War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0331 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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of these battalions, the Fourth, embracing the Western troops is composed of about 3,000 men, divided into thirty-three companies and the whole under the charge of Captain Miller, who is the only commissioned officer with the whole battalion; and the company organization is a merely temporary matter, with non-commissioned officers acting as such for the time they are at the camp, and under these circumstances it could not be expected that the same interest could be manifested in the company's welfare, with an organization composed of men of various States and only for a temporary purpose, as under other circumstances. Of the eleven paroled officers at Camp Parole but four are convalescents, so as to be reported for duty, and consequently two of the battalions are without any commissioned officer at all, and Colonel Sangster has but two permanent assistant officers, his major and adjutant, besides these four, in the whole camp of nearly 6,000 men, with the exception of the officer in command of the portion of the cavalry stationed at the camp. The disposition generally manifested by the paroled officers is to avoid duty if possible rather than attend to the wants of their men, and the spirit exhibited seems to be a prominent desire to complain and encourage discontent among the men rather than to remedy their discomforts. The commanding officer at Camp Parole represents that he has great difficulty in getting them to perform duty necessary for the simple care of the paroled men, and in this connection I respectfully call your attention to the inclosed paper* marked B (2), in which by an order it is attempted to enforce the performance of certain duties. It is evident that proper attention cannot be given to the wants of men by officers of this disposition and by non-commissioned officers who regard their appointment as only temporary and which they may consider as increasing their duty at a time when so much desire is manifested to avoid duty under the restrictions of their paroles. It is in consequence of this characteristic of the paroled officers and the heterogeneous and temporary character of the organization of the men from various States, battalions and companies that I respectfully recommend that a least one energetic and efficient officer be permanently detailed at Camp Parole to take constant charge of every 500 men of which each battalion may be composed, and that each battalion should be divided into companies of 100 men each, to be under the control of an intelligent and competent non-commissioned officer permanently stationed at Camp Parole. I shall again refer to what I believe to be the advantage of this latter provision under the matter of supplies and records. In this manner the duties of the officers in charge of the various battalions could be reduced to a system and the comfort of the men immediately attended to through non-commissioned officers interested in the requirements of their positions. At present one paroled officer having the Fourth Battalion in charge is alone in command of the 2,900 men of whom it is composed and of course cannot properly attend to all its duties, while some other battalions of a few hundred men have also one officer or none at all. The total number of men at the camp will be seen from the morning report* inclosed, marked B (3).

Records. - Upon the arrival of prisoners at Camp Parole the rolls of prisoners received are copied upon other sheets of the form commonly used for Confederate prisoners of war, giving the name, rank, regiment, company, where and when captured, where and when released and explanatory date. Upon the departure of detachments of prisoners quadruplicate rolls are made out. One copy is given to the officers


* Not found.