The rights of such citizens cannot be adjudicated by appeal through the military authorities of the so- called Confederate States. I have no disposition to overlook the conduct of any officer in my command or shift any responsibility which it may attach to me, but while the State of Missouri can guard her won citizens through the regularly constituted authorities I cannot even by implication justify any interference by you with what by your own showing relates to her "citizens in Missouri. "
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. R. CURTIS,
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., January 2, 1863.
His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States.
SIR: * * * In addition to this flagrant case* of unusual and severe treatment of a prisoner of war another and equally glaring instance has been brought to my notice- a case appealing equally to my sense of justice and calling loudly for redress.
Under a proclamation from the Executive of this State calling upon the citizens of northwestern Virginia to organize themselves into companies to repel the invasion of this State by her enemies Captain Daniel Dusky and Lieutenant Jacob Varner, two patriotic officers, one a citizen of Calhoun County and the other a citizen of Jackson County, in this State, organized a small force and took military possession of the town of Ripley, in the county of Jackson, and held it in opposition to the Federal authority and to the usurped government in Virginia. While so in possession of this town they took military possession of the mils for the purpose of ascertaining the military purposes of the enemy as they and a right to do by all the rules of warfare over the world. Some time afterwards they were overpowered by a much larger force and required to surrender which they refused to do until their captors who were soldiers of the United States agreed that they should be treated as prisoners of war. After this agreement was made they and the force under them surrendered, and immediately there after in violation of the express stipulation to the contrary they were taken to the city of Wheeling, confined in jail there, indicted, tried and convicted and sentenced to the penitentiary upon a charge of robbing the mail for a term of four years, and they are now and have been ever since confined in the penitentiary at the city of Washington, treated as common felons. Both he and his companion, Jacob Varner, are citizens of high character and patriotism, honorable and heretofore honored by public positions in their counties. For such violations of the plainest dictates of justice and propriety and against all the usages of war some remedy must be found. I have determined therefore to put in execution the principle of retaliation and I have ordered two of the prisoners captured by General Floyd, to wit, Captain William Gramm, of Philadelphia, and Lieutenant of Putnam County, Eight Regiment of troops under the usurped government of Virginia belonging to the Army of the United State, to be also imprisoned in the penitentiary of this State and to be safely kept there at hard labor until Captain
*The omitted portion of this letter relates to Richard Thomas Zarvoan, whose case will be found in VOl. II, this Series, p. 379 et seq.