We copied yesterday, from Northern papers, a correspondence between Lieut. Gen. Longstreet
and Major General Foster
, commanding the Yankee
forces in East Tennessee
Designedly, no doubt, the most important letter of this correspondence was omitted in the journal from which we copied the letters which have already appeared.
As the letter speaks for itself, and terminates the correspondence, we submit without comment:
January 11, 1864.
--I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th of January, with its enclosures, &c.
The disingenuous manner in which you have misconstrued my letter of the 3d has disappointed me. The suggestion you claim to have adopted was in words as follows viz:
"I presume, however, that the great object and end in view was to hasten the day of peace.
I respectfully suggest for your consideration the propriety of communicating any views that your Government may have on that subject through me, rather than by handbills circulated amongst our soldiers."
This sentence repudiates, in its own terms, the construction which you have forced upon it. Let me remind you, too, that the spirit and tons of my letter were to meet honorable sentiments.
The absolute want of pretext for your construction of the letter induces me to admonish you against trifling over the events of this great war. You cannot pretend to have answered my letter in the spirit of frankness due to a soldier; and yet it is hard to believe that an officer commanding an army of veteran soldiers, on whose shoulders rests, in no small part, the destiny of empires, could so far forget the height of this great argument at arms, and so betray the dignity of his high station, as to fall into a contest of jests and jibes.
I have read your order announcing the favorable terms on which deserters will be received. --Step by step you have gone on in violation of the laws of honorable warfare.
Our farms have been destroyed, our women and children have been robbed, and our houses have been pillaged and burnt.
You have laid your plans and worked diligently to produce wholesale murder by servile insurrection.
And now, the most ignoble of all, you propose to degrade the human race by inducing soldiers to dishonor and forswear themselves.
Soldiers who have met your own on so many honorable fields, who have breasted the storm or battle in defence of their honor, their families and their homes, for three long years, have a right to expect more of honor, even in their adversaries.
I beg leave to return the copies of the proclamation and your order.
I have the honor to renew to you the assurances of great respect, your obedient servant,