hospital I had removed such of the more severely wounded as were injured in the engagements of the 6th and 7th, numbering with surgeons, infirmary corps, &c., some 320 Confederates. As your medical director I felt it my duty to remain with the party on the field. In addition to our own people we had some sixty-five Federals who were prisoners, many of whom were wounded. These were attended by Federal surgeons. I extended to them every courtesy and assistance in my power and freely shared with them every comfort I could procure for our own men. On the 8th, in the afternoon, and subsequent to the skirmish with the enemy and Colonel Forrest's cavalry, my attention was directed to a pistol-shot said to be directed at my hospital by some Federal cavalry. I went out and met the officers who had fired the shot as I then ascertained. I remostrated against so inhuman an outrage and refused to surrender to him. He left, and in about an hour Colonel Dickey, of the Federal Army, came up with a cavalry force and demanded my surrender. I was powerless and reluctantly yielded myself and the party of unfortunate prisoners. Colonel Dickey drew up in pencil something like a parole by which we agreed to remain and report to General Grant. I expressly refused to sign the document unless it was understood that we were subject to recapture by our own forces. Colonel Dickey assured me that of course that was always understood but he would take care we were not retaken, and left us with the promise to send for use the next morning. This, however, he fortunately for us failed to do as we were rescued on the evening of the 9th by a detachment of our own cavalry.
By orders received from Brigadier-General Breckinridge many of our wounded and some few of the enemy who could be removed were forwarded to Corinth early on the morning of the 10th instant. It was here the promptings of humanity induced me to offer to the ranking surgeon in charge of the Federal wounded terms which I left assured would be ratified by the military authorities of my Government. In the hour of triumph I left that I could afford to be generous to a fallen and bleeding enemy. With on other motive or purpose, in good faith and with a clear conscience, I concluded with Surgeon Berghoff, of the Federal Army, the convention or agreement of which I have the honor to inclose you a copy* with indorsement of General Breckinridge. After this was done I made my way to Corinth to look after the wounded who had been sent forward from the battle-field.
The enemy in pursuance of the terms of agreement were permitted to remove their wounded from the hospital when they desired to do so. Owing to the distance and condition of the road to say nothing of the wounded it was utterly our of the question to remove our suffering soldiers immediately. I made every proper exertion to do so with all the dispatch consistent with the principles of humanity. It is to be regretted I could not move all of our men immediately, as I am now advised that I am now denied that priviledge and that the surgeons, hospital attendants and patients are held by the enemy as prisoners. It is needless to make any comment on this unfortunate affair. I still entertain the hope that when it is properly understood all difficulty in regard to it will vanish. Certainly some steps should be taken for the relief of the surgeon and the few patients yet remaining on the field in hospital.
Your obedient servant,
WM. D. LYLES,
* Omitted here; for this agreement see p. 503.