War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0434 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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I propose issuing establishing rules for uniform proceeding throughout the district relative to the capture, imprisonment and trial of prisoners. As this is a delicate subject and requires much thought and careful consideration and action I have thought it advisable to consult the major-general commanding the department before publishing the proposed order. The various authorities and regulations established and ordered by the major-general commanding the department are contained in various orders and all of them are not generally in the possession of the officers now commanding troops in this district. It was therefore thought advisable to collect these authorities and publish them again in one order, as now proposed, and furnish as complete a set of rules as possible for the information and government of all concerned. For the rest the object of the proposed order will I believe explain itself, and I beg that you will ask Major-General Halleck's attention for a few minutes to the matter and if he approves return me an early reply, as I have no hope of arresting irregulations until some such order is again published and circulated. I shall be glad if the major-general commanding will cause to be made such corrections, curtailments or additions as he may deem advisable in connection with this order, either indicating the same upon the face of the copy herewith inclosed or in a letter of advice in answer hereto.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. TOTTEN,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

FORT LAFAYETTE, New York, April 8, 1862.

E. D. WEBSTER, Esq.

SIR: I am confined as a prisoner of war and I wish to take the oath of allegiance, I being taken on the privateer Petrel in August last, it being necessity that compelled me to serve on board the Petrel. Your early attention to the same will oblige,

Yours, respectfully,

EDWARD MURPHY.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, April 9, 1862.

JAMES HARLAN, U. S. District Attorney, Frankfort, Ky.

SIR: The Secretary of War directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 28th ultimo and to inform you in reply that if any prisoners enlisted in the army and captured at Fort Donelson have been released it has been without the knowledge and against the wishes of this Department, with pershaps a single exception.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

P. H. WATSON,

Assistant Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, April 9, 1862.

Judge E. FARNSWORTH,

Box 1861, Post-office, New York City, N. Y.

SIR: The Secretary of War directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th instant making inquiry relative to Colonel Willcox and to inform you that he has as yet received no information