War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0300 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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the same consideration as deserters, but as they might if prevented by dread of imprisonment from returning remain in the rebel ranks it is good policy to encourage their return home, always provided they are to be trusted. If any doubt exists as to their reliability they should be sent with proper written charges and proofs to Camp Chase as political prisoners. They cannot be considered as prisoners of war and are not entitled to the immunities granted that class by the cartel agreed upon by the United States with the rebel authorities.

3. Still another class is to be found in Kentucky who while never heaving left their homes or taken up arms in the rebel cause have by their acts proved themselves enemies to the United States. These on proper proof should be arrested and sent always with written charges and proofs to Camp Chase as political prisoners. Many such give no chance for obtaining evidence of their disloyalty, while they are notoriously disloyal. Such persons are arrested whenever a sound judgment indicated a necessity for it as they are often more dangerous than open enemies. Often they are discharged when the necessity for their confinement passes. In applying the preceding principles you will observe that much is let to your own judgment necessarily.

I would, however, state that great prudence should be exercised in the matter of arrests. Old fends, more recent dislikes, have an influence in controlling the judgments of the most loyal, and experience has shown that individuals entirely innocent of any disloyal design may be arrested and imprisoned upon the evidence of the over-zealous patriot or of the designing enemy. The numerous discharges of prisoners from Camp Chase illustrates this. I refer to this experience to put you on your guard against hearsay evidence. While every real enemy of the Union should be put where he could do no harm it is all important for the good of the cause that the innocent should not suffer even for a time through false representations.

I would further state that any permission such as seems to be granted by Colonel Cranor does not protect a person from another arrest. To be entitled to this immunity the individual must have so conducted himself as to have proved his loyalty. He must be beyond suspicion.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. G. WRIGHT,

Major-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS EXCHANGED AND PAROLED PRISONERS,

Near Alexandria, Va., February 26, 1863.

Colonel W. HOFFMAN, U. S. Army,

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

COLONEL: I received your letter of 24th instant yesterday afternoon directing me to forward all paroled and exchanged prisoners in this camp belonging to regiments serving in the West to Camp Parole, Annapolis, Md., at once. I will be unable to comply with your directions immediately as I do not know the regiments that are serving in the West. I therefore respectfully request to be furnished with a list of such regiments and on receipt of it I will promptly comply with your orders.

With regard to the 400 exchanged troops here reported on my weekly report of the 20th instant and calling for an explanation as to their detention here I beg to refer you to the column "for duty" on that report the figures of which only show 147. Out of that number