War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0673 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

28. Retaliation will therefore never be resorted to as a measure of mere revenge but only as a means of protective retribution and moreover cautiously and unavoidably; that is to say retaliation shall only be resorted to after careful inquiry into the real occurrence and the character of the misdeeds that may demand retribution. Unjust or inconsiderate retaliation removes the belligerents farther and farther from the mitigating rules of a regular war and by rapid steps leads them nearer to the internecine wars of savages.

* * * * * *


Public and private property of the enemy-Protection of persons and especially women, of religion, the arts and sciences-Punishment of crimes against the inhabitants of hostile countries.

* * * * * *

32. A victorious army by the martial power inherent in the same may suspend, change or abolish as far as the martial power extends the relations which arise from the services due according to the existing laws of the invaded country from one citizen, subject or native of the same to another. The commander of the army must leave it to the ultimate treaty of peace to settle the permanency of this change.

* * * * * *

42. Slavery, complicating and confounding the ideas of property (that is of a thing) and of personality (that is of humanity), exists according to municipal or local law only. The law nature and nations has never acknowledged it. The digest of the Roman law enacts the early dictum of the pagan jurist that 'so far as the law of nature is concerned all men are equal. " Fugitives escaping from a country in which they were slaves, villains or serfs into another country have for centuries past been held free and acknowledged free by judicial decisions of European countries, even though the municipal law of the country in which the slave had taken refuge acknowledged slavery within its own dominions.

43. Therefore in a war between the United States and a belligerent which admits of slavery if a person held in bondage by that belligerent be captured by or come as a fugitive under the protection of the military forces of the United States such person is immediately entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman. To return such person into slavery would amount to enslaving a free person, and neither the United States nor any officer under their authority can enslave any human being. Moreover a person so made free by the law of war is under the shield of the law of nations, and the former owner or State can have by the law of post-liminy no belligerent lien or claim of service.

* * * * * *


Deserters-Prisoners of war-Hostages-Booty on the battle-field.

48. Deserters from the American Army having entered the service of the enemy suffer death if they fall again into the hands of the United States whether by capture or being delivered up to the American Army; and if a deserter from the enemy having taken service in the Army of the United States is captured by the enemy and punished