War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1184 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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in fact, almost every other horror incident to brutal and unrestrained soldiery. I desire by all means to put an end to these things. The troops on our side are all commissioned and regularly authorized home guards or militia, are under my control can be exercised over our enemies. They are mostly tory renegades from both North Carolina and Tennessee, and pretend to be acting under regular Federal authority. if so, can we not by regular and systematized retaliation force them into terms? If not under Federal control, can they not be induced for the sake of humanity to assume such control of these bands of lawless men? I suggest the propriety of your communicating with the Federal general commanding East Tennessee to ascertain if some check cannot be give to the passions of men whose thirst for murder and robbery disgraces the name of soldiers, and if no relief can be afforded innocent non-combatants from these inhuman outrages. I will not stop to show that any acts of violence on our part are more than provoked and justified by the atrocities of the enemy, as I am not seeking to exculpate my own people or to inculpate those of the Federals; I desire only, if possible, to check the evil. Major M. L. Brittain, of the Cherokee Home Guards, and some of his battalion were recently captured, and were carried off, as I learn, with the avowed intention of murdering them. I shall of course retaliate, and at the rate of two for one, if this is done, and so there sis no end of it. Please make an effort to save this officer and his men if you can hear of them. Should you be able to effect anything in this regard, I beg you will communicate with Colonel J. B. Palmer, commanding at Asheville, N. C., and give him such instructions as you may think best for bringing about the desired end. I shall be pleased to hear from you at your earliest convenience.

I am, general, very respectfully and truly, your obedient servant,

Z. B. VANCE.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,

October 30, 1864.

General R. E. LEE,

Commanding:

GENERAL: By direction of Lieutenant-General Longstreet, I have the honor to reply to yours of the 29th instant. His letter to you was based on a hasty reconnaissance made by myself of White Oak Swamp. I had reported the swamp as impassable, except on the regular crossings, for large bodies of troops-that is, from about two miles from its head. On my report General Longstreet had the crossings blockaded, and when the enemy passed it on the 27th they had to cut out the obstructions. General Gary reports that the delay this caused was of great service to him at White Oak bridge. General Longstreet had thought a cavalry force could be placed which, with some artillery, would defend that crossing; at the upper road, where the enemy came through, and infantry line could be placed.

I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,

O. LATROBE,

Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General.

[OCTOBER 31, 1864.-For Lee to Seddon, reporting attack on enemy's picket-line by General Mahone, on night of 30th, &c., see Part I, p. 854.]