War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0703 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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Without waiting to know the facts or evidence in these cases (for you have admitted that you are acting on mere general newspaper statements which give neither facts nor evidence) orders have been given as you inform me that two of our officers now in your custody are to be selected for execution in retaliation for what you term "gross barbarity," and that the order will be speedily executed.

I give you formal notice that for each officer so executed one of your officers in our hands will be immediately put to death and if this number of not sufficient it will be increased.

The United States Government have been most lenient in their treatment of prisoners who have fallen into their hands. this leniency has been abused. And by your own admission your officers and men have come within our lines for the purpose ostensibly of recruiting but really as spies. They have been taken in citizens' dress under all the circumstances clearly surrounding the character of a spy. And in accepting such service they have taken upon themselves all its responsibility and the consequence of captured. And yet you propose to select brave and honorable officers who have been captured in fair and open fight on the battle-field and barbarously put them to death in retaliation for the just punishment of spies.

I call to your mind among numerous other instances the barbarous execution of the brave men who under the orders of General Mitchel captured a locomotive and train and penetrated with it into the interior of Georgia for the sole purpose as was and is well known of destroying the railroad communications. They were executed as spies and yet the United States Government has not retaliated for this act.

Were I in your place I should hardly dare to invoke the judgment of the Great Ruler of nations upon the responsibility for the initiation of this what you most properly term chapter of horrors.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. H. LUDLOW,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Agent for Exchange of Prisoners.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA, Fort Monroe, May 25, 1863.

Hon. ROBERT OULD, Agent for Exchange of Prisoners.

SIR: In reply to your communication of the 23rd in relation to citizen prisoners I have to state that I have demanded them, and not as you inform me appealed to you for them; you probably, however, mean the same thing. I have demanded them because I have delivered you their equivalent with the understanding you were to release them. I bring to your mind the cases of Lewis and Scully. you distinctly and without reservation told me that these men should be delivered on the day following the delivery to you of a large number of citizen prisoners; their names were especially mentioned and I have not yet received them. I shall deliver to you no more political or citizen prisoners except at "our own pleasure," and no such agreement or understanding such as you propose will be for a moment entertained.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. H. LUDLOW,

Lieutenant-Colonel and Agent for Exchange of Prisoners.