Captain MacDonald declined to give his parole, and has, therefore, been retained as a prisoner of war. He was transferred on the 13th instant to the custody of the officer commanding the Illinois troops at Caseyville, Ill. I transmit herewith a copy of my answer to the writ of habeas corpus. The case has been postponed until Monday next, when it will come up before the U. In response to the writ of habeas corpus yesterday served on me commanding me to bring before his honor one Emmett MacDonald, I have to say that Mr.
MacDonald, the person described in the writ, is not imprisoned or kept in confinement by me, nor is he under my control or command, nor has he been imprisoned or confined or so under my control or command at or since the issuing of this writ. In making this return to the writ of habeas corpus issued by you commanding me to produce the body of Emmett MacDonald, and in making my response to the same I avail myself of the opportunity thus presented to express my profound regret of the state of things existing in this community.
I declare my wish to sustain the Constitution and laws of the United States and of the State of Missouri. But while making this declaration I find myself in such a position that in deciding upon a particular case I must take to what I am compelled to regard as the higher law, even by so doing my conduct shall have the appearance of coming in conflict with the forms of law.
With respect to the transaction which took place at Camp Jackson near this city on the 10th instant I have to say that it happened prior to my arrival here and before my assumption of the command of this department. While I am not therefore responsible for the proceedings at that camp, and under ordinary circumstances should not feel at liberty to comment upon them officially, I am not disposed in the existing state of things to shrink from the responsibility of acknowledging that my predecessor in command saw in the proclamation of the President of the United States ordering the dispersion of all armed rebels hostile to the United States, as described in the proclamation, a high and imperative duty imposed upon him with respect to the camp in question, the evidences of its treasonable purposes having been to his mind indisputably clear.
His action in the premises I recognize therefore as imposing upon me the obligation of assuming the consequences of his proceedings so far as to abstain from pursuing any course which, by implication, might throw a doubt upon the sufficiency of his authority.
For this purpose nothing has been required of these persons but a simple pledge or parole of honor. The whole subject will be referred by me to the Government of the United States, whose instructions to me at this critical time are paramount. Aggregate, SIR: I inclose herewith a remarkable document presented at our out-guards to-day by Captain George of the rebel army. Captain George is permitted to go to Saint Louis as a prisoner on parole to report to the general commanding the department for his decision. He was a Camp Jackson prisoner since which he has not taken up arms.
James George and Lieut. Army, and Major-General Price, of the Missouri State troops, as appears to me, now therefore I grant said officers Captain George and-Lieutenant Guibor this safeguard to pass the picket-lines and videttes of this army on their return to Saint Louis and back to this place.
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Last evening a party of prisoners taken at Camp Jackson arrived here on the steamer Platte Valley. I had them detained on the steamer until this morning, when they were put aboard of one of the ferries and landed at Norfolk, Mo. These prisoners are coming in squads from day to day, and necessarily keep the enemy well informed of all our movements it is possible for the community at large to know as well as the secret plottings of the enemy in our midst.
I would again report to the commanding officer of this department the almost certain disloyalty of the entire boating interest plying between Saint Louis and this place. I am informed that the owners of the packets complained of are generally enemies to the Government and their acts prove conclusively that the crews employed are. James R. We hear that these gentlemen are allowed to visit Saint Louis for the purpose of reporting themselves to be regularly exchanged.
If you understand the matter in this way you will please allow Major Shaler to pass to Saint Louis and if not you will please let him return. Army nor has he been. Your letter of the 23d instant with inclosed safeguard to Captain George and Lieutenant Guibor purporting to have been signed by order of General Pillow has been received. Any person hereafter attempting to pass with such a document will be immediately arrested and the case reported to these headquarters for instructions.
I have determined to retain him and all others arriving in small squads until the whole of them are here and discharge them together. I respectfully submit this plan for the approval of the general commanding the department.
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SIR: I beg leave respectfully to call the attention of the commanding general to the following facts: Several of the prisoners taken at Camp Jackson near this city May 10, , and who have been recently exchanged but who were within the lines of the Confederate Army at the time the exchange was made have returned to this city nominally for the purpose of receiving in person the certificate of exchange, but really I have reason to believe to arrange private business and convey information and assistance to the enemy.
