War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0070 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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GENERAL: Your letter inclosing list of prisoners captured at Hartsville and paroled by you has been received. It is reported to me that the flag of truce presented itself about dark and during a skirmish.

The officer who conducted them to our lines insisted upon our receiving them as I am informed upon the ground of humanity. We taken can of your prisoners, feed them, make them as comfortable as we can and conduct them to the proper place of exchange. That is our idea of humanity. Our prisoners were sufficiently clad when taken and I think ought to have been similarly treated. Whether your idea of humanity consists in robbing them of their blankets and overcoats I know not, but such they assure me was the treatment they received from your troops.

Without entering further into that question, however, I must be permitted to observe that to send these prisoners to my lines without any previous agreement with me to receive them is a violation both of the letter and spirit of the cartel.

I regret to notice this act of injustice and discourtesy, which is aggravated by the fact of their not being sent to us at a proper hour of the day when all the business could have been transacted without inconvenience to either party.

Paroled prisoners will hereafter only be received by me in accordance with the terms of the cartel. Herewith you will please receive receipts for the prisoners taken at Hartsville conformed to the lists of them forwarded by you. Although purporting apparently to be originals these lists are evidently mere copies, not attested by the signature of any officer of either army. As regards the third list sent by you inasmuch as it contains the names of persons of whom I know nothing it is impossible for me to say or do anything.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Murfreesborough, December 11, 1862.

Major General W. S. ROSECRANS,

Commanding U. S. Forces, Nashville, Tenn.

GENERAL: In your letter of the 4th instant you express your abhorrence of the system of harassing and arresting non-combatants. In a previous letter I have intimated my entire concurrence in these views and nothing shall swerve me from the faithful observance of a policy which is dictated by every proper sentiment. I am credibly informed, however, that on the very day on which your communication was written a number of citizens of Tennessee charged only with political offense or proclivities were arrested and imprisoned in the penitentiary of Nashville. It is of little moment to me whether this was done by your immediate order or by your subordinates for whose conduct you are responsible, and I hereby notify you that I shall enforce rigid and unyielding retaliation against the commissioned officers who fall into my hands until this violation of good faith be corrected in deeds as well as words.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


General, Commanding.