War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0320 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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Deserters from the rebel army will only be disposed of at the discretion of department commander. If discharged on taking the oath of allegiance or on other cause, a descriptive list of each case will be forwarded to department headquarters.

By command of Major-General Burnside:


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Richmond, September 25, 1863.


SIR: You will at once proceed beyond the Mississippi River and discharge the following duties:

First. Gather together as speedily as possible the lists of the paroles given by Federal prisoners at any time since the 1st of January last which have no heretofore been forwarded, correct whatever errors and imperfections may be in them, and forward them to me. Let the lists, or paroles, if there be no lists, state upon the face when and where the party was captured and when paroled, and whether he was detained in our lines or allowed to go or sent to the enemy's lines. If the parties were sent by us to any point under flag of truce, let that fact be stated, when and where. If you can procure the certificate of the officer who made the capture, or in default of that of any officer who is personally cognizant of the fact, let it be appended to the list or paroles, as the case may be. I much prefer that lists should be sent rather than the paroles themselves.

Second. Ascertain the number and locality of federal prisoners who are now in actual captivity beyond the Mississippi. Inform me what has been done with such as have been captured since January 1, 1863, and paroled. Let me know the places where and the time they were delivered, as well as the time and place of capture. Let me know also what captures of Confederate prisoners have been made since said date and what has been done with them.

Third. Communicate to the various commanders the proper method of making out lists or paroles. The lists and paroles must state upon the face when and where the parties have been captured and whether they were retained or released on their parole.

Fourth. In the present situation of affairs paroles had better not be given. Where it is possible to keep the prisoners it must be done. If that cannot be done the prisoners should be delivered under a flag of truce at Vicksburg. Where there are prisoner they can be exchanged one for the other on the spot. The Federals recognize no delivery of a paroled man except at Vicksburg or City Point, unless the commanders of the two opposing armies otherwise agree.

Fifth. Impress upon the different commanders the necessity of sending lists of their captures (when the parties are paroled) by safe hands to me, retaining a duplicate in event of loss. We have lost thousands by failure in this respect. If captures are not reported we gain nothing by making them.

Sixth. You will assist in establishing parole camps and collecting our prisoners therein. Give to me information from time to time as to the number of prisoners therein. Give to me information from time to time as to the number of prisoners therein, the organizations to which they belong, and such other matters as may be of importance. Whenever