War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1416 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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erate States they ought to be brought before the civil tribunals. Of course the necessary steps will be taken to have the attendance of the witnesses at the time of trial.

Your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.

RICHMOND, January 21, 1862.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War.

SIR: The letter of Colonel Harness of the 12th January has been submitted to me and I have the honor to say that the examination of all the Hardy [County] prisoners able to appear had been conducted before its reception.

If injury has been done by discharging persons who ought to have been retained no one will regret it more than I will. It it true that no testimony except Wilhite's was sent here, and no one stated by Wilhite to belong to the home guards was discharged. Wilhite standing in the place of a deserter who had joined the enemy in the piratical raid on Petersburg had on him the double guilt of perjury and robbery. His testimony was therefore received with much caution. But in every case in which he stated a man was a member of the home guard evidence was found either in the adminissions of the prisoners or the statements of other prisoners to hold the parties. In the course of the trials I called on Colonel Barber as a witness. Four messages were sent by me for Colonel Barber before he was found. He came before me on my call and as far as I could judge testified with candor and fairness. He certainly seemed to feel the injuries done him by Union men in driving him from his home, but gave his evidence as far as I could judge fairly and properly.

I know well the great value of Colonel Harness' services to our cause in this region of the State, and therefore will say that in future I hope these services will continue to be rendered. But in all cases of suspected persons sent on here he will make his services more valuable if he sends on the charges on which they were arrested and affidavits of witnesses who are relied on torges. This I think will be sufficient to authorize detention (when the causes of arrest are sufficient) without the delay and expense of sending witnesses. If prosecutions are ordered witnesses must be sent after the Secretary determines to prosecute.

I hope this expression of my opinions will be excused.

Respectfully, your obedinet servant,




Moorefield, January 12, 1862.


SIR: Some time ago I arrested several Union men whom I sent to General Boggs who as I have learned were sent on to Richmond. I have recently learned that some of those sent by me and others arrested by other persons and sent to Richmond have been through the instrumentality of G. S. Barber released. We have been negligent in sundry evidence against those arrested by me, supposing that summonses would be sent here for witnesses. If subpoenas are sent witnesses can be