Confederate authorities therefore in view of this army of facts an din the absence of conclusive proof to the country on the 22nd of this month gave you notice that two captains would be selected for speedy execution in retaliation for the gross barbarity of which we complained. I now reiterate the same. The Confederate Government is too well satisfied of the justice of its proceeding in this matter to be in any manner deterred from the execution of its purpose by your threat that our officers in your hands "will be immediately put to death. "
If any such issue is made whatever responsibilities or duties it imposes will be promptly met.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Agent of Exchange.
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Springfield, Ill., May 29, 1863.
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington.
DEAR SIR: A number of citizens of Alabama, now residents of this State, have addressed me by letter asking me to interest myself in securing for citizens of Alabama relatives and friends of theirs captured with Colonel Streight's command, the rights and immunities of prisoners of war. These men have claims upon the Government in this regard of the highest character. They have run fearful risks in their devotion to the Union and the Government should never desert them in their peril. Their lives are in danger but should a hair of their heads suffer instant retaliation should be enforced. I cannot help thus most forcibly pressing the claims of these noble men upon the protection of the Government and trust that you will immediately take such action as respects them as shall not fail to secure their safety.
I am, dear sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
WAR DEPARTMENT, June 5, 1863.
Referred to Major-General Hitchcock, commissioner for exchange of prisoners.
By order of the Secretary of War:
JAS. A. HARDIE,
ANNAPOLIS, MD., June 8, 1863.
Everything possible under the circumstances has been done in this case. The question involved is plainly that which brought on the war and can only be ended with the war, to wit, the right of a State over its own people in denial of their obligations as citizens of the United States. Measures of mere retaliation beyond the refusal to make any further exchanges cannot determine this question. It can only be settled on the battle-field. No further exchanges ought to be made until the men captured with Colonel Streight shall be restored.
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Vols., Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners.