OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., March 17, 1864.
Colonel W. P. RICHARDSON,
Commanding Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio:
COLONEL: By direction of the Secretary of War you will hereafter, when a prisoner of war is shot by a sentinel for violating the regulations of the post, immediately order a board of officers to investigate all the circumstances of the case to show that the act was justifiable, a full report of which will be forwarded to this office with your remarks. It is necessary that both the guard and the prisoners should be fully informed of the regulations or orders by which they are to be governed, and when a sentinel finds it necessary to fire upon a prisoner he must be able to show that he was governed strictly by the orders he received, and that the prisoner or prisoners willfully disregarded his cautions of orders. Rigid discipline must be preserved among the prisoners, but great care must be observed that no wanton excesses or cruelties are committed under the plea of enforcing orders. Should a prisoner be wounded by a sentinel he will immediately be taken to the hospital, where he must have proper attention from the surgeon in charge.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.
(Same to Colonel A. J. Johnson, commanding Depot Prisoners of War, Rock Island, Ill. ; Colonel William Weer, commanding military prison, Alton, Ill. ; Colonel A. A. Stevens, commanding Camp Morton, Indianapolis, Ind. ; Lieutenant Colonel M. Burke, commanding For Lafayette, New York Harbor; Colonel P. A. Porter, commanding Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Md. ; Major Stephen Cabot, commanding Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, Mass. ; Brigadier General A. Schoepf, commanding Fort Delaware, Del. ; Colonel J. P. Sanderson, provost-marshal-general, Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo. ; Brigadier General W. W. Orme, commanding post, Chicago, Ill. ; Captain S. E. Jones, provost-marshal, Louisville, Ky.)
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, March 18, 1864.
Honorable GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: The Secretary of Was instructs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th instant calling attention to the case of the sufferers in Southern dungeons and inclosing a letter received by the mother of Ensign B. H. Porter, U. S. Navy, proving that he is still in irons, as also Lieutenant E. P. Williams, U. S. Navy, and asking that retaliatory measures may be taken to mete out to Commander Webb and others, mentioned in your letter of the 29th December last, similar treatment.
In reply the Secretary instructs me to advise you that your communication, with its inclosures, has been referred to Major-General Butler, Department of Virginia and North Carolina, with instructions to apply the retaliatory measures therein indicated.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
ED. R. S. CANBY,
Brigadier-General and Assistant Adjutant-General.
68 R R-SERIES II, VOL VI