by the U. S. forces at Bolivar, are now in trial before a military commission upon charges of murder, arson, robbing and I suppose all the black crimes that are customarily committed by your Government. This proceeding is most savage and brutal and a gross violation of every usage and law of civilized war.
I wish to state simply that these men are duly mustered into the military service of the Confederate States by myself acting under the authority and commission duly issued by the Secretary of War under special order of the President of the Confederate States. Thomas W. Bass has been appointed by me forage master and Dr. J. B. Scarborough has been appointed assistant surgeon of the First Tennessee Regiment of Partisan Rangers, C. S. Army. The Partisan Ranger service is a legally organized branch of the C. S. Army under an act of the Congress of the Confederate States. In my operations I have not violated the laws of war; your army has done it time and again. This pretended trial of Bass and Scarborough is one of the many gross and wanton violations of the military law of nations. If this proceeding is not immediately stopped and these men treated as prisoners of war or if they are punished capitally or cruelly treated as prisoners of war I will retaliate tenfold, and that you may know I have the means to execute my threat of retaliation I refer you to my note of the 5th instant sent to you under flag of truce.
U. S. officers and soldiers have been stealing negroes, horses, mules, money, &c. ; they have plundered houses, broken open bureau drawers, searched the person of ladies and insulted women; they have burnt houses and assassinated un offering men, women; they have burnt houses and assassinated unoffending men, women and children all over the land, and yet when they have been captured although we had every reason to avenge these injuries they have been promptly paroled except when necessary to retaliate. No unusual trials have been resorted to scare prisoners and extort from allegiance to a belligerent government. Your command has pillaged my own premises and grossly insulted my wife and very nearly shot one of my children and have threatened to burn my houses. I wish to notify you and your command that if I can get hold of the demons who have perpetrated these acts or who shall perpetrate them again, or who shall order or execute these threats, I will not threat them as prisoners of war but as outlaws and enemies of making. Further if any non-combatant citizen of the confederate States and of West Tennessee shall be captured or their houses burned or other property destroyed I will retaliate by capturing two Union citizens for each Confederate citizen and will take or destroy from Union men and U. S. soldiers and Government twice the amount of property taken or destroyed. My family resides near your army and those also of my relations and friends; for every depredation and insult committed against them I will retaliate upon Union men, Union soldiers and property.
Captain Albert W. Cushman and escort will bear this note and flag of truce.
R. V. RICHARDSON,
Colonel, Commanding First Tennessee Regiment Partisan Rangers, C. S. Army.
P. S. - Captain J. Slaughter Caruthers with escort composed of John Ford, Henry McCain, T. T. Bennet and F. W. Hughes will bear this dispatch under flag of truce.
R. V. R.