commanding the hostile forces at Columbus, Ky., accompanied by return of three prisoners therein named; second, copy of reply of Major-General Polk, accompanied by sixteen prisoners; third, list of the prisoners thus received; fourth, copy of instructions given Colonel N. B. Buford, Twenty-seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteers, adding that the proceedings passed off without accident as appears with good effects.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
Camp Cairo, October 22, 1861.
COMMANDING OFFICER, Columbus, Ky.
SIR: The chances of the present unhappy war having left in my hands a number or prisoners who have detained at this post for some time past I have for special reasons as well as in obedience to the distates of humanity determined unconditionally to release them.
The prisoners alluded to are A. A. Woodward, Lewis Young and Frederick Penny, all taken by a party of U. S. troops in the affair at Charleston Penny., on the 20th of August last.
Colonel N. B. Buford, of the Twenty-seventh Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, is charged by me with the delivery of said prisoners to such persons as you may authorize to receive them and for that purpose visit your camp under the protection of a white flag. You will please receive him in the special character with which he is clothed and after the completion of his mission give safe conduct from your post.
I have the honor to be, yours, &c.,
JOHN A. McCLERNAND,
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
Camp Cairo, October 23, 1861.
Colonel N. B. BUFORD,
Commanding Twenty-seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteers.
SIR: You are hereby instructed with a delicate and in a political aspect a highly responsible mission.
A. A. Woodward, Lewis Young and Frederick Penny were captured in the affair at Charleston, Mo., on the 20th of last August, and have been since detailed at this post as prisoners of war. You will take them in charge on a Government steamer and under the protection of a flag of truce proceed to the camp of the enemy at Columbus, Ky., and there making known your mission to the commanding officer will deliver them to such person as he may authorize to receive them. When you have fulfilled your mission you will ask of the commandant of the camp safe conduct therefrom and immediately return to this post.
In your conversation with the commandant or with his represantatives you will avoid all discussion upon the righst of belligerents and place my action herein simply upon the ground of humanity and a desire to relieve the unhappy war now waged between kindred of peculiar and aggravating difficulties. Beyond this limit I do not deem it advisable for you to go.
JOHN A. McCLERNAND,