Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 5.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Page  432

To Edwin M. Stanton [2]

Hon. Sec. of War Executive Mansion,
Dear Sir. Washington, Sep. 20, 1862.

I know it is your purpose to send the paroled prisoners to the seat of the Indian difficulties; and I write this only to urge that this be done with all possible despatch. Gen. Wool telegraphs that including those from Harper's Ferry, there are now twenty thousand at Anapolis, requiring four good unparoled regiments to guard them. This should not be endured beyond the earliest moment possible to change it. Arm them and send them away just as fast as the Railroads will carry them. Each regiment arriving on the frontier will relieve a new regiment to come forward. Yours truly A. LINCOLN

Annotation

[1]   ALS, NHi. On August 22, 1862, Governor Alexander Ramsey notified Stanton, ``The Third Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers is on parole at Benton Barracks, Saint Louis. We need a well-drilled force . . . to resist the over-whelming force of Indians now attacking our frontier settlements. Cannot you order the Third Regiment to report at once to me . . .? This service would not be a violation of their parole. . . .'' (OR, II, IV, 417).

On September 9, Governor David Tod pursued the question further, ``If the Indian troubles in Minnesota are serious and the paroled Union prisoners are not soon to be exchanged would it not be well to send them to Minnesota? It is with great difficulty we can preserve order among them at Camp Chase.'' (OR, II, IV, 499).

Stanton replied the same day, ``Your suggestion as to the paroled prisoners being sent to the Indian borders is excellent and will be immediately acted upon.'' (Ibid).

On October 14, Lorenzo Thomas gave his opinion that employment of paroled troops ``against Indians would seem to be contrary to the fourth article of the cartel.'' (Ibid., p. 621). The terms of parole specified that paroled Union troops were to be kept in Union camps as non-combatants until they were exchanged for Confederate prisoners. Insubordination and mutiny among parolees at both Camp Chase and Camp Douglas, as well as the need for troops in Minnesota, prompted the project, but no reference has been found to the actual service of any of the paroled regiments in Minnesota, excepting a portion of the Third Minnesota, as first requested by Governor Ramsey. See also Lincoln to Halleck, October 3, infra.