War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 1042 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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The indorsement of the Secretary of War settles that case. The of commanding officer of the post at Danville is under the command of General Elzey, and it is rather a delicate matter for me to issue orders to operate upon an officer in General Elzey's command. I wish to be understood as having no disposition to raise a question. My object is solely to avoid that very thing.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



[Inclosure Numbers 1.]


Richmond, March 2, 1864.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:

SIR: I have the honor to request that my position in connection with the prisons at Danville, Va., and Andersonville, Ga., May be defined. I have the honor to inclose Special Orders, Numbers 49, February 29, 1864. This order places Colonel Persons in command of the post and does not direct him to report to me. This place him beyond my control. The letter of the Adjutant and Inspector-General to Colonel Withers directing Captain McCoy to obey the orders of Colonel Withers operates in like manner at Danville. I do not wish to be understood as complaining, for I have no complaint to make. If it is the wish of the Department to relieve me of the command of those prisons I offer no objections. I simply wish to know how I stand in relation to them, for it would be embarrassing for me to issue orders when I had no right to do so, and it would be just as embarrassing for me to neglect to issue orders when I ought to do so.




[First indorsement.]

MARCH 2, 1864.


What is the best solution of this tangle, which seems to me unnecessary? There was no purpose to take the command in connection with the charge of prisoners from General Winder, yet he must have subordinates, and they, it strikes me, must, in many matters, be subordinate to the commander of the post where the prisoners are.



[Second indorsement.]

MARCH 7, 1864.

Respectfully submitted to Secretary of War.

I can see no necessity for raising a question of difficulty in this case. The commandeer of a military post is according to all military a rule and practice the commander of everything which appertains to that post, whether there be prisoners at the post or not, and we cannot make a divided responsibility. This, I feel satisfied, General Winder as a veteran officer will admit. If he has not that confidence in the present commander of the post as will insure in this instance the safety of the prisoners, he ha but to name his successor, when a change can be made and when he can intimate to him his views and wishes with the certainty of their being carried into effect.


Adjutant and Inspector-General.