War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0282 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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conduct and also required to take the oath of allegiance; and when they refuse or neglect to do this they are to be confined and so held until released by proper authority.

By order of Brigadier General James Totten, commanding district:


Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.

Trial by Military Commission of Bridge-Burners, Marauders, Etc.


Saint Louis, Mo., September 12, 1861.

I. Before the military commission which convened at the Saint Louis Arsenal on the 5th instant, pursuant to Special Ordrs, No. 118, current series, from these headquarters, the following prisoners were arraigned, viz:

Phinneals P. Johnson, William Shiftell, Jerome Nall, John Williams, James R. Arnold, Charles Lewis, John Deane, Doctor Steinhoner, W. W. Lunch. T. J. Sappington, James Thompson, Thomas Grigsby, John Crow, David E. Perrymn, John W. Graves, Algred Jones, William Durnham, C. H. Hodges, James Marr, G. S. Yertes.

Many of the prisoners above named were found without any charge whatever lodged them; other had but trivial charges, and being unable to procure witnesses in their respective cases the commission deemed it expedient to have the same released which was caried into effect ater a rigid cross-examination and having the oath of allegiance duly administered in each individual case.

The commission would respectfully report to the commanding major-general that they have found imprisoned in the arsenal a great many persons charged with being spies and traitors. These charges were not sustained by any evidence whatever. The persons taking them prisoners did in most cases send no names of witnesses along. In others the names of witnesses were sent without their address and residences. Some were sent here prisoners because one Union man considered them dangerous.

The commission has felt itself obliged to release most of these prisoners. Some suspicious looking were retained on no furthere evidence than their own confession and suspicious appearance and behavior.

The commission would respectfully suggest that orders be issued preventing persons from being arrested unlesss there is some strong circumstantial proof of facts of which your commission can avail itself. It seemed to your commission, even, and it is with deep regret that they are compelled to report such things to you, that in few cases men were arrested a spies and traitors and sent here because they raised objections when their property was taken away. In other cases their property was taken while they were absent in prison without any cause whatever.

* * * * * *

The reflecions contained in the report of the proceedings have occurred to the commanding general. He is surprised to find that in many of the cases no evidence whatever has been presented to the commission. He concurs in the opinion expressed relative to groundless charges against citizens, unwarrantable seizures of their persons and unjust depredations upon their property.

The attention of commanders is again called to the full observance of the orders that have been issued from these headquarters concerning arrests.

By order of Major-General Fremont:


Assistant Adjutant-General.