Port Royal Harbor, S. C., May 19, 1863.
Major General D. HUNTER,
Commanding Dept. of the South, Hdqrs. Hilton Head, S. C.
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 18th instant referring to the prisoners taken by the naval forces on Edisto Island and now on the Vermont.
I had reserved these men for a particular purpose, viz, to effect an exchanged for the officers of the U. S. S. Isaac Smith captured in Stono or I should have delivered them over to you before.
By the papers and private sources I have learned that all these officers have been exchanged and therefore the object for retaining them has apparently ceased; but as I have written to the Department for special instructions in reference to these very prisoners I would prefer to wait a few days to give time for an answer to my communication.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. F. DU PONT,
Rear-Admiral, Commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
Washington, May 19, 1863.
Colonel S. B. HOLABIRD, Chief Quartermaster, New Orleans, La.
COLONEL: John Walker, late captain of the U. S. tug-boat Fox, Martin B. Woolfley, engineer of the said boat, and the crew, consisting of twenty-one men including the two named, will receive transportation from this place to New Orleans on the requisition of the commissary-general of prisoners. It is represented that they were captured at Pass a I'Outre 12th April, midnight, and carried into Mobile, thence forwarded to Richmond and paroled for exchange and sent to Annapolis, thence to Washington City. A court of inquiry should be held upon this affair as soon as the crew arrive in New Orleans.
M. C. MEIGS,
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, May 19, 1863.
Major General E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Military Governor, &c., Washington, D. C.
SIR: The Secretary of War directs that unless specially authorized no Confederate prisoners of war will be released upon the condition of taking the oath of allegiance to the Government of the United States.
Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
ED. R. S. CANBY,
Brigadier-General and Assistant Adjutant-General.
WAR DEPARTMENT, May 19, 1863.
COLONEL: The Secretary of War intends that this order shall have a general application.
ED. R. S. CANBY,