War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0160 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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SAINT LOUIS, January 7, 1863.

Brigadier General E. B. BROWN, Springfield:

If men come from enemy's lines they must be taken and held as prisoners of war or as spies unless they swear and give bond to abjure all connection with the so-called Confederate rebellion and swear allegiance to the United States.

S. R. CURTIS,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS CAMP OF INSTRUCTIONS,

Benton Barracks, Mo., January 7, 1863.

Colonel WILLIAM HOFFMAN,

Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.

SIR: Having been directed by the major-general commanding the department to correspond with you directly in matters pertaining to paroled prisoners I have the honor to represent that cases are constantly occurring of the capture of civilians in the employ of the Government in the capacity of mechanics and otherwise. Upon being paroled they come here destitute of the means of subsistence or of returning to their homes sometimes as distant as New Orleans. They are referred for instructions from one headquarters to another, till at last they are sent to this post with no definite orders. They are generally anxious to be exchanged and to resume their employment. Until that is effected ought they [not] to be borne upon our list and subsisted like paroled soldiers? I would not trouble you with these questions, but these instances are occurring so frequently that I deem it well that the wishes of the Government in this subject should be distantly understood.

All of which is respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. L. E. BONNEVILLE,

Colonel, U. S. Army, Commanding.

[Indorsement.]

OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,

January 14, 1863.

Respectfully referred to the Quartermaster-General. Probably most of these men referred to have been exchanged under the recent declaration and they may be again employed by the Government.

W. HOFFMAN,

Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Office Provost-Marshal-General, January 7, 1863.

Colonel W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners, &c.

COLONEL: I beg leave to invite your attention to the loose and irregular manner in which exchanged U. S. prisoners from the Parole Camp at Annapolis are returned to the Army of the Potomac. Three large detachments have been recently landed at Acquia Creek under mere nominal control without orders or instructions of any kind. They come under the cognizance of this office only as stragglers, for through no fault of their own they are nothing else from the moment