War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0848 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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have turned out in large numbers and assisted the soldier in scouring the mountains and hunting down the fugitive traitors. They should now be pursued to extermination if possible.

Very respectfully,




Richmond, November 25, 1861.

Colonel W. B. WOOD, Knoxville, Tenn.

SIR: Your report of the 20th instant is received and I proceed to give you the desired instructions in ration to the prisoners taken by you amongst the traitors in East Tennessee:

First. All such as can be identified as having been engaged in bridge- burning are to be tried summarily by drum- head court- martial and if found guilty executed on the spot by hanging. It would be well to leave their bodies hanging in the vicinity of theburned bridges.

Second. All such as have not been so engaged are to be treated as prisoners of war and sent with an armed guard to Tuscaloosa, Ala., there to be kept imprisoned at the depot selected by the Government for prisoners of war. Wherever you can cover that arms are concealed by these traitors you will send out detachments, search for and seize the arms. In no case is one of the men known to have been up in arms against the Government to be released on any pledge or oath of allegiance. The time for such measures is past. They are to be held as prisoners of war and held in jail till the end of the war. Such as come involuntarily, take the oath of allegiance and surrender their arms are alone to be treated with leniency.

Your vigilant execution of these orders is earnestly urged byt eh Government.

Your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.

P. S. - Judge [David T.] Patterson, Colonel [SAMUEL] Pickens and other ringleaders of the same class must be sent at once to Tuscaloosa to jail as prisoners of war.

J. P. B.

[NOTE. - The same letter with a slight verbal alteration of the opening paragraph and the omission of the postscript was sent at the same time to Brigadier General F. K. Z Sollicoffer, Jacksborough, Tenn. ; Brigadier General W. H. Carroll, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Colonel Leadbetter, Jonesborough, Tenn.]

KNOXVILLE, TENN., November 25, 1861.

Honorable J. P. . BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

The military authorities in command at this post have determined to try the bridge- burners and other men charged with treason by a court- martial. What shall I do! Answer.


C. S. District Attorney for the District of Tennessee.