War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0245 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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Saint Louis, Mo., February 5, 1863.

Colonel W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners.

COLONEL: Your dispatch of the 4th asking the number of citizen prisoners arrested by military authority, including guerrillas, received. The answer is being made up and will be sent in an hour by telegraph. It will be impossible to have the precise number stated, as I do not receive constant reports from Alton and especially not as to the deaths there. I request that Colonel Hildebrand be instructed to report to this office once a week the deaths and releases of prisoners at Alton under charge of this office. I wish to make known to your what work I am now having done in this office. Finding no reliable records of prisoners excepting one single book, which was a mere list stating the time of capture, county and place where imprisoned, and that book considerably behind I have for weeks been engaged in calling the roll of every prisoner under my control. I ascertain if there is evidence in examined and in a large number of cases I have to send to other points for evidence. When all the evidence can be obtained then the case is made up and passed upon. I have already ascertained by this process that a large number of prisoners about whom I could get no reliable impression are criminals of the worst character, and having now procured the evidence against them I have asked Major-General Curtis to appoint a military commission or a court-martial that these men may be tried. This tribunal will be sitting in a short time and its decisions will be reported to you without delay. I am having made a roll of every prisoner in my charge which states briefly his case and the disposition made of him. To-day I send to Alton a clerk to procure an accurate list of the prisoners there, and as soon as the cases in Saint Louis have been disposed of I will take up the Alton list and go through with it as rapidly as possible. When these lists are completed I will send to you a coy of them. It may appear to you that it takes a long time to have these back cases examined, but the work has been kept constantly going forward. The greatest obstacle that I have to contend with his the insufficient evidence sent forward by the officers who capture the prisoners. They deliver them over to the nearest post and from there they are sent forward, with an imperfect list and a few remarks; the officers are off again in the field and do or can furnish but little evidence, so that the most of the evidence I act upon is the statements made by the prisoners.

I have the honor, colonel, to be your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel and Provost-Marshal-General.

HEADQUARTERS, Annapolis, Md., February 5, 1863.

Colonel W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners.

SIR: I have the honor to inclose you a report* which I procured from Captain Mulford to-day as to the accident at Richmond which I reported to you. I am happy to see that the report after hi investigation has much reduced the loss of life and limb. To-day I received 750 men from Richmond and a complete set of rolls, in care of Captain Mulford, Third Regiment New York Volunteers. Three of the men had individual paroles, which I sent to you to-day. Captain Mulford sent


*See inclosure to letter from Sangster to Hoffman, same date, p. 246.