War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0738 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Raleigh, N. C., November 4, 1861.

Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Acting Secretary of War.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that in pursuance of your directions Colonel William Johnston has contracted for the purchase of the factory near Salisbury for a prison depot, and you may forthwith close the contract by sending on the purchase money, with the necessary directions for its immediate preparation for the purposes you intended.

D. A. Davis, esq. (now cashier of the Salisbury Bank), would be a suitable person to act as temporary agent in buying lumber, putting up palings and repairing generally. A commissary is immediately wanted, for provisions are scarce, and a temporary guard must by supplied till I can enlist one or more companies under the law for "local defense and special," as you direct. I may find some difficulty as the guarding of prisoners is an unpopular service.

The recent gale struck the enemy's fleet off Cape Fear and the steamer Union was beached ten miles south of Fort Macon. At present I have no particulars, except a dispatch saying that seventy-three persons from her wreck are on their way to this place as prisoners. I have nowhere to keep them, but will guard them in an inclosed yard till they can be sent up to Salisbury depot.

Four of our prisoners escaped from our inclosure last night, but they can't get out of the country. Our present location is a very insecure one.

Very respectfully,



Cumberland Gap, November 6, 1861.

Lieutenant-Colonel MACKALL,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Bowling Green, Ky.

SIR: Inclosed you will find a list* of the prisoners we still have under our charge and the circumstances under which they were taken as well as we can learn. Twenty-five of them are citizens of the State of Kentucky, six citizens of the State of Tennessee, and one a slave taken with his master at Wild Cat. All of them so far as we can ascertain were either taken in arms against the Confederate States or giving aid and comfort to our enemies. the Kentuckians we of course regard as prisoners of war but can the Tennesseeans be looked upon in the same light? The general commanding desires to be informed as to the disposition he shall make of both classes of these prisoners.

Very respectfully,


Assistant Adjutant-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, November 9, 1861.

Brigadier General JOHN H. WINDER, Richmond, Va.

SIR: You are hereby instructed to choose by lot from among the prisoners of war of highest rank one who is to be confined in a cell appropriated to convicted felons and who is to be treated in all respects as if such convict, and to be held for execution in the same manner as


*Not found.