HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Numbers 13.
Saint Louis, March 30, 1862.
I. Commanders of army corps, divisions and brigades and of military district where their commands are equal to a brigade are authorized to order military commissions to try offenses against the laws of war which are not triable by general court-martial. But all sentences of such commissions extending to loss of life, or confiscation of property, or imprisonment exceeding the term of thirty days must be confirmed by the commanding general of the department.
II. The attention of all such commanders and of all officers of military commissions is called to General Orders, Numbers 1, of 1862, Department of the Missouri, in relation to the powers and duties of commissions as distinguished from courts-martial.
By command of Major-General Halleck:
N. H. McLEAN,
SAINT LOUIS, April 3, 1862.
WILLIAM M. McPHERSON, Esq., Saint Louis, Mo.
SIR: Your letter of this date is received. In answer to your inquires I have to state that persons in arms against the United States under General Price can be received only as prisoners of war and that they will be treated in the same kind and lenient manner as others have been who are willing to abandon a hopeless and unholy cause, take the prescribed oath of allegiance and give satisfactory security for their future good conduct.
Any one who voluntarily takes the oath and gives his parole of honor and afterward violates it by aiding or abetting the enemy will most certainly be executed. A man who violates his military parole commits the most serious of all military offenses and I will pardon no one who is guilty of that crime.
In regard to the wife of the reverend captain chaplain in General Price's army who wishes permission to visit her husband please inform her that no such permission can be granted. Nearly all the secessionists of this State who have entered the rebel service have left their wives and daughters to the care of the Federal troops. There is scarcely a single instance where his confidence has been abused by us. But what return have these ladies made for this protection? In many cases they have acted as spies and informers for the enemy and have been most loud-mouthed in their abuse of our cause and most insulting in their conduct toward those who support it. Under any other government they would for such conduct be expelled from the country or confined within the walls of a prison.
I am well aware that some good Union men in the interior of the State think that those now serving the rebel cause under General Price should be permitted to return to their homes without being considered prisoners of war or when taken prisoners of war that they should be released simply on promise of future good conduct. Experience has satisfied me that such a course would neither be wise nor safe. Indeed I find that the very persons who advocate a more lenient policy toward
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12 R R-SER II, VOL I