War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0550 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

has been done and now you threaten us with extinction; to extirpate our race and name; to blot out the landmarks of constitutional liberty and reduce to a wilderness the land we once inhabited.

If this is civilized and honorable warfare; if this is the spirit which animates the American people - that people or whom you have so often boasted - then I say, proud and ancient name how basely have you been lied upon. Now, sir, being vested with authority to operate in this section of the State and protect as far as possible the people claiming citizenship and protection from the Confederate States Government I therefore make known that I exact the rights of belligerents as ratified upon the first and original agreement between your Government and the Confederate States Government to treat all men in arms if captured as prisoners of war, whether they be found in the woods or prairies.

By acts of savage cruelty you have driven our citizens to the woods, forcing them to take desperate steps to protect their lives from the hands of commissioned assassins. The men that are now in arms in this State with a few exceptions are C. S. soldiers fighting to redeem their homes from the desecrating tread of ruffian soldiers and themselves from thraldom.

The unwarrantable seizure of persons and the destruction of property by fire; the carrying off of citizens and imprisoning them in bastiles and felons' dens; the consuming of the people's grain and meat without compensation has precipitated upon the women and children starvation, and their cries are now piercing the throne of Heaven asking to be avenged. These, sir, are a part of the causes driving men to arms, forcing upon [them] the alternative of fighting or our reduction to a state of vassalage.

Can these things be tolerated any longer? Can and must the people fold their and say, " O Lord, Thy will be done?" Can men stand back and see their families insulted and their property carried off by armed mobs? No! every impulse that warms the human heart calls upon our people to arms? The blood of our martyred heroes urges our people forwarded. The bones of our aged citizens bleaching under the midday sun calls for revenge. The tears of the widows and orphans appeal to the sympathy of Southern hearts and ask them to bleed with their comrades that have fallen in defense of their homes and fire humanity bleeds at every pore; the earth is stained with the blood of the innocent, and yet you hunt us with the wild and frenzied madness of the bloodhound. Can you expect willing submission? Can you expect our arms to be surrendered up and we return to our former allegiance? No! fight it the watchword of our people, and fight we shall until the hordes that now invest our country are withdrawn and our rights acknowledge among the nations of the earth.

We are compelled by the instincts of our nature to resist the enforcement of obnoxious and unlawful measures; hence the sole reason for having our soldiers and citizens put to death. If total annihilation is the intention of your Government then we are ready. If our lives are required to pay the bond then we are ready for the struggle.

The perversion of the war for the Union to a war of extermination forces upon us retaliation. And if another Confederate soldiers or citizens is executed without due proceed of law five union soldiers or citizens shall with their lives pay the forfeit.

This sir, shall be done independent of the consequences, to take effect from and after the 20th day of May, A. D. 1863.

B. F. PARKER,

Colonel, C. S. Army