War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0249 EARLY EVENTS IN MISSOURI, ETC.

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rights of war so far as the military authorities are concerned. In our intercourse with the duly authorized forces of the so-called. "Confederate States" and in the treatment of prisoners of war taken from such forces we must be governed by the usages and customs of war in like cases. But the rights so given to such prisoners by the laws of war do not according to the same code exempt them from trial and punishment by the proper courts for treason or other offenses against the Government. The rights which they may very properly claim as belligerents under the general rules of belligerent intercourse-commercia belli-cannot exempt them from the punishment to which they may have subjected themselves as citizens under the general laws of the land.

Eighth. Again a soldier duly enrolled and authorized to act in a military capacity in the enemy's service is not according to the code military individually responsible for the taking of human life in battle, siege, &c., while at the same time he is held individually responsible for any act which he may commit in violation of the laws of war. Thus he cannot be punished by a military tribunal for committing acts of hostility which are authorized by the laws of war but if he has committed murder, robbery, theft, arson, &c., the fact of his being a prisoner of war does not exempt him from trial by a military tribunal.

Ninth. And again while the code of war gives certain exemption to a soldier regularly in the military service of an enemy it is a well-established principle that insurgent not militarily organized under the laws of the State, predatory partisans and guerrilla bands are not entitled to such exemptions; such men are not legitimately in arms and the military name and garb which they have assumed cannot give a military exemption to the crimes which they may commit. They are in a legal sense mere freebooters and banditti and are liable to the same punishment which was imposed upon guerrilla bands by Napoleon in Spain, and by Scott in Mexico.

By order of Major-General Halleck:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

ST. LOUIS, January 2, 1862.


SIR: Your letter of the 31st has been received and its contents noted. You are entirely mistaken in relation to the animus of General Price. The fairest offers have been made to him but he scouts them and says he will fight the Federal Government to the bitter end. The time for conciliation I am sorry to say has passed. Nothing but the military power can now put down the rebellion and save Union men in this State. It is useless now to try any other remedy. Your suggestions about detecting railroad bridge-burners will receive due consideration and be acted on where circumstances will permit.

Very respectfully, &c.,



WELLSVILLE, MO., January 2, 1862.

Colonel J. C. KELTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Saint Louis, Mo.

COLONEL: I have the honor to urgently request the immediate action of the commanding general upon a matter which I regard of vital