From the Richmond Enquirer, 2/20/1862

THE CONFEDERATE STATES PRISON. – The order issued by Secretary of War Benjamin, on Tuesday, for the release, upon parole, of all the Federal prisoners now held in this city, at Salisbury, N. C., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and at other points of the Confederacy, numbering, in the aggregate, about 3,000, will have the immediate effect, we presume, of inducing a reciprocal discharge, upon like terms, of an equal number of Confederate prisoners. Its indirect consequence will be, we hope, the softening of that mutual bitterness of feeling which has been engendered by alleged ill-treatment of prisoners on both sides. Viewed from an economic standpoint, the release of these prisoners will relieve the Treasury of the Confederacy of a daily tax of not less than $2,000, no inconsiderable saving in the present condition of affairs. We have not learned the exact time fixed upon for the release of those held in the city, but suppose that within a week, or a fortnight at fartherest, the captive Federals will be sent rejoicing on their way home.

Among the number now occupying the Tobacco Factories, at Rocketts, are a score or more officers, several of high rank. Among the latter, Colonel W. R. Lee, of the Twentieth Massachusetts, Colonel Cogswell, of the Forty-second New York, and Major E. J. Revere, also of the Twentieth Massachusetts, who were taken at the battle of Ball's Bluff, October 25th. The two former gentlemen, it will be remembered, were held, together with some eight or nine others, as hostages for the safety of our privateersmen, but were released a few days ago from the rigorous confinement in which they had been placed, in consequence of the decision of the Federal Government, placing privateersmen on a footing with prisoners of war. Both Colonels Lee and Cogswell are graduates of West Point, and are gentlemen of high social position at home. The former married a Baltimore lady, and during the presidential campaign of 1860, was a frequent contributor to the Boston "Courier," a paper which then espoused with signal ability the cause of the South against the Black Republican.

There are confined in the prisons of this city about two hundred Union men, chiefly from Western Virginia, whose detention will not, of course, be affected by the order of the Secretary of War.

The prisoners are now under the control of Captain A. C. Godwin, C. S. A., as commandant of the post; and are conducted with admirable system and good order. Though properly very strict in the enforcement of the discipline of the prison, Captain Godwin's official intercourse with those beneath his charge, is marked with an urbanity and a generous sense of propriety, which appears to have gained him the respect of all the prisoners. He is very efficiently seconded by the following officers, nearly all of whom are young men of marked ability, and of courteous address:

Lieutenant G. W. Emack, of Maryland
Lieutenant E. A. Semple,
Lieutenant E. G. Mohler,
Lieutenant T. J. Turner,
Lieutenant E. W. Ross, of Richmond, Clerk,
Captain Warner, Commissary.

Go to top