humanity, I appeal to you to look into this matter and inform me what are the facts in the case and what your authorities propose to do.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Agent of Exchange.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, August 21, 1863.
Colonel WILLIAM HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:
COLONEL: A few days ago I learned that Colonel Kincaid, who succeeded Major Hendrickson in command of the Alton prison, was releasing considerable numbers of prisoners of war on their taking the oath and giving bond. I at once telegraphed him to stop it and to report by what authority it was done. I inclose for your information a copy of his reply received yesterday. No authority for this action of Major Hendrickson can be found among the papers left at the prison nor at these headquarters. I have sent an officer to make a thorough inspection of the Alton prison and will send you a copy of his report when made. I think it important that a competent and reliable officer be assigned as permanent commander of that prison as soon as practicable.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
MILITARY PRISON, Alton, Ill., August 19, 1863.
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
GENERAL: In answer to your telegram of the 15th instant, inquiring by what authority I was discharging prisoners of war, I have to reply that I was governed wholly by the instructions of my predecessor (Major Hendrickson). He informed me that there was an order to that effect, and he also turned over to me a large number of blanks prepared, and also a list of over 100 names of persons who had applied to take the oath. He also advised me to receive no more applications until I had disposed of the list referred to. I find also by the books and papers in this office that my predecessor had discharged in the month of May last sixty persons on oath. In the month of June sixty-two were discharged. In the month of July 120, and from the 1st to the 9th of August fifteen were discharged. From the 9th to the 15th, the day I received your telegram, I had discharged about thirty-five persons, some of which were by order of the Secretary of War. Supposing that Major Hendrickson was acting agreeably to orders and seeing no orders to the contrary, I, in accordance with Major Hendrickson's instructions, proceeded to discharge those and those only who in my opinion were sincere in taking the oath.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. W. KINCAID,
Commanding Military Prison, Alton, Ill.
Alexander McDonald forwards by request a statement of the time and mode of capture of the members of the Sanitary Commission.