I have will be released on parole. They will be absolved from their parole whenever you inform me that you have absolved those taken by you at the bridge on the Iron Mountain Railroad. The five prisoners I retain will be released upon the same terms whenever the sergeant I refer to is released and not before. I forward this communication by one of the prisoners (W. F. Martin), and would be pleased if you would return me an answer by the same messeger, and on his arrival at this pos' he will be uncoditionally released by me and permitted to join you wherever you may be.
I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. PLUMMER,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF SOUTHEAST MISSOURI,
Cairo, Ill., November 8, 1861.
COMMANDING OFFICER C. S. FORCES, Columbus, Ky.:
In the skirmish of yesterday* in which both parties behaved with so much gallantry many unfortunate men were left upon the field of battle who it was impossible to provide for. I now send in the interest of humanity to have these unfortunates collected and medical attendance secured them. I at the same time return sixty-four prisoners taken by our forces who are unconditionally released. Colonel Webster, chief of enginners, District of Southeast Missouri, goes bearer of this and will express to you my views upon the course that should be pursued under circumstances such at those of yesterday.
U. S. GRANT,
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Columbus, Ky., November 8, 1861.
Brigadier General U. S. GRANT, U. S. Army.
GENERAL: I have received your note in regard to your wounded and killed left on the battle-field after yesterday's engagement.
The lateness of the hour at which my troops returned to the principal scene of the action presented my bestowing the care upon your wounded which I desired. Such attentions as were practicable were shown them and measures were taken at an early hour this morning to have them all brought into hospitals. Provision also was made for taking care of your dead.
The permission you desire under your flag of truce to aid in attention to your wounded is granted with pleasure under such restrictions as the exigencies of our services may require.
In your note you say nothing of an exchange of prisoners though you send me a private message as to your willingness to return certain wounded men and some invalids taken from our list of sick in camp and expect in return a corresponding number of your prisoners.
My own feelings would prompt me to waive again the unimportant affectation of declining to orecognize these states as belligerensts in the interests of humanity, but my Government requires all prisoners to be
* Battle of Belmont. For reports correspondence, &c., relating to this action, see Series I, Vol. III, p. 266, et seq.