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[92] that had arisen between the Commissioners in carrying out the cartel, and the hardships incurred by reason of its suspension—as follows:

‘I believe I have just ground of complaint against the officers and forces under your command for breach of trust of the cartel, and being myself ready to execute it at all times and in good faith, I am not justified in doubting the existence of the same disposition on your part. In addition to this matter I have to complain of the conduct of your officers and troops in many parts of the country, who violate all the rules of war by carrying on hostilities, not only against armed foes, but against non-combatants, aged men, women and children, while others not only seize such property as is required for the use of your troops, but destroy all private property within their reach, even agricultural implements, and openly avow the purpose of seeking to subdue the population of the districts where they are operating by starvation that must result from the destruction of standing crops and agricultural tools. Still again others of your officers in different districts have recently taken the lives of prisoners who fell into their power, and justify their act by asserting a right to treat as spies the military officers and enlisted men under my command who may penetrate into States recognized by us as our allies in the warfare now waged against the United States, but claimed by the latter as having refused to engage in such warfare. I have therefore on different occasions been forced to make complaints of these outrages, and to ask from you that you either avow or disclaim having authorized them, and have failed to obtain such answer as the usages of civilized warfare require to be given in such cases. These usages justify and indeed require redress by retaliation as the proper means of repressing such cruelties as are not permitted in warfare between Christian peoples. I have notwithstanding refrained from the exercise of such retaliation because of its obvious tendency to lead to war of indiscriminate massacre on both sides, which would be a spectacle so shocking to humanity, and so disgraceful to the age in which we live, and the religion we profess, that I cannot contemplate it without a feeling of horror that I am disinclined to doubt you would share. With the view then of making our last solemn attempt to avert such calamities, and to attest my earnest desire to prevent them, if possible, I have selected the bearer of this letter, the Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, as a Military Commissioner, to proceed to your headquarters, under flag of truce, there to confer and agree on the subjects above mentioned; and I ’

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