Two persons both of whom have been in the Confederate Army were arrested in this city before their certificates of exchange were delivered. I have information that several more are coming.
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I have been applied to for the release of those under arrest, but have refused upon the ground that those who were at the time of the exchange already within the lines of the Confederate Army had no right whatever to come to this city. Their presence is not necessary to complete the exchange, and the certificates which are merely the evidence of the exchange can be forwarded by the commissioners who represent the Confederate Army in the negotiations. As it may be some days or weeks before this matter is finally disposed of I would respectfully ask of the commanding general an instruction upon this point.
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Captain George was arrested by the picket to whom he presented himself and as a prisoner was brought before me. The matter was simply referred to the general commanding the department and the prisoner, a commissioned officer, sent to Saint Louis on his parole. Lieutenant Guibor whose name appears on the pass with Captain George did not accompany him.
In answer to your communication of November 26 announcing that you are retaining the Camp Jackson prisoners who arrive in small numbers so that they may be sent to the enemy in large bodies the commanding general directs me to say that he approves of your action in this matter. GENERAL: With a view to the settlement of the question which I submitted to you as a precedent for the future by the major-general commanding the Western Department I respectfully ask that transportation from Saint Louis to Sedalia and beyond the Federal lines may be furnished to the prisoners of war who were taken at Camp Jackson May 10, , and who have recently been released from parole.
The number will be sixty including General D. Frost and staff, and by railroad will require one passenger-car and one baggage-car. They will be ready to leave on to-morrow morning. Belt, of Saint Louis, is here with the releases for Camp Jackson prisoners at Columbus which I promised you should be procured and forwarded.
I send Captain Hillyer, my aide-de-camp, accompanied by Mr. Belt under a flag of truce to deliver to you the releases. Brigadier-General Curtis, U. Army headquarters Saint Louis , has charge of the exchange of prisoners taken at Camp Jackson but no arrangement has yet been made for a general exchange. On the strength of a telegraphic dispatch received from Saint Louis that the prisoners arriving here yesterday were impostors I have ordered them back to Saint Louis. Eight of these prisoners did not claim to have been taken at Camp Jackson and had with them regular certificates of exchange.
As I am anxious to make as few shipments of these men as possible and as there was nothing in my telegraphic instructions to prevent it I returned these also. By what authority did you send back exchanged prisoners? They are not under assumed names. All were identified here before exchange. No such man as W. Bud, colonel, known at these headquarters. It is most extraordinary that you should have obeyed a telegram sent by an unknown person and not even purporting to have been given by authority.
The prisoners will be immediately retained to Cairo. In justice to myself I must reply to this telegram. The fact is I never dreamed of so serious a telegraphic hoax emanating through a large and responsible office like that in Saint Louis. Inclosed I send you copy of the dispatch received. The D. Taylor left here at 1 p. Stop her and send back all the Camp Jackson men. They all have assumed names. The person who sent the telegram about the prisoners has been discovered and placed in confinement.
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He has no authority whatever. You will hereafter be more careful about obeying telegrams from private persons countermanding orders from these headquarters. These prisoners were brought here on Tuesday last, and would have been immediately forwarded to Columbus but that a dispatch was sent to me purporting to be official stating that they were impostors and were not the men they assumed to be.
In consequence of this dispatch I arrested the parties here and put them at labor for a few hours and then sent them back to Saint Louis. It turned out, however, that the dispatch was a wicked hoax perpetrated by an individual in Saint Louis who has been arrested and will be properly punished. No one regrets the occurrence more than I do.
Colonel Webster has charge of the expedition and will receive any communication you may desire to send me. Said exchanges were made in pursuance of an agreement between Maj. John C. Said agreement authorized and ordered the exchange of certain officers and privates therein named and other privates to the number of , captured by the U. Lyon at Camp Jackson, Mo. On the part of the rebels were named as commissioners to effect said exchange Col. Churchill, Col. Armstrong, Col.
Barrett, Maj. Williams and D. Barclay, esq. On the part of the United States General S. Curtis, commandant of this military district, appointed Col. John A. Gurley, commissioner. Barnes to render me any assistance I might require. As the number to be exchanged of the Lexington prisoners was limited to a portion of the whole and all being on parole I decided to exchange only those who signified their intention to re-enlist for service.