War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1371 SUSPECTED AND DISLOYAL PERSONS.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, August 9, 1861.

G. B. BOARD, Esq., Sheriff of Roanoke County, Va., or

JAMES C. HUFF, Esq., Jailor, Salem, Va.:

A letter has been received at this Department from the sheriff of thecounty of Roanoke, Va., and a similar letter from the clerk of the same county, asking insutructions with regard to the prisoners which have been lodged in the jail of Roanoke County by order of Brigadier-General Wise.

The prisonersof war must be sent to Richmond, and you are authorized to enaged at the expense of this Government such a guard as may be necessary to bring them with safety. This order is limited, however, to those taken as prisoners of war, and does not include those arrested as spies over whom this Department has no control.

Respectfully,

L. P. WALKER,

Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, August 10, 1861.

His Excellency HENRY T. CLARK, Raleigh, N. C.

SIR: * * * Travis Southall, of Williamsburg, Va., having been arested as a spy was sent to Raleigh for confinement. there appearing no evidence to justify his detention you will plese order his immediate release. Your excellency's letter of August 6 relative to the prisoners now in confinement at Raleigh has been also received. This Department cannot authorize the release of any of the prisoners mentioned upon their oath not to serve against the Confederate State; norcouldthe foreigners among them whom you mention be admitted to join our volunteer ranks. Rossvally and Widgen having been arrested not as prisoners of war are certainly entitled to the writ of habeas corpus, but this Department takes the liberty of reminding your excellency that it has been the uniform practice of the courts in similar cases not to grant discharges except by the authority of the Government, or after full legal process. With regard to the sailing master who was captured by the authorities of North Carolina before that State became a member of the Confederacy this Department does not assume to exercise control. The Department begs leave, however, tos uggest to your excellency a doubt as to the policy of discharing the prisoner unless the evidence in his favor is entirely conincing. It is desirable so far as possible that the Confederate and the State authorities should in similar cases be guided by like principles of action in this regard.

Very respectfully,

L. P. WALKER,

Secretary of War.

EXECUTIVE DEPARN. C., August 15, 1861.

Honorable L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War.

SIR: When the prisoners were brought to Raleigh by Lieutenant Todd they wereall called and receipted for as prisoners of war. Since then two of them (Widgen and Rossvally) have asserted that they were citizens of the Confederate States anddemanded a habeas corpus.

Upon notification of this fact you informed me that they were not prisoners of war but arrested as spies and were entitled to the writ, but suggested that the judge ought not to interfere without the fullest