War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0208 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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judicious, except that it ought not be extended to prisoners of war after being reported to the Commissary-General of Prisoners.


Major General of Vols. and Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners.

Submitted to the Secretary of War and approved August 29, 1863.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, August 16, 1863.


In relation to Doctor Rucker and the exchange of medical officers, there is reason to suppose that Doctor Rucker has from the first been confined on various pretenses, but in reality because of his strong attachment to the Union. He has been twice tried and acquitted by Virginia courts, and is now held upon some third accusation, the nature of which is unknown to the undersigned.


Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners.


Richmond, August 16, 1863.

Brigadier General S. A. MEREDITH, Agent of Exchange:

SIR: I respectfully call your attention to the correspondence between Lieutenant-Colonel Ludlow and myself in relation to Doctor Rucker and the detention of surgeons, and especially to my communication of the 23rd June last. Lieutenant-Colonel Ludlow in his reply bearing date 12th July, 1863, says:

As understood by me Doctor Rucker's alleged offenses were committed in West Virginia, within the territory military occupied at the time by the troops of the United States. If so, by the laws and usages of war your authorities have no jurisdiction in his case.

Paragraph 59 of your General Orders, Numbers 100, does not make the distinction of military occupation suggested by Lieutenant-Colonel Ludlow. It says:

A prisoner of war remains answerable for his crimes committed against his captors, army, or people, committed before the prisoner was captured and for which he has not been punished by his own authorities.

Any construction which would not include such crimes as are committed within the territory militarily occupied by the army to which the offender belongs would leave the provision almost without any meaning. In Doctor Rucker's case, however, the distinction is without avail. I have delayed thus long in answering Lieutenant-Colonel Ludlow's communication of the 12th ultimo in order that I might obtain accurate information as to the facts in the case. He is indicted for murder committed on the 23rd of July, 1861, upon a citizen of Virginia in Covington, Alleghany County, Va. At that time no Federal force was there or ever had been. The U. S. forces did not invade that county or region of county until May, 1862. He is also indicted for stealing a horse in January, 1862. He is, moreover, charged with other offenses committed while the Federal forces were in the country. Whatever, therefore, may be the construction placed upon the general orders, so far as military occupation is concerned, Doctor Rucker's case is certainly embraced within the provision of paragraph 59. I am