War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 0739 Chapter LIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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November 29, 1864.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT, Commanding Armies of the United States:

SIR: I take the liberty of writing to you with reference to an incident that occurred between the picket-lines of the two armies on Sunday, the 27th instant, about 2 p. m., and after my explanation of the affair I trust that the request that I make may be granted, believing that my statement will be confirmed by the reports of the officers and men of your forces. The affair that I refer to is the capture of Private Roger A. Pryor, Third Virginia Cavalry, on the 27th instant, by the pickets of the troops under your command, and under the following circumstances, viz: At the time mentioned above this soldier rode up to our picket-line and looked for awhile at the opposite line through his glass, then dismounted from his horse, and taking from his pocket a newspaper waved it toward a group of Federal officers. One of these responded to this with a paper in a similar manner, and the two mutually approached for the exchange of papers. Private Pryor asked the pickets on our side not to fire. Upon meeting each other they shook hands and exchanged papers. The Federal officer then seized Pryor by the arm and led him off to the rear. Upon reaching the line in rear a crowd gathered around them and seemed to regard him as a prisoner, and since then he has not been seen. I feel much interest in the case of this soldier, but cannot ask of the commander of our forces to intercede for him, for it is against his positive orders to exchange papers with the Federals, and doubtless there are like orders from yourself. It is, however, well known that papers are exchanged, and as above indicated, and when not actually engaged in deadly strife men from both armies are anxious and willing, and very naturally so, to hold communication and to exchange papers. This soldier is, I believe, thoroughly imbued with a sentiment of honor, and could not have approached your lines with any sinister purpose; and though at this time a private in the ranks from choice, has been both a colonel and a brigadier-general in our army and filled both grades with credit to himself. Should my statement be corroborated by that of your officers I believe that this man's case will be favorably regarded by you, and [that he] will soon be returned to our lines, to his friends and family.

I am, with high respect, very truly, & c.,


Major-General, C. S. Army.


NOVEMBER 30, 1864.

Respectfully referred to Major General George G. Meade for such answer as he may deem proper, if it is deemed necessary to answer at all.




November 29, 1864 - 4 p. m. (Received 4.25 p. m.)

General M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General:

I have directed all steamers to be sent to Washington to be in readiness to bring back the Sixth Corps. Please give corresponding orders. The troops should embark immediately on arrival with artillery. The wagon trains can be embarked afterward at leisure.


Brigadier-General and Chief Quartermaster.