War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0399 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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dation. The Germans in the army have taken and turned over many prisoners and the general has not before heard of any murder charged against them; on the contrary they have seemed peculiarly anxious to exhibit the number of their captives as evidence of their valor.

Any act of cruelty to prisoners or those actually offering to deliver themselves as such on the part of the soldiers of this army coming to the knowledge of the general commanding will be punished with the extreme penalty of military law. Exceptions may undoubtedly occur, as we have murderers in all communities, but the employment of Indians involves a probability of savage ferocity which is not to be regarded as the exception but the rule. Bloody conflicts seem to inspire their ancient barbarities, nor can we expect civilized warfare from savage foes. If any presumption has been raised in their favor on the score of civilization it has certainly been demolished by the use of the tomahawk, war club and scalping knife at Pea Ridge. I may here state that the general commanding directed a surgeon of one of these Indian regiments taken at the battle to be sent to Saint Louis a close prisoner while other surgeons are allowed on parole the freedom of our camps.

Believing the general commanding the opposing army is equally anxious to suppress atrocities which are too often coined by our species the general commanding the army hopes Indians will hereafter be excluded from your forces.

I am, captain, very respectfully, &c., yours,

[H. Z. CURTIS,]

Assistant Adjutant-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, MARCH 22, 1862.

Honorable R. MALLORY and Honorable J. A. CRAVENS,

House of Representatives.

GENTLEMEN: The Secretary of War directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your note of yesterday asking that measures be taken to procure the release of certain officers taken prisoners in Western Virginia and now in confinement at Columbia, S. C., and to inform you in reply that every effort has been and will be made in order to accomplish the result at the earliest moment possible.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

P. H. WATSON,

Assistant Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, March 22, 1862.

Major General JOHN E. WOOL,

Commanding, Fort Monroe, Va.

SIR: The Secretary of War directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 21st instant inclosing one from the pirates taken on board the Petrel authorizing the collection of certain notes also inclosed, and to inform you that they have been referred to the commission appointed by virtue of Executive Order, Numbers 2,* in relation to State prisoners.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

P. H. WATSON,

Assistant Secretary of War.

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*See Vol. II, this Series, p. 249.

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