department of provost-marshal of this State is one of great labor, and every facility should be given to enable that officer to furnish the commissary-general with accurate information.
Second. If the department should wish me to continue those duties I would ask to be detached from my regiment, as the labor is so great I cannot perform it.
Third. There should be at least three clerks in this department to keep up the work. For the last sixteen months I have performed the labor myself with the assistance of one man, and he an ordinary clerk. I am broken down and I can perform if no longer without the above-named assistance.
Fourth. The provost-marshal's department should be separate from that of the military and be required to report direct to the department at Washington in relation to everything connected with prisoners.
Fifth. Giving general supervision to the commanding officer of the district over said department.
Sixth. An order should be made giving the provost-marshal the power to permit such prisoners as are bare of clothing to be furnished with same by their friends or to be furnished by Government.
Seventh. All articles of contraband of war found with prisoners should be sold for the benefit of prison.
Eighth. Several slaves have been brought to the prison with their masters who were captured, said slaves having acted as cooks, &c. I should like to know what shall be done with them. If we turn them loose in Kentucky they are liable to be arrested by the civil authorities, placed in the county jail and sold for jail fees, and if individuals or corporations put them across the Ohio River they are liable for their value by civil proceeding. Our people protest against their being let loose in our midst.
Ninth. There is a divided sentiment in this State as to what disposition shall be made of deserters and what we term political prisoners. There are but few men arrested but what have friends among the Union people, who make strong appeals for their release. Some general rule on this subject would save us much trouble.
Colonel and Provost-Marshal-General.
HDQRS. MILITARY DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON, D. C.,
December 6, 1862.
WILLIAM P. WOOD, Superintendent Old Capitol Prison.
SIR: You will please forward as soon as possible a list of Union men released from the Salisbury Prison, N. C., by your intercession while you were there in your capacity as commissioner from the Military District of Columbia.
This list is necessary for the information of Colonel Hoffman, commissary-general of prisoners, in order that he may see the situation of the prisoners recently sent from Richmond, who instead of being treated as exchanged prisoners have been released on parole.
I wish the information to be such as to show Colonel Hoffman that the Southern Confederacy, so-called, repudiated a proper, legal and honorable exchange.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN P. SHERBURNE,