War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0256 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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After these instructions the Judge-Advocate-General made report, transmitting to this Department a list of political prisoners, and reported that "duplicates had been furnished to the judges of the circuit and district courts of the United States in compliance with the requirements of the act of Congress." His report in as allows.*

I have no knowledge or information of any other persons held as state or political prisoners of the United States by order or authority of the President of the United States or of the Secretary of State, or of the Secretary of War, in any fort, arsenal, or other place, since the date of the report of the Judge-Advocate-General.

Prior to the passage of the act approved March 3, 1863, measures had been taken by the Secretary of War to examine and determine the cases of state and political prisoners by the appointment of commissioners to visit from time to time the military prisons, with authority to discharge all cases proper to be discharged. Since the passage of the act the same course has been pursued in regard to persons arrested by State authorities, or subordinate military commanders, without authority from the President, Secretary of State, or Secretary of War. In some of the military departments persons were occasionally arrested and held in military prisons as state or political prisoners, by order of State Executives or local military commanders, without any authority from the President, Secretary of State, or Secretary of War. Although these persons did not come within the terms of the act of Congress, investigated and the parties released, whenever it could be done without prejudice to the public safety. To that end a commissioner was appointed to investigate all cases of imprisonment at Camp Chase, and a special commission charged with similar duty, consisting of the Hons. Benjamin S. Cowen, Roswell Marsh, and Samuel W. Bostwick, visited the State prisons at Alton, Saint Louis, Camp Douglas, and elsewhere in the Department of the Missouri. Their instructions were as follows.+

A special commission, consisting of Judge King and Judge Bond, was also appointed for the examination of prisoners confined at Fort Delaware or elsewhere in the Middle Department. General Dix was also directed by the following order, dated the 12th of January, 1864, to investigate the cases of persons arrested and detained in Fort Lafayette and other military prisons in the Eastern Department, which have been used by direction of the President for the custody of persons seized by naval officers while engaged in blockade running or illicit trade, and which class of prisoners is not specified in the act of Congress of March 3, 1863.++

The military prisons in the District of Columbia have been used for the custody of prisoners arrested by the military commanders of this and other Departments, as well as by the Navy Department. On the 1st of February, 1864, Major Turner, judge-advocate, was directed to investigate all cases of persons arrested and imprisoned in the military prisons of the District of Columbia, and has continued charged with that special duty until the present time. His instructions are as follows.#

Frequent inspections of military prisons, in addition to the foregoing measures, have also been made by officers especially assigned to that


*Omitted here; see Vol. V, this series, p. 765.

+Stanton to Cowen, Marsh, and Bostwick, December 2, 1863, omitted here; see Vol. VI, this series, p. 627.

++Ibid., p. 835.

#Omitted here; see Order of War Department, dated February 1, 1864, ibid., p. 896.