The Barbarities of Treason.
The history of our Indian wars furnishes instances of shocking barbarity on the part of our uncivilized foes. Dead and wounded were scalped — men and women were burned at the stake, and the indignation of the whites toward the savages knew no bounds. But they were untutored Indians. They knew nothing of the rules of civilized warfare, and were therefore in some measure excusable for their cruelty. But the annals of Indian warfare do not furnish a parallel for the brutalities committed by the rebels in this war. Even the Sepoys were Christians and gentlemen compared with the miscreants in the rebel army who style themselves the "chivalry of the South." A more blood-thirsty set of pirates never took up arms in a wicked cause. When this war broke out we knew that our foes were engaged in an unholy work, and we expected some departure on their part from the established rules of war; but we did not expect to meet armies of cowardly mutilators of the dead, murderers of the wounded and slayers of women. Yet such they are, as the battle at Bull Run and Manassas proves. A demoniac spirit guides all their actions. We cannot express the indignation we fell when we are forced by the facts to believe that the traitors bayoneted wounded soldiers, multilated the bodies of our noble and harmless dead, fired into ambulances containing loads of suffering wounded, shelling, battering and burning hospitals, leaving but the charred bones of the roasted inmates as monuments of their cruelty, cutting the throats of sick and wounded who were pleading for water; shooting down Vivandiers (women, who, like angels of mercy, were ministering to the wants of the wounded, and soothing as best they would our dying brothers) and committing other acts too horrible and numerous to detail here. Can we afford to deal with such savages by the rules of honorable warfare? Can we afford to leave such atrocities unavenged, and meet such demoniac acts in a spirit of generous forgiveness? No, we cannot afford it. We must retaliate; not by torture, not by deeds that would shame a savage, but by making this a war of extermination of a brood of fiends who bring such black disgrace upon their race and country. We say, with an influential contemporary, cut them off, wipe them from the face of the earth, and send them to a kindred association in another world. These men have introduced the most revolting features of savage warfare into this contest, and they deserve no mercy. If England had provocation to blow the savage Sepoys from her heavy guns, how much more have we to visit terrible punishment upon these murderers of wounded and women — these perpetrators of every devilish atrocity, that a traitorous heart can invent? The law of kindness cannot constrain such demons. A few days ago one of our kind-hearted soldiers shared his canteen of water with a wounded rebel, and the scoundrel deliberately shot him for his act of mercy. Talk not about such men being our brothers! They can claim no kindred this side of Hades, and they should be speedily removed from a land they have too long cursed with their presence and injured with their crimes. We speak warmly in this matter, but we feel more intensely than we are able to write. That Jeff Davis, Stephens, Beauregard, and a few other leaders of the rebellion, may have some little humanity left, we will not question; but the great mass of traitors who swarm around them, drawn from Southern cities, those nurseries of thieves, bullies and cutthroats, are ten fold worse than Indian Sepoys, and are no more deserving of honorable treatment than mad dogs. We may not suggest a plan of dealing with these creatures. We leave that to Government and our military commanders, fully satisfied that rebel atrocities and brutalities will in due time meet adequate punishment. Our private soldiers, unless restrained, will not be slow in learning the lesson the rebels are teaching, and may, when opportunity occurs, give the traitors a Roland for their Oliver. We deeply regret the necessity, which if continued, may force our a rmy into acts of terrible retaliation. Treason has itself alone to blame for all it may suffer at the hands of outraged and fearfully aroused loyalty.