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II. There will be appointed by this department, for each military division of the Confederacy east of the Mississippi River, one or more competent persons as commissioners to investigate the cases of persons who may be arrested or detained by any military authority, for any cause specified within the above recited act. Information of all such arrests will be given to him by the department commander as soon as practicable after they are made, and he will proceed to investigate the same. If, upon examination, a reasonable and probable cause for detention does not appear, he will certify the fact to the General or other officer in command, who will immediately discharge the prisoner from arrest. But if a reasonable and probable cause does appear, the commissioner will forthwith transmit to this department a copy of the evidence taken in the case, with his opinion thereon, for instructions, and meanwhile the prisoner shall remain in custody.

III. In all cases in which a person who has been enlisted in the army under any of the acts of Congress to provide for the public defence, or to raise troops to serve during the war, or to provide for local defence and special service, or who has been enlisted or enrolled for service under the acts of Congress further to provide for the public defence, or has been placed in the military service by the act of Congress to organize forces to serve during the war, approved seventeenth February, 1864, shall be held in custody for desertion or encouraging desertions, of harboring deserters, and of attempts to avoid military service, or of holding correspondence or intercourse with the enemy without necessity, and without the permission of the Confederate States, or of combining to assist the enemy, or of communicating intelligence to the enemy, or of giving him aid and comfort, or for any other cause specified in the act aforesaid ; and in all cases in which any person not belonging to the military service shall be held in custody by any military authority for any of the causes mentioned