War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0394 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,

Fort Monroe, October 18, 1863.

Colonel WILLIAM HOFFMAN,

Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:

COLONEL: I have the honor to inclose you herewith copies of several communications received this day from Mr. Ould,* to which I beg leave to call your attention.

May I ask you to advise me as to any step I should take in the premises?

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. A. MEREDITH,

Brigadier-General and Commissioner for Exchange.

MERIDIAN, MISS., October 18, 1863.

General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON:

DEAR SIR: This will inform you that Major M. W. Sims, a member of General P. O. Hebert' staff, of Texas, was captured by the Federals at Natchez on the 13th day of July last on his return to the west side of the Mississippi River. He had been sent with dispatches from General E. K. Smith to yourself, which he delivered to you at Jackson, Miss., on the 9th or 10th of July last. He was taken to Saint Louis, Mo., where he was kept about three weeks, when he was sent to Johnston's Island, in Lake Erie, where he was detained about one month, when he was ordered to Vicksburg, Miss., as he

supposed, to be exchanged, and knew not to the contrary until he landed at Vicksburg and was ordered to jail, where he is now confined as a felon on the charge of having ordered the execution of two Federal prisoners at the engagement at Miliken's bend. The above information was written to General Reuben Davis, of Aberdeen, Miss., by two different persons, friends of Major Sims, one of whom lives in Vicksburg and the other east of that place some where. General Davis was requested to give immediate notice of his condition to General R. E. Lee or yourself. General Davis immediately inclosed one of said letters to President Davis at Richmond, Va., and the other to yourself at this place, requesting his and intercession on his behalf. If the case be such as not to admit of retaliation, can you not at least provide by flag of truce some means for him to have the benefit of all the evidence that can be produced on our side in his favor? You know the course to pursue that will be most beneficial to him. By giving this matter your prompt and careful attention you will bring upon me an obligation to you that cannot be discharged during the rest of my life, and be the means perhaps of rescuing from an untimely and shameful death a Confederate soldier and gentleman. Might there not be additional testimony corresponding with Generals P. O. Hebert and E. K. Smith?

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. F. SIMS,

JUDGE-ADVOCATE-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

October 19, 1863.

Honorable IRA HARRIS:

DEAR SIR: Your letter of the 17th instant has been received and referred to the Secretary of War, to whom the determination of the

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* See pp. 386-388 for probable inclosures.

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