War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0444 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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quarters are provided for the Federal prisoners. No hospital accommodations are provided. Prisoners when sufficient ill to require hospital care are sent to the Marine Hospital. As this but rarely happens, and as the Marine Hospital is not specially intended for the reception of prisoners, I did not visit it. Assistant Surgeon Cruthers, Eighty-eighth Ohio Volunteers, visits the prison daily and attends to such prisoner as require transient care. I did not ascertain the present state of the prison fund. All utensils in use in the prison are receipted for by the present commanding officer to the officer whom he relieved.


Surgeon and Acting Medical Inspector of Prisoners of War.


Richmond, October 29, 1863.

Honorable M. J. SAFFOLD, Commissioner, &c., Montgomery, Ala.:

SIR: You were some time since commissioned by this Department to examine all prisoner held by the military authorities in the State of Alabama and Department of Western Georgia who were not connected with the Confederate Army. Your commission was not designed to be merely temporary in character for the disposal of prisoners then held in custody, but to continue in full force until further orders. You will therefore maintain communication with the Confederate officers having charge of such persons, visit from time to time arise. Any additional instructions which you may suggest as necessary to facilitate you in the discharge of your duties will be given to the military officers in command. Your action under your commission, so far as it has been reported, meets the full approval of the Department.

By order of the Secretary of War:


Assistant Secretary of War.

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 30, 1863.

Brigadier General S. A. MEREDITH,

Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners:

SIR: I observe that Mr. Ould claims that if the paroles given at Gettysburg by our troops are not to be considered valid, the troops should be returned as captured, because an order requires our commanders to return troops when improperly paroled on the field of battle.

This pretension is so manifestly inadmissible that I have not thought necessary to answer it in form.

The principle involved are these: Paroles on the field of battle, often given in haste by an enemy unable to take care of or secure them, are informal and invalid by the laws of war.

As a measure of discipline in the Army, an order was issued (the order appealed to by Mr. Ould) requiring officers not to receive but to return prisoners when this improperly paroled. This order is purely disciplinary in our service and has nothing to do with the principle, the laws of war, by which paroles improperly given are declared to be invalid. It might be considered as designed to he laws of paroles,