EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Richmond, June 10, 1863.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR.
SIR: I am informed that Major John P. Thompson (late of First Kentucky Regiment), authorized by you to raise a battalion in Kentucky, has been arrested in Owensborough, Ky., and sentenced to be shot as a spy. He was a gallant soldier and has probably been taken attempting to recruit.
WM. PRESTON JOHNSTON,
Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.
JOHN'S ISLAND, S. C., June 10, 1863.
GENERAL: I beg leave to bring to your attention that the prisoners from the Rebel Troop taken while on duty beyond our picket lines on the Edisto are still in the hands of the enemy, while Yankee prisoners since taken by Captain Micker have been sent forward to be exchanged. These unfortunate young men we have reason to apprehend are now confined in the jail at Beaufort. The usual programme being to send their prisoners North to be kept in some of their bastiles till exchanged. There must be some special reason for treatment so extraordinary, and perhaps the insolent communication to President Davis (recently published of General Hunter), in relation to his threatened disposition of officers and slave-holders taken prisoners by him furnishes the explanation. They are doubtless kept as hostages for the safety of officers commanding negro troops and negro troops themselves who may be captured in some of their raids. They are the sons of wealthy planters or themselves owners of slaves and of some of those very negroes now in Yankee service. Just such as a cruel ingenuity would select for such a purpose. I would respectfully request that you bring to the notice of the general commanding this department this information as to their place of confinement, confident that he will take immediate steps to know why they are so kept contrary to the terms of the cartel for exchange of enlisted men still pretended to be acted upon by the Federal authorities. These unfortunate young men who have been hastily and harshly judged upon conjectural inferences from circumstantial evidence procured by daily exposure to capture on the extreme outpost and gave valuable information of the movements of the enemy in North Edisto River before the attack on Charleston, affording the information that the iron-clads were taking aboard their ammunition, by which the department commander received advice of the impending attack two days before it was made. Their friends look to your influence and instrumentality and solicit your earnest effort in using all the means in your power to effect their early exchange. I think something should be done and that quickly to know why they have not been exchanged to which they are entitled and for which there has been ample time.
Major, Commanding Advanced Forces.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND MILITARY DISTRICT,
Adams's Run, June 13, 1863.
The subject-matter is earnestly brought to the attention of the general commanding.