War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0914 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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[Indorsement in handwriting of General E. D. Townsend.]

The President desires to see the Secretary of War on this subject before deciding it.

[Indorsement in pencil.]

No action.


FORT MONROE, May 25, 1866.

For the privilege of being allowed the liberty of the grounds inside the walls of Fort Monroe between the hours of sunrise and sunset I, Jefferson Davis, do hereby give my parole of honor that I will make no attempt to nor take any advantage of any opportunity that may be offered to effect my escape therefrom.




First Lieutenant, Fifth Artillery.


May 26, 1866.

General E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General:

GENERAL: Inclosed I send you several articles which have recently appeared in the daily papers. I do this to call attention of the honorable Secretary of War to the position the single report of Doctor Cooper places me in throughout the country. I have been advised by my friends to reply to these articles by a publication of my orders which I have strictly observed to the very letter in all that relates to Jefferson Davis and others. I have always acted in obedience to my orders, and every consideration which would promote the health and comfort of the prisoners has been given as far as my instructions would permit. I cannot see, neither can others who have been familiar with his daily walks, any material change in his appearance beyond what effect an imprisonment of a man of his antecedents might produce upon him. His fare has been as good and better than officers in the fort. His quarters have been second to none save the bars and bolts and such precautions as were necessary for his safe-keeping. It is true I have not made him my associate and confidant or toadied to his fancy. I have endeavored to do my duty and have acted in implicit obedience to my orders. The gross misrepresentations made by the press infringes severely upon my honor and humanity and I am unwilling to allow such statements to go unnoticed. At the same time I am averse to making any communication publicly without the permission of the Department. I am confident this is an effort of Mr. Davis' friends to influence public opinion preparatory to his trial. I object, however, to the means used and influence gained through such a medium, which imperils my humanity as a man and my honor and character as an officer. This is not forwarded as an official letter, but simply as a private matter with a view of being advised as to my proper course to take.

Requesting an early reply, I have the honor to remain, with the highest respect,


Major-General, U. S. Volunteers.