War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0074 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

because the telegraph is unreliable and you may have sent orders that have not been received. Please acknowledge receipt of this.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, July 2, 1863.

Major TURNER, Judge-Advocate, Annapolis:

Your telegram of this date received. No order has yet been sent you because I am waiting and expect to hear to-day from Richmond respecting the female prisoners held in Castle Thunder. The action of this Government in respect to the persons you have in charge may be influenced by the answer from Richmond. I sent you this morning a telegram respecting contraband baggage. You will remain with your boat at Annapolis until further orders.


WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, July 2, 1863.

Major TURNER, Judge-Advocate, Annapolis:

Colonel Ludlow reports that the Union women and children, forty-seven in number, taken to Richmond as prisoners have been released. You may therefore proceed to your destination without further delay.


Secretary of War.

RICHMOND, July 2, 1863.

Honorable ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: Having accepted your patriotic offer to proceed as a military commissioner under flag of truce to Washington, you will receive herewith your letters of authority to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States. This letter is signed by me as Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate land and naval forces.

You will perceive from the terms of the letter that it is so worded as to avoid any political difficulties in its reception. Intended exclusively as one of those communications between belligerents which public law recognizes as necessary and proper between hostile forces, care has been taken to give no pretext for refusing to receive it on the ground that it would involve a tacit recognition of the independence of the Confederacy. Your mission is simply one of humanity and has no political aspect. If objection is made to receiving your letter on the ground that it is not addressed to Abraham Lincoln as President, instead of Commander-in-Chief, &c., then you will present the duplicate letter, which is addressed to him as President and signed by me as President. To this latter objection may be made on the ground that I am not recognized to the President of the Confederacy. In this event you will decline any further attempt to confer on the subject of your mission, as such conference is admissible only on the footing of perfect equality.

My recent interviews with you have put you so fully in possession of my views that it is scarcely necessary to give you any detailed instructions, even were I at this time well enough to attempt it. My whole purpose is in one word - to place this war on the footing of such as are