War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0686 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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I certify that when getting his company ready to march to Alexandria Captain M. D. Ball purchased of me on his account the material for saddle-cloths for his men.


I could adduce proof of every assertion I have made were it necessary. If I have seemed to be boastful it is because the circumstance of my situation required the mention of all these things.

I ask that my men may not be blamed. Except perhaps two they are as good men and true as the South holds within her borders. I alone am responsible or blamable for their act. They took the oath relyin on my example and with the intention of keeping it merely as a parole. They would resist to the death any attempt practicable to enforce it. They eagerly desire the opportunity of serving again. One attempted to return with me to Washington; more were ready to follow; nearly all would have done so. Two of them-privates, too-have been tempted with great offers if they would remain in Washington, which they indignantly refused, though the refusal placed them in danger.

For myself besides the publication or notice of this statement by the papers which have noticed me disparagingly I have nothing to ask but immediate restoration to service. I will make the rest. I might ask also a public refutation of the falsehoods which have found their way into print in regard to me, but they have been too utterly base for the credit of any one who ever knew me and I have no fear of their general belief. My superior officers can effect my exchange I know. I feel that they will soon do so in kindness and in justice to me and give me the opportunity I so much desire.

Thousands now in arms against the usurper have taken this identical oath withoutthe compulsion I had. The United States has not released them from its obligation. The convention has absolved all Virginians from it, but many of them were in arms prior to the passage of the act, which relly ex post facto in its nature. Could it have released any man whose conscience did not absolve him? Assuredly not. It was the usurpation of the tyrant not the legislative enactment that lifted the obligation from their consciences. Mine needs no ex post facto act to free it. The opposition of cunning to treachery, resisting lawless might by craf, I never throught wrong. Expediency not honor is what binds me. Why should I be thought less true than any man who has taken this oath? God is my withness how ardently I had hoped to serve my country. If in my desire to prove a good soldier-obeying orders, trusting to honor where there was none, I have been thrown out of her service; if in the midst of insulting foes denied my rights, almost maddened by false and cruel assertions and fears for my family, offered only one alternative of imprisonmnet, and satisfied that it could not bind I have been forced to adopt it, I know my geneous countrymen will pity my misfortune and excuse my act. Every interest and hope I have is with my native South. My case is so far exactly that of her protomartyr Hayne. I am ready to complete the resemblance if necessary, but I rely on her brave rulers to rebuke in the might they already acquired the corruption that sits in the high places of her foes and restore me by authority to her service.

I have lost much of heart and hope, but I have yet to give her the service of one who will little reck to what it may lead and a life that I will cheerfully lay down so that I may leave for my family a memory they can cherish with pride and for myself a name among the martyred defenders of liberty and right.