War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0274 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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Norfolk, Va., February 17, 1862.

Brigadier-General BURNSIDE,

Commanding Department of North Carolina.

GENERAL: Your letter of yesterday's date has just beens entto me and I will authorize Major Benj. Allston to arrange on my part terms based upon your propositions. Major Allston will proceed to meet Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn as soon as I get his instructions written. I begleave to state to you that I have been notified by Major-General Wool that he is fully authorized to agree upon terms for a fair exchange of prisoners, and proposes to meet myself or such other commissioner as our Government may appoint to make all arrangements. This offer has been referred to my Government and I expect their answer to-morrow. I therefore propose to avoid confusion that the equivalent of rank agreed upon by this regularly appointed commission be adopted by us in the present exchange. *

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

SPRINGFIELD, February 17, 1862.

Major-General HALLECK:

If quarters for prisoners are wanted we have barracks here that will accommodate 3,000 to 4,000 and at Chicago for 8,000 or 9,000.


(For the Adjutant-General.)


Wheeling, Va., February 17, 1862.

In consequence of the want of proper information officers and troops in capturing or using private property may injure the good name of our Army, trample on private rights and expose themselves and the Government to legal claims for damages. The following general principles are therefore laid down for the guidance of all concerned in this department:

I. All property captured from rebels in arms by our troops belongs to the United Staes and must be promptly turned over by the officer capturing it to the nearest regimental, brigade or post quartermaster, who must give to him duplicate receipted invoices therefor, one of which he must forward to these headquarters without delay.

II. All property in transit between loyal and disloyal districts for trade, all that has been used to aid the rebels in arms, all that belongs to rebels in arms or in active hostility to the Government of the United States, or that is designed to be used in aid of men in rebellion is subject to prize and capture, but whoever undertakes to capture it does so at his peril, and he must bring it into the U. S. district court where the right of capture will be examined and decided.

III. Should the decision be against the captor he would become individually responsible for wrongs done to private property without authority or necessity.

IV. Absolute necessity alone will justify taking private proeprty without the consent of the owner thereof, and the officer commanding will see that proper compensation is made for the property taken, or


*See Huger to Cooper, February 18, p. 801.