War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0512 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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HEADQUARTERS MIDDLE DEPARTMENT,

Baltimore, Md., May 2, 1862.

His Excellency F. H. PIERPOINT, Governor of Virginia.

SIR: Some weeks ago Judge Pitts, of Accomac County, addressed to the Legislature of Virginia at Richmond a communication which I deemed in the highest degree disloyal. In his weakness and timidity he may not have so regarded it. But it seems tome that it should not be passed bu without a marked rebuke. I wrote to Senator Watson, of Accomac, a letter which I requested him to show Judge Pitts reprobating his proceeding in the strongest terms. The judge has written tome but I am not at all satisfied with his explanation. Though he has not committed any overt act of hostility to the Government of the United States his memorial or communicatgion to a body of men at war with it deprecating any unfriendly proceeding toward him, and declaring that he had always been loyal to the South, if not treasonable is clearly a violation of the orders of the Government in regard to communications with the Confederates and entirely imcompatible with his position and obligations as a judge. When his communication was made known to me I was about leaving this city for Washington, where I met Senator Close and your State treasurer who informed me that they would bring the matter before you at once for such action as it might seem to you to require. I preferred that you should do what was necessary rather than interfere myself through the exercise of military power with the administration of justice in your State. Will you advise me what you have doneor if you propose to do anything? Judge Pitts says in his letter to me that he inclosed his communication to Major-General Wool requesting him to read it and forward it to Richmond if he found nothing objectionable in it, and that the general advised him that his request had been complied with (the judge lays great stress on this fact and treats is as sanctioning his paper). I am satisfied that the fact cannot be as stated by the judge and that the general could not have read the communication at all.

The condition of Accomacand northampton Counties though quiet and acquiescent in the authority of the government of the United States requires a strong uncompromising Union man in the office held by Judge Pitts. His course is calculated to destroy the confidence of all parties in him, and I should be glad to know whether the proper remedy can be applied by you. I could arrest him but I could not give hima succesor and it is important that he should have one. I think it far better that the change should be made by State authority. The use of military power to overthrow or interfere with the exercise of civil authority should only be resorted to in cases of extreme necessity. Your early answer is respectfully solicited.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN A. DIX,

Major-General.

[ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

Washington, May 2, 1862.]

General WOOL:

Send all your prisoners of war to Fort Columbus.

L. T[HOMAS],

Adjutant-General.