future prisoners of war, and ordered that if Pope, Steinwehr, or any of their commissioned officers, were captured, they should be kept in close confinement as long as the foregoing orders remained in force. (See 1 South. His. Society Papers, 302-3.) General Robert E. Lee, on receiving this order from the Confederate authorities, at once sent a communication to ‘The General Commanding the United States Army at Washington,’ in which, referring to these orders of Pope and the Federal War Department, he said:
Some of the military authorities of the United States seem to suppose that their end will be better attained by a savage war, in which no quarter is to be given and no age or sex will be spared, than by such hostilities as are alone recognized to be lawful in modern times. We find ourselves driven by our enemies by steady progress towards a practice which we abhor, and which we are vainly struggling to avoid.He then says: ‘Under these circumstances, this government has issued the accompanying general order (that of August 1, 1862), which I am directed by the President to transmit to you, recognizing Major-General Pope and his commissioned officers to be in a position which they have chosen for themselves—that of robbers and murderers— and not that of public enemies, entitled, if captured, to be treated as prisoners of war.’ At this day, it may be safely said, that there are few, if any, either at the North or in the South, who will question either that General Lee knew the rules of civilized warfare, or that he would have denounced those who were guilty of violating these rules as ‘robbers and murderers,’ had they not been justly entitled to this distinction. And let it be distinctly borne in mind, that the order of the Federal Secretary of War was issued by order of the President, Mr. Lincoln, and if he ever rebuked Pope or Steinwehr, or any of the others, to whom we shall hereafter refer, for their outrages and cruelties to the Southern people, the record, as far as we can find it, is silent on that subject.