In this case, if the sergeant had ordered the rebel under guard and he had refused obedience, his death would clearly have been a case of justifiable homicide. A military commission might so decide under the circumstances presented in these proceedings, but inasmuch as these proceedings appear extrajudicial (vide the last clause of the Ninety-Second Article of War), I am of opinion that the case should be submitted to the judgment of a military commission.
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers, Commissioner for Exchange.
WAR DEPARTMENT, April 6, 1864.
Respectfully returned to the Commissary-General of Prisoners.
By direction of the President a court of inquiry will be assembled at Point Lookout to investigate the facts connected with the killing of the prisoner Peyton.
By order of the Secretary of War:
ED. R. S. CANBY,
Brigadier-General and Assistant Adjutant-General.
[MARCH 27, 1864. -For report of Captain Joseph H. Little, First Missouri State Militia Cavalry, of the summary trial of three bushwhackers and the execution of two of them, and remarks, April 3, 1864, of Brigadier General E. B. Brown, U. S. Army, commanding Central District of Missouri, see Series I, Vol XXXIV, Part I, p. 856, and Part III, p. 32.]
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF NATCHEZ, MISS., March 27, 1864.
Captain OWEN, C. S. Army,
Commanding Post of Woodville:
CAPTAIN: I am to-day shown a letter from Colonel Dillon to yourself, in which Mrs. Richardson, of Woodville, is threatened with severe measures unless she obtains the release of one G. W. Brown from irons. I regret that this lady should be placed in peril for acts for which, I assure you, she is in no way responsible, as the ironing took place before she arrived in this city.
Information reached me that Mr. Richardson had been taken prisoner by your forces and murdered, on information of Mrs. Brown, mother of prisoner, that Richardson had given information to our troops when in Woodville that led to the capture of a party of your men, which information, I am well assured, was incorrect, as the information was given by another man.
Mr. G. W. Brown is now held as a hostage for the safety of Mr. Richardson.
If Mr. Richardson is alive, on your satisfying me of the fact, Mr. Brown will be released from irons and treated as a prisoner of war, otherwise he will be executed in retaliation.
If your authorities are willing, I will exchange Mr. Brown for Mr. Richardson under flag of truce any day you wish.
I would respectfully add that if your authorities further distress this defenseless woman I will retaliate tenfold on your friends in this city.
Very respectfully, &c.,
J. M. TUTTLE,