War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 1109 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,

Vicksburg, Miss., March 28, 1864.

Major General S. D. LEE, Commanding C. S. Cavalry:

GENERAL: Your communication in reply to mine of the 23rd is just received. In behalf of the wounded accept my since thanks for complying with my request, and I regret that I cannot, under my instructions, comply with your wish for an equal exchange. In regard to recovering the body of Captain Hamilton of your staff, now within our lines, such arrangements are being made as I believe will effect the object. With reference to the exchange of some members of your escort company, now at Alton, Ill., I refer to my communication to you of the 23rd instant. Were any discretionary powers given to commanding officers, it might sometimes effect a saving to both Governments, and be humane to those whom the fortunes of war chance to be made prisoners.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. McARTHUR,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

ARMY OF SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA,

Saltville, March 28, 1864.

Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:

SIR: The silence of the Confederate Government in relation to the brutal murder of my brother, Major Edgar Burroughs, by a negro sentinel whilst confined to his bed with the smallpox in the city of Portsmouth, has induced me to write and give you the particulars of that sad affair, hoping some effort may be made to retaliate for this deliberate and wanton act.

Major Burroughs was betrayed by one of his negro men in November last, carried to Norfolk by a mixed regiment of negroes and white men and placed in close confinement in a dungeon, ironed to the floor and handcuffs upon his wrists. He was tried for breach of parole and destruction of U. S. property and was sentenced to be executed. To establish the fact that Major Burroughs had been regularly exchanged, my father wrote to Judge Ould, by flag of truce, during the trial; but General Butler, with a malignant and designing purpose, refused to permit this letter to pass through the lines to Richmond, knowing too well that the commissioner of exchange could exonerate Major Burroughs from the slanderous charge which has been brought against him. This fact, itself, is sufficient to show the fell designs of that corrupt and wicked man. Confined in a damp and filthy cell, he contracted the smallpox and was moved to the pest-house in Portsmouth. From this place he was ordered on the 25th of January to be moved to the jail, but when the officers with ambulance went for that purpose the negroes replied, that "the force was not sufficient to take him-he should not go. " About 3 o'clock of the same night he was shot. Our enemies, while glorying in this horrible deed, took particular pains to publish that he was shot while attempting to escape. Before the medical director in presence of witnesses and upon his dying bed, Major Burroughs denied this damning calumny. In answer to the medical director whether or not he was attempting to escape, he replied: "No, I was only endeavoring to turn in my bed-it was a wanton act. " During his trial, several Congressmen were written to with a view of protecting as far as possible Major Burroughs from any unjust treatment by the enemy. Mr. Heiskell, of Tennessee, replied that after consulting with Judge Ould he was satisfied that the exchange was regularly