reason to expect mercy at the hands of soldiers from the neighborhood in which his crimes were committed; and yet the proper steps were taken to bring the offenders to punishment.
Doubtless many acts have been committed by the troops and adherents of both parties to which are condemned by the rules of civilized warfare. But we have provocation; our country has been invaded and much of the fairest and best portions of it laid waste, as it was thought none but vandals and savages could waste, and every conceivable outrage committed by the invaders, and I must think that honorable and impartial Christian men will be apt to look with some measure of allowance of a few departures from the rules of civilized warfare by men who were exasperated by a war which has been conducted by your Government in a way to excite the just execration and detestation of enlightened men in all civilized countries, including many of the wisest and best in your own country. I full appreciate the tone of the wisest and best in your own country. I fully appreciate the tone of your letters and have no doubt of your desire and purpose to do all in your power to keep your troops "within the limits of civilized warfare. " In that effort you shall have my hearty co-operation so far as concerns the government of my own troops.
One other remark of your I cannot permit to pass unnoticed. Disclaiming any "wish to enter upon ethical disputations" you say we have both sworn to defend the Government of the United States against all here enemies and to "bear true allegiance to the United States of America. " You omit to say that the terms of our commissions pledged us to obey the "lawful orders" of the President; probably because you felt conscious that in conducting this war your Government has utterly disregarded and sent at naught the Constitution and laws under which we served.
But you add that you do not say this "by way of reproach. " I accept it in the spirit in which it is said, and I desire to say in the same spirit that by the acceptance of the resignation of my commission as an officer of the U. S. Army I was released from all obligation to serve a Government which places arms in the hands of our domestic servants, incites and encourages them to commit murder and all manner of outrages of defenseless women and children, and commands its officers (civil, military and naval) to aid and abet our servants in all the horrors of a servile insurrection.
Very respectfully, &c.,
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., April 3, 1863.
Major General S. A. HURLBUT,
Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps, Memphis, Tenn.
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23rd of March to the Adjutant-General inclosing roll of twenty-two prisoners captured within the lines of your command. Neither the letter nor the roll states what disposition was made of the prisoners, and I assume that they are all held as prisoners of war at Memphis. I have also to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 25 ultimo inclosing a list of two rebel prisoners of war captured and paroled. I beg leave to refer you to the first clause of General Orders, Numbers 49, current series, from which you will perceive that paroles are only to be recognized when duplicate receipts are signed as evidence of