War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0262 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, February 10, 1863.

Major-General SCHENCK, Baltimore:

The commanding general of a department has authority to try or to release prisoners whom he arrests. It is not necessary to refer such cases to these headquarters.




Columbia, Tenn., February 10, 1863.

General J. C. DAVIS, Commanding U. S. Forces.

GENERAL: I have recently captured forty-eight non-commissioned officers and privates belonging to the Federal Army which were paroled and sent into Fort Donelson. We have here six of your men captured a few days since which have not been paroled, also Captain Von Minden, of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, and First Lieutenant Samuel Mitchell, the latter captured at Fort Donelson on the 3rd instant. At the earnest solicitation of Captain Von Minden I send a flag of truce in charge of Lieutenant J. G. Clouston, of Major-General Wheeler's staff, for the purpose of exchanging him for Captain Rambaut, my commissary, who I am informed was captured by your forces a few days since. I am willing to exchange the six men here for an equal number of men of mine [now in your] possession, or any of my command you may have paroled and sent out of your lines. Lieutenant Clouston also has in his charge a list of the forty-eight prisoners sent into Fort Donelson, which list has not yet been forwarded to the War Department of the Confederate States, any of whom I will release from their paroles in exchange for any of my men who may have fallen into your hands. Lieutenant Clouston is fully authorized and empowered to receive any prisoners of my command you may have and erase from the list the names of an equal number of those captured by us and to give you official notification in writing of the release from parole of the men whose names are thus erased. He is also authorized, should it meet your approbation, to arrange time and place for the exchange of Captains Von Minden and Rambaut and the six men now here in our possession. Any arrangements made by Lieutenant Clouston will be ratified by me and carried out in good faith.

I am, general, very respectfully, yours,




Washington, D. C., February 10, 1863.

Brigadier General J. AMMEN, Commanding Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill.

GENERAL: In reply to your letter of the 6th instant I have the honor to inform you that by General Orders, Numbers 60, of January 6, 1862, from the War Department, all medical officers taken prisoners are to be unconditionally released, but of course it is expected that their position will be well established. It is very possible that the two prisoners who apply to be recognized as surgeons are entitled to the position, but it is necessary that there should be some official evidence of the fact, and I have therefore to request that you will telegraph to General Curtis or General McClernand for information. When it is established