War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0712 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

[Inclosure.]

OFFICE OF COMMISSARY OF SUBSISTENCE,

Richmond, Va., August 26, 1861.

Colonel L. B. NORTHROP,

Commissary-General of Subsistence, richmond, Va.

COLONEL: In compliance with instructions from you to report the circumstances concerning the presentation of certain bills connected with the prisoners of war and the refusal of the Subsistence Department to pay the bills I have the honor to state that not long since, the exact date not remembered, two parties presented bills for committing, releasing and boarding certain prisoners of war. By our direction I took the accounts to Mr. Bledsoe and understood from him that such accounts would be paid from out of the contingent fund of the War Department and that the accounts or bills should be first approved by the Secretary of War. I accordingly told the parties what Mr. Bledsoe said and heard nothing more of them. I beg leave further to say that the Subsistence Department could have nothing to do with such bills, as by act Numbers 181 of the second session of the Provisional Congress, section 1, approved May 21, 1861, all such expenditures should be made by the Quartermaster's Department.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. WILLIAMS,

Captain and Commissary of Subsistence.

RICHMOND, August 27, 1861.

Captain GEO. H. SMITH,

Heck's Virginia Regiment, Culpeper Court-House, Va.

CAPTAIN: Efforts have been made to obtain exchange of prisoners from the United States Government but no response has been received, and until arrangements are made and communicated you must remain as you are.

I am, sir, &c.,

R. H. CHILTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

ABERDEEN, MISS., August 28, 1861.

Honorable JEFFERSON DAVIS, Richmond.

Pardon a private suggestion. It can do no harm. What disposition is to be made of our prisoners is a prominent theme of discussion among the people. The United States refuse to exchange or to recognize the principle. They have but few prisoners in comparison with the number in our possession even if they would. they also refuse to permit their soldiers taken by uss to observe the honorable obligation of a parole. Are we then to cut their throats or to discharge them under threat and with the probability of having them again sent against us? We would not do the first, neither will our safety permit nor the civilized world require that we adopt the latter alternative. Are we then compelled to feed, clothe and exhaust our scanty stock of medicines in supporting and nursing them? I think not.

There is a medium policy. Let these prisoners be confined in a place or places most eligible in reference to such a policy and then give notice to the United States Government that after a certain day no more food, clothing or medicine will be furnished said prisoners by the Confederate