War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0558 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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Richmond, November 24, 1863.

Captain W. S. WINDER, Assistant Adjutant-General:

CAPTAIN: The Secretary of War directs that a prison for the Federal prisoners shall be established in the State of Georgia. The general commanding the department directs that you proceed without delay to select a site for that purpose in the neighborhood of Americas or Valley Ford. You will go by way of Milledgeville to consult Governor Brown, and also by way of Atlanta to consult General Cobb.

You will hold yourself in readiness to return to these headquarters as soon as ordered.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Enterprise, Miss., November 24, 1863.

I. Major General John H. Forney, will assume immediate command of all paroled and exchanged troops at Enterprise.

* * * * *

By command of Lieutenant-General Polk:

[T. M. JACK,]

Assistant Adjutant-General.


Enterprise, November 24, 1863.

General S. COOPER, Adjutant and Inspector General:

In pursuance of my dispatch to you stating that I found Enterprise to be the best place at which to assemble the Port Hudson prisoners, I have announced it as the rendezvous for them. Since assuming command I find some questions disturbing the men, which I have in part settled myself, but on which I think it would be better to have a direct expression of the opinion and decision of the Department.

First. As to the construction to be put upon the terms of the paroles. It is contended by many of them that they are forbidden by that instrument from assembling in military camps at all, or performing any military duty whatever, and holding that construction they refuse to come into camp or attempt to leave at their pleasure. This impression has kept, and still keeps, a large number away from their commands, and I have reason to believe many of them are honest and conscientious in the stand taken. I have taken ground against this and have endeavored to show its absurdity, but an authoritative expression of its decision on the part of the War Department would, I think, have a more salutary effect. I therefore respectfully ask this. Many of these prisoners are plain, unlettered men, and they require to be dealt with forbearingly.

Second. While there are men who hold they may be required to come into camp, they yet scruples as to "taking up arms again" or 'serving as a military police" (Vide, art 4, Cartel), even though they are required to guard only their own stores and camps. Instructions from the Department upon this point are requested.