at the Ballard Hotel for the night which fact was reported to me when I returned to the prison.
Deeming it my duty as the officer in command of the prison to see that the prisoners mentioned in an official communication as being sent here for confinement were delivered at the proper place, being quite sure that it was contrary to the wishes of the commanding general of this department that any such discriminations should be made in permitting a few of a batch were committed to prison, and also as acting assistant provost-marshal considering that it was a part of my duty to see that prisoners are delivered at the proper time and place, I directed Lieutenant Bossieux to proceed to the Ballard Hotel and request of the officer or whoever might be in charge of the prisoners that they be delivered into his custody to be brought to prison. But for some reason unknown to me the officer, Lieutenant McClellan, refused to deliver them. I then went to the hotel myself after 12 o'clock p. m. and after a parley of nearly an hour Lieutenant McClellan reluctantly consented that the prisoners should be delivered into my custody.
I make this statement in order to vindicate myself from any charge of officiousness or assumption of authority. Please bear in mind that the unsealed official communication in reference to and containing a list of prisoners (the four mentioned included) was in my hands. Further the train reached the city at 7. 30 o'clock p. m. The provost-marshal's office is open all night. I was there myself till 8 o'clock p. m., and a portion of the prisoners were properly delivered before 8 o'clock p. m. at the C. S. Military Prison.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
T. P. TURNER,
HEADQUARTERS RIVER BATTERIES, March 13, 1863.
Colonel EDWARD HIGGINS,
Commanding River Batteries, Vicksburg.
COLONEL: I beg leave to submit to your consideration certain facts connected with the imprisonment by the Federal authorities in New Orleans of several non-commissioned officers and men formerly under your command at Fort Jackson, La. Their names and respective rank are as follows: Sergt. Patrick Kane, Corpl. Edward C. Smith and Private William Stanley, First Louisiana Artillery, Company B; Private Daniel Doyle, First Louisiana Artillery, Company D; Private Abraham McLane, Twenty-third Regiment Louisiana Volunteers (Allen Guards); Sergt. George L. Williams, First Louisiana Artillery Volunteers, Company E.
These men were arrested in New Orleans in May or June last under the charge of a conspiracy while they were prisoners of war on parole to recruit a company for the Confederate service. They were tried by a military commission,* found guilty and sentenced to be shot. On the appointed day they were taken our for execution, but just after the firing squad had received the last commands, "ready," "aim," an order was produced by the provost-marshal which commuted their sentence to imprisonment at hard labor on Ship Island during the pleasure of the President of the United States.
A short time before the day on which they were to be executed the men belonging to my old company (Company B) sent to request that I
*See Vol. III, this Series, p. 616, for the order relating to these men.