KNOXVILLE, October 5, 1863.
Colonel HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners:
The following is an extract from order of rebel General Forrest, issued on 28th of September. I desire to know if there has been any exchange of the prisoners mentioned. *
Notice is given to all prisoners captured at Vicksburg that they have been exchanged, and are expected to rendezvous and rally again around their flag. You are released from all oaths and obligations to the Federal Government of any character and kind, and will be unmolested in returning to your respective commands.
S. P. CARTER,
Brigadier General and Provost-Marshal-General of East Tennessee.
LOWELL, October 6, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose to you a copy of a note received from Brigadier General M. Jeff. Thompson, whom I knew in command of the forces immediately opposed to me at Ponchatoula, on the northern side of Lake Pontchartrain, when I was in command of the Department of the Gulf. The original I have sent as requested to Captain Tornton, of Brigadier General George F. Shepley's staff. Captain Thornton, a most valuable, brave, and efficient officer, was grievously wounded with at least seven bullet holes through his clothes and various parts of his body in the attack on Ponchatoula in September of last year, under the command of the late lamented Major-General Strong, then my chief of staff. Captain Thornton was left in the hands of the enemy and received of General Thompson every care and kindness, and at may request was sent to New Orleans upon his parole. This courteous consideration on the part of General Thompson I have no doubt enabled us, with the blessing of Heaven, to save Captain Thornton's valuable life.
General Thompson is now a prisoner at Johnson's Island, near Sandusky, Ohio. If not inconsistent with public service, I most earnestly ask that General Thompson may be released upon his parole. While I can testify to the uniform urbanity and courtesy with which all the operations of General Thompson were conducted, I am most decidedly of opinion that the kindness which he showed to Captain Thornton alone should entitle him to every possible consideration. That kindness was not alone give to the officers, but the wounded men spoke of his treatment with the utmost gratitude. I found him a troublesome enemy enough, but of his humanity, which was in contrast with the conduct of General Taylor, leads me to ask this favor for him at the hands of the Government. As I am not much in the habit of asking leniency for rebels, I trust the War Department will take it as a guarantee that this is a proper case for the extension of every indulgence.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major-General of U. S. Volunteers.
WASHINGTON, October 12, 1863.
Within a few months past circumstances in the South-especially threats against Captains Sawyer and Flinn and against officers of colored troops in the U. S. service-have made it necessary to detain in prison such officers of the rebel service as may be taken prisoners,
*For reply, see Series I, Vol. XXX, Part IV, p. 233.