War of the Rebellion: Serial 049 Page 0321 Chapter XLI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, October 14, 1863-2. 05 p. m.

Major General J. G. FOSTER,

Commanding at Fort Monroe, Va.:

Your dispatch of this morning has been received. By reference to the circular of the 9th instant, you will find that it is not placed upon any military necessity in your department, but upon the request of numerous persons in Norfolk, and extends the privilege to all persons desiring to avail themselves of that opportunity. The Department had no knowledge of teh facts inducing the circular or its purposes excepting as expressed upon its face, and no proceeding could be more objectionable than its purport.

The privilege of passing persons beyond our lines into the rebel territory has never been exercised in any department before, to my knowledge, without the express authority of this Department, save only in the case of a military necessity arising so suddenly that a military commander was compelled to act without previous communication with the Department. Were the privilege confined to the persons enumerated in your telegram, to wit, "Paupers and old persons who are now or soon will be a burden upon the Government," there would be no objection raised; but even for such persons, the express authority of teh Government ought to be obtained, if circumstances would admit of time enough to present the matter to the Government. Restricting the order to the class of persons in Norfolk and Portsmouth and the vicinity, who are or soon will be a burden upon the express authority of this Department. A large number of applications are now pending, and persons applying for permission to go by flag-of-truce boat from Fort Monroe are, and for months have been, daily refused.

If, in your judgment, military necessity should require the removal of any other obnoxious persons, or persons of any other class than those enumerated, the convenience and facility of telegraphing will enable you to submit the matter to the Department, together with the facts, and obtain instructions. Very great evils have at different times been occasioned by teh indiscriminate privilege of passing from Fort Monroe beyond our lines, or of coming within our lines at that place, and hence so much importance is attributed to the matter.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT, October 14, 1863-2. 05 p. m.

Brigadier-General BARNES,

Commanding at Norfolk, Va.:

A dispatch received this morning from Major-General Foster assumes the responsibility of the circular of the 9th of October, bearing your name, and relieves you from any responsibility in regard to it. While, therefore, the order itself, in teh terms in which it is expressed, is not approved, no blame is attributed to you.

EDWIN M. STANTON,

Secretary of War.

21 R R-VOL XXIX, PT II