War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1388 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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[RICHMOND, VA.,] October 2, 1861.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:

I would respectfully submit whether in cases free from doubt in favor of the prisoner it would not be well to give the commissioner authority to discharge without troubling the honorable Secretary with a report.



REDWOOD, October 4, 1861.

His Excellency Governor LETCHER.

DEAR SIR: A man by the name of White is in confinement at this place in the county jail, and has been for several months, against whom as I understand from most reliable persons there has been at no time a particle of evidence. He was brought before Judge Field and promptly discharged, but recommitted, I presume by some mistake or misunderstanding-certainly by no form of legal proceeding. I am so informed by the judge of the court, by the Rev. Mr. Cole (the minister of this parish) and by Colonel Taylor, in command of the post. What he wants is to be tried. These gentleme can't or won't elieve him and I do not know how to proced, as I understand the juge to suppose his jurisdiction exhausted. If the man is innocent it is a most cruel oppression. If guilty, it's time to have his case disposed of, as I believe his incarceration antedates the establishment of Forts McHenry and Lafayette as penintentiaries. If this duty is with the Confederate authorities will you, my dear sir, forward this note to Mr. Benjamin, Acting Secretary of War? The precise name I will have given below.

I am, very truly, your friend and obedient servant,


P. S. -The full name is Moses Bradford White.

CLARKSVILLE, TENN., October 4, 1861.

General POLK:

Wesend you in charge of Lieutenant Wilday a man named Petty who we have grounds to think may not be after any good. We attach but little consequence to him except he is known to be quite familiar with both Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers as a pilot, having acted in that capacity for many years.

As the Cumberland River is now rising quite rapidly we think it advisable to watch such characters as could pilot the Lincoln boats up our river. He is represented as a great liar and entirely unreliable, which we find is true from the statements which he makes of things at and about Paducah. He gives no satisfactory account of why he is here, and from the fact of his fimiliarity with the rivers as above stated we send him to you. We refer you to Lieutenant Wilday for his statements to us, who heard it all.

Yours, most respectfully,


President of the Military Board.