compelled us to take when we were taken prisoners at Lexington and there surrendered our arms to General Price of the Confederate Army. We there took a solemn oath before God and man that we would not take up arms against the Southern Confederacy. We consider it our duty to stand by that oath and if we do take up arms again we will have to answer for a sin which we are compelled to commit, and moreover we do not think that an exchange will relieve us from that oath. We cannot think that oath null and void; we would be happy to think so but we do not. The officers of this regiment can return to the service with a clear conscience as they did not take an oath but were released on parole of honor and have been exchanged. We wish to do what is right and we will do that come what will. We hope to hear from you soon.
BENJAMIN F. BROWN,
M. B. SMITH,
Secretary of Meeting.
WASHINGTON, June 25, 1862.
It has been reported at this office that certain men in the Thirteenth Missouri Volunteers who were taken prisoners at Lexington and released on parole have been forced into the Twenty-fifth Missouri Volunteers. Some of these men were taken prisoners at Shiloh and bayoneted on the spot; others are said to be liable to similar treatment. Please investigate this matter. Have the paroled men relieved from duty and furloughed until discharged. Call upon their officers for reports.
By order of the Secretary of War:
HDQRS. TWENTY-FIFTH REGIMENT MISSOURI VOLUNTEERS,
In Camp near Corinth, July 18, 1862.
Headquarters Department of the Mississippi, Corinth.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit a list* herewith of the non-commissioned officers and privates of the Twenty-fifth Regiment Missouri Volunteers who were taken prisoners at Lexington with remarks set against their names to show how they stand in regard to exchanges. I have recommended the discharge of some inasmuch as I find they did not intend to re-enter the service after being disbanded by order of General Fremont but felt themselves compelled to do so under the orders of the War Department and of Colonel Peabody. These orders it is understood are considered illegal by the department headquarters and the men are supposed to be entitled to their discharges. It will promote the efficiency of the regiment if the subjects of exchange and discharges can be soon passed upon.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHESTER HARDING, JR.,
Colonel, Commanding Twenty-fifth Missouri Volunteers.