HDQRS. TWENTY-FIFTH REGIMENT MISSOURI VOLUNTEERS,
In Camp near Corinth, July 24, 1862.
Major J. A. RAWLINS, Asst. Adjt. General, District of West Tennessee.
SIR: I have the honor to address you for the purpose of calling the attention of the commanding general to the condition of the Twenty-fifth Regiment Missouri Volunteers in the command of which I have been since the 4th instant. September 20, 1861, the regiment was surrendered at Lexington, Mo., and in a short time thereafter was released upon parole. In October General Fremont then in command of the department ordered it to be disbanded and the men to be mustered out of service. The order was carried into effect October 26, 1861. Afterward an arrangement was made by Generals Fremont and Price whereby the Camp Jackson prisoners on parole were to be exchanged as far as their numbers reached for an equal number of Lexington prisoners. Under this arrangement a part of the officers and men of this regiment (then known as the Thirteenth Missouri Volunteers) received their release from parole but many still remained under their obligation. In February, 1862, the War Department issued a special orders (Numbers 29.) by which the muster-out was canceled and the officers and men were required to report to regimental headquarters for duty. Colonel Everett Peabody who then commanded the regiment thereupon published his order to the effect that those who failed to report would be treated as deserters. Many of the men came back for no other reason than that they supposed these orders could and would be enforced against them. In a few instances men were taken from home by actual force and compelled to serve. Of both these classes there were those who had been and those who had not been exchanged. The ranks of the regiment were filled by recruiting and every company had more or less new recruits who then enlisted for the first time as well as more or less of the old regiment. At the battle of Shiloh (as was reported among and believed by the men) some of our wounded were recognized by the enemy as having been paroled and were bayoneted on the spot. This report the officers believe to be untrue but it has created uneasiness in the ranks. Some of the latter addressed a memorial to General Halleck upon the subject and also brought the matter before the War Department. I transmit herewith an official copy of a letter of instructions from the Adjutant-General to General Halleck to which I respectfully refer. * I also inclose lists# as follows: first, names of paroled prisoners unexchanged who claim discharges; second, names of non-commissioned officers and privates who were mustered out, released from parole and afterward unwillingly rejoined in consequence of force or of the orders above referred to and who now claim discharges; third, names of paroled prisoners unexchanged who desire to be exchanged and to continue in service; fourth, names of others who have their exchanged and rejoined voluntarily. These desire a recognition of the validity of the certificates given to the Lexington prisoners-one## is inclosed; all the rest are similar to it. I respectfully ask early action in the premises. Discussion of these topics among the men cannot but lower the morale of the regiment, and although no instances of insubordination have as yet occurred I feel that the present condition of things cannot long continue.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHESTER HARDIN, JR.,
Colonel Twenty-fifth Missouri Volunteers.
*See Thomas to Halleck, June 25, p. 144.
10 R R-SER II, VOL I