their escape. While with them our ration consisted of one pint of cornmeal per day and a small portion of fresh beef once or twice per week.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN S. LEACH,
Sergeant, A Company, Forty- fourth U. S. Colored Infantry.
CHATTANOOGA, TENN., February 3, 1865.
I certify that while a prisoner in the hands of the enemy, on the 18th day of October, 1864, I was delivered as a slave by rebel authorities to a man who claimed to be my owner, and that I subsequently made my escape.
First Sergeant A Company, Forty- fourth U. S . Colored Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS,
Helena, Ark., February 3, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. CHRISTENSEN, Assistant Adjutant-General:
SIR: About the 1st of May, [1864,] my troops captured First Lieutenant T. C. Casteel, First Arkansas Cavalry; First Lieutenant J. H. Yerby, First Arkansas Cavalry; First Lieutenant W. H. H. Thomas, adjutant Ninth Missouri Infantry; Private T. Stoneham, First Arkansas Cavalry; Private T. A . Quarles, First Arkansas Cavalry Private J. G. Smith, First Arkansas Cavalry;all of whom violated the laws of war, and I reported their cases to General Steele* and requested him to apply to the Secretary of War for an order to incarcerate them at the Tortugas or some Northern prison until the close of the war. on the 12th of May General Canby was here, to whom I gave a copy of my letter, ad understood him to concur with me. These men have been confined in the military prison of this post, which is a brick building two stories high, the lower story being secured with iron bars and doors,a nd the yard of half an acre is inclosed with a palisade fence. They have been allowed the privileges of the whole house, kitchen, and yard during the day, but have been locked up i the lower story at night. General Steele has never replied to my letter. The reasons for making the above request were as follows: All of these persons have violated the laws of war by making midnight thieving excursions to the plantations leased by the Government to peaceful citizens, and stealing from them horses, mules, watches, money, clothing, and provisions. I have evidence that Lieutenant Casteel has more than once fired on unarmed boats; that he has had one white man named Hobbs and two negroes killed; that he has had other negroes unmercifully whipped, and that all the others above named have been principals or accomplices in sundry acts of crime and brutality. These men have all been secreted, harbored, and encouraged by the people in this vicinity, and they have had to be hunted from their hiding places, and it has taken months to capture them. now, if such men should be treated as prisoners of war and exchanged it is certain they would return to their former hiding places and practices. They with others have stole over 300 mules and horses since I have been in command, which led me to enforce
*See Series I, Vol. XXXIV, Part III, p. 562.