War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0052 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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I inclose herewith a copy of my report made under date of May 12*, fearing that that report did not reach your office in consequence of the disturbed state of the country and the uncertainly of the mails. I also inclose a detailed report of the latter portion of the march and surrender, to which reference was made in former report. This latter report could have been long ago made had there been any reasonable prospect of its reaching you. This is the first point where I have been able to stop from which letters could be forwarded with safety.

I hereby report further how I happen to be here. After surrender, the troops were paroled-the officers to the limits of the Confederate States of America, and the men placed under oath not to leave the county of Bexar, Texas. Up to the 4th of June Colonel Var Dorn was expecting orders to grant unlimited paroles to the officers, and told me that he had no doubt such would be granted on return of his messenger from Montgomery. The 1st instant I received the sad, crushing intelligence of the death of my oldest daughter, and Colonel Van Dorn at once offered me the privilege of coming home. I availed myself of this generosity, both with the view to make arrangements for the care of my remaining children and to communicate with the War Department, in the hope of being of some service to the prisoners of war in Texas by representing their true state and condition. Not knowing whether my reporting in person would be either desirable or proper, I send the following brief statement:

Up to the time I left San Antonio the troops were in quarters and under the care and control of their own officers. They were allowed the usual subsistence and all the clothing necessary; had no restrictions as to limits, except attendance on retreat roll-can; and could be permitted to go anywhere within the county upon a written pass signed by their own officer. With the exception of some five or six, they remained faithful to their Government and refused all others and inducements to join the Confederate service. The day before I left Colonel Van Dorn informed me that they would be moved into camp some five miles from town and placed under charge of Confederate officers, who would attend to their wants, thus separating them from the care of their own officers. In all this they have been as well if not much better treated than is the usual fate of prisoners of war. Their peril consists in the fact that they are retained as hostages against the rigorous treatment of any prisoners who may fall into the power of the United States. Colonel Van Dorn does not regard the parole which is given to the officers as revocable by his Government, and their peril is not, therefore, the same as that of the men, in his view of the case; therefore it is not easy, in the same view of the case, any good reasons for restrictions as to limits being made in the people. The officers are furnished with quarters and board at the expense of the Confederacy, at least while they remain in San Antonio.

I shall be in Dansville, in New York, in a few days, where communications will reach me.

Hoping that I may be justified in the course I have pursued, as represented in my reports,

I remain, sir, yours, very respectfully,


Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, U. S. Army.


* See p. 41.