the purview of the law, Brigadier-General Burbridge was appointed supervisor of enlistments and draft in Kentucky, with powers to see that none but the regularly appointed officers in the modes prescribed by law should enlist or draft slaves, and to remove all occasion for excitement or offense the slaves enlisted or drafted were to be removed for organization without the State. Being satisfied that this would be faithfully carried into effect and would secure quiet to the disturbed, and in many instances justly aggrieved, sentiments of those outraged by the offensive course of Cunningham and others, we returned home gratified at the result of our visit. Recently, as my letter advised you, Cunningham began his career of more offensive acts than heretofore, and with more show of authority, having Government gun-boats and transports under his command, thereby indicating to the country the authority and sanction of the governmental authorities at Washington.
Believing, as I sincerely did, that he was acting upon his own responsibility, without the authority or sanction of the War Department, I forwarded to General Burbridge's headquarters documents setting forth his acts, and indorsing request that he would take proper steps to arrest the course pursued by Cunningham. The documents were returned the day before I wrote to you, with indorsement that the counties below the Tennessee River were not within General Burbridge's jurisdiction.
Knowing that Cunningham was a Federal officer and subject to your orders, and believing that his offensive course was not only unauthorized, but disapproved by you, and desiring that he should be stayed in his proceedings, as an act of justice to the much- suffering people in the region of his depredations, and that the Federal authorities might have the benefit of restraining him and thereby give confidence in the justice and protective purposes of the Administration, I wrote you the letter.
Although Cunningham's conduct is violative of the laws of Kentucky, and I am authorized by law to have him arrested for unlawful recruiting and confined at such places as I might designate until he can be safely tried by the civil authorities where his offenses have been committed, yet (not doubting the justice) I hesitated as to the propriety of the arrest and confinement. I feared that he, being an officer of the Government and apparently acting under authority, although satisfied that he was acting without authority and in violation of law, and arrest by me might be misconstrued by those not conversant with the facts as an act of hostility to the governmental authorities, and might give encouragement to rebels and their sympathizers, I therefore have forborne to act.
I believed that good would result by your staying his course by order from War Department. The evil would be removed and confidence in the just purposes of the Administration toward that people would be established. That his course should be arrested by either Federal or State authority I felt was due to that people. If Cunningham is acting by authority from the War Department, say so to me, and that will relieve me from all responsibility to interfere, and leave the entire responsibility upon the authorities authorizing his acts. My rule of action is not to obstruct or resist where competent authority is vested, no matter how rigidly my judgment may condemn the policy or justice of the course authorized. I follow this rule because I believe that pending the rebellion it is the duty of patriotism while struggling to maintain the life of our Government to