War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0403 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

them home. These releases of rebel prisoners without equivalent excite much discontent in the country and cause some feeling too in the House. Can it not be stopped?

General McClellan's mistimed lenity in Western Virginia discharging a thousand rebel prisoners prevented us from being able to exchange promptly after Bull Run and caused untold suffering.

And as the detention of our captured soldiers caused so much feeling throughout the North for the recognition of the rebels as belligerents for formal exchange, &c., I think to hold ten or fifteen thousand rebel prisoners now would help create further sentiment at the South in favor of ending the rebellion. But at any rate to release more of them till all ours are released including Corcoran seems unwise to.

Yours, very truly,

SCHUYLER COLFAX.

[Indorsement.]

MARCH 25, 1862.

Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.

A. LINCOLN.

[Inclosure. - Slip from Chicago Tribune of March 21, 1862, attached to foregoing letter.]

CAMP DOUGLAS AFFAIRS.

The condition of the weather yesterday being similar to that of the day previous, only a little more so, there was but little stir within the camp. The ground was in an awful state and both prisoners and loyal soldiers manifested a disposition to venture out of their quarters no oftener than necessity required.

The military commissioners* who arrived Wednesday evening were engaged all day at the camp explaining to the prisoners the oath and conditions upon which their discharge depended and taking the names of those who signified their willingness to accept the prescribed forms. About 1,000 of them have already given in their names. The commissioners will resume their labors to-day and complete them as soon as practicable.

ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, March 25, 1862.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, U. S. Army, Saint Louis, Mo.:

The Secretary of War desires to know whether you have appointed any commission or commissioners to release prisoners of war at Camps Douglas, Morton or Chase, and if so he directs that you countermand your orders in this respect and that no prisoners will be discharged except on orders from the President communicated through the Secretary of War.

L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General.

ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, March 25, 1862.

COMMANDING OFFICERS OF CAMP DOUGLAS, ILL. ; CAMP CHASE, OHIO; CAMP MORTON, IND.:

Report immediately by telegraph what commissioners have been or are at your camp to release prisoners of war and under whose authority

---------------

* See p. 378 for Halleck's Special Orders, Numbers 6; also p. 388 for reports of this commission.

---------------