War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0008 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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The officer left me at about 2. 45 p. m. I remained until 6. 45 p. m. and then left on my r answer from General Huger.

Two or three steamers communicated with Craney Island and Norfolk whilst we were at anchor.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Commander, U. S. Navy, and Fleet Captain.


Washington, July 12, 1861.

Honorable SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War.

SIR: As in the conflict now commenced it is to be expected that the United States will have to take care of large numbers of prisoners of war I respectfully call your attention to the propriety of making some arrangements in tiem. At present persons arrested on suspicion of disloyalty are kept in the common jail of Washington. I am endeavoring to procure some building here more suitable for their temporary safe-keeping. Prisoners of war are entitled to proper accommodations, to coureous and respectful treatment, to one ration a day and to consideration according to rank. Heretofore when the Government has had prisoners to car for a commissary of prisoners has been appointed. He keeps the muster list of prisoners, negotiates exchanges according to the cartel, sends funds to the commissary of the enemy for use of our friends in their power, and should be an accomplished gentleman, as his office is of high power and importance.

General John Mason, of Virginia, father of the ex-United States Senator, was commissary of prisoners for the United States during the last war Mr. Barclay, father of Mr. Harry Barclay, and the British consul at New York, was the British commissary of prisoners.

The provost-marshal is the chief superintending keeper of prisoners, but in rank and position the commissary of prisoners is much higher than the provost-marshal. Large sums of money may pass through the hands of the commissary of prisoners. The negotiation of exchange of prisoners is important. A lieutenant-colonel has been exchanged for a captain and ten privates; a general for a certain number of other officers. Knowledge of military law and custom is needed in order not to offend by errors of ignorance in treating these delicate questions.

I respectfully recommend that some person be designated as commissary of prisoners, and charged with the care of the prisoners now in our hands and preparations for those likely to fall into our possesion. I also recommend that one of the islands off Sundusky, known as the Put-in-Bay Islands of Lake Erie, be rented as a depot and place of confinement for prisoners of war. Arrangements should be at once made for their accommodation to avoid great embarrasment when they being to come in.

I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Resolution adopted by the House of Represenatives July 13, 1861.

Resolved, That the President of the United States at the beginning of the next session of Congress or at this session if compatible with