If the citizens will not be permitted to furnish these things will I be allowed to send them? I have been anxiously awaiting an answer from General Halleck to my proposition to make a general exchange of prisoners for we will get our accounts confused, and I will have to commence catching citizens who will offset those whom your men are now capturing.
M. JEFT. THOMPSON,
SAINT LOUIS, January 25, 1862.
General N. B. BAKER,
Adjutant-General of Iowa, Des Moines.
GENERAL: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter* of the 17th in relation to the exchange of prisoners of war. I have frequently urged upon the Government at Washington the policy of exchanging prisoners but have received no authority to do so except in two particular cases. I have urgently asked for a general authority and hope soon to receive it.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, January 27, 1862.
Major General STERLING PRICE,
Commanding, &c., Springfield, Mo.
GENERAL: A man calling himself L. V. Nicholas came to my headquarters a day or two since with a duplicate of your letter of the 12th instant. On being questioned he admitted that he belonged to your service, that he had come in citizens' dress from Springfield avoiding some of our military posts and passing through others in disguise and without reporting himself to the commanders. He said that he had done this by your direction. On being asked for his flag of truce he pulled from his pocket a dirty handkerchief with a short stick tied to one corner.
You must be aware, general, that persons so sent through our lines and past our military posts to these headquarters are liable to the punishment of death. They are no more nor less than spies and probably are sent by you to this city to act as such. I shall send Mr. Nicholas back to your camp; but if you send any more persons here in the same way they will be regarded as spies and tried and condemned as such.
You must know, general, that laws and usages of war require that a bearer of a flag of truce should report at the nearest post and should not pass the outer lines of sentinels without permission. He should not even approach within gunshot of a sentinel without displaying his flag and receiving a signal to advance. If he have dispatches he should send for an officer to receive and receipt for them, which officer should direct the flag of truce to immediately leave our lines. Answers to such dispatches should immediately be sent to you by us in the same way.
* Not found.
11 R R-SER II, VOL I