state prisoners left here for exchange Saturday last. The only instructions in relation to state prisoners came from the military governor yesterday. In obedience to said instructions I am now preparing a roll of state prisoners and will forward the same to the military governor as soon as completed. Had I received any orders from General Hitchcock or yourself in relation to the subject alluded to in your note, viz, "the rolls of citizen prisoners which you are now preparing should have been furnished some days since," I should have complied with such instructions, but I cannot understand now I am to execute orders which I never received and which are not anticipated by me. Endeavoring to be prompt and faithful to all requirements which may be expected from me,
I remain, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM P. WOOD,
Superintendent Old Capitol Prison.
MILITARY PRISON, Alton, Ill., March 19, 1863.
Colonel W. HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.
COLONEL: Having at length been placed in command of this prison a question has arisen between Colonel Hildebrand, the commandant of this post, and myself as to the nature of my duties and the extent of my authority and control over the prison and its inmates. This question is one of some consequence, and if not settled soon and the duties of the prison commander more clearly defined will I fear lead to trouble and may be an obstacle in the way of my performance of my duties in a satisfactory manner to myself at least. There is nothing on file here that I can find which defines the duties and extent of authority of the commandant of the prison separate and apart from that of the commandant of the post. Both these duties have heretofore been confined to the one officer, but as this command is now to be divided it appears to me that the duties of each commander should be properly determined in order that the one may not unnecessarily encroach upon the prerogatives of the other. Colonel Hildebrand has I believe laid his view of this subject before you. Mine is that being commander of the prison I ought to have the entire control of it and of the prisoners confined subject only to such orders as I may receive from time to time from you. This subject is submitted to you with the hope that you will give it your earliest attention so that I may be able to perform my share of the duties here such as they be understandingly and in a satisfactory manner. I find also that the provost-marshal-general of the Department of the Missouri, Lieutenant-Colonel Dick, of the Missouri State Militia, assumes authority over this prison so far as to send prisoners here and to take them away upon his own order. I would like to be informed how far I am subject to the order of Lieutenant-Colonel Dick, and to what extent I am under the control of Colonel Hildebrand, the commander of the troops here, in the performance of my duties in the prison.
I have the honor to be, sir, with much respect, your most obedient servant,
Major Third Infantry, Commandant of Prison.
24 R R-SERIES II, VOL V