OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., March 14, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel W. H. LUDLOW,
Agent for Exchange of Prisoners, Fort Monroe, Va.
COLONEL: I inclose herewith a copy of the general orders* just issued in relation to paroles which is to govern officers on our side hereafter. Its provisions are all very proper and are consistent with the requirements of the cartel. Whether the Richmond Government will be satisfied with it remains to be seen. In many instances small squads of men and individuals have been paroled by only doubtful authority, and just turned loose with no report of them, or a very meager one. The parties, nevertheless, are under the obligation of their paroles, and can only be relieved by an exchange or by a mutual understanding of the authorities. Is it not possible for you to make an arrangement with Mr. Ould by which such paroles may be canceled and that hereafter in all matters of parole the usage of war as announced in General Orders, Numbers 49, shall govern all parties? I have no instructions in relation to this order, and offer the above only as my own suggestions.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.
P. S. - Since writing the foregoing I have consulted the General-in-Chief, who approves the suggestions.
MURFREESBOROUGH, TENN., March 16, 1863.
Brigadier General L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General:
About December 10 I notified General Bragg that no more prisoners would be received from the Confederates unless delivered in accordance with the terms of the cartel. Finding they continued to parole and release our men and that men went out to get paroled, and even then rebel citizens paroled them, I published an order carrying out my notice to General Bragg. Under this order almost an entire stop has been put to paroling, but General Halleck says it was inexpedient to enforce it until further notice to the rebels as the Department was not advised that I had given official notice more than a month before this order was published. As it is of vital importance to the service that the order should be enforced here I respectfully ask a reconsideration of these instructions. The troops awaiting this decision are now a nuisance in our camp and many who have been paroled make their way across the country home and are lost. I hope the rigor of the order will cause its execution to be approved.
W. S. ROSECRANS,
WASHINGTON, March 16, 1863.
Colonel WILLIAM HOFFMAN:
Doctor Rucker is said to be held a prisoner at Liberty, Bedford County, Va. Renew your demand for his release and say that if he is treated otherwise than as a prisoner of war I shall recommend relation and in the strongest terms. Place Doctor Green in close confinement.
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers, &c.
* See p. 306.