War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0491 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

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to me that if the blockading fleet, even the monitors, can lie off Charleston in a norther, the Michigan will have no difficulty in lying in any part of the landlocked bay of Sandusky. You seem to have overlooked that part of my letter which directs you to confer with Captain Carter and arrange with him for the secure guarding of the prisoners. When I am informed by the Navy Department that the Michigan cannot lie during the winter where she can be of any service to you, I shall ask for an additional force to guard the prisoners.

You speak of the arduous services of your command. If you put one company with its officers on guard every day, it would only be light garrison duty, and to make this duty lighter cannot be urged as a good reason for increasing the guard. I have no more confidence in the reports of revolve you hear this year than I have of similar reports made to you last year. Then their hope of success depended on aid from the outside, and the addition of a very inferior company to the guard seemed to render the attempt hopeless. Your suggestion that after crossing to the mail and the escaped prisoners will be within two days' march of Detroit River and Canada is hardly well founded. It is at least fifty miles to the nearest point on the Maumee where they could cross it, and unless they take the highroad through a swampy country, and from that river farther, making seventy miles, and it is quite impossible for any set of men, under the circumstances in which the prisoners would be placed, to make that distance through such a country in the winter time, when the ground is covered with snow, in two days. I doubt if one-fourth of them could make that journey without assistance if you were to invite them to go. Is there any possibility of their making the attempt when they are sure to meet enemies at every step of the way?

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. HOFFMAN,

Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.

DEPOT PRISONERS OF WAR,

Near Sandusky, Ohio, November 9, 1863.

Colonel WILLIAM HOFFMAN,

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

COLONEL: I am in receipt of the within from headquarters Cincinnati:

Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, military commander, Detroit, telegraphs that he has reason to believe that within a few days an attack will be made upon Johnson's Island to release prisoners, and that a boat for that purpose has been purchased at Montreal, &c. Communicate with Colonel Smith and keep these headquarters posted. Acknowledge

receipt.

By command of Brigadier-General Cox:

G. M. BASCOM,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

The Michigan lies on the Sandusky side. The captain says his orders send him there, and that he does not feel safe to lie off the island. I shall do all I can under any circumstances. I have no great fear of this matter, b ut I know these prisoners do not intend to stay here, and you may expect anything desperate. Please advise me of the determination as to the increase of force.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. S. PRESTON,

Lieutenant-Colonel Hoffman's Battalion, Commanding.