War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0499 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,

Washington, D. C., April 20, 1863.

Brigadier General JOHN S. MASON, Commanding, Columbus, Ohio.

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 17th instant suggesting that authority be given to you to grant short furloughs to paroled soldiers and in reply I have to inform you that your letter has been submitted to the General-in-Chief for his action.

In accordance with it I have referred a recommendation heretofore made that a permanent guard be established at Camp Chase, the commander of which should be the permanent commander of the camp and the prison. In reply to your second letter of the same date I have to state that the control of the prison was placed entirely in the hands of the guard specially designated for it, the commander thereof having sole authority over the prison and prisoners. This arrangement was made with the understanding that General Cooper was to command the camp and avoid the continual changes which would otherwise take place by the frequent changes of the troops at the camp. The irregularities which are reported by Captain Drake are all in violation of my instruction for the government of the prison. The officer of the day of the camp should have nothing to do with the inside of the prison, and the improprieties committed by the violation of this rule show how necessary it is that there should be no interference with the prisoners by a person not under the authority of the commander of the prison.

My letter to General Cooper and my instructions to the commander of the guard will explain how this command is to be understood. It is probable all the prisoners will be removed from Camp Chase to Johnson's Island very soon and this will obviate all the difficulties growing out of a divided command, but in the meantime I will be much indebted to you if you will have me informed of any irregularities occurring at the prison that may be brought to your notice.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. HOFFMAN,

Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.

U. S. MISSISSIPPI SQUADRON, April 20, 1863.

JOHN A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General.

SIR: Your communication of yesterday has been received. The crew of the Queen of the West do belong to Ellet's brigade, although not soldiers, being hired men for a specified time as master, pilots, mates, deck-hands, &c. The crew proper work the vessel, in addition to which they have soldiers who fight her.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

K. R. BREESE,

Lieutenant-Commander, U. S. Navy.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,

Fort Monroe, April 20, 1863.

Honorable ROBERT OULD, Agent for Exchange of Prisoners.

SIR: On the 11th instant I sent to City Point in charge of Lieutenant-Colonel Matson ten Confederate officers who had not been exchanged. I inclose herewith a copy of my letter of that date* giving

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* Not found.

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