War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0037 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,

Washington, D. C., December 7, 1862.

Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.

COLONEL: Much embarrassment and injury to the service is experienced from the practice which generally prevails of sending paroled Federal troops from the lines to interior camps without rolls of any kind or which very imperfect ones, and also of paroling rebel prisoners without making any report of the circumstances or furnishing any rolls. Recently a detachment of 200 or 300 paroled troops arrived at Camp Parole unaccompanied by rolls, and officers and men paroled by the enemy have straggled in from the Army of the Potomac and reported to me having nothing in writing to show their position. But partial rolls have yet reached this office of the rebels captured at Corinth and Iuka, and these are far from satisfactory. To remedy this evil I respectfully suggest that an order be issued immediately and widely circulated to all commanders requiring that in all cases where our troops are captured by the enemy and paroled the senior officer present shall cause to be prepared and forwarded to this office with as little delay as practicable a full list by regiments and companies of all so paroled, giving the rank, regiment and company of each person, the time and place of capture and the disposition made of them; also that like rolls shall be repaired and furnished to this office of all rebel prisoners captured by our forces.

When the circumstances are such that a roll cannot be immediately prepared a written report giving the number of officers and men, the time and place of capture and the disposition made of them shall be made, to be followed by the necessary rolls at the earliest practicable moment. I would suggest also that when rebel prisoners are sent to Vicksburg for exchange commanders be required to send duplicate rolls with them, one to remain with the agent who receives them and the other with his receipt upon it to be forwarded to the Adjutant-General marked for the commissary-general of prisoners.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. HOFFMAN,

Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.

[Indorsement.]

ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, January 7, 1863.

Attention is respectfully invited to the subject of this letter and of the inclosed General Orders, Numbers 163.

By order of the Secretary of War:

E. D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure.]

GENERAL ORDERS,

WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 163.

Washington, October 22, 1862.

Whenever prisoners of war are released on parole and sent through the lines the officers who release them will immediately send rolls to the Adjutant-General of the Army containing an exact list of the prisoners' names, rank, regiment, date and place of capture and date of release on parole. These rolls are indispensable in effecting exchange of prisoners.

By order of the Secretary of War:

L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General.