War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0212 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

which should go to Richmond. In case of the evacuation of Wilmington, no distant contingency, and the possession of Columbia by the enemy, equally possible, the prisoners at Florence are cut off, and can only be extricated by a march through central North Carolina on Raleigh, which will expose your people to more depredations than from the march of a hostile column. These considerations will, I doubt not, induce Your Excellency to join with me in urging the Confederate authorities to consent to an immediate delivery of these prisoners the most convenient point. Grant proposes to take his men and deliver ours, both parties to be on parole. I think he never intends to exchange them so as to allow our men to go back to our army. On this our authorities may stick, but we ought to agree to it at once. The prisoners here cut our rations and keep men out of the field to guard them. They are a terrible burden. It would be better to send them home at once on parole. But the men we get back will go home, reinvigorate the population for the war, work, help to raise provisions, and, in case of emergency, defend themselves by guerrilla war, of which right no parole can deprive them. It would be better to have them in our army, but, failing that, let us have them at the plow, with the rifle in the fence corner. I press this upon you, for if these people are not turned over to their own authorities they will be pressed back into North Carolina, which will have to subsist three armies-the Confederate, the Federal, and the neutral, more terrible than either.

Your obedient servant,

BRADLEY T. JOHNSON,

Brigadier-General.

SALISBURY, N. C., February 12, 1865.

Brigadier General W. M. GARDNER, Richmond:

It is impossible to subsist any larger number of prisoners than re at this post. Those at Columbia ought to be removed. I urge that they be delivered immediately for parole. Wilmington will be the most convenient point for them and those at Florence. Please press this matter.

BRADLEY T. JOHNSON,

Brigadier-General.

SALISBURY, N. C., February 12, 1865.

Brigadier-General MARTIN, Raleigh:

I have received information from Secretary of War and other sources that this post is threatened with attack from Knoxville. It is said that a large number of deserters are collecting in Yadkin for an attack here. A few cavalry will disperse them.

BRADLEY T. JOHNSON,

Brigadier-General.

COLUMBIA, S. C., February 12, 1865.

General BRAXTON BRAGG, Wilmington, N. C.:

General Beauregard urges instant removal of Federal prisoners from Florence to Andersonville. I cannot get troops to guard them en route. Can you loan 500 men to go as guard? They shall be promptly returned.

H. FORNO,

Colonel, Commanding.