« PreviousContinue »
taken are no longer in force, I send by Capt. John E. Mulford all of the officers of General Pope's command who have been taken prisoners. I trust you will perceive by this action of the Confederate authorities in respect to these officers that there has been at no time on their part any disposition to be severe upon them personally. The course which the Confederate Government has pursued was the result of a firm conviction on its part that it was bound by the highest obligations of duty to its own citizens to adopt such just measures of retribution and retaliation as seemed adequate to meet the injustice of which it complained. It always has been and is now the earnest desire of the Confederate authorities that the war shall be carried on in every respect in accordance with the usages of civilized warfare, and therefore since it has been announced by the competent military authorities of the United States that the orders to which exception has been taken are not in force the officers who have been detained are freely released on the usual parole until exchanged. I also send the remainder of the parties non-combatant who were captured on the battle-field.
After this action on the part of the Confederate Government I beg leave again to call your attention to the case of Colonel Thomas (Zarvona], who is represented to be confined in one of your military pris. ons and compelled to suffer unusual hardships and cruel privations. Many of the so-called nurses whom I this day send to you were taken under circumstances which might well warrant the Confederate authorities in believing them to be spies or robbers. In spite of that they have been released and sent to you. I hope therefore I may reasonably expect that Colonel Thomas will be delivered to us as speedily as it can be done.
I trust I take no undue liberty with you when, in addition to what I have already said, I make an earnest, personal appeal that the delivery may be speedily made. Your obedient servant,
ROBT. OULD, Agent for Exchange.
Saint Louis, September 24, 1862. Brig. Gen. ODON GUITAR, Columbia, Mo.
SIR: I have just received your favor of the 22d instant and proceed to reply to its several inquiries.
1. What course shall be pursued with respect to persons who have been in the late raids but who have voluntarily surrendered themselves? If these persons have merely absented themselves from home under a misconception of the force of the orders issued by General Schofield I would unhesitatingly advise their being released on parole and bond. After consultation with General Schofield and with his concurrence I have substituted a parole of honor for the oath heretofore imposed. I am glad to learn that your views on this subject concur with my own. If these men have perpetrated any outrages as guerrillas I fear that such lenity will be inadvisable.
2. What shall be done with those who have taken the oath and given bond and have taken part in the late raids? Everything depends upon the degree of their participation. If they have really taken such part in them as to violate their oaths—if they have been actively engaged as
guerrillas--I am afraid they must go before a military commission. This would be their sentence if captured, if indeed they were not more summarily dealt with. A difference of course must be made with respect to those at large. Not being in our power they are in a condition to make terms. But what terms can bind men who have already broken faith? I cannot do better than leave to you the discretion which must be lodged somewhere, and nowhere more properly than in the hands of the officers receiving the submission of such prisoners.
3. As to those who claim to be regularly enlisted in the Confederate service, if they join with guerrillas they confound themselves with them. No officer or soldier of that service has any business within our lines unless at the head of an organized force, and if taken they cannot be distinguished from those in whose company they are found.
4. As to prisoners taken by you if they are in any proper sense prisoners of war—that is it they belong by any just title to the regularly organized forces of the Southern Confederacy—they must be sent to this point under guard for exchange, or paroled to report here. On all these points nothing can supersede your own discretion and judg. ment. This contest is without precedent. We are not dealing with enemies whom we never expect to be associated with as fellow-citizens. On the contrary we hope to reclaim as good subjects of the national authority by far the greater part of those now engaged in disturbing our tranquillity. Whatever will conduce to this reclaiming is sound policy. We must not allow incorrigible offenders new opportunities of mischief. We must not make the broken pledges of offenders a mere scare-crow. This course will simply encourage others to follow their example. But not only those who have left home intending to engage in practices which are punishable with death, but who have stopped short of accomplishing their designs, but those who after associating themselves with guerrillas desire to abandon that connection and submit themselves to the clemency of the Government should I think be encouraged to look for mild treatment unless some atrocity forbidding such indulgence can be laid to their charge. Very few orders have been issued from this office or from headquarters in relation to it since I have been connected with it. Inclosed* are all of this nature. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obediant servant,
TiOS. T. GANTT, Provost-Marshal-General.
