HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI, Numbers 8.
Saint Louis, Mo., November 26, 1861.
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IV. In all cases where prisoners taken at other posts or in the field are sent to Saint Louis they will be accompanied with a written statement of the charges against them and the evidence upon which the arrest was based. Otherwise prisoners so sent will be released on their arrival here.
V. No person will be hereafter arrested without good and substantial reasons and officers making arrests without sufficient cause or without authority will be held to account and punished. And officers sending prisoners to Saint Louis without charges, proofs or proper explanations will be charged with the expenses of their transportation.
By order of Major-General Halleck:
J. C. KELTON,
HDQRS. FIRST MILITARY DIST., MISSOURI STATE GUARD,
Camp New Madrid, November 26, 1861.
Major-General HALLECK, U. S. Army,
Saint Louis, Mo.
SIR: I see by the newspapers that Captain Portal and other officers of the steam-boat Platte Valley were arrested upon their arrival in Cape Girardeau after my having captured that boat. Whatever offenses Captain Portal and officers may have been guilty of before or after said capture I do not know and it was not my business to inquire but as to his having connived at or his having the most remote idea of or complicity in the capture of the boat or the slightest knowledge of my presence at Prior's Landing prior to his landing there you may rest assured on my honor as a soldier that he is innocent, as are all his crew.
I make this statement as a simple act of justice; and if I was lenient toward the prisoners and forbearing in instructions it was not from any arrangement with Captain Portal or his crew. Lieutenant-Colonel Chappell, one of my aides, the bearer of this, can give you a statement of the facts.
Yours, most respectfully,
M. JEFF. THOMPSON,
SAINT LOUIS, November 27, 1861.
SIR: Much interest is felt for the release of Judge James H. Birch, a member of the State convention and staunch active Union man who has been captured and taken to Price's army. It is proposed to offer for exchange Major Uriel Wright who is a secession member of the same body and now as I understand out of prison on parole. He was arrested by the provost-marshal. If the exchange can be arranged it will be useful. I leave the matter to your best judgment.
H. R. GAMBLE.