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officer commanding the guard (fifty men), Lieutenant Kingsbury, of the Nineteenth, took no steps whatever to pursue or recover them. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. S. SMITH, Major Twelfth Infantry.
WHEELING, June 22, 1862. Major-General FRÉMONT: Spriggs and Triplett are at Camp Chase to await trial.
JOS. DARR, JR., Major and Provost- Marshal.
Resolution adopted by the U. 8. Senate June 23, 1862. Resolved, That the Secretary of War be directed to communicate to the Senate any information he may have in regard to the exchange of prisoners or of negotiations therefor if not incompatible with the public interests.
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, June 23, 1862. Hon. GALUSHA A. GROW,
Speaker of the House of Representatives. SIR: A resolution of the House of Representatives bearing date of 28th of April last was received by this Department calling for information as to
Whether the prisoners taken on the sloop Velma were released by the U. S. commissioner at Baltimore with the knowledge and consent of the military author. ities of the Department of Maryland. Also by what authority Colonel Gunther, of Virginia, who refused to take the oath of allegiance was released on a conditional parole wbich bound him only not to take arms against the Government while the Eastern Shore counties of Virginia remained under U. S. authority. Also by what anthority the said Gunther was allowed to visit the camp of the Sixth Maryland Regiment at Lafayette Square, Baltimore, to search for runaway negroes.
I have the honor to inform you in reply that the Department having no information in its possession upon the subject of your inquiry the resolution was referred to Maj. Gen. John A. Dix, then commanding the Middle Department of the volunteer army.
The report of General Dix has just been received, a copy of which is berewith transmitted, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War. (Inclosure.)
HEADQUARTERS, Fort Monroe, Va., June 18, 1862. Brig. Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General of the Army.
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 13th instant asking me for information to enable you to answer the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 28th of April last. The resolution embraces three points of inquiry to which I will reply in their order:
1. Whether the prisoners taken on the sloop Velma were released by the U. S. commissioner at Baltimore with the knowledge and consent of the military authorities of the Department of Maryland.
I was at that time in command of the Middle Department embracing the State of Maryland. The prisoners referred to were released with my knowledge but not with my consent. On the contrary the moment I was advised of their release by the U. S. commissioner I arrested them by virtue of the military authority vested in me by the President of the United States and sent them to Fort McHenry where they were still in confinement on the 1st of June when the command of the department passed into the hands of my successor.
2. By what authority Colonel Gunther, of Virginia, who refused to take the oath of allegiance was released on a conditional parole which bound him only not to take up arms against the Government while the Eastern Shore counties of Virginia remained under the U. S. anthority.
Colonel Gunther was not released on any such condition as that assumed by the resolution. He was paroled by order of the commissioners appointed by the Secretary of War for the examination and disposal of state prisoners. Their order embraces other prisoners. So much as related to Colonel Gunther together with a memorandum of the execution of it is subjoined:
COMMISSION IN REGARD TO STATE PRISONERS,
New York, April 8, 1862. Col. W. W. Morris, Commanding Fort McHenry.
COLONEL: You will discharge from custody the following state prisoners on the conditions herein specified, viz: 1. Col. Benjamin T. Gunther, on his parole of honor to render no aid or comfort to enemies in hostility to the United States and to hold no correspondence with any person in the insurgent States except in portions occupied by the U.S. forces.
JOHN A. DIX,
Major-General. EDWARDS PIERREPONT,
We the undersigned have made ourselves acquainted with the contents of the above communication and give our paroles of honor to observe the conditions therein contained.
BENJ. T. GUNTHER. Witness:
A. j. S. MOLINARD, First Lieutenant, Second Artillery, Acting Assistant adjutant-General. It only remains to add on this point of inquiry that Colonel Gunther commanded a regiment of militia in Accomac County and immediately disbanded it on receiving my proclamation* to the inhabitants of that county and Northampton. He was released on a personal examination of his case.
3. By what authority the said Gunther was allowed to visit the camp of the Sixth Maryland Regiment at Lafayette Square, Baltimore, to search for runaway negroes.
After Colonel Gunther's release he came to me and asked permission to go to the barracks of the Purnell Legion, in Lafayette Square, to search for a negro belonging I think to his niece and supposed to have been brought from the Eastern Shore of Virginia by some of the men. I declined to give him the desired perinission on the ground that I had no authority to surrender fugitives from labor or service and that he must have recourse to the civil authorities for redress. I understood afterwards that he procured a warrant from a magistrate and that he was admitted to the encampment with the officer to identify the supposed fugitive who was not found. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOIN A. DIX,
* See Vol. II, this Series, p. 139, for this proclamation.
STRASBURG, June 23, 1862. Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
The guerrilla Captains Spriggs and Triplett are at Camp Chase to await trial.
J. C. FRÉMONT, Major-General, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, June 23, 1862. Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War. SIR:
I will send Colonel Putnam* North so that he may be a witness in any proceedings against Soulé and Mazureau. I have a very decided opinion as to the course to be pursued toward those who have been the cause of burning this property and if I had possessed the proof which I now inclose I should not have sent Soulé and Mazureau North but should have tried them here. If the War Department will send them back and so direct I will now bring them before a military commission for this atrocious treason and arson. I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER, Major-General, Commanding.
Washington, June 23, 1862. Hon. REVERDY JOHNSON, Fifth Avenue Hotel, New York:
Colonel Burke, at Fort Lafayette, has been directed to permit you to be with Mr. Soulé, and also his colored servant Jules.
