Gibbs’ Parol Letter – Official Records

Table of Contents

Text is taken from the Official Records of the Ware of the Rebellion.


FORT WARREN, Boston Harbor, May 17, 1862.

Honorable G. W. RANDOLPH, Secretary of War.

SIR: The undersigned has the honor to inclose a letter from Colonel Justin Dimick, U. S. Army, commanding this post, and to request you most respectfully to consent to my exchange for Captain Alfred Gibbs, Third Cavalry, U. S. Army, now on parole at Detroit. An educated officer, I have held in succession the position of engineer-in-chief on that staff of Generals Polk, Zollicoffer and Crittenden. After the engagement in Fishing Creek was charaged [sic] by General A. S. Johnston with the defenses of Cumberland River just below Nashville, and afterwards appointed engineer on the staff of General Mackall when he was ordered to Island Numbers 10. I am most anxious to be speedily exchanged and take the field again, and have the honor to refer you to the letters written in my behalf to the War Department by Generals McCown, Pillow, Polk, Mackall, Zollicoffer and A. S. Johnston; to the generals of the Western Department; to Major J. F. Gilmer; also to Hons. Charles M. Conrad, D. F. Kenner, H. S. Foote, T. C. Reynolds and E. M. Bruce.

I have the honor to be, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain and Staff Engineer, General Mackall.


HEADQUARTERS, Fort Warren, May 17, 1862.

Captain V. SHELIHSA, C. S. Army.

CAPTAIN: I am authorized to assure your release [sic] and being forwarded through the lines of our forces on your obtaining in writing from competent authority the relase [sic]  from parole of Captain Alfred Gibbs, Third U. S. Cavalry.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servnat [sic] ,


Colonel First Artillery, Commanding Post.

SENATE CHAMBER, Washington, March 11, 1862.

Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

SIR: I inclose you the application of Captain Alfred Gibbs, of the Third U. S. Cavalry, in behalf of the officers and men of his command now stationed at Fort Wayne, near Detroit, to be exchanged.

It seems they were treacherously surrendered by Major Isaac Lynde, Seventh Infantry, at San Augustine Springs, N. Mex., on the 27th July last. I inclose the list sent by Captain Gibbs, and also a letter from my personal friend William Gray, esq., of Detroit. I really hope the case of these brave fellows may receive the early attention of the Department. Shall they not?

I have the honor to be, &c.,



*ERROR: It was Myers and Tunstall who were arrested.


[Inclosure Numbers 1.]

FORT WAYNE, MICH., March 4, 1862.

Honorable J. M. HOWARD, U. S. Senate, Washington, D. C.

SIR: I have the honor to enclose you the official list* of the officers and men under my command at this post. I beg to state that they compose the cavalry force included in the ignominious surrender of San Augustine Springs, N. Mex., July 27, 1861, made by Major Isaac, Lynde, Seventh Infantry.

The officers and men above referred to have been in the service of the United States Government for periods varying from five to fifteen years and most keenly feel the disgrace to which they are subjected by their obedience to the orders of their lawful superior. Hearing of the successes of the Union arms at Roanoke, Forts Henry and Donelson and of the capture of over 15,000 rebel prisoners at these places, I have the honor in the name of the officers and soldiers of my command to ask you to take such steps as you may deem proper to urge upon the Secretary of War our exchange for prisoners of war of equal rank now in our possession that we may show to the Government of the United States that we are most anxious to do our duty in the field against any of the enemies of our country and our flag. I send inclosed letter from some of your personal friends substantiating the statements above made.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain, Third U. S. Cavalry, Commanding Post.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.]

DETROIT, March 5, 1862.

Honorable J. M. HOWARD, U. S. Senate.

MY DEAR MR. HOWARD: This will be forwarded to you by Captain A. Gibbs, who is now stationed at Fort Wayne with two companies of old experienced cavalry. They are a portion of the force so shamefully surrendered by Colonel [Major] Lynde. After their surrender they had to give their parole not to fight against the rebels till exchanged. They now burn for an opportunity to show what they can and will do for the Union and want to get exchanged. The men and officers are all veterans in experience and a fine soldierly-looking body. If you saw them I think you would be of my opinion that each one is worth for service any two new men and that it is a pity that such effective skill and material should rust unused.

I have spoken with a great many here and all I know of [are] really solicitous that they should succeed in their desire to get into active service and blot out the memory of their former commander’s conduct. If you could see the captain I am sure you would say with me that he looks just the man who should be in the field again at the head of his well-trained company.

If it is in your power (as it must be) I hope you will aid the captain’s wishes. I ask it as a personal favor for which I will be much obliged. I can also add with truth that I know it will be regarded with pleasure and satisfaction by almost every man in Detroit.

Pardon me for so often trespassing upon your time, and believe me always, dear Mr. Howard, your true and sincere friend,


P. S. -If Jerome is in Washington see him. He knows the captain and has seen his men and will say all I say.



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