THOMAS W. J. LONG - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 09/08/1862 - HFSID 174757
CIVIL WAR (UNION): THOMAS W. J. LONG
As Iowa State Sanitary Agent, he signs a war-dated letter to State Adjutant General N. B. Baker, accusing the 1st Iowa Cavalry of being "a disgrace to the service."
Autograph Letter signed: "Thos. W. J. Long", 2 pages (front and verso), 8x9¾. St Louis, Missouri, 1862 September 8. On letterhead of Everett House to General N. B. Baker, Adjutant General of Iowa. In full: "The finding of Court Martial in the cases of our Paroled Prisoners refusing to us guests only, has been set aside, and our boys released from Guard House. They are all doing well and anxious to be exchanged and take the field. Several of the Officers in Iowa 1st Cary are here attending General Court Martial, is there not some way in which that Regiment can be got in working trim & properly armed, as it has been it is a disgrace to the service. Will you be at Davenport all of next week I propose going up soon for a short-time and want to see you; will you send me a few passes for my own use or do you consider me a charge & not a benefit to the State service? Truly yours". Thomas W. J. Long, who moved from Virginia to Iowa in 1853, was Iowa State Sanitary Agent during the Civil War. He issued regular reports to General Baker but also to Iowa newspapers on the status of hospitalized Iowa soldiers. Apparently, he reported intelligence of a more general nature, including his appraisals of troop fitness, to the Adjutant General. His negative comments here about the 1st Iowa Cavalry probably refer more to the state of arms and equipment than to the quality of soldiers. That unit fought capably throughout the war, engaged in Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa. The system of prisoner paroles and exchanges was in flux when Long wrote this letter. At the beginning of the war, many captured soldiers were released on parole, in exchange for their promise not to fight again unless formally exchanged for prisoners of comparable value. This system did not work well, one reason being that shirkers allowed themselves to be captured in the hope of parole. In July 1862, shortly before this letter was written, Union and Confederate military commanders agreed on a more formal system of prisoner exchanges. This system worked until 1864, when exchanges virtually ceased over the issue of treatment of black prisoners and due to General Grant's perceptions that the exchanged helped the South prolong the war. Lightly toned and creased. left edge lightly ragged.1 horizontal 2 vertical fold creases. Otherwise fine condition.
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