Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/136
120 Southern Historical Society Papers.
them, but are subversive of the discipline and efficiency of the army and destructive of the ends of our present movements. It must be remembered that we make war only on armed men, and that we can- not take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorrence has been ex- cited by the atrocities of our enemy, and offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without whose favor and support our efforts must all prove in vain. The commanding general, therefore, earnestly exhorts the troops to abstain, with most scrupulous care, from unnecessary or wanton injury to private property; and he en- enjoins upon all officers to arrest and bring to summary punishment all who shall in any way offend against the orders on this subject.
"R. E. LEE, General"
The London Times commented most favorably on this order, and its American correspondent said of it and of the conduct of our troops:
" The greatest surprise has been expressed to me by officers from the Austrian, Prussian and English armies, each of which have rep- resentatives' here, that volunteer troops, provoked by nearly twenty- seven months of unparalleled ruthlessness and wantonness, of which their country has been the scene, should be under such control, and should be willing to ad in harmony with the long suffering and for- bearance of President Davis and General Lee. ' '
To show how faithfully that order was carried out, the same writer tells how he saw, with his own eyes, General Lee and a surgeon of his command repairing a farmer's fence that had been damaged by the army. Indeed we might rest our whole case on the impartial judgment of a distinguished foreigner, who, writing in 1864, drew this vivid picture and striking contrast between the way the war was conducted on our part and on that of the Federals. He says:
"This contest has been signalized by the exhibition of some of the best and some of the worst qualities that war has ever brought out. It has produced a recklessness of human life, a contempt of principles, a disregard of engagements, * * the headlong adop- tion of the most lawless measures, the public faith scandalously violated, both towards friends and enemies; the liberty of the citizen at the hands of arbitrary power; the liberty of the press abolished; the suspension of the habeas corpus act; illegal imprisonments; mid- night arrests; punishments inflicted without trial; the courts of law