War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0400 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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[Inclosure Numbers 2.]

RICHMOND, March 11, 1865.

His Excellency the PRESIDENT:

SIR: In the matter of the accompanying resolution of the House of Representatives I have the honor to submit the following report:

The case of Actg. Master John Y. Beall was never brought to the attention of this office by any communication, verbal or written, prior to his execution. The proceedings of the military commission which tried him were not published in the Northern papers until the 15th of February. The day for his execution had been fixed for the 18th of the same month, as if for the purpose of making any efforts in his behalf by his Government impossible. He was reprived form the 18th to the 24th, though it seems to have been quietly, if not secretly, done. For some days after the 24th it was not known here whether or not he had been executed. On the 27th of February I received a letter from him, of which the following is a copy, which was forwarded by order of General Dix after the unfortunate man had been put to death:

FORT COLUMBUS, February 21, 1865.

Colonel R. OULD, Commissioner of Exchange, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: The proceedings of a military commission in my case published in the New York papers of the 15th instant made you and my government aware of my sentence and doom. A reprieve, on account of some informality, from the 18th to the 24th was granted. The authorities are possessed of the facts in my case. They know that I acted under orders. I appeal to my Government to use its utmost efforts to protect me, and if unable to prevent my murder, to vindicate my reputation. I can only declare that I was no 'spy" or "querrilla," and am a true Confederate.



Acting Master, C. S. Navy.

The cruelty of the enemy was so swift that no sufficient time intervened between a knowledge of the facts and the exectution to enable any proceedings to be taken.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Agent of Exchange.


Washington, D. C., March 15, 1865.

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

Commanding Armies of the United States, City Point, Va.:

GENERAL: Your telegram of the 13th instant to the Secretary of War in reference to release of prisoners in close confinement or in irons has been referred to this office, and I am directed to carry out your instructions. I would respectfully beg leave to state in explanation that General Orders, Numbers 6, of the 18th of January, which requires all prisoners of war in close confinement or in irons to be forwarded to Lieutenant-Colonel Mulford at Fort Monroe for exchange, was generally distributed, and it was expected it would fully meet the case. Wherever doubtful cases have been referred to this office with the advice of Major-General Hitchcock, commissioner for exchange, the broadest construction has been put upon the order, and under its terms spies, murderes, &c., have been forwarded for exchange.

On the 18th ultimo, pursuant to your telegram of the 17th, I sent an order to all sations in the North where prisoners have been so confined, "to forward all rebel prisoners who are or have been in close confinement or in irons to Point Lookout for exchange." Under this