War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0820 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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around Lieutenant Stewart striking at him, but with admirable coolness and dexterity he warded their blows with a gun, and when an officer rode up and ordered him to surrender, with a characteristic reply, "Never, while I can kill a hireling," he fired shooting the officer through the head; then throwing his gun down surrendered. Such, sir, is a faithful statement which we make, knowing you cannot but admire his conduct.


Lieutenant, Commanding Company F.

[And thirty-nine others.]


Van Buren, March 17, 1862.

Dr. E. McD. Coffey, surgeon First Cavalry, First Brigade, Missouri volunteers, and Rev. G. W. Rogers, chaplain Second Regiment Infantry, are prisoners of war on parole for the purpose of procuring clothing for our wounded now in the vicinity of Elk Horn. Commanders of brigades, regiments, &c., will have immediate steps taken for placing such clothing as can be sent for their wounded at the office of the provost-marshal, subject to the order of the above-named gentlemen.

By order of Major General Earl Van Dorn:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT, March 17, 1862.


In the report made to you at the commencement of the present session the following passage was contained:

Negotiations with the enemy have recently been in progress for the exchange of prisoners. They are not yet entirely completed and to avoid further delay in submitting this report they will be presented in a separate communication.

The negotiations have now been concluded in a manner little to be expected and I present a narrative of the action of this Department on the subject.

When Congress first determined to use private armed vessels for the public defense the President of the United States declared his purpose to treat our seamen on such vessels as pirates. No apprehension was entertained of any attempt to put this menace in execution. The putting to death of prisoners of war is regarded as murder by all civilized nations, and it was considered certain that the judgment of mankind would suffice to deter the enemy from the commission of such a crime. When, however, some of our fellow-citizens were captured on privateers they were treated as felons, confined in the jails appropriated to criminals and one of them was capitally convicted for no other crime than fighting at sea in the defense of his country. Under these circumstances the following order was issued by the Department:

RICHMOND, November 9, 1861.

Brigadier General JOHN H. WINDER, Richmond.

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 may be adopted by the enemy for the execution of the prisoner of war, Smith, recently condemned to death in Philadelphia.