War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0186 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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Washington, D. C., August 7, 1863.

Major General W. S. ROSECRANS,

Commanding, Murfreesborough, Tenn.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to inform you that the following instructions have been given by the Secretary of War in relation to the discharge of prisoners of war:

Prisoners of war who have been impressed into the rebel service and who wish to take the oath of allegiance and join our Army may be permitted to do so when the examining officer is satisfied of the applicant's good faith and that the facts of his case are as he represents them. Prisoners of war are not permitted to take the oath allegiance and be discharged unless some sufficient reason is urged for granting this indulgence. It must be shown to the satisfaction of the officer who presents the case that the applicant was forces into the rebel service against his will and has taken advantage of the first opportunity to endeavor to free himself it; or it may be granted as a favor to his family or friends, they being all loyal people and vouching for his sincerity in desiring to become a loyal citizen; or it may be granted on account of the youth of the applicant, it being shown that he was led away by vicious companions, his Union friends guaranteeing his future good conduct. Cases must be presented substantially after this manner, with all the papers, through this office, for the approval of the Secretary of War, on whose order alone the discharge can be granted. The oath of allegiance must be without qualification, and it must be understood that under no circumstances does the discharge carry with it an exemption from any of the duties of a citizen. When prisoners of war are discharged on taking the oath of allegiance an ordinary descriptive roll should be furnished to this office, giving in the column of remarks the history of each case. I will furnish blanks for this purpose as soon as they be printed.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.

(Same to Major General John A. Dix, commanding Department of the East, New York; Major General N. P. Banks, commanding Department of the Gulf, New Orleans, La; Major General Q. A. Gillmore, commanding Department of the South, Hilton Head, S. C. ; Major General U. S. Grant, commanding Department of the Tennessee, Memphis, Tenn; Major General A. E. Burnside, commanding Department of the Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio; Major General J. G. Foster, commanding Department [of Virginia and North Carolina], Fort Monroe, Va.)


Washington, D. C., August 7, 1863.

Brigadier General S. A. MEREDITH,

Commanding for Exchange of Prisoners, Fort Monroe, Va.:

GENERAL: Yours of the 4th instant is received, and I have the honor to reply that I have in preparation rolls and abstracts of prisoners of war paroled by both parties which will enable you to make declaration covering the exchange of all Federal troops now on parole. I send you by this mail a letter, with abstract, which I have been holding back for rolls, which are in preparation, of paroled Federal troops in the West not heretofore forwarded, the number, however, being on the abstracts. I will forward the rolls as soon as completed. It would be