P.S.-A question may arise as to what course shall be pursued with respect to bonds, the condition of which is supposed to be broken. I am indisposed to collect these by the military arm for two reasons:
1. To do so would deprive the obligors of the right of contesting the breach; for if this is determined by the military authority I fear that abuses will ensue. Great differences of opinion may arise as to what constitutes a breach, and when that point is settled the question remains, Have the facts constituting a breach really occurred? These are essentially judicial questions.
2. The second objection is a corollary of the first. The sacrifice of property consequent upon declaring by military authority that a breach has occurred and the issue of an order in the nature of an execution would be enormous. For these reasons I am of opinion that in all such cases these bonds should be delivered to the U. S. attorney for suit.
* Not found.
VARINA, JAMES RIVER, September 25, 1862. Brig. Gen. L. THOMAS,
Adjt. Gen. U. S. Army, Agent for E.change of Prisoners. SIR: Having received assurances from the United States Government that the orders of General Pope to which exception has been taken are no longer in force I send by Capt. John E. Mulford all of the officers of General Pope's command who have been taken prisoners. I hope you will perceive by this action of the Confederate Government in respect to these officers that there has been at no time on its part any disposition to be unnecessarily severe upon them personally. The course which it has pursued was the result of a firm conviction that it was bound by the highest obligations of duty to its own citizens to adopt such just measures of retribution and retaliation as seemed adequate to meet the injustice of which it complained. It always has been and is now the earnest desire of the Confederate Government that the present war shall be carried on in every respect in accordance with the usages of civilized warfare; and therefore since it has been announced by the competent military authorities of the United States that the orders to which exception has been taken are not in force the officers who have been detained are freely released on the usual parole until exchanged. I also send the remainder of the parties non-combatant who were captured on the battle-field.
After this action on the part of the Confederate Government I beg leave again to call your attention to the case of Colonel Thomas Zarvona* who is represented to be harshly confined in one of your military prisons and compelled to suffer unusual hardships and cruel privations. Many of the so-called nurses whom I this day send to you were taken under circumstances which might well warrant the Confederate Government in believing them to be spies or robbers, yet in spite of that fact they have been released and sent to you. I hope therefore I may reasonably expect that Colonel Thomas will be delivered to us as speedily as it can be done.t Yours, respectfully,
Agent for Exchange.
WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, September 25, 1862. The following is the cartel under which prisoners are exchanged in the existing war with the Southern States. By order of the Secretary of War:
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, September 25, 1862. Col. M. COGSWELL,
T'ammany Regiment, New York Volunteers, New York City. SIR: I have the honor to inform you that your exchange has been effected as a prisoner of war. I am, sir, &c.,
E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General. * See Vol. II, this Series, p. 379 et seq., for case of Zarvona.
+ See p.552 for apparently this same letter, dated Sept. 24, but with several variations.
Cartel omitted here; see p. 266 et seq.
Washington, September 25, 1862. Col. P. KINNEY, Fifty-sixth Ohio Volunteers, Portsmouth, Ohio: Your exchange has been effected.
E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS CAMP OF INSTRUCTION,
Benton Barracks, Mo., September 25, 1862. Maj. T. S. GRIFFING,
Assistant å djutant-General, Saint Louis, Mo. MAJOR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the inclosed papers respecting paroled men at Lexington. Papers were on file in this office when General McKean relieved me in the command. I can find nothing of the kind after a most diligent search. My recollection is that Colonel Mulligan's command (Lexington paroled men) was mustered out of service and afterwards the order was rescinded at Colonel Mulligan's request. Many returned and drew pay for the whole time. A communication was had and decision given that the return was not compulsory, but that those who desired could do so. Many coming months afterwards, the period of return was then limited to exclude such as inade it a pretext for obtaining pay for long periods. Some of these inen enlisted into other regiments—a lot in Colonel Peabody's regiment. I believe he made it a rule to claim such and force them back into his ranks. This I know occurred in some instances. Colonel Marshall, First Illinois Cavalry, was mustered out of service I think in consequence of some mutineers, said to have been paroled Lexington prisoners, who then in the field declined to march further and were mustered out of service by General Halleck's order about the 15th of July last. I regret I cannot give the commanding general something more definite, but I hope enough, however, to enable him to have ref. erence to the documents in office of the department commander. All which is respectfully submitted. I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. L. E. BONNEVILLE,
Colonel, U. S. Army, Commanding.
