previous next

[97] to all its soldiers; and if the enemy shall sell or enslave any one because of his color, the offence shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our hands.

It is therefore ordered that for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a Rebel soldier shall be executed, and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery, a Rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor on the public works, and continue at such labor until the other shall be released and receive the treatment due a prisoner of war.

Abraham Lincoln.
By order of the Secretary of War, E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Such prompt and vigorous enunciations had a salutary effect; and the enemy did not proceed to extremities. But the Fifty-fourth men were demanded by Governor Bonham, of South Carolina, from the military authorities. A test case was made; and Sergt. Walter A. Jeffries of Company H, and Corp. Charles Hardy of Company B, were actually tried for their lives. They were successfully defended by the ablest efforts of one of the most brilliant of Southern advocates, the Union-loving and noble Nelson Mitchell, of Charleston, who, with a courage rarely equalled, fearlessly assumed the self-imposed task. Thenceforth never noticed, this devoted man died a few months after in Charleston, neglected and in want, because of this and other loyal acts. For months no list could be obtained of the Fifty-fourth prisoners, the enemy absolutely refusing information. After long imprisonment in Charleston jail, they were taken to Florence stockade, and were finally released in the spring of 1865. The best attainable information shows that the survivors then numbered some twenty-seven, some of whom rejoined the regiment,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
E. D. Townsend (1)
Nelson Mitchell (1)
Abraham Lincoln (1)
Walter A. Jeffries (1)
Charles Hardy (1)
M. L. Bonham (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1865 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: