You recite the most aggravated parts of the story of Mrs. White concerning the killing of her husband by a party of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry but you do not recite the attending circumstances. In the early part of September last the public highway hence to Hernando was infested by a parcel of men who burned the cotton of the people and depredated on their property. A party of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry was sent to capture them, but on approach they fled and only ten prisoners were taken. These were dispatched back toward Memphis in charge of a lieutenant and ten men. As this party was on the road near White's they were fired on from ambush. The lieutenant and the Confederate soldier at his side were killed, one man wounded and the party scattered. As soon as the intelligence reached camp of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry in Memphis Captain Boicourt started to the rescue with a small detachment of men. On the way out they met the dead body of the lieutenant being brought in, punctured by six balls, from which the story was started of barbarous treatment, viz, his being shot while lying on the road. They also heard enough to connect the people of the neighborhood with this firing from ambush and mutilating their dear lieutenant. The taking of White, the accusation of his being concerned, his resistance, his attempt to escape, are all matters asserted and denied, and no one more deplores than I do that you have torn to pieces the fabric of our Government so that such acts should ever occur, or if they did that they should be promptly punished. White's home is almost on the line between Mississippi and Tennessee, but this affair occurred on the Mississippi side of the line. If the State of Mississippi were in a condition and should make due inquiry and demand the parties for a fair trial there would be some appearance of law and justice. But what shadow of right you have to inquire into the matter I don't see.
White was not a Confederate soldier, not even a guerrilla, and some contend he was a good Union man. I assert that his killing was unfortunate, but was the legitimate and logical sequence of the mode of warfare chosen by the Confederate Government by means of guerrillas and partisan rangers. Captain Boicourt has answered for his conduct to the Government of the United States, and it may be will to the civil authorities of Mississippi when peace is restored to her but not to the Confederate Government or its officers.
You now hold for retaliation four U. S. soldiers whose names you say were ascertained by lot. We hold here thirty-odd wounded Confederate soldiers left by your companions on the field at Corinth. They receive kind treatment at the hands of our surgeons. I expect a boat-load of other prisoners in a day or two from above en route for Vicksburg, to be exchanged according to the solemn cartel made between the two contending parties. Under the terms of that cartel we shall expect at Vicksburg the four men you have named, and should they not be at Vicksburg the officer in charge of your prisoners will have his orders. Our armies now occupy many Southern States. Even North Mississippi is in our possession. Your guerrilla and partisan rangers have done deeds that I know you do not sanction. Do not make this war more vindictive and bloody than it has been and will be in spite of the most moderate counsels. If you think a moment you will admit that retaliation is not the remedy for such acts as the killing of White, but the same end will be attained by regulating your guerrillas. This I know you are doing, and for it you have the thanks of your Southern-rights people who were plundered and abused by them.