SAINT LOUIS, June 9, 1863.
Major HENDRICKSON, Commanding Military Prison, Alton:
In compliance with instructions from the War Department you will forward at once to City Point, Va., all the prisoners of war now in the Alton Prison. A sufficient guard will be furnished by the commanding officer at Alton Prison.
By order of Major-General Schofield:
A. V. COLBURN,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Murfreesborough, June 10, 1863.
Major-General HALLECK, General-in-Chief.
GENERAL: The copy of General Bragg's letter* justifying the stripping of Coburn's brigade of their clothing as an act of retaliation for similar outrages perpetrated by our troops on his prisoners has been received, with your indorsement requesting from me a report on our practice toward their prisoners.
I regret to say after full consideration of all the possible or probable grounds for making such assertions by General Bragg that in my opinion a statement more radically at variance with truth and justice was never written. When I remonstrated with General Bragg for robbing the Hartsville prisoners of their blankets and overcoats in December last (see copies of our correspondence* marked from I to XXIV) he stated that they had done so following a very bad precedent set by our troops and admitted by our officer in command of the Hartsville troops. I replied that no such conduct was sanctioned nor did I believe that there had been any such practice; that so far as my information went we had on the contrary furnished their prisoners when destitute (as they usually are when taken) with clothing and blankets to prevent their suffering. But I subsequently called on the officer whom Bragg alleges to have admitted the existence of the bad practice and learned from him that General Bragg's statement was one of those tricky misrepresentations by a play on words which have marked that general's correspondence with me as will appear in his letters herewith inclosed. The officer said: "If such has been the practice I suppose we should not complain. "
1. I now assure you that no order or permission expressed or implied has ever authorized the stripping of prisoners taken from the enemy of their blankets or clothing.
2. That I never heard of a single instance of such conductor has any general of whom I have inquired ever heard of an instance of such stripping of prisoners of their overcoats, blankets or other clothing by troops of this command, nor do we believe that there ever has been any n any public manner or with any official sanction whatever, nor have I heard of any of those acts of private robbery which must sometimes occur.
3. I believe that when General Bragg made the statement he knew it was not true in the sense in which he knew his words would be taken.
4. Neither General Bragg nor any other Confederate officer has ever reported to me a single instance of any such practice nor asked for any redress.
49 R R-SERIES II, VOL V