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The cause of this strong language was the order issued by Secretary Stanton, on July 22d, which, as interpreted by President Davis, directed ‘the military authorities of the United States to take the private property of our people for the convenience and use of their armies without compensation.’ The general order issued by Major-General Pope, July 23d, the day after the signing of the cartel, was also mentioned. The first paragraph of this order reads as follows, ‘Commanders of army corps, divisions, brigades, and detached commands will proceed immediately to arrest all disloyal male citizens within their lines or within their reach in the rear of their respective stations.’ Those unwilling to take an oath of allegiance and furnish bond were to be sent to the Confederate lines.

Two days after the letter of President Davis, therefore, General Samuel Cooper, adjutant-general of the Confederacy, issued General Orders No. 54, on August 1, 1862. After referring to Secretary Stanton's order, and General Pope's order already mentioned, together with the action of General Steinwehr, who, it was asserted, had arrested private citizens in Virginia with the threat that they would be put to death if any of his soldiers were killed, the order declares that all these things taken together show a disposition ‘to violate all the rules and usages of war and to convert the hostilities waged against armed forces into a campaign of robbery and murder against unarmed citizens and peaceful tillers of the soil.’ It was therefore announced that General Pope and General Steinwehr, and all commissioned officers serving under them, ‘are hereby specially declared to be not entitled to be considered as soldiers, and therefore not entitled to the benefit of the cartel for the parole of future prisoners of war.’

General Lee, apparently against his will, was instructed to convey copies of President Davis' letter and the general orders to General Halleck. These were returned by General Halleck as being couched in insulting language, and were never put into force, as General Pope's authority in Virginia

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