Morgan in a penitentiary.
A paragraph copied into this paper yesterday morning from the New York World
stated that Gen. Burnside
had ordered Morgan
and his men first to the Cincinnati city
prison, and afterwards "to the Ohio
penitentiary," adding these words, "Where they are subjected to the indignity of having their heads stared.
"The question is, whether the World
asserts positively that the heads of these Confederates were shaved, or merely infers that as they are sent to the penitentiary that the shaving was a matter of course.
It becomes a matter of national interest and of national duty to ascertain whether such an indignity has indeed been put upon our men. Burnside
is not too good to order this humiliation, and if he did so it adds but another to the many serious provocations to retaliation, and one, too, that will arouse a deep feeling of indignation amongst the people of the South
A prompt retaliation for such a treatment would be demanded by public sentiment.
The subjects for retaliation have been accumulating since the war, and thus far we have not retaliated.
We have selected by lot two men to be executed for the two Kentucky
Confederate officers put to death by Burnside
; but they are in confinement, and the day of their execution is not fixed.
It is, indeed, a painful duty, this of retaliation — involving the lives of innocent persons for the crimes of atrocious Yankee officials; but there is no other mods of throwing around our men in the enemy's hands the shield of the Government
— no other way to bring the Yankee Government
to a sense of its obligation to conduct the war with some degree of respect for the usages of civilized warfare and the claims of humanity.
No Government could exhibit a greater degree of forbearance than ours has exhibited on this subject.
It has delayed and postponed its measures of retaliation.
It has sought communication with the enemy, in the hope of avoiding them, only to be treated with contempt.
It has taken some steps — such as outlawing Butler
— which were a kind of " brutum fulmen.
" The enemy, in the meantime, has gone on, neither relenting nor relaxing his atrocious cruelties.
How our Government is to postpone its measures of retaliation we cannot see. To speak at all of retaliating and not retaliate is to convince the enemy that we dare not retaliate.
The brutalities of the enemy are subserving a purpose.
They are in this war to widen the breach and to assist in establishing that impassable gulf between the North
and the South
which must forever prevent restoration.
They exhibit a species of madness which tyrannies and despotisms never fail to display towards a people struggling to throw them off. They are providentially introduced to make the separation and the deliverance more complete.
But they should be retaliated.
The protection of those who bear the brunt of the war of resistance demand it. If allowed to be perpetrated by the enemy with impunity too long, it depresses the spirits of the soldier and suggests murmuring and discontent against the Government
The time when our Government should act has, beyond all question, it seems to us, come, and there ought not to be longer delay.
When it comes to the shaving of heads it is most suggestive.
The razor may be made to cut lower down still.
If this does not awaken the head, why it might take indeed a long nap.