General Rosecrans desires me to state to you: First, a flag of truce is a solemn public embassy sent for important purposes of war or humanity by the superior commanders of opposing forces and duly accredited by the sender. No subordinate can send a flag of truce nor can it pursue any by or side road. Second, any one using a flag of truce otherwise is liable to be denied the privileges of civilized soldiers in battle and those who carry the flag to be treated as spies.
General Morgan ought to know this. It has been the subject of correspondence between General Rosecrans and General Bragg. General Bragg informed General Rosecrans before General Morgan was married that he had already given orders in reference to this matter. General Rosecrans therefore desires me to say to you that if under these circumstances by going to General Morgan's headquarters you can procure any evidence that will relieve you from the charge and save you from the fate of a spy you may go on your parole to return in three days and bring with you such sworn and other testimony as you may be able to procure.
I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. P. THRUSTON,
Captain and Acting Aide-de-Camp.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, January 12, 1863.
Brigadier General M. R. PATRICK,
Provost-Marshal-General, Army of the Potomac, Falmouth, Va.
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th instant, and I must express my regret that there has been so much neglect in forwarding exchanged troops from the camp at Annapolis to your headquarters. It shall be remedied. I require that they should be sent under the command of the senior officer by water and that as complete rolls as possible by regiments should be sent with them. After consulting with the Adjutant-General at Army Headquarters it was deemed not advisable to furnish the detachment with arms and equipments because regiments in the field are generally encumbered with surplus arms, and as the number of men to a regiment rarely exceeds fifty, generally much less, it was thought there would be no difficulty in equipping them after joining. To carry out your wishes in this particular it will be necessary to put in force at Annapolis the order issued for Camp Banks, and I respectfully urge that officers be sent from the Army of the Potomac for this service. Guards were not ordered to accompany the detachment because I assumed that not being prisoners they would be conducted by their officers as all other troops are, but if a guard had been necessary there were no troops at Annapolis to furnish it. I inclose herewith a copy* of a letter just received from the commanding officer at Camp Parole, Annapolis, reporting the condition of paroled prisoners just arrived from Richmond, Va., and this is only a repetition of what has been done before more than once. It is a matter of great difficulty to force officers in charge of such commands to perform their duty properly. Instructions however specific are of little avail.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.
* Not found.