they assume to be enemies. Such acts are not legitimate acts of war, and can only be considered and punished if attended with fatal consequences, as assassinations.
On my march through the Teche country I passed hundreds of men in the different villages and towns arrayed as citizens, disclaiming to have belonged to the army, or to have arms in this contest, whom I had every reason to believe had but recently been soldiers. I allowed them to remain where I found them, upon their own protestations, ebbed the peaceful rights of citizens-such substantially was the case of the men who murdered Captain Dwight. They had abandoned the army to which they belonged, they had suffered my columns to pass them, secreting themselves in the houses or on the plantations upon the line of the road that we had passed, professing not to be soldiers, but assuming to be peaceful citizens, and receiving protection. After the army had passed, when a single officer upon the trail of his command follows his columns, these men take to their arms again and deliberately murder him.
The facts in this case, I have every reason to believe, are not as they are represented to you. These three men challenged an officer unattended except by a body servant, both unarmed. Perceiving that his challengers were armed, he halted, both unarmed; upon their demand he surrendered. The bayou running between them made it impossible for them to capture him when so many of our troops were on the road, both in the front and rear, and to prevent his escape, whom they could not capture according to the rules of war, knowing him to be unarmed, and after his surrender to them as a prisoner of war, they deliberately murdered him. In other words, being unable to execute their assumed right of capture, they committed the crime of assassination. I need not say to you, because it is no part of the case you are to consider, that Captain Dwight was one of the most upright and exemplary young men of his country. Never, in a single instance in his short but brilliant career, had he failed to recognize what was due from a high-toned and heroic officer. On our march to Opelousas and while in occupation of that town he exerted himself to the utmost to restrain lawless men from infringement upon the personal rights or the appropriation to their own uses of the property of citizens of that town, and contributed much to bring to the punishment of death men who had violated alike the laws of war and of property of citizens of that town, and contributed much to bring to the punishment of death men who had violated alike the laws of war and of property. His name and character were without blemish. The man does not live that can charge upon him the commission of a dishonorable act or the omission of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of humanity or of honor. It is deeply to be regretted that such a man should lose his life under such circumstances, but it illustrated too strongly the conduct of the troops in that and other campaigns to allow it to pass without permanent correction, and if the sacrifice of his life shall result in suffering so flagrant an abuse of the rules of war and establish a different system of conduct, he will have achieved as great a good as other men accomplish in the longest life. His career will have closed with the evidence of his untiring efforts to restrain lawless men from the commission of crimes, and the sacrifice of his life will illustrate the open and flagrant disregard of these principles by the men in arms against his country.
I know, very well, general, as you say, that the citizens living upon the line of march cannot be said to have been active parties to this act, and are not liable to punishment as principals in the transaction; but