Retaliation.--Gen. Holmes, commanding the trans Mississippi Department, has sent the following not fination to the Federal Admiral Porter:
Headq'rs trans Mississippi Depar't, Columbia by your direction in the following words:
"Notice.--Persons taken in the act of firing on unarmed vessels will be treated as highwaymen and and no quarters will be shown them.
"Persons strongly suspected of firing on unarmed vessels will not receive the usual treatment of prisoners of war, but will be kept in close confinement.
"If this savage and barbarous Confederate custom cannot be put a stop to, we will try what virtue there is in hanging.
"All persons no matter who they are, caught in the act of fering the houses of the inhabitants along the river, levying contributions, or burning cotton, will receive no quarter if caught in the act, or if it can be proved upon them.
little Dock, march 12, 1863.
it is inferred from this that you maintain:
- 1st. The capture of the enemy's property is not a legitimate belligerent right.
- 2d. That it makes no difference that the property is on transports en route for the enemy's camps and consists of military supplies.
- 3d. That a belligerent combatant or non-combatant has no right to destroy his own property to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy.