The right to determine who shall be permitted to remain within the camps of our armies belongs necessarily to the commanding generals. If they regard the presence of slaves within their camps as injurious or dangerous to the military service they may expel them without any violation of existing laws, but this power must be exercised in good faith and solely on the ground named. If such expulsion is based upon a decision made by the commander on any claim to the service or labor of such slaves or if the object of expelling such slaves from the camp is to place them within the reach of those claiming to be their owners then such order expulsion would be a violation of the letter and sprite of the tenth of the act of 17th of July, ch. 195. The conduct of Colonel Bond as stated by Major Sherwood was a palpable infraction of this law and Brigadier-General Boyle should be required to report the facts in regard to it and also to communicate to the Secretary of War the ground upon which and the purpose for which his order of 27th November was issued. It has been alleged that the numerous class of negroes mentioned in the ninth section of the act referred to and who when found within any place occupied by the forces of the United States are declared to be free are under this order treated as slaves and driven from our military camps into the meshes of men who thrust them into prison as fugitives, with the intention of having them afterwards sold into servitude under the local laws. Any military officer detected in prostituting his police power over his camp to give aid, however remote, to such practices as these should be at once dishonorably dismissed the service.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, April 9, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.
SIR: Pursuant to instructions from the War Department I have the honor to report that in my judgment it would seem to be advisable to prepare barracks at Fort Delaware to accommodate in all 10,000 prisoners of war. It is possible that we may never have occasion to prepare for so many, but the chances are in favor of our having quite that number to take care of occasionally thought it may be only for a short time, and it will probably be the best economy and certainly the most convenient course to be prepared permanently for any number that may be thrown in our hands at any one time. We may depend on the use of tents for any number over 10,000, though they make the most expensive kind of shelter for prisoners of war who feel no interest in preventing their destruction. Besides prisoners are more readily controlled while in barracks, for tents must necessarily occupy a large tract of ground which greatly increase the difficulty of guarding them.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.
WASHINGTON, April 9, 1863.
Major-General GRANT, Before Vicksburg:
Please inform me if the crew of the Queen of the West belongs to Ellett's brigade.
Commissary-General of Prisoners.