War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 0014 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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routes, provided such stamps are equal in value and amount to the rates of postage to which such letters would be liable if sent in the mail. So far as the Post-Office laws are concerned it will thus appear that this Department has no further power than to see that its revenues do not suffer, and that no frauds are perpetrated upon it - it other words, that the laws are observed. I have only to say further that in the opinion of the Postmaster-General his power is limited to secure the observance of the laws and regulations resting thereupon. The further questions must be referred to the War Department.

I inclose a printed copy of the letter of the Postmaster-General addressed to Major-General McClellan, and embodying his views, in reply to that officer.

Agreeably to request the letter of Mr. Bowen is herewith returned.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


First Assistant Postmaster-General.


Major General WINFIELD SCOTT, Washington.

DEAR SIR: On my arrival at this place I found quite a number of prisoners in custody under General Morris. I have felt it my duty as well as good policy under surrounding circumstances to deal leniently with the prisoners against whom the charges were of a gross character, and all such have been discharged. For my guidance in disposing of those remaining in custody as well as for my direction in other cases that may arise I beg leave to ask for instructions as to what disposition is to be made of prisoners of the following classes respectively: First. Prisoners taken in battle. Second. Prisoners who have been in the secession army and have deserted or been discharged. Third. Spies. Fourth. Guerrillas. Fifth. Prisoners who without taking up arms themselves have been active and influential in inducing others to take up arms.

Most respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, U. S. Army, Commanding Department.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, July 2, 1861.

Lieutenant General WINFIELD SCOTT,

General-in-Chief of the U. S. Army, &c.

GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose an order addressed to you by the President* authorizing you or any officer acting under your command to suspend the writ of habeas corpus on or in the vicinity of any military line between this city and the city of New York should it be deemed necessary.

I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,



*Omitted here. For this order see Seward to the House of Representatives, July 13, inclosure Numbers 3, p. 19.