War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0752 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

CINCINNATI, June 6, 1863.

General HASCALL, Indianapolis:

I am glad to have you in this department and will as soon as you are relieved by Willcox assign you to important duty. You can make my telegram of last night public if you wish.

A. E. BURNSIDE,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD,

Near Okolona, June 6, 1863.

Brigadier General WILLIAM S. SMITH,

Commanding First Div., Federal Army Corps, La Grange, Tenn.

GENERAL: Your communication of the 27th ultimo to Captain S. G. Street, of the Mississippi State troops, now of the Confederate service, relative to an alleged murder of two Union soldiers by men of Captain Street's command while prisoners of war having been referred to me I have to state that no criminal conduct such as is charged against the soldiers of Captain Street's command within my knowledge has ever been encouraged much less sanctioned in our service, and I have ordered Kesterson and Robinson to be arrested and immediate and rigid inquiry to be made as to the facts and circumstances under which the two prisoners in their charge were killed, and will see that punishment be inflicted for any violation of the rules of civilized warfare or of common humanity. But it cannot be expected that I should placed them in the hands of an enemy who have already and without the means of ascertaining all the facts prejudged them.

I regret that assuming the prisoners to have been "murdered in cold blood" you should have proceeded as is stated in your communication to put in irons four of Captain Street's men prisoners in your hands "to be shot if Kesterson and Robinson are not delivered into our (your) hands within a reasonable length of time to suffer the penalty due to their infamous crimes," as it obliges me, as I have done, to issue a like order in the case of four of the men of your command captured by Captain Street and now prisoners in our hands to be thus held as hostages for the safety of the four men you have placed in irons and until they shall be treated as prisoners of war.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

DANIEL RUGGLES,

Brigadier-General, Commanding District.

OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,

Washington, D. C., June 6, 1863.

Colonel G. LOOMIS,

Commanding Fort Columbus, New York Harbor:

By direction of the Secretary of War the fourteen Indian prisoners of war belonging to the rebel army reported in your letter of the 2nd instant will remain at Fort Columbus until further orders. Please inform me what accommodations you have for them and if you require supplies of any kind for them. Brigadier-General Martindale has been instructed to send via Fort Columbus to the Department of the Gulf and the Department of North Carolina certain deserters from the army in those departments, and by direction of the General-in-Chief I have