MOBILE, March 16, 1863.
Honorable JOHN A. CAMPBELL, Assistant Secretary of War.
DEAR SIR: In your communication to me of February last appointing me commissioner to investing cases of prisoners now held in confinement by the military authorities it would seem that my authority to investigate only applied to arrests and imprisonments which have already been made. The object of this is to inquire whether the cases of prisoners which may arise daily during the time I may hold the commission are subject to my investigation. I have not been able to ascertain even who are the military commanders in the northern part of the State and Western Georgia to whom I am instructed to communicate my appointment. I suppose General Bragg commands north of General Buckner's district, but I should be glad to be referred to the order or orders dividing the State and western part of Georgia into geographical departments and districts and appointing the commanders. What is it contemplated that I am to do with prisoners whom I think have committed offenses against the Government and should not be discharged? Are they to be remanded to the custody of the military authorities and their cases reported to the Department for further action of the Department or am I to turn them over to the civil authorities for trial? Is it expected that I will make one general report of my proceedings under the commission after through with the department assigned me or am I to reports from each post or prison?
I take this occasion, judge, to say that in conferring this appointment upon me you have doubtless rendered me a far greater service than you were aware of at the time. I am almost entirely without an income now except the compensation of this office and even now am compelled to rely upon assistance from others almost in the shape of gratuities for the support of my family, my income derived heretofore almost entirely from my profession having been cut of by the war. Though the compensation of the commissionership is a considerable help to me it is still inadequate to pay my heavy hotel bill and leave me any sufficient contribution to my family. I would therefore consider myself peculiarly fortunate if I could have the satisfaction so to execute this commission to commend me to the favorable consideration of the Department for an appointment the salary of which would be from $2,000 to $2,500, and for any assistance you may render me in promoting this end it could but add to the debt of gratitude I already owe you personally. Will you do me the favor to address an answer to my inquiries at Montgomery?
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
M. J. SAFFOLD.
HOUSTON, TEX., March 16, 1863.
Major B. BLOOMFIELD, Chief Quartermaster, &c.
SIR: In accordance with your order or date 22nd January last I took charge of and proceeded with the U. S. prisoners of war captured at Galveston 1st [of the] same month and proceeded by the New Orleans and Texas Railroad to Baumont where railroad transportation was broken on account of extreme high water. Thence by your order of the same month I proceeded by the way of Sabine River on steamer Roe-Buck to Barr's Ferry. Arrived there the 5th and on the 9th left for Alexandria, having had to await for the transportation wagons and