(JUNE 23, 1862.--See Series I, Vol. XIII, p. 106 et seq., for Col. G. N. Fitch, U. S. Army, to the inhabitants of Monroe County, Ark., and the ensuing correspondence between Hindman and Fitch respecting threatened retaliation.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CENTRAL MISSOURI,
Jefferson City, June 23, 1862. Brig. Gen. J. M. SCHOFIELD, Saint Louis, Mo.
GENERAL: I am really very much concerned as to the means of getting rid of the large number of prisoners already held in this division, which number is daily and hourly being most alarmingly increased. Generally speaking the officers are required for active field service, and in the majority of cases they are illiterate and wholly unacquainted with the duties of military commissions. On an average I think I may safely assert that not one out of a dozen is capable of writing out intelligibly the proceedings of a commission and hardly one in any regiment well enough acquainted with the proceedings of commissions to conduct the same and have the record made up according to proper form. All the charges have to be made out anew and remodeled before they can be put into the hands of any officer I may appoint as judgeadvocate, and this you must know is a most laborious work and would take an officer acquainted with the work and a good clerk continually employed to attend to the business properly. Such an officer should be skilled in the military and civil law and have nothing else to attend to but to prepare the charges and review the proceedings when they come in and have them published. Is there any way in which you can furnish me with such an officer and a good clerk to assist him ? Without such assistance I am fearful I shall be swamped and I call upon you most earnestly to help me.
* For the arrest of Putnam and the burning of cotton in New Orleans, see Series I, Vol. XV, p. 495, where this letter with its inclosures will be found in full.
I spoke to Governor Gamble upon this subject, hoping that he would be able upon consultation with you to aid me in my tribulations, but I have not yet been informed of any steps being taken in the matter. At this very moment there are no less than three commissions ordered, and either one of them will have possibly as high as thirty cases for trial. Other commissions should be ordered but I cannot spare the officers, and beside all this I have the proceedings of two before me under review of something like twenty-five or thirty cases each.
I pray you will think of all this and help me if you can. Would it not be well to have all the prisoners who are taken without arms returning from Price's army either sent to Alton or would it be better to require them to take the oath of allegiance and give bonds at the posts where taken at once? They are to all intents and purposes spies when found within our lines in citizen's dress, but the expense of trial and the detriment to the service by removing officers from their active field duties is greater probably than the good resulting, and I have not yet been able to get a military commission to commit them as spies and there is accordingly great doubt attending the matter. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. TOTTEN, Brigadier-General, Commanding Division,
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
June 23, 1862. COMMANDING OFFICER,
Depot of Prisoners, Johnson's Island, near Sandusky, Ohio. SIR: The War Department has called for a list of all prisoners of war who have been or may now be held at the depot commanded by you. You will therefore in addition to the list already called for from this office furnish me a complete list of all such prisoners, showing in the column of remarks what has become of those who are not now present. Blank rolls for this purpose will be sent you by express. Separate rolls of citizens will be furnished when the person does not belong to a regiment, and under that head give the State he comes from. The above rolls will take the place of those called for in General Orders, No. 54, of May 17, from Adjutant-General's Office, and if other rolls have been required by provost-marshals they need not be furnished until you have further instructions. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. HOFFMAN, Lieut. Col. Eighth Infty., Commissary-General of Prisoners. (Similar letters sent to the commandants of all military prisons.)
SAINT LOUIS, MO., June 23, 1862. Lieut. Col. B. G. FARRAR,
Prorost-Marshal-General, Department of the Mississippi. COLONEL: In accordance with verbal instructions from you to that effect I carefully examined the Gratiot Street Prison and the condition of the prisoners therein and respectfully report:
1. That among the prisoners therein are several who are under sentence of death and others who are to be confined until the suppression of the rebellion. 2. That prisoners of war and civil prisoners are confined together. 3. The culinary and sanitary arrangements of the prison are in most admirable condition. The method adopted whereby a thorough police of the prison is secured is perfect.
4. There is but one place whereat prisoners can possibly escape. This is an unoccupied room on the top of the building, the window whereof looks on the roof of the religious institution adjoining the same. I respectfully suggest that iron bars be placed on the window. I am satisfied that escape from the prison is impossible provided the guard discharges its duty.
5. I ascertained that the officer who commands the prison guard is at the same time commander of the guard at Schofield Barracks. His constant attention to the prison guard is therefore impracticable. The guard whilst not on post are allowed to go beyond the lines of the prison. In case of an outbreak therefore among the prisoners there would be no force to suppress the same. Citizens are permitted to converse with the guard and the sentinels are allowed to sit on post. This should not be tolerated.
I respectfully suggest: 1. That the prisoners of war be kept separate from other prisoners and that the rule prohibiting the officers from communicating with the privates be more rigidly enforced.
2. The severe sentences of those prisoners condemned to death and to imprisonment until the suppression of the rebellion necessarily makes them reckless and bold. Their constant separation from other prisoners and their removal to Alton if practicable is respectfully sug. gested.
3. One officer should be detailed daily as the commandant of the prison guard who should be required to remain constantly at the prison. He should be directed to allow none of his guard to go beyond the lines. He should inspect each relief every time it was on post at least once. This precaution together with his constant presence and that of his command at the prison would more effectually, it is respectfully submitted, preclude the possibility of escapes and outbreaks.
In this connection allow me to suggest that as among the prisoners there are a number of professors of religion it would be beneticial to them and in nowise detrimental to discipline were clergymen allowed to visit the prisoners once a week in an official capacity. In conclusion I have to state that any escape from the prison has been because of the negligence of the guard. Mr. Bishop has in my opinion adopted every precaution whereby such accidents can be prevented. I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H Acting Assistant Provost. Marshal-General, Dept. of the Mississippi.