OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., August 4, 1863.
Respectfully referred to the Secretary of War. The within charges are of a grave character, and though they are presented in a question able shape, it is respectfully recommended that an investigation be made.
Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.
Laid before the Secretary of War, who sent dispatches to General Willcox, General Burnside, and Governor Morton, directing the proper steps to correct the evils reported.
WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, July 31, 1863.
The following order of the President is published for the information and government of all concerned:
EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, July 30, 1863.
It is the duty of every Government to give protection to its citizens, of whatsoever class, color, or condition, and especially to those who are duly organized as soldiers in the public service. The law of nations and the usages and customs of war, as carried on by civilized powers, permit no distinction as to color in the treatment of prisoners of war as public enemies. To sell or enslave any captured person on account of his color and for no offense against the laws of war is a relapse into barbarism and a crime against the civilization of the age.
The Government of the United States will give the same protection to all its soldiers; and if they enemy shall sell or enslave any one because of his color, the offense shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our possession.
It is therefore ordered that for every's soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war a rebel soldier shall be executed, and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery a rebel until the other shall be released and receive the treatment due to a prisoners of war.
By ordered of the Secretary of War:
E. D. TOWNSEND,
[AUGUST 1, 1863. - For reports of Cols. John Coburn and William L. Utely of their capture at Thompson's Station, Tenn., March 5, 1863, and subsequent treatment as prisoners of war, see Series I, Vol. XXIII, Part I, p. 85, et seq.]
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, D. C., August 1, 1863.
Major-General ROSECRANS, Nashville:
A Major Jones, Twenty-eighth Mississippi, has presented himself with authority by you to go South on parole. Such authority is in violation of the orders of the War Department and the parole null and void.
H. W. HALLECK,
(Copy furnished Colonel Hoffman).