War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0354 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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[First indorsement.]

OFFICE COMMISSARY - GENERAL OF PRISONERS,

October 8, 1863.

Respectfully referred to the Secretary of war, with the recommendation that the negroes who have been slaves be released on taking the oath of allegiance.

W. HOFFMAN,

Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary - General of Prisoner.

[Second indorsement.]

I do not recommend that any colored men be sent South for exchange either with or against their will. If there are any who wish to be discharged upon oath of allegiance I see no reason for refusing them the privilege of doing so. If any prefer to go South I would recommend their being detained as prisoners, but not as prisoners of war, and would employ them or not, as circumstances might render expedient, under the directions of the commanding officer.

E. A. HITCHCOCK,

Major - General of Volunteers.

[Third indorsement.]

WAR DEPARTMENT, October 12, 1863.

Respectfully referred to Colonel Hoffman for report as to how many captured negroes are concerned and as to where they were captured. Where are they now confined?

By order of the Secretary of War:

JAS. A. HARDIE,

Assistant Adjutant - General.

LIBBY PRISON, Richmond, October 6, 1863.

Brigadier General S. A. MEREDITH:

SIR: Out men held as prisoners here are suffering and dying from exposure for the want of necessary clothing, and their condition is daily becoming worse and worse. Some are without hats, some without shoes, nearly all without stockings, blankets, or overcoats, and all needing shirts. Many of our officers are lying on bare floors, and none of them sufficiently provided with blankets. These articles the Confederate authorities frankly say they cannot furnish, but will allow them to be furnished by our authorities and to be distributed by any one of our officers that may be designated for that purpose. Blank clothing accounts should be furnished with the clothing. Any one of the officers here will gladly be charged with the duty of distribution.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

WM. IRVINE,

Lieutenant - Colonel Tenth New York Cavalry.

[Indorsement.]

I respectfully recommend that orders be sent to the quartermaster at Fort Monroe to issue on the requisition of General Meredith such clothing (in kind and amount) as he may certify that, in his opinion, may be necessary for the comfort of our men in prison at Richmond, to be receipted for by a designated Union office, and by him issued to the men receipting for it, under such directions a General Meredith may direct, under the sanction of the agent from Richmond.

E. A. HITCHCOCK,

Major - General of Volunteers.