Columbus, Ky., September 6, 1861.
Major GUS. A. HENRY, JR.,
SIR: In obedience to Special Orders, Numbers 107, I submit the following report of the proceedings of the board of officers appointed by Brigadier-General Pillow, C. S. Army, and Colonel Wallace, U. S. Army, to superintend an exange of prisoners:
In pursuance of the special order Colonel Bowen, First Regiment Missouri Volunteers; Major Miller, Mississippi cavalry; Captain White, Tennessee Rifles, and myself left New Madrid, Mo., under a flage of truce on the 2nd with the prisoners and a mounted escort of thirty armed men commanded by Captain McDonald, of Memphis Independent [Light] Dragoons, the whole under command of Colonel Bowen. From New Madrid we proceeded to General Thompson's encampment for the purpose of procuring such prisoners as he had. He, believing that the enemy would not exchange for those prisoners of his known as the Home Guard although captured in arms declined sending them.
We arrived at Charleston the place agreed upon for the exchange about noon on the 3d. We found the officers, escort and prisoners of the U. S. forces had just arrived from Bird's Point. After an organization of the board Colonel Bowen called the attention of the U. S. officers to the relative position of the Missouri State Guard acting as allies of the Confederate forces, and the Missouri Home Guard acting as allies of the forces of the United States; that although the former were not mustered into the service of the Confederate States, yet as they were acting as the allies of the Confederate States Government they should be exchanged as regular prisoners of war. To this the U. S. officers under instructions from Colonel Wallace assented; but as we did not have with us any of the Home Guard prisoners captured by General Thompson we could not exchange them for prisoners of the Missouri State Guard.
The accompanying paper, marked Exhibit A,* will show the action of the board. A also submit herewith the instructions of Colonel Wallace. * We had three prisoers who had regularly been mustered into U. S. service before theyt were captured by our forces. They had but one prisoner (Gaydon, of Mississippi cavalry) that had been mustered into the Confederatur officers proposed to exchange two of our prisoners which they held belonging to our allies the Missouri State Guard. This proposition was agreed to and the election by lot, spoken of in Exhibit A, was consummated by Captain Hotchkiss, U. S. Army, and myself.
If affords me pleasure to say that proceedings of the board and the intercourse of the officers were of the most contreous character. in accordance with the instructions of General Pillow the officers appointed by him were entirely unarmed. Not so with the Federal officers. Nothing, however, occurred to mar the harmony of the proceedings. I cannot conclude this report without expressing the gratification of the officers at the coutheous and soldierly manner in which Captain McDonald and the escort his command deported themselves.
JNO C. BURCH,
Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.
* Omitted here. See report of Wallance to Fremont, September 4, p. 506, for these papers.