Transcript of two 1862 letters from Indianapolis prison commander to John Price Innes, the father, and Sue Innes, a sister, of the prisoner James Innes.
Transcript of 1861 Letter from James Innes to his sister Elizabeth (no image)
July 21, 1862
Mr. J.P. Innes
Your son has been with me since Feb. I take great pleasure in saying to you that his behavior has been unexceptionable and that I have every confidence in him. Young & influenced by others, I can easily see where he made a great mistake, & I feel sure he can now (?) it. At any rate I will cheerfully render him any service of a reasonable nature.
I write this brief note without any knowledge of his, thinking it might be a satisfaction to you to know what others think of your son.
Nov. 2, 1862
Miss Sue Innes,
Your letter of the 24th of Oct. only came to hand yesterday, and I embrace the first leisure moment to reply.
I received a letter from your father about ten days since, which was promptly answered, and which answer has no doubt been received by him before this.
Your brother James left here early in Sept. for Vicksburg (?), Mississippi to be exchanged.
He was with a party of twenty who remained here (?) after the prisoners were sent south. James was very well when he left and seemed in good spirits, although for a long time previously he had been very much depressed.
He wanted to see his father badly as he was at a great loss to decide what to do and my position was such that I could only keep him by his taking the Oath of Allegiance to the U. States.
Lexington was at the time in the possession of Kirby Smith's forces, and it was not to be wondered at that James hesitated long and anxiously before deciding what to do.
He finally (? honestly) concluded to go with the rest.
I did not interfere with his decision, but at the same time was sorry he did not conclude to remain as he might have stayed here with me as long as he wished.
While he was here I gave him many privileges & he scarcely felt that he was confined or a prisoner of war, in fact I took an interest in him shortly after he arrived here as I was not slow in discovering that he was much superior to many of his associates. He always behaved in the most gentlemanly and obliging manner and frequently spoke in the most affectionate way of his father, mother and sisters and frequently expressed regret that he could not return home.
I know that he did not desire again to live a military life and the only explanation I can give for his doing it is that he was presuaded by his companions that it would not be manly to do otherwise.
But James, with his gentle nature and kind disposition was never in my judgment calculated for a soldier and I frequently had occasion to consider how he first came to occupy such a position.
The chances of war are alas very very uncertain but I hope and pray that James may live to be released to his family and that our afflicted country may be restored to peace and harmony and that we shall be again a united country with the position we once had in the great family of nations.