Lieutenant Colonel N. G . Watts, Mobile, Ala., relating to the return to duty of the Confederate prisoners of war captured and paroled at Vicksburg and Port Hudson. *
I have also the honor to forward an order of Lieutenant General L. Polk, dated headquarters Paroled and Exchanged Prisoners, Enterprise, Miss., November 20, 1863+ taken from the Mobile Daily Advertiser and Register of December 15, 1863, relating to the same subject, of a later date than Mr. Ould's letter, which appears to limit the service of prisoners paroled at port Hudson to duty in paroled camps until exchanged.
I respectfully request to be informed whether any recognition has been made by our Government of the illegality of these paroles. It is a question of great importance in this department, one person being already under sentence of death by the provost court in this city for being found in arms against the United States after having been paroled at port Hudson, he pleading to have been returned to duty by virtue of orders from Richmond.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
U. S. MILITARY PRISON,
Camp Morton, Indianapolis, January 2, 1864.
Colonel WILLIAM HOFFMAN,
Commissary- General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:
I have the honor to transmit for your approval duplicate blank requisitions, which I trust will meet with your favorable consideration. Owing to the extreme sudden wage of the water, I was obliged to obtain and distribute the clothing specified in the inclosed requisitions at once in order to prevent great suffering, as this number were entirely destitute of the articles referred to. Trusting my action in this matter, under the existing circumstances, may be approved, I am,
Very respectful, your obedient servant,
A. A. STEVENS,
RICHMOND, VA., January 2, 1864.
Colonel RO. OULD, Commissioner for Exchange, Richmond, Va.:
COLONEL: I am directed by the Secretary of War to inform you, in response to your inquiry of December 24, 1863, in regard to paroled and exchanged prisoners of different commands, that those belonging to organizations on this side of the Mississippi River should be at once returned to them, and that Missourians, Arkansas, or Louisianans should be sent on temporary transfers to companies from their respective States serving on this side.
Exchanged men belonging to organizations east of the Mississippi River which are broken up or not capable of assemblage should be formed temporarily into companies and reported, that they may be assigned to some active duty. The men not yet exchanged should
*See October 10, 1863, p. 367.
+See p. 542.