War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 0387 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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erty? There are in the Army, unfortunately, some desperate characters-men gathered from the outskirts and purlieus of large cities-who take advantage of the absence of the civil authorities to commit crimes, even murder, rape, and highway robbery, on the peaceful citizens in the neighborhood of the armies. For these offenses the punishment should be inflicted by the civil authorities. Our people must not lose their respect for law in the midst of the clash of arms. Some legislation is absolutely indispensable to provide for changing the venue, for carrying the accused into some county where the process of law is not prevented by the presence of armies. There are murderers now in insecure custody at Manassas who cannot be tried for want of a court there, and who will escape the just penalty of their crimes. The crimescommitted by these men are not military offenses. If a soldier, rambling through the country, murders a farmer or violates the honor of his wife or daughter, courts-martial cannot properly take cognizance of the offense, nor is it allowable to establish military commissions or tribunals in our own country. I appeal to Virginia legislators for protection to Virginians, and this appeal will, I know, be responded to by prompt and efficient action.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War.

[5.]

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

November 22, 1861.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN,

Secretary of War, Confederate States of America:

DEAR SIR: I have received your letter of this date, and will with great pleasure communicate it to the convention. I have no doubt its recommendations and suggestions will be promptly considered.

I am, truly,

JOHN LETCHER.

[5.]

GENERAL ORDERS,

HDQRS. ARMY OF THE PENINSULA, ASST. ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 112.

Bethel, November 22, 1861.

On the approach of the enemy and on all scouts, whether the enemy approach or not, in addition to the white band on the hat the officers and non-commissioned officers will wear the white sash from shoulder to hip, for which purpose the cloth will be issued immediately, and kept on hand, always in readiness. Officers who prefer other material than white cloth will use it, provided it is white. This order is positively directed to be read to every man in camp throughout the whole department by commanding officers without delay.

By command of Major-General Magruder:

J. M. JONES,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

[4.]

RICHMOND, November 22, 1861.

Colonel M. G. HARMAN,

Staunton, Va.:

COLONEL: I have just telegraphed you in answer to your letter of the 18th instant to send the four regiments under Brigadier General H. R.