War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0638 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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I sent mounted men out on roads leading south and west for twenty miles and filled the city with active patrols. The police and provost-marshal's deputies and my own detectives rendered invaluable aid. During the night a large number were caught, and others have been coming in during the night, or rather day. I have telegraphed to Detroit, Cincinnati, and Louisville and other points and taken every precaution possible and hope to be able to reduce the loss below fifty. Some of those retaken to-day had been entirely refurnished with clothing by sympathizing friends here and from Kentucky. This is the eighth attempt which has been made to escape from here by tunneling under the fences, only two of which have been successful. The large spaces under the barracks afford ample room to store away the dirt and render detection difficult. In view of this I have ordered all the floors removed the barracks and cook-houses and the spaces filled with dirt even with the top of the joist. This will undoubtedly increase the sickness and mortality, but it will save much trouble and add security. A complete descriptive list of the prisoners escaped, so far as possible, has been sent to Louisville, Cincinnati, and Detroit, and I will send rolls of all who remain at large on Saturday, when I hope the number will be still further largely reduced.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CHARLES V. DE LAND,

Colonel Michigan Sharpshooters, Commanding.

[First indorsement.]

OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,

Washington, D. C., December 24, 1863.

Respectfully, referred to the Secretary of War for his information.

There appears to have been due vigilance exercised to guard against escape, but it is very singular that so many men could pass near a sentinel's post and when patrols are passing frequently, and I respectfully recommend that General Orme be ordered to have a strict investigation made.

W. HOFFMAN,

Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.

[Second indorsement.]

WAR DEPARTMENT, December 24, 1863.

Respectfully returned to the Commissary-General of Prisoners, with approval of the recommendation that a strict investigation be made into the circumstances attending the escape of these prisoners, a report of the same to be sent to this Department.

By order of the Secretary of War:

ED. R. S. CANBY,

Brigadier-General and Assistant Adjutant-General.

WASHINGTON CITY, D. C., December 3, 1863.

Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

SIR: As there seems to be an impressing on the minds of some that our prisoners in Richmond might be relieved through the agency of some other officers than those now acting as commissioner or agents of exchange, I beg to say that, so far as I am concerned, I should be happy