of their masters, and has thus done all in his power to inaugurate a servile war, which is worse than that of the savage, inasmuch as it superadds other horrors to the indiscriminate slaughter of all ages, sexes and conditions. Brigadier-General Phelps is reported to have initiated at New Orleans the example set by Major-General Hunter on the coast of South Carolina. Brigadier General G. N. Fitch* is stated in the same journals to have murdered in cold blood two peaceful citizens because one of his men while invading our country was killed by some unknown person while defending his home.
I am instructed by the President of the Confederate States to repeat the inquiry relative to the cases of Mumford and Owen and to ask whether the statements in relation to the action of Generals Hunter, Phelps and Fitch are admitted to be true, and whether the conduct of these generals is sanctioned by their Government. I am further directed by His Excellency the President to give notice that in the event of not receiving a reply to these inquiries within fifteen days from the delivery of this letter that it will be assumed that the alleged facts are true and are sanctioned by the Government of the United States. In such event on that Government will rest the responsibility for retaliatory measures which shall be adopted to put an end to the merciless atrocities which now characterize the war waged against the Confederate States.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS C. S. ARMY,
Near Richmond, Va., August 2, 1862.
GENERAL COMMANDING U. S. ARMY, Washington.
GENERAL: In obedience to the order of His Excellency the President of the Confederate States I have the honor to make to you the following communication: On the 22nd of July last a cartel for a general exchange of prisoners of war was signed by Major General John A. Dix on behalf of the United States and by Major General D. H. Hill on the part of this Government. By the terms of that cartel it is stipulated that all prisoners of war hereafter taken shall be discharged on parole until exchanged.
Scarcely had the cartel been signed when the military authorities of the United States commenced a practice changing the character of the war from such as becomes civilized nations into a campaign of indiscriminate robbed general order issued by the Secretary of War of the United States in the city of washington on the very day that the cartel was signed in Virginia direct the military commanders of the United States to take the property of our people for the convenience and use of the Army without compensation. A general order issued by Major-General Pope on the 23rd of July last, the day after the date of the cartel, directs the murder of our peaceful citizens as spies if found quietly tilling their farms in his rear, even outside of his lines. And one of his brigadier-generals, Steinwehr, has seized innocent and peaceful inhabitants to be held as hostages to the end that they may be murdered in cold blood if any of his soldiers are killed by some unknown persons whom he designated as "bushwhackers. "
* See Fitch to Halleck, August 22, p. 419.