HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
Columbus, Ohio, January 3, 1863.
Colonel N. H. McLEAN, Cincinnati, Ohio.
COLONEL: I am frequently subject to embarrassment from the irregular manner in which orders respecting paroled prisoners are transmitted to me from Washington. Instead of such orders reaching me through Major-General Wright, commanding the department, as I presume they ought to do, they are sent directly to me. The result of the neglect to send such orders through the major-general commanding the department has been in several instances a conflict in the commands which I have received. A conflict of this kind at present exists. On the 10th instant I received through Colonel Hoffman an order from Washington to have the paroled prisoners immediately mustered for payment in order that they might be paid before being sent forward to their regiments. This I could scarcely construe otherwise than as an order to muster the prisoners and retain them here until they should be pad. notwithstanding I and at the same time a general order from the commander of this department to forward the paroled prisoners to their respective commands as soon as I was informed of their exchange. A day or two ago I received from General Boyle an order* to send the Kentucky prisoners who have been exchanged to their regiments in the field. This I cannot do without violating the order of the Secretary of War received through Colonel Hoffman, commissary- general of prisoners. I presume I am not wrong in supposing that the major-general commanding the department has the command of all troops, paroled and non- paroled, within the limits of his department. If this be so to prevent embarrassment all orders to officers subordinate to him should be transmitted through his headquarters. I cannot with propriety suggest this to the authorities at Washington, but I am sure it would promote regularity and order as well as prevent such embarrassments as those I have referred to.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO,
Cincinnati, Ohio, February 6, 1863.
Respectfully referred to the Adjutant-General of the Army with the request that instructions to the commanding officers of camps of prisoners within this department may be transmitted through these headquarters, and as far as practicable al orders or instructions for commanding officers serving in this department may be so transmitted to them.
By order of Major-General Wright:
C. W. FOSTER,
Assistant Adjutant- General.
OFFICE COMMISSARY- GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., January 3, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel W. H. LUDLOW,
Agent for Exchange of Prisoners, Fort Monroe, Va.
COLONEL: I have the honor to inclose herewith receipts+ for 1,131 prisoners of war delivered at Vicksburg, and also rolls of Federal prisoners
*Refers to General Order Numbers 31, December 14, p. 83.