Official Records: Halleck to Ludlow regarding prisoners from Brentwood and Thompsons Station at Tullahoma

—–
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, D.C., April 23, 1863.
Colonel LUDLOW, Fort Monroe.

COLONEL: It has been officially reported that on the arrival at Tullahoma of the prisoners of war of the Twenty-second Wisconsin Volunteers,  captured at Thompson’s and Brentwood Stations, up in Tennessee, they were by order of General Bragg stripped of their overcoats and blankets.

You will at your next interview with the officer appointed by the enemy for the exchange of prisoners present him with a copy of this letter and ask an answer whether this allegation be true and whether the Confederate authorities approve or disapprove the act alleged.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief.

[First indorsement.]
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT NO. 2,
[May 21, 1863.]

The complaint is true; my action was retaliatory. Prisoners captured from this army have not only been stripped of overcoats and blankets but money, watches and even small articles of priceless value to them, though of no earthly use to the robbers who took them.

I informed Major-General Rosecrans when I first gave the order early in December last and expressed my regret that the conduct of the officers of his Government imposed this unpleasant duty upon me. The staff officer of the general who received the prisoners with this notice acknowledged the precedent and told his men in the presence of my representative that he regretted the act but would not complain, the example having been set by them. Instead of checking such outrages the general has permitted them to a greater extent, and has recently by general orders required the uniform pantaloons to be taken from my men when captured. He has even pronounced the death penalty against prisoners who may be taken wearing the uniform prescribed by our Government and ordered that no quarter shall be shown them on the field. There is not one of us from the private up but will come within the terms of this general order.

BRAXTON BRAGG,
General, Commanding.

[Second indorsement.]
RICHMOND, VA., May 29, 1863.
Respectfully transmitted through Col. R. Ould, agent for the exchange of prisoners, to Maj. Gen. H. W. Halleck, commanding U.S. Army.

By command of Secretary of War:
S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General.

[Third indorsement.]
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, June 2, 1863.

The within letter of General Halleck to Colonel Ludlow and General Bragg’s reply forwarded by General Cooper are referred to General Rosecrans for report. As the Government of the United States has uniformly treated prisoners of war with the utmost kindness, supplying them with clothing and blankets when needed and in all cases adopting the most lenient rules of civilized warfare, it is presumed that if there have been any such abuses as here complained of by General Bragg they have been committed by unknown persons on whom due punishment could not be imposed.
H. W. HALLECK,
General-in- Chief.

WASHINGTON, April 23, 1863.

General CURTIS:

The Secretary of War authorizes the exchange of Major Major for Major McConnel as recommended in your telegram to General Halleck of yesterday. You will please make the exchange and report your action to Colonel Hoffman.
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General.
************************

O.R.–SERIES II–VOLUME V [S# 118]
UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, ETC., RELATING TO PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE FROM DECEMBER 1, 1862, TO JUNE 10, 1863.–#21

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