War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0228 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

I would respectfully request that a uniform system be prescribed by the War Department for the treatment of deserters. In the West and Southwest, where their numbers are very large, it would be attended with much inconvenience and expense to hold them as prisoners of war until an inquiry could be made in each case and a report submitted before ordering a discharge, and to parole them places them in a very doubtful position, in which they certainly are not for us and may be against us. They have decided advantage over their loyal neighbors, inasmuch as they take no part in support of the Union and are not called upon to risk their lives in defense of their own homes. It would seem, therefore, advisable that under the special instructions of department commanders, based on detailed reports, deserters from the rebel army should be required to take the oath of allegiance and with it all the responsibilities of a loyal citizen. The military history of each case--that is, his rank, regiment, company, and the circumstances of his desertion, with his descriptive list--should be submitted by the department commander for the information of the War Department through the Commissary-General of Prisoners. Where a number are discharged at the same time a list of alphabetical order should be furnished.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. HOFFMAN,

Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.

OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,

Washington, D. C., August 26, 1863.

Surg. CHARLES H. CRANE, U. S. Army,

Washington, D. C.:

SIR: You will proceed without delay to make an inspection of the hospitals at Davids Island, N. Y., Chester, Pa., Fort Delaware, Gettysburg, Pa., and the West Hospital, Baltimore, all occupied by rebel prisoners of war. Besides examining into the present condition of the sick and wounded you will please inquire how far the regulations for the government of officers in charge of prisoners of war are carried out. It is expected that the regulations, a copy of which are inclosed herewith, will be closely adhered to, and you will call the particular attention of medical offices in charge of hospitals to them. On completing this service you will present a written report of the result of your inspection at his office.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. HOFFMAN,

Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY BRIGADE,

Okolona, August 26, 1863.

Captain L. D. SANDIDGE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:

CAPTAIN: I telegraphed the brigadier-general commanding, requesting the detention of two Federal prisoners I had forwarded, for this reason: Captain Street, of the State troops, reported to me the barbarous murder a few days since of two soldiers under his command captured in a fight by the enemy, and by them tied to trees near the spot where captured and shot to death. He addressed a communication on the subject direct to General Johnston, which I forwarded for him,