but in no sense would the conduct of our commanders under this order make valid paroles improperly given. A commander who should disobey this order might be tried for such disobedience, being answerable to the authority by which the order was given, but the requirements of the laws of war on the subject of paroles would be in no manner affected thereby.
Besides, the order to our commanders referred to was designed to take effect on the field of battle, or immediately thereafter, on the assumption that prisoners so returned upon the enemy would be left on the field, the enemy being supposed to be in no condition to secure them, the very reason why the law of war makes paroles thus given invalid. But this view is fully justified Lieutenant-Colonel Alston (recently exchanged), was informally paroled. The enemy immediately so declared and ordered every officer and man upon duty. Lieutenant-Colonel Alston, however, chose to act individually, and on the ground of having given his parole he declared that he would not go upon duty until exchanged, and upon this view he delivered himself up to General Burnside, and then, but not until then, he became a prisoner of war. General Burnside considered his case peculiar, as manifesting a high sense of honor, and recommended his immediate exchange, which was accordingly ordered by the Secretary of War.
We do not deny the right to order that party on duty under the circumstances, precisely, answering to the case of our own men at Gettysburg.
We do not claim that Lieutenant-Colonel Alston was out prisoner under the parole he gave, but because he subsequently delivered himself into the hands of General Burnside.
With these views we claim that the Gettysburg paroles were invalid, and this principle must be adhered to.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers, &c.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., October 30, 1863.
Colonel A. A. STEVENS,
Commanding Camp Morton, Indianapolis, Ind.:
COLONEL: As you have just been placed in command of Camp Morton, I think it proper to communicate to you all instructions which apply to prisoners of war. You will learn from General Orders, Numbers 67, of the 17th of June, 1862, a copy of which is herewith inclosed,* that under the War Department the control of all prisoners of war is placed in my hands and that all correspondence in relation to them passes through me, and you will therefore be governed accordingly. Your reports, returns, rolls, and other communications should be sent directly to me and not through the commander of the depot or district. I inclose herewith a copy+ of regulations heretofore issued from this office which you are to adhere to strictly. I need not call your attention to any particular part because all alike are to be fully complied with. If any paragraph has particular prominence it is the fifth, which relates to the prison fund, for which full accounts must be rendered promptly at the end of every month. For the disbursement of this fund you will
* See Vol. IV, this series, p. 30.
+ Ibid., p. 152.