NASHVILLE, January 13, 1863.
The wounded must be got to Louisville without delay. Report at Cincinnati to General Wright on arrival at Louisville. Send him a written statement. Will report before your arrival.
W. H. SIDELL,
I certify the above to be a correct copy of telegram.
M. P. GADDIS,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
Tullahoma, Tenn., January 17, 1863.
Major General W. S. ROSECRANS,
Commanding U. S. Forces, Murfreesborough, Tenn.
GENERAL: I inclose a copy of a letter* from Brigadier General John H. Morgan in reference to the letter of Captain Thruston which has been forwarded for my consideration and reply.
It is only necessary for me to protest with all solemnity against your action in the matter as unsustained by any article of war or usage of civilization and as not comprehended in the letter or spirit of my communication with you on the subject. A flag of truce is always entitled to respect, and whenever its bearers are treated as spies it can only be done by the abnegation of all intercourse. In coming to an outpost it may be received or refused, but the bearer cannot be charged with being a spy as until voluntarily within your lines he is not within the limits which define him as such, the definition of a spy being one who is found lurking in or about the camps or fortifications of an enemy. The accused were not in your lines until forcibly carried there by you nor did they propose to enter them.
The proposition by which I limited myself to a particular road while you were in Nashville if strictly constructed now that you are in Murfreesborough would render the bearer of the flag which covers this equally liable to the treatment and charge preferred against the parties whom you hold. The omission to General Morgan of the arrangement is explained by the fact that his is of the nature of an independent commanding, constantly detached and necessarily requiring to be exempted from the operation of such a regulation. Since the communication between us referred to both he and General Forrest have sent and received flags to which no objection has been raised. He respected your "white flag" at Hartsville and spared the lives of your prisoners. More recently in his Kentucky expedition on several occasions he sent flags which were respected although not covering com me and against which I have received no remonstrance.
To these expressions of my views upon the injustice and inhumanity of the position you have assumed in the premises I must add that I deem your action unworthy of one occupying your high official position. These unfortunate men are in your power and it is left entirely to your decision whether they shall be the victims of your threats if it will gratify your vindictiveness to sacrifice them without the shadow of cause or if you regard it necessary in order to protect the flag from
* Omitted here; Morgan to Brent, January 15, p. 813, Confederate Correspondence.