was so obstinate and protracted that the fighting, taking care of his killed and wounded and the prisoners, detained him until General Burbridge could come up. The rebel officers admitted that this was General Morgan's plan, and that they had been checked in the execution by our fight. General