"I have here, sir," replied Major Maclin, "paroles (handing a manuscript to Colonel Waite), which the officers are at liberty to avail themselves of. "
One of these was then read by Colonel Waite.
"Such a paper I shall not sign," said Colonel Waite, indignantly; "it is highly objectionable, and I shall remain a prisoner. "
"Very well," answered Major Maclin; "these paroles will not be presented to you again, without you request it. "
"What rank do you hold, sir?" inquired Colonel Waite.
"I am a major. "
"In the Provisional or Regular Army, sir?" inquired Colonel Waite.
"In the Regular Army, sir. "
A general conversation ensued among all parties, in which there was much angry excitement. Major Maclin improved the first opportunity to speak, and remarked that he should send the officer to Victoria, 100 miles distant, to Colonel Van Dorn's headquarters, and desired to know how soon Colonel Waite could be ready, and suggested to-morrow, even intimated to-day, whereupon Colonel Waite and the officers present said it was impossible to arrange their family affairs in so short a time.
"How long a time, then," asked he, "do you desire? One, two, or three days?"
"I presume we can have transportation," suggested Colonel Waite.
"There will be transportation for you, sir," responded Major Maclin, with emphasis and anger.
Again a general conversation took place; still much excitement evinced among all parties. The inquiry was made of Major Maclin if he had any discretion in the matter. He replied that he had none. The character of paroles and the rights of prisoners then became a general subject of conversation. Each officer present said he desired at least twenty-four hours to consider the subject, as it was of great importance. Colonel Waite asked for one of the manuscript paroles, when Major Maclin, in a very offensive manner, declined, saying he had use for them. This again caused much evident excited and indignant feeling.
"It is my desire," said Colonel Waite, "to put some officer in charge of our soldiers to be left here as prisoners, should I accept a parole, to attend to their personal rights, police, and comfort. "
"You need have no concern about that, sir," responded Major Maclin; "we will save you that trouble; we will attend to that. No officer allowed to give any orders here. "
Colonel Waite, in answer: "It is your wish and object to corrupt them, and to force them into your service; but they wont stay with you; they will desert. "
"Your language, sir," said Major Maclin, "is offensive. I cannot permit it. "
Colonel Waite replied: "The facts, sir, are doubtless offensive. My language is not intended to be offensive. I will talk and state the facts. I also claim the right to send an officer to my Government with sealed dispatches on parole. "
"That, sir," replied Major Maclin "will not be allowed. "
"But," said Colonel Waite, "can I not make my official report? To send an officer to headquarters after important events is the custom of all armies and troops civilized people. "
"Perhaps it is, sir," replied Major Maclin.