It is the duty of the Government to subsist the prisoners, and as there is no doubt some honest misapprehension between General Winder and some of your subordinates I hope you will make inquiry and thus prevent a recurrence of like delays.
L. P. WALKER,
Secretary of War.
ADJT. AND ISNP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 134.
Richmond, August 26, 1861.
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V. Private Henry Wirz, of the Madison Infantry, Louisiana volunteers, will report for duty to General J. H. Winder, in this city.
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By command of the Secretary of War:
CONFEDERATE STATES, August 26, 1861.
The Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR, Richmond.
SIR: I have the honor to address you under the impression that you have more prisoners of war than you or the Confederacy care to maintain. Knowing the character of the foreign Catholics, particularly the Irish, you can rest assured that if you make them take an oath administered by a priest or a chaplain before an altar in a Roman Catholic church that there is no danger of their taking up arms against us afterwards. By releasing them it may put a stop to Doctor Lincoln's obtaining any others when they hear from these how they have been treated.
All which is respectfully submitted.
BY A CITIZEN AND CATHOLIC.
P. S. -Let none have this privilege who have not confessed and communed to a priest for they cannot be trusted.
RICHMOND, August 27, 1861.
Honorable L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War.
SIR: I have been subsisting prisoners and prefer continuing to do so because I do not want any competition in the purchase of supplies. I expect the cost will be reimbursed to this department by the Quartermaster's Department. the bills referred to in Captain Williams' letter were treated as therein described. Certainly nothing offensive was said to the parties. I know it was explained to them. Another came in this morning and I directed Captain Williams to take it down to the quartermaster's office and refer to the law on which the bill was ordered to be paid. If General Winder will refer to the law he will find the place to which these bills should be presented.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. B. NORTHROP,
Commissary-General of Subsistence.