Doc. 85.-proclamation of Jeff Davis. By the President of the confederate States--a proclamation.
Whereas, a communication was addressed on the sixth day of July last, 1862, by Gen. Robert E. Lee, acting under the instructions of the Secretary of War of the confederate States of America, to General H. W. Halleck, Commander-in-Chief of the United States army, informing the latter that a report had reached this government that Wm. B. Mumford, a citizen of the confederate States, had been executed by the United States authorities at New-Orleans for having pulled down the United States flag in that city before its occupation by the United States forces, and calling for a statement of the facts, with a view of retaliation if such an outrage had really been committed under the sanction of the authorities of the United States; And whereas, (no answer having been received to said letter,) another letter was, on the second of August last, 1862, addressed by General Lee under my instructions, to Gen. Halleck, renewing the inquiries in relation to the execution of the said Mumford, with the information that in the event of not receiving a reply within fifteen days, it would be assumed that the fact was true, and was sanctioned by the Government of the United States ; And whereas, an answer, dated on the seventh of August last, (1862,) was addressed to Gen. Lee by Gen. H. W. Halleck, the said General-in-Chief of the armies of the United States, alleging sufficient causes for failure to make early reply to said letter of the sixth July, asserting that “no authentic information had been received in relation to the execution of Mumford, but measures will be immediately taken to ascertain the facts of the alleged execution,” and promising that Gen. Lee should be duly informed thereof; And whereas, on the twenty-eighth of November last, (1862,) another letter was addressed, under my instructions, by Robert Ould, confederate agent for the exchange of prisoners, under the cartel between the two governments, to Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Ludlow, agent of the United States under said cartel, informing him that the explanation promised in the said letter of Gen. Halleck, of the seventh of August last, had not yet been received, and that if no answer was sent to the government within fifteen days from the delivery of this last communication, it would be considered that an answer was declined; And whereas, by a letter dated on the third day of the present month of December, the said Lieut.-Colonel Ludlow apprised the said Robert Ould that the above-recited communication of the nineteenth of November had been received and forwarded to the Secretary of War of the United States, and whereas this last delay of fifteen days allowed for answer has elapsed, and no answer has been received; And whereas, in addition to the tacit admission resulting from the above refusal to answer, I have  received evidence fully establishing the truth of the fact that the said William B. Mumford, a citizen of the Confederacy, was actually and publicly executed in cold blood by hanging, after the occupation of the city of New-Orleans by the forces under Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, when said Mumford was an unresisting and non-combatant captive, and for no offence even alleged to have been committed by him subsequent to the date of the capture of the said city ; And whereas, the silence of the Government of the United States, and its maintaining the said Butler in high office under its authority for many months after his commission of an act that can be viewed in no other light than as a deliberate murder, as well as of numerous other outrages and atrocities hereafter to be mentioned, afford evidence too conclusive that the said government sanctions the conduct of the said Butler, and is determined that he shall remain unpunished for these crimes: Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the confederate States of America, and in their name, do pronounce and declare the said Benjamin F. Butler to be a felon, deserving of capital punishment. I do order that he shall no longer be considered or treated simply as a public enemy of the confederate States of America, but as an outlaw and common enemy of mankind, and that, in the event of his capture the officer in command of the capturing force do cause him to be immediately executed by hanging. And I do further order that no commissioned officer of the United States, taken captive, shall be released on parole, before exchange, until the said Butler shall have met with due punishment for his crime. And whereas, the hostilities waged against this Confederacy by the forces of the United States, under the command of the said Benjamin F. Butler, have borne no resemblance to such warfare as is alone permissible by the rules of international law, or the usage of civilization, but have been characterized by repeated atrocities and outrages, among the large number of which the following may be cited as examples: Peaceful and aged citizens, unresisting captives and non-combatants, have been confined at hard labor, with hard chains attached to their limbs, and are still so held in dungeons and fortresses. Others have been submitted to a like degrading punishment for selling medicines to the sick soldiers of the Confederacy. The soldiers of the United States have been invited and encouraged in general orders to insult and outrage the wives, the mothers, and the sisters of our citizens. Helpless women have been torn from their homes and subjected to solitary confinement, some in fortresses and prisons, and one especially on an island of barren sand under a tropical sun; have been fed with loathsome rations that had been condemned as unfit for soldiers, and have been exposed to the vilest insults. Prisoners of war, who surrendered to the naval forces of the United States on agreement that they should be released on parole, have been seized and kept in close confinement. Repeated pretexts have been sought or invented for plundering the inhabitants of the captured city, by fines levied and collected under threat of imprisoning recusants at hard labor with ball and chain. The entire population of New-Orleans have been forced to elect between starvation by the confiscation of all their property and taking an oath against conscience to bear allegiance to the invader of their country. Egress from the city has been refused to those whose fortitude withstood the test, and even to lone and aged women, and to helpless children; and after being ejected from their homes and robbed of their property, they have been left to starve in the streets or subsist on charity. The slaves have been driven from the plantations in the neighborhood of New-Orleans until their owners would consent to share their crops with the Commanding General, his brother, Andrew J. Butler, and other officers; and when such consent had been extorted, the slaves have been restored to the plantations, and there compelled to work under the bayonets of the guards of the United States soldiers. Where that partnership was refused, armed expeditions have been sent to the plantations to rob them of every thing that was susceptible of removal. And even slaves, too aged or infirm for work, have, in spite of their entreaties, been forced from their homes provided by their owners, and driven to wander helpless on the highway. By a recent general order, number ninety-one, the entire property in that part of Louisiana west of the Mississippi River, has been sequestrated for confiscation, and officers have been assigned to duty with orders to gather up and collect the personal property, and turn over to the proper officers upon their receipts, such of said property as may be required for the use of the United States army; to collect together all the other personal property and bring the same to New-Orleans, and cause it to be sold at public auction to highest bidders — an order which, if executed, condemns to punishment, by starvation, at least a quarter of a million of human beings, of all ages, sexes, and conditions, and of which the execution, although forbidden to military officers by the orders of President Lincoln, is in accordance with the confiscation law of our enemies which he has effected to be enforced through the agency of civil officials. And, finally, the African slaves have not only been incited to insurrection by every license and encouragement, but numbers of them have actually been armed for a servile war — a war in its nature far exceeding the horrors and most merciless atrocities of savages. And whereas, the officers under command of said Butler have been, in many instances, active and zealous agents in the commission of these crimes, and no instance is known of the refusal of any one of them to participate in the outrages above narrated. And whereas, the President of the United  States has, by public and official declarations, signified not only his approval of the effort to excite servile war within the Confederacy, but his intentions to give aid and encouragement thereto, if these independent States shall continue to refuse submission to a foreign power after the first day of January next, and has thus made known that all appeal to the law of nations, the dictates of reason, and the instincts of humanity would be addressed in vain to our enemies, and that they can be deterred from the commission of these crimes only by the terrors of just retribution. Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the confederate States of America, and acting by their authority, appealing to the Divine Judge in attestation that their conduct is not guided by the passion of revenge, but that they reluctantly yield to the solemn duty of redressing, by necessary severity, crimes of which their citizens are the victims, do issue this my proclamation, and by virtue of my authority as commander-in-chief of the armies of the confederate States, do order: First. That all commissioned officers in the command of said Benjamin F. Butler be declared not entitled to be considered as soldiers engaged in honorable warfare, but as robbers and criminals deserving death! and that they, and each of them be, whenever captured, reserved for execution. Second. That the private soldiers and noncommissioned officers in the army of said Butler be considered as only the instruments used for the commission of crimes perpetrated by his orders, and not as free agents ; that they, therefore, be treated when captured as prisoners of war, with kindness and humanity, and be sent home on the usual parole that they will in no manner aid or serve the United States in any capacity during the continuance of this war, unless duly exchanged. Third. That all negro slaves captured in arms be at once delivered over to the executive authorities of the respective States to which they belong, to be dealt with according to the laws of said States. Fourth. That the like orders be executed in all cases with respect to all commissioned officers of the United States when found serving in company with said slaves in insurrection against the authorities of the different States of this Confederacy. In testimony whereof I have signed these presents and caused the seal of the confederate States of America to be affixed thereto, at the city of Richmond, on this twenty-third day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two. By the President,