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General L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D.C.
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose herewith copies of regulations which pursuant to authority given me in General Orders, No. 67, of the 17th ultimo from the War Department I have issued for the government of commanders who have charge of stations where prisoners of war are held. I hope they will meet your approbation.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.
CIRCULAR.] OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Detroit, Mich., July 7, 1862.
The following regulations will be observed at all stations where prisoners of war are held:
1. The commanding officer at each station is held accountable for the discipline and good order of his command and for the security of the prisoners, and will take such measures as will best secure these results. He will divide the prisoners into companies, and will cause written reports to be made to him of their condition every morning showing the changes made during the preceding twenty-four hours, giving the names of the "joined," "transferred," "deaths," &c. At the end of every month commanders will send to the commissary-general of prisoners a return of prisoners, giving names and details to explain alterations. Where rolls of "joined" or "transferred" have been forwarded during the month it will be sufficient to refer to them on the return.
2. On the arrival of prisoners at any station a careful comparison of them with the rolls that accompany them will be made and all errors on the rolls will be corrected. When no roll accompanies the prisoners one will be immediately made out containing all the information required as correct as can be from the statements of the prisoners themselves. When the prisoners are citizens the town, county, and State from which they come will be given on the rolls under the heads, rank, regiment and company. At the same time they will be required to give up all arms and weapons of every description and all moneys which they have in their possession, for which the commanding officer will give receipts.
3. The hospital will be under the immediate charge of the senior surgeon who will be held responsible to the commanding officer for its good order and the condition of the sick. "The fund" of this hospital will be kept separate from the fund of the hospital for the troops and will be disbursed for the sole benefit of the sick prisoners on the requisition of the surgeon approved by the commanding officer. When the fund is sufficiently large there will be bought with it besides the articles usually purchased all articles of table furniture, kitchen utensils, articles for policing, shirts and drawers for the sick, the expense of washing, and all articles that may be indispensably necessary to promote the sanitary condition of the hospital.
4. The commanding officer will cause requisitions to be made by his quartermaster on the nearest depot for such clothing as may be absolutely necessary for the prisoners, which requisition will be approved by him after a careful inquiry as to the necessity and submitted for the approval of the commissary-general of prisoners. The clothing will be issued by the quartermaster to the prisoners with the assistance and under the supervision of an officer detailed for the purpose, whose certificate that the issue has been made in his presence will be the quartermaster's voucher for the clothing issued. From the 30th of April to the 1st of October neither drawers nor socks will be allowed except to the sick.
5. A general fund for the benefit of the prisoners will be made by withholding from their rations all that can be spared without inconvenience to them, and selling this surplus under existing regulations to the commissary, who will hold the funds in his hands and be accountable for them subject to the commanding officer's order to cover purchases. The purchases with the fund will be made by or through the quartermaster with the approval or order of the commanding officer, the bills being paid by the commissary, who will keep an account book in which will be carefully entered all receipts and payments with the vouchers; and he will keep the commanding officer advised from time to time of the amount of this fund. At the end of the month he will furnish the commanding officer with an account of the fund for the month showing the receipts and disbursements, which account will be forwarded to the commissary-general of prisoners with the remarks of the commanding officer. With this fund will be purchased all such articles as may be necessary for the health and comfort of the prisoners and which would otherwise have to be purchased by the Government. Among these articles are all table furniture and cooking utensils, articles for policing purposes, bedticks and straw, the means of improving or enlarging the barrack accommodations, extra pay to clerks who have charge of the camp post-office, and who keep the accounts of moneys deposited with the commanding officer, &c., &c.
6. The sutler is entirely under the control of the commanding officer who will see that he furnishes proper articles, and at reasonable rates. For his privilege the sutler will be taxed a small amount by the commanding officer according to the amount of his trade, which tax will make a part of the general fund.
7. Prisoners will not be permitted to hold or receive money. All moneys in possession or received will be taken charge of by the commanding officer who will give receipts for it to those to whom it belongs. They will purchase from the sutler such articles as they may wish, which are not prohibited, and on the bill of the articles they will give an order on the commanding officer for the amount, and this will be kept as a voucher with the individual's account. The commanding officer will keep a book in which the accounts of all those who have money deposited with him will be kept, and this book with the vouchers must be always ready for the inspection of the commissary-general of prisoners.
8. All articles contributed by friends for the prisoners in whatever shape they come if proper to be received will be carefully distributed as the donors may request; such articles as are intended for the sick passing through the hands of the surgeon who will be responsible for their proper use. Contributions must be received by an officer who must be held responsible that they are delivered to the persons for whom they are intended.
9. Visitors to these stations out of mere curiosity will in no case be permitted. Persons having business with the commanding officer or quartermaster may with the permission of the commanding officer enter the camp to remain only long enough to transact their business. When prisoners are seriously ill their nearest relatives, parents, wives, brothers or sisters if they are loyal people may be permitted to make them short visits; but under no other circumstances will visitors be allowed to see them without the approval of the commissary-general of prisoners.
10. Prisoners will not be permitted to write letters of more than one page of common letter paper, the matter to be strictly of a private nature, or the letter must be destroyed.
11. Prisoners will be paroled or released only by the authority of the War Department, or by direction of the commissary-general of prisoners.
Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.