were as follows, viz: At the time of the capture of the prisoners mentioned no blank rolls of prisoners had ever been received in this department and consequently the exact form in which these rolls were to be made out was not known here; and further that these prisoners were paroled on the battle-field and the paroles are in consequence probably not as perfect as they should be. It was impossible to carry the prisoners with the army on the forced marches, not only on account of the guard required but also on account of the limited supply of commissary stores with which the army was furnished. Inclosed I have the honor to forward the paroles* taken from the prisoners. Most of the prisoners you will observe were captured at or near Kinston, N. C., during the fight there December 14. These men agreed, in addition to the parole signed by them, not to leave the town of Kinston for forty-eight hours after the departure of the U. S. forces from that place. All the others with the exception of those whose parole is dated at New Berne were captured between New Berne and Kinston and sent to New Berne under guard and thence sent by flag of truce December 25 1862, to the enemy's line. This statement will account for our not having a receipt from a Confederate officer for the prisoners. As it may aid in effecting an exchange I would also state that an exact copy of the list sent to General Hitchcock was forwarded by flag of truce to Major General S. G. French, C. S. Army, commanding Department of North Carolina. I also inclose* a list of three Confederate officers now confined at this post.
Hoping that these paroles and this explanation will do away with the difficulties in the way of an exchange.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. WESSELLS,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., January 29, 1863.
Honorable J. K. MOORHEAD, Member of Congress, Washington.
SIR: In reply to your letter of the 25th instant inclosing complaints from paroled soldiers at Camp Parole I have the honor to inform you that those complaints are without any real foundation. The rations have been reduced by my order with the approval of the Secretary of War because the allowance was much greater than was at all necessary, and the surplus is converted into a fund through the Subsistence Department which is disbursed under my orders for the benefit of the camp. As one step toward preserving discipline two roll-calls are required a day, and to punish those who neglect to attend the commanding officer stops their rations almost the only means of punishment in his power. Arrangements are being made for their payment. It may already have been done. There is no interference with their correspondence.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.
15 R R-SERIES II, VOL V