War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0454 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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that point. Fifteen escaped from the train, of whom nine were recaptured. No suitable place for the prisoners could be obtained at Charlotte, but I was compelled to camp them in an open field near the town, surrounding them with a guard, which gave at best but poor security for their detention; but, considering the extreme inefficiency of the troops on duty--raw reserves--was perhaps as futile an attempt at imprisonment as could be devised. Two of the guard deserted from post and took with them thirty of the prisoners. I therefore determined to lose no time in removing them to some point where some more effectual measures for their retention might be practicable, and on the 19th of February commenced the removal of these prisoners to Greensborough. After beginning the removal I received instructions from General Gardner to send Federal officers to Wilmington, making duplicate lists of and paroling them. In obedience to this order I, after some unavoidable delays in transportation, carried 1,003 Federal officers to Goldsborough, where they were paroled and thence forwarded to Colonel Hatch, assistant agent of exchange, at Magnolia. Of this number thirteen, after being paroled, straggled from the trains between Goldsborough and Magnolia. Nine hundred and ninety were delivered to Colonel Hatch.

Acting on the instructions I sent him on the 15th, Lieutenant-Colonel Iverson moved all the able-bodied prisoners at Florence to Cheraw, and thence marched them to the North Carolina Railroad, on which they were transported to Goldsborough, at which place they were paroled and forwarded to Colonel Hatch at Magnolia. Of those who arrived at Goldsborough some 700 were sick. These men, under a literal compliance with my instructions, I should have had to send to Richmond, but in view of the difficulty of transportating them there, and the great increase of suffering to the prisoners this course would have entailed, I decided to assume the responsibility of sending them to Colonel Hatch at Magnolia for exchange. I forwarded to him in all about 6,000 enlisted men from the Florence prisoners. I use the expression "about," as these prisoners were so mixed with others arriving from Salisbury that it was impossible to ascertain the exact number.

Every possible care was exercised in carrying out the operations I have detailed, but much confusion has resulted from various causes beyond my control, among which may be mentioned the enormous press of business on a single line of railroad, resulting from the evacuation of Columbia and movements of troops, and, above all, from the extreme inefficiency of the troops used as guards--reserves without discipline or instruction, and utterly unsuitable for an operation in which the vigilance of well-disciplined troops would have been severely taxed to prevent escapes.

For details of the removal of the officers from Columbia to Charlotte I refer to the accompanying report of Major E. Griswold, commanding officer of the prison at Columbia.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Provisional Army, C. S.