An Incident of the War.
A correspondent of a New York paper gives a graphic account of the interview which took place between the two armies recently confronting each other at Corinth
, under a flag of truce, borne by a detachment under Col. Jacob Thompson
, of Mississippi
After describing the approach of the flag, the writer proceeds as follows:
Riding up, I was introduced to Col. Thompson
, of Gen. Beauregard
The cordial warmth of manner, the fine head, expressive features, and grizzly beard and moustache were not unfamiliar in Washington
, even so late as the beginning of the present year.
It was Mr. Buchanan
's well known Secretary of the Interior
, the Hon. Jacob M. Thompson
millionaire, ex- Congressman
from the very district on whose soil he now stood under a flag of truce, and a man still entitled to Northern respect, as the only one of the resigning secessionists who left Mr. Buchanan
's cabinet without the stain of dishonor upon his name.
had been sent in by Gen. Beauregard
to turn over to Gen. Halleck
some sixty-two prisoners recently captured near Fort Heiman, Tenn.
, (and released under parole not to bear arms against the Confederacy
until regularly exchanged,) and to see what Gen. Halleck
would agree to in the way of a general system of exchanges.
He was escorted by Beauregard
's body- guard, a fine body of cavalry from New Orleans, under the command of Captain Dreux
It might be ungenerous, after the very pleasant interview we had, but our officers could not repress their suspicion that there was another object besides the release of sixty-two paroled prisoners, and that they were desirous of learning precisely where our lines were, and what more they could by penetrating them as far as possible.
The writer then gives a report of the conversation, which turned upon politics, the war, and kindred subjects, and was conducted with perfect courtesy on both sides.
The following is a specimen:
‘"We don't like to fight you Northern men,"’ said Col. Thompson
; ‘"it grieves us to think of having to meet men we like as we do you in battle; we want to fight your abolitionists.
I know,"’ he continued, ‘"you have very few of them here; but if you could collect a regiment of them I'd pick out a regiments of our fire-eaters and have them brought out face to face in an open field; I'd be willing to abide by the result, go which way it would.
But we don't like to have to fight you."’
‘"I do regret one thing,"’ he said again, addressing himself to the officer commanding the pickets of the 17th Ohio, Col.
Council, whom he had known as an old-line Demc at, ‘"and that is that the old Democratic party is permitting itself to be used by the Abolitionists, and is now absolutely under their control."’ Col.
Council disputed the proposition.
‘"You'll see how it will be when the war is over,"’ said Col. Thompson
. "Even now you can see how Congress is drifting, and the current is sure to set,
and stronger and stronger in the same direction." ‘"But you might have checked the current if your members had stayed in Congress,"’ suggested a bystander.
‘ "Oh, not we might, perhaps, have pushed off the evil day a little further; but that was all. Abolitionism is going to sweep everything before it, just as we foresaw it would.
It was just as well to meet the matter now as at any time, but we did not expect you Northern Democrats to help swell the Abolition power."’
At length an affirmative answer to the proposition for an exchange was received from General Halleck
, and the prisoners, a sorry looking set, were released.
expressed his dissatisfaction at the course pursued by the United States
with reference to a general exchange.
It had added needless barbarism to the war, and its practice was in direct violation of the usages of civilized nations.
Certainly the South
had done enough fighting to entitle herself to treatment as at least a fighting power.
There was (says the correspondent) too much good sense in this to give any ground for dispute, and so the interview ended, as it had begun, in the most perfect harmony.
Ale was then produced, and all drank out of the same tin cup. ‘ "If we could only take you up to our camp,"’ said a Federal officer, ‘"we would give you something better."’ ‘"Oh, never mind,"’ replied the Confederate
, with a quizzical look, ‘"’we expect to entertain all you gentlemen at our
quarters pretty soon, and depend on it this party shall have the best old brandy Corinth
Then came the parting, which is thus described:
The leave-taking grew protracted.
Each one had something to say or ask. Hands were shaken with marked cordiality all around.
‘"May we meet again under pleasanter auspices,"’ said Col. Thompson
--and there was not one of the party that did not fervently echo the wish, and inwardly hope that he might some day have an opportunity to do a kindness to this officer of Beauregard
But at last there was no excuse for waiting longer, Mounting their horses, the Colonel
waved a final adieu, and with uncovered heads rode on, the body-guard wheeled in behind them, every man lifting his cap as he passed our officers, and so under the white flag the courteous rebels left us. May our balls and shells deal lightly with that party in the coming day!