of the highest offenses known in war, but we inevitably give the enemy the very pretext he wants to force upon us as prisoners of war in exchange his unauthorized guerrilla captures of non-combatants.
I annex herewith a copy of the cartel of exchange, marked D. *
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major General of Vols., Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners.
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
Fort Monroe, January 27, 1864.
Colonel JAMES W. HINTON,
Commanding North Carolina State Forces:
COLONEL: Your letter per flag of truce of date January 15 was received, inclosing a copy of a letter of Brigadier-General Wild to John T. Elliott, captain of guerrillas. I am glad of an opportunity to state to you the exact policy which I propose to pursue in carrying on the war now raging between the Confederate authorities and my Government, because upon that subject there seems to be a wide misunderstanding. Perhaps the easiest way to elucidate it will been explicit statement of what I do not mean to do.
First, then, I do not mean to conduct the war like a fishwoman in Billingsgate by calling hard names, such as "brute," "beast," &c.
Second. I do not mean to carry it on by any futile proclamations of outlawry against any officer or soldier duly authorized and commissioned for doing his duty.
Third. I do not mean to carry it on by threatening when I am beaten to take to the woods and organize guerrilla forces.
Fourth. I do not propose to carry it on unless my troops will obey my orders, and if they do not while I am in command of them I shall not afford them protection.
Again, I do mean to carry on this war according to the rules of civilized warfare as between alien enemies.
To apply, then, this principle to the case you mention of the action of General Wild. General Wild found Daniel Bright, a deserter from the Sixty-second Georgia Regiment, carrying on robbery and pillage in the peaceable counties of Camden and Pasquotank. He was further informed and believed that being such a deserter he and his company had refused to obey any order emanating from you or the Governor of North Carolina, because you had frequently ordered to squad of which he had pretended to be one across the Chowan River and they had refused to obey. These facts appeared to the court-martial before which Daniel Bright was tried, and, in my judgment, brought him within the strict meaning of the term "guerrilla. "
If these facts are true, and they are known to you if they are so--the fact that he was a member of a Georgia regiment being shown by the placard put upon the body of Private Jordan, who was hanged in pretended retaliation for him--it is quite clear that he met his fate according to every rule of warfare, and the murder of Jordan in pretended retaliation for him will be met in such away as becomes the Government which I represent.
If Elliott and his men had refused to obey your orders and to march as they were directed, but remained in a peaceable county against the will of the inhabitants, plundering and burning as they were doing, and as we were informed they were doing, they also deserved a like fate as
*See Vol. IV, this series, p. 266.