ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 194.
Richmond, August 15, 1863.
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XX. The officers and men of Major General C. L. Stevenson's division, paroled at Vicksburg, will on the expiration of the furloughs granted to them be reassembled at Chattanooga, Tenn., for assignment to the army of General Bragg.
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By command of the Secretary of War:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Winchester, August 16, 1863.
Colonel W. HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 7th instant in regard to prisoners of war who desire to take the oath of allegiance and become once more law-abiding citizens. I had previous to the receipt of your letter adopted the policy of paroling such men and permitting them to return to their homes, there to remain as long as they conduct themselves in accordance with the terms of their oaths, obliging them in all cases to give satisfactory security by bond that they will strictly observe their paroles. After the retreat of Bragg's army from this State large numbers of deserters from Kentucky and Tennessee rebel troops were found in the country and concealed in the woods and hills, who were afraid to give themselves up to our forces for fear of being sent for exchange, and who preferred to live as outlaws rather than risk the chance of being returned to the rebel army. The imminent danger that these men would of necessity become guerrillas and give infinite trouble not only to us, but to the inhabitants of the country, induced me to issue the orders, copies of which are herewith inclosed. * I transmit also herewith a copy of the parole+ which is administered in these cases, and desire to be informed if my course in this matter meets the approval of the Secretary of War. I would propose that I be permitted to continue to allow these men to return to their homes upon giving their paroles with satisfactory security, and then, if necessary, to forward their cases to the Secretary of War for his final action. You will observe that in paroling them I reserve the right to exchange them at some future time if their conduct is such as to make it necessary. The necessity for immediate action in these cases makes this course seem to me the best that can be pursued. When their cases are decided upon by the Secretary of War they can be finally discharged or sent for exchange, as he may deem proper.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. S. ROSECRANS,
WAR DEPARTMENT, August 29, 1863.
I respectfully recommend that deserters from the rebel army be disposed of primarily by the department commanders in whose departments they may be found. The course of General Rosecrans seems
*See General Orders, Numbers 175, Series I, Vol. XXIII, Part II, p. 184.