War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0447 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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place has consented to exchange me in accordance with an arrangement entered into by the contending partie for an officer of equal rank or officers of inferior rank, agreeing to the proposition without hesitation. I have confidence that the arrangement will be satisfactory and speedily consummated that I may be allowed to return to my regiment as early as possible.

Very respectfully,

JOEL A. BATTLE,

Colonel Twentieth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers.

N. B. - I have recovered from my injuries so as to be able to walk.

J. A. B.

HEADQUARTERS MISSOURI STATE MILITIA,

Saint Louis, Mo., April 12, 1862.

Brigadier General BEN LOAN,

Commanding District Northwest Missouri, Saint Joseph, Mo.

SIR: The question presented in your letter of the 7th instant, viz: What is to be done with refugees from the rebel army, can hardly be answered by any general rule so various are the characters of these men and so different in degree their crimes. As a class they are to be treated as prisoners of war and send to Saint Louis for confinement in the military prisons.

The chief exceptions are, first, those who have been guilty of crimes other than the general one of rebellion. These should be tried by a military commission. Second, those who voluntarily surrender themselves with the avowed purpose of becoming loyal citizens may be released upon taking the oath and giving bond. It must rest with the district commander to decide whether any particular case shall be dealt with thus leniently. No officer of inferior rank and responsibility should be permitted to exercise such discretion. District commanders having now the power to appoint military commissions trials of military criminals may be speedy and conviction comparatively certain.

These are briefly my views of the question which is rather one of policy than of military law, and I believe are substantially those of General Halleck. I shall be glad to receive any suggestions which your judgment and experience may dictate from time to time regarding this and all other matters. Regarding the appointment of provost-marshals I think it would be well to have one in each county as a general rule. They will be appointed by the provost-marshal-general on your nomination. There is no difficulty in the way of having a large number. They must be military officers of serve without pay.

I doubt the propriety of revoking all of Colonel Morgan's safeguards, though no doubt many of them were issued very imprudently. They should of course be revoked in all cases in which they have been abused, or their holders have since their issue shown themselves unworthy of them. It may be that Colonel Morgan gave safeguards beyond the proper limits of his authority; if so they should be revoked. I is a matter in which you have full power to act according to your discretion.

I am not unmindful of the embarrassments under which you have labored in the discharge of your various duties. We have had great trouble in getting the needed supplies for our troops, and have found it impossible to have them on hand as soon as wanted. But I hope our