War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0732 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records


FORT WARREN, November 18, 1862.

The inclosed letter to Honorable James Brooks, written by Mr. William H. Winder, was respectfully returned to him as contrary to my instructions to allow it to pass. He reincloses it to me with this letter. I refer the matter to the Department that the letter may reach its destination if there be no objection to it.


Colonel First Artillery, Commanding Post.


NOVEMBER 17, 1862.

Honorable JAMES BROOKS, New York.

DEAR SIR: I find my mind so importunately beset by mot distressing reflections upon the course which you and too many others have taken in relation to the emancipation proclamation and the orders already issued for instant action intended to secure its successful accomplishment in the most horrid form that I cannot resist giving them expression. While expressing indignation at its purpose and delcaring the proclamation to be clearly unconstitutional in fact, you andothers nevertheless prove false to the Constitution and to humanity and aid the unsonstitutional measure most effectually by lulling watchfulness, suppressing action with the siren songs of brutum fulmen, and a Pope's bull against thecomet. ifyou really be in earnest in your belief of its unconstitutionality and injustice it would seem that you should show it in some efficient manner. Fort if it be unconstitutional and imporper it is your duty as it is that of all loyal to the Constitution, of all professing loyalty to Christianity, to denounce and to ppose by every legal and honorable means all steps manifestly tending and intended to accomplish this unconstitutional and unchristian measure. Most especially should you denounce all those orders which on penalty of dismission with such disgrace as it is in the power of the official to inflict require Army officers to aid the negroes, forbidding them to interfere with any attempt the negroes may make to free themtenant Johnston, in Kentucky, deeply impressed with the unconstitutionality and barbarity of the proclamation policy tendered his resignation ratherthan violate his oath to support the Constitution. For this he was instantly and ingominiously put in irons and sent to prison. Being resolute he again tendered his resignation for which he was in the language used disgracefully dismissed the service, and in presence of the army had his shoulder straps and insignia of office rudely torn from his person. This is the treatment for fidelity to one's oath to support the Constitution and defend it. What a spectacle!-the sworn conservators of the Constitution issuing proclamations subversive of the Constitution and revolting to Christianity, manclin gin irons and disgracing so far as they can disgrace anybody an officer for tendering his resignation rather than become a particeps in an outrage upon the Constitution! The case of Lieutenant Johnston as reported is even more flagrant andcalls for deeper condemantioin than that of Mrs. Brinsmade. Why are you and the other sirens silent upon the case of Lieutenant Johnston and upon theorders issued in consequence of his tender of resignation?

The New York Times of the 14th instant in a special dispatch says that information having been received that certain military commanders had returned fugitive slaves fromwithin our lines to loyal as well as