HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Nashviville, Tenn., April 27, 1865.
Brigadier General WILLIAM HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners:
GENERAL: On the 24th instant I telegraphed you as follows:
Are released prisoners of war to be allowed to go to their homes, or are they required to remain within the loyal States? Are soldiers of General Lee's army furnished transportation by our Government to their homes?
I received in reply the following:
Released prisoners of war must remain within our lines. Transportation is not furnished to paroled men of Lee's army.
By released prisoners of war I had reference to prisoners of war released from Northern prisons. Many of them come here with papers from commanding officers of prisons showing their release, but I questioned whether it was the intention of the Government to let them go through the lines. The answer I received seems to imply that they are already within rebel lines, and I infer it has reference to paroled prisoners of war, and on this point I desire instructions. A great many of Lee's men come here and desire to go to their homes. Some of them live in Kentucky and some in Tennesse. It is proper to let them go home when they live inside our lines? Should they not stay within rebel lines? Where prisoners of war who have been paroled by General Wilson and General Stoneman report or are forwarded here, ought they not to be held as prisoners of war and sent North for exchange?
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. PARKHURST,
Colonel and Provost-Marshal-General.
[APRIL 27, 1865.-For reports and correspondence relating to the loss of the steamer Sultana in the Mississippi River, with paroled Union prisoners on board, see Series I, Vol. XLVIII, Part I.]
HDQRS. ARMY AND DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
Mobile, Ala., April 27, 1865.
Major General GORDON GRANGER, Thirteenth Army Corps:
SIR: Lieutenant-Colonel Sawtelle has been istructed to cause all transports returning from Mobile Bay to New Orleans to touch at Ship Island, in order to assist in transferring the prisoners to the Mississippi, and to call on Colonel Bertam at Blakely for the necessary guards. Be pleased to direct Colonel Bertram to have detachments so detailed fitted out for immediately field service, and the commanding officers instructed to report on their arrival at New Orleans to the headquarters of the Military Division of West Mississippi.
Very respctfully, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Chief of Staff.