War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0148 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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surrender. I take it that the release and paroling of the soldiers was a voluntary act on your part and therefore not covered by the cartel.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



SPRINGFIELD, MO., July 25, 1863.

Major-General SCHOFIELD:

On Wednesday night Colonel Johnson, commanding at Cassville, notified me that a flag of truce was at his outer pickets with an order from the commandant at Fort Smith to proceed to Springfield. I answered:

Give them a tent and place a strong guard over them outside your outer pickets, allowing no communication with them except through the officer in charge. Let the officer in charge of the party state the object of the flag of truce.

I received the following answer:

CASSVILLE, July 24, 1863.

General McNEIL:

Some of the party under flag of truce had concealed private letters containing valuable information. I will send them through by mail.


Colonel, Commanding.

The letters have just arrived here and are unimportant, except one ordering a variety of drugs, &c. But I consider the covert conveyance of any communication by a flag of truce as a violation of that military concession. I have ordered the parties guilty of conveying these papers to be held as spies. The balance of the party will be dismissed, with your approval, notifying General Cabell that the flag had been used for improper purposes. I also would refer to his threat of retaliation as useless, stating that retaliation is a game each of us can play at, and if he sets the lesson I shall try to better the instruction.





In the Field, July 16, 1863.

Brigadier General JOHN McNEIL,

Commanding U. S. Forces, Springfield, Mo.:

SIR: I have the honor to inclose* for your consideration a letter from Captain Gilstrap, First Arkansas Federal Cavalry. From this letter you will see that this officer or the military at the post at which he is serving has two citizens of the Confederate States in confinement; this, too, in violation of the order issued on the 11th of May, 1863, directing the exchange of all prisoners, both civil and military, that were arrested prior to the 1st of April and 16th of May, respectively. I therefore, as the commander of this military district, demand the release of those two citizens, and I request that the men may be ordered to report to me. Should these citizens continue in confinement by the U. S. authorities I shall lay the matter before the commissioners of exchange appointed by the two Governments, and hold two citizens of the United States until they are released.


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


*Not found.