War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0308 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

AQUILA CREEK, March 1, 1863.

P. H. WATSON, Assistant Secretary of War:

By direction of Brigadier-General Patrick, provost-marshal-general, Army of the Potomac, I forward in charge of guard Arnold Harris, citizen, to report to you. The guard and prisoner left this place on the steamer John Brooks at 1. 30 p. m. and will arrive at Washington at 4. 30 p. m. to-day.

J. W. FORSYTH,

Captain and Provost-Marshal.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., March 1, 1863.

COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS:

Camp Bulter well conducted. Leave for Chicago to-morrow unless otherwise instructed.

H. W. FREEDLY.

BEFORE VICKSBURG, March 2, 1863.

Lieutenant General J. C. PEMBERTON,

Commanding Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana:

Major General C. L. Stevenson's letter of the 24 the ultimo written at your dictation was received last evening. This letter inclosed what purports to be a copy of an order issued by Admiral D. D. Porter to his squadron and makes inquiry if it is authentic.

I will state that Admiral Porter's command over the Mississippi squadron is as complete as mine over the army in this department and that he alone is responsible for any orders he may issue. On thing, however, I can guarantee: Admiral Porter has never departed from the rules of civilized warfare and never will until driven to do so in retaliation for offenses committed by persons who by their acts cease to be entitled to the treatment due soldiers captured in legitimate warfare.

There has been much done by the citizens of the Southern States that is not in accordance with any know rules of civilized warfare and for which they individually are responsible and can call for protection in their acts upon no people or Government. These are persons who are always in the guise of citizens, and on the approach of an armed force remain at their homes professing to be in no way connected with the army but entitled to all the indulgences allowed non-combatants in a country visited by an opposing army. These same persons, many of them, are ever ready to fire upon unarmed vessels and to capture and sometimes murder small parties of Federal soldiers who may be passing. I do not here instance an isolated case but a rule that seems to have been adopted, particularly in Mississippi and Arkansas. In the absence of any standard authority on this subject I believe all persons engaged in war must have about them some insignia by which they may be know at all times as an times as an enemy to entitle them to the treatment of prisoners of war. Then their hostilities must be carried on in accordance with the rules of civilized warfare.

In the absence of these two conditions being fulfilled they who violate them become responsible for their own acts.

I have never threatened retaliation upon those recognized as engaged in warfare against the Government for these illegal acts, and until the