[Inclosure No. 1.]
HEADQUARTERS, Saint Louis, September 24, 1862. The within documents are respectfully referred to Colonel Bonneville for such information as he may possess upon the subject-matter and to be returned to this office.
J. W. DAVIDSON, Brigadier General, Commanding.
[Inclosure No. 2.) General DAVIDSON.
SIR: We the undersigned, members of the Thirteenth Regiment Missouri Volunteers (now Twenty-fifth Missouri Volunteers), taken prisoners at the surrender of Lexington, Mo., by General Price on the 20th day of September, 1861, and now held at Benton Barracks as paroled prisoners, do respectfully forward this a correct statement of the facts of our case to you, hoping that you will take our case in hand and endeavor to have justice done us. We wish our condition to be fully
understood at head of the department, and from there and there only do we expect to receive justice. Our officers try to thwart every attempt of ours to have our situation fully understood by higher authorities. At Shiloh, after the battle, when we learned the treatment that pris. oners from our regiment received at the hands of the enemy while trying to ascertain to a certainty whether we really had been exchanged as represented or not we were charged with mutiny and threatened with being tried as mutineers. Such was the treatment we received from our officers. The following is a correct statement of the facts of our case:
We were taken prisoners on the 20th of September, 1861, by BrigadierGeneral Price, commanding the rebel forces, and were released on the 22d of September. We were released on condition that we would abide by the following oath:
You do solemnly swear in presence of Almighty God that you will never take up arms again against the State of Missouri or Confederate States of America, or aid or assist the Federal Government in the prosecution of the present war, under the penalty of death if again taken: So help you God.
That is the oath we took verbatim. We signed no parole and were not paroled to be exchanged (as our officers have represented). We then went to our homes. Shortly afterwards our officers were released and came to Saint Joseph (where the regiment was organized), and ordered us all to report there to be paid off and discharged. On the 26th of October, 1861, we were mustered out of service by Lieutenant Robinett, U.S. Army, mustering officer, and received our discharges. The officers and some enlisted men who were not at Lexington were not mustered out. The colonel (E. Peabody) then received orders to recruit another regiment to the maximum number, to be known as the Twenty-fifth Missouri Volunteers. Shortly afterwards he issued an order for all who had been mustered out to report to him immediately for service, stating that the order for mustering us out had been revoked, and that according to an agreement between Generals Frémont and Price we were regularly exchanged and entirely released from our oath, and all who did not report to him immediately would be considered and treated as deserters. Supposing such was the case, under that order we returned to his regiment. Some were forced back at the point of the bayonet. While here last March a few papers purporting to be exchange papers were distributed in the regiment. We left here last March and went to Pittsburg Landing, Tenn. At the battle of Shiloh a number of our regiment were captured by the enemy. Some were recognized as having been previously taken at Lexington and were heavily ironed and sentenced to be executed. The others were released on parole. It was ascertained to a certainty that a man named Hawkins was shot for violating his oath taken at Lexington. A rebel general told those who were released to tell their officers that all who were taken at Lexington and again taken should suffer the same fate. Orderly Sergeant Lenderson, of Company I, who had one of those exchange papers with him, was wounded on the morning of the 6th of April and left in camp, which the rebels afterwards took possession of On Tuesday, the 8th, when we again took possessior of our camp, he was found dead with his head crushed and his exchange paper pinned on his coat. Several more suffered the same fate, which goes to show that those exchanges are of no benefit and are not recognized. The rebels say that that oath cannot be exchanged, and they will recognize no exchange of men who were taken at Lexington, Mo. Hence an exchange would avail nothing.