HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA,
September 21, 1863.
Major General N. P. BANKS,
Commanding U. S. Forces in Louisiana:
GENERAL: I have given due consideration to the matters stated by you in your reply, under date of the 16th instant, to my communication to you concerning the execution of Mr. Glaisses and the arrest and detention s hostages of non-combatant citizens residing on Bayou Boeuf.
The killing of Captain Dwight is the act which led to, and in your view justified, these severe and exceptional measures against which it was the object of my letter to protect. We differ so widely with respect to the circumstances which attended the capture and death of Captain Dwight that continued discussion would be quite unlikely to bring us to an accord of opinion upon them. When I wrote to you I was in possession of the official statement of the commander of the outposts, to whose orders the men by whose hands Captain Dwight fell were subject. They were not, as you have been erroneously informed, men who had abandoned the army, passing themselves off as peaceable citizens and receiving protection as such, but they were soldiers in the actual discharge of duties and occupying positions to which they had been regularly assigned by their superior officers, and they killed Captain Dwight because he sought to make his escape after formally surrendering himself as a prisoner of war. However much the loss of an officer is to be regretted whose qualities as a gentleman and a soldier you estimate to highly, his killing was, under the circumstances, a lawful act of war.
But even if it were otherwise, what I protested against, general, and what your answer has entirely failed to justify, was the execution of an innocent man against whom no charge was made or pretended of complicity in the slaying of Captain Dwight and the arrest and punishment of peaceful citizens, many of whom lived too far from the scene to be suspected even of harboring or concealing the presumed criminals. These innocent men were made to suffer before any opportunity was given to the Government of the alleged offenders to investigate the case, and inflict such punishment upon them, had they been found guilty, as their crime would have merited, and as would have been satisfactory to your own Government. I said in my original communication, and I repeat now, that the suffering of these your the supposed guilt of others has nothing in the rules of civilized warfare to extenuate it.
Our correspondence upon this subject will be laid before my Government for such action as may be deemed proper. What I note, general, with most satisfaction in your letter, is the expression of sentiments with regard to the conduct of hostilities, in which
I cordially concur, and which, if steadily observed by both belligerents, will tend greatly to mitigate the evils of this unfortunate war.
I have the honor to be, yours, &c.,
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, September 21, 1863.
Brigadier General A. SCHOEPF, Commanding Fort Delaware, Del.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 15th instant, inclosing a copy of your Special Order 165 and the