HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE,
December 8, 1863
Captain J. C. DOUGLASS,
CAPTAIN: General Cosby has advanced one of his regiments (Twenty-eighth Mississippi), about 200 strong, to Champion's Hill. The patrols in our immediate front and below, appear to be from Wirt Adams' command, Logan's old brigade, headquarters near Gallatin. I inclose a paper* brought in by the flag.
The rebels have the news of Morgan's escape. Cosby's headquarters still near Bolton. Leaves are granted freely to officers in Cosby's command.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. F. FORCE.
WASHINGTON, December 9, 1863-10.30 a.m.
Telegraph directly to General Grant in regard to your movements. Dispatches received here in regard to Sherman's movements are so conflicting that I am left in doubt whether he is advancing up the valley or returning to Chattanooga.
H. W. HALLECK,
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, December 9, 1863.
Major General GEORGE H. THOMAS, U. S. Volunteers,
Comdg. Department of the Cumberland, Chattanooga:
SIR: Your letter of the 7th November,in relation to soldiers paroled at Vicksburg, and found within the country now occupied by our army, has been referred to the Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners. The following remarks by him are approved by the Secretary of War:
DECEMBER 8, 1863
A declaration of exchange of the prisoners paroled at Vicksburg having been announced by Mr. Ould, although not in accordance with the cartel, should protect those prisoners, from being proceeded against for breach of parole when taken again. If taken at their homes or as citizens, the local commander must decide, in the first instance, upon their character.
They may be spies, purposely acting in the interest of the enemy, or they may be ignorantly within our lines; they may design to abandon the rebel service and might be favored in their purpose. The circumstances in each case must define the case, under the judgment of the commander.
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers, Commissioner, &c.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. D. TOWNSEND,