Fredericksburg 2nd July 1862
To the Hon’ble Geo. W. Randolph, Secretary of War, C.S.
The undersigned citizens of Fredericksburg have obtained information that Brig. Gen’l Reynolds of the U.S. Army is among the prisoners of war captured by our forces in the recent glorious successes of our army before Richmond. We deem it a simple act of justice to Gen’l Reynolds to state for the information of our Government, that for a portion of the time during which Fredericksburg has been occupied by the U.S. forces, Gen’l Reynolds was the military commandant here. In discharging his functions as such, the citizens and civil authorities of the town were necessarily brought into personal intercourse with him, touching matters involving the rights of private property, and the domestic order & peace of the town.
We feel called upon to testify that General Reynolds exhibited in a marked and efficient manner a desire and determination so to conduct his military command here, as to conserve and protect as far as practicable, the personal rights and domestic comfort of the citizens; and thus to mitigate, so far as his action could avail, the evils and annoyances which are incident to such an occupation. Your own military experience will readily suggest to you, how materially such conduct as this on the part of a commanding officer could avail in saving our citizens from the countless ill[s], which an unbridled and licentious soldiery might inflict on a helpless population; and while Sir, neither this kindness and consideration, nor any other act or line of conduct pursued by the military authority now occupying our homes, can avail in the slightest degree in modifying our sentiments touching the heinousness of our invasion, or our devotion to our beloved cause and Government, yet we do feel, that inasmuch as when we were prisoners in the hands of Gen’l Reynolds, we received from him a treatment distinguished by a marked and considerate respect for our opinions and feelings, it becomes us to use our feeble influence, in invoking for him now a prisoner of our Government a treatment as kind and considerate as was extended by him to us. We would therefore hope that he might be placed upon parole. We are aware that these are grave considerations of public policy and duty which may restrain and hinder our Government from consulting its feelings & instincts, in determining such a matter. Certainly we are far from desiring that any measures of leniency should prevail in particular instances towards Federal Captives, if it weakens in any degree the power of our Government to demand and secure the comfort and rights of our own brave men now captives in Federal hands.
With great respect, &c.
(signed) M. Slaughter, Mayor
[+ 26 others]
August 4th 1862
I take pleasure in forwarding to Gen’l Reynolds this testimonial to his humanity, and regret that I cannot comply with the recommendations to parole an officer who has observed well the usages of civilized warfare.
Geo. W. Randolph
Sec. of War
Keep this with my papers at home as a specimen of the chivalrous character which pervades the Rebel Cabinet, which after keeping us confined for over a month like felons condescends to let us know that some of their citizens are ashamed of their of contemptible, mean littleness, and they admit it but have no apology to offer.