We take the following article from the London Times
, of the 14th ult. It is a scathing denunciation of the late foul massacre of ten Confederate prisoners at Palmyra, Missouri
, by order of Gen. McNiell
War is a horrible scourge, but it is not in the heat of conflict that its horror becomes impressed on the mind of the brave man. In the will excitement of that hour there is no place for pity.
We are always told that it is after the battle and when standing among the dying and the wounded that that the great reaction comes.
It is then that fierce warriors become merciful and that deadly enemies take on themselves the offices of good Samaritans.
The dreadful duty of slaughter is zealously performed even by the best men when their hand is in and their blood is up!
but to kill in cold blood, and take the lives of unresisting men; to put to death captives who have surrendered on promise of quarter — this is the most fearful necessary which could fall upon a soldier, and if not a necessity, it is the most fiendish crime that can be perpetrated by a cowardly and cruel nature.
The account we publish to-day of the massacre of ten Confederate prisoners of war at Palmyra
, will be read with a shudder all over Christendom.
has earned for himself a place among the monsters who shed blood lovingly.
We need not recount here the details of this sickening tragedy.
The cool, deliberate selection of the ten victims — all, as we should judge from their names, native Americans
; the parading them with their coffees beside them; the slow and lengthened procession to the distant place of slaughter; the drawing up of the firing party; the partially ineffectual fire; and then the general finish of the massacre with revolvers — all this is (old without sympathy or censure, by a friend of the assassins; but the facts themselves will command the interest of every reader.
And what had these poor men done?
How had they forfeited their right to be treated as prisoners of was?
In what way had they sinned against that military cods which alone preserves the contests of men from becoming worse than the contests of wild beasts?
Had they conspired to overpower their captors, or had they contrived an escape?
Nothing of the sort is alleged against them.
where this atrocity was done, can scarcely be said to be in danger.
It is situated near the back of the Upper Mississippi
, where the Federal
gunboats are all powerful.
I had, however been for a short time in the possession of the Confederates
, and had recently been recovered by Gen. McNeil
It was then discovered that a man named Andrew Allsman
had disappeared during the time of the Confederate
It is not suggested that he had been killed.
He may have been carried away as a prisoner of war; he may have fled away of his own free will; all that is known or him is, that he was not at his former home.
This unexplained absence of one individual formed the excuse of Gen. McNeil
for murdering in cold blood ten of the prisoners in his bands — men who had nothing to do with Allsman
and who were, in all probability, captives at the time that Allsman
It was a deliberate, well considered act of military murder, carried out with all the forms of a military execution.
What must be the consequence?
becomes by such an act as this hostis humani generis;
if he were to fall into the hands of the Confederates
they would of course hang him, and with the applause of all mankind.
But a General who can do such a craven need of blood is not likely to put himself in the neighborhood of danger.
, like General Butler
, whose evil fame he has now eclipsed, will keep himself out of harms way. It is, however, to be feared that when the tidings of this treacherous cruelty reach the Confederate
chiefs, they also will thing it necessary to make the innocent suffer for the guilty.
It is very possible that if this had occurred before the invasion of Maryland
might have slaughtered in retaliation at least an equal number of the 11,000 men they paroled so lightly at Harper's Ferry
It was in deeds like these that the horrors which occurred during the civil war in Spain
took their rise.
was not so destitute of excuse as this McNiell seems to have been.
had the murder of his mother to revenge and his vengeance was terrible; but McNeil
is a more amateur butcher.
We have, but scarcely dare to expect, that the Confederates
will keep their hand; and their cause clear of such deeds as these.
It is for better to suffer such atrocities than to commit them.
Hitherto they have fought like brave men and in this respect, at least, they have the sympathy of all man of right feeling throughout the world, for very shame we trust they will not descend to a level with these ruffians and murderers, whose deeds deny them to be either brave men or even civilized human beings, and the echoes of whose crime will draw forth the execrations of man kind.