The immediate effect of the circulation may be to cause many men to leave your ranks to return home, or come within our lines, and, in view of this latter course, it has been thought proper to issue an order announcing the favorable terms on which deserters will be received. I accept, however, your suggestion that it would have been more courteous to have sent these documents to you for circulation, and I embrace, with pleasure, the opportunity thus afforded to inclose to you twenty copies of each of these documents, and rely upon your generosity and desire for peace to give publicity to the same among your officers and men.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
[Inclosure Numbers 3.]
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
January 11, 1864.
Major General J. G. FOSTER,
Commanding Department of the Ohio:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th of January, with its enclosures, & c.
The disingenuous manner in which you have misconstrued my letter of the 3rd instant has disappointed me. The suggestion which you claim to have adopted is in words as follows, viz:
I presume, however, that the great object and end in view is to hasten the day of peace. I respectfully suggest for your consideration the propriety of communicating any views that your Government may have on that subject through me, rather than by handbills circulated amongst our soldiers.
This sentence repudiates, in its own terms, the construction which you have forced upon it. Let me remind you, too, that the spirit and tone of my letter were to meet Honorable sentiments.
The absolute want of pretext for your construction of the letter induces me to admonish you against trifling over the events of this great war. You cannot pretend to have answered my letter in the spirit of frankness due to a soldier. And yet, it is hard to believe that an officer commanding an army of veteran soldiers, on whose shoulders rests, in no small part, the destiny of empires, could so far forget the height of this great argument at arms; could be so lost in levity, and so betray the dignity of his high station, as to fall into a contest of jests and jibes.
I have read your "order announcing the favorable terms on which deserters will be received." Step by step you have gone on in the violation of the rules of civilized warfare. Our farms have been destroyed, our women and children have been robbed, and our houses have been pillaged and burnt.
You have laid your plans and worked diligently to produce wholesale murder by servile insurrection. And now, the most ignoble of all, you propose to degrade the human race by inducing soldiers to dishonor anelves. Soldiers who have met your own upon so many Honorable fields, who have breasted the storm of battle in defense of their honor, their families, and their homes for three long years, have a right to expect more of honor, even in their adversaries.