War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 1106 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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ing at Point Lookout transmitting a copy of the "Proceedings of a board of officers"* convened at this point, to investigate and report the facts and circumstances connected with the shooting of a prisoner of war, named Peyton, on the 20th instant.

The Board was convened and the original proceedings forwarded to Colonel Hoffman, agreeably to an order issued by direction of the Secretary of War dated the 17th instant.

It would seem that this order was issued directly to General Marston without having passed through these headquarters.

It would tend greatly to the regularity of business if communications to the officer commanding the prisoners' camp at Point Lookout could take the usual and ordinary course prescribed by the Regulations of the Army. If the usual course had been taken in this instance, perhaps, the "Findings of the Board of Inquiry" would have been more satisfactory. If it had been composed of officers selected by the commanding general-not from the regiment immediately in charge of the prisoners of war, each of whom may be subjected to a like investigation for a like act, and be supposed, therefore, to have a fellow-feeling-and in saying this, I in no manner mean to impugn the probity or propriety of action of the present Board-it might have been more satisfactory. But as I have not been noticed in the proceeding, of course I have not examined it.

But it seems to me that in the very delicate matter of inquiring into the taking of the life of a man, especially a prisoner of war, which may be misrepresented to our rebel enemies and lead to attempted retaliation, it should appear that the facts were found by a board which, like Caesar's wife, should be beyond suspicion.

I know I have but to call your attention to this, which I deem an irregularity, to prevent its recurrence in the action of so good a soldier.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER,

Major-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,

OFFICE COMMISSIONER FOR EXCHANGE,

Fort Monroe, Va., March 28, 1864.

Honorable ROBERT OULD, Agent for Exchange, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: Will you please inform me as to the whereabouts and present condition of William H. Kitching, who was taken prisoner while in command of a picket-boat, from the U. S. gun-boat Nipsic, on the night of the 26th of February last, near Charleston, S. C.?

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER,

Major-General and Commissioner for Exchange.

SAINT LOUIS, MO., March 28, 1864.

Colonel WILLIAM HOFFMAN,

Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:

The prisoners of war at Gratiot Street Prison ought to be sent away immediately the prison is overflowing and can thus be relieved for the present.

W. S. ROSECRANS,

Major-General.

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*See p. 1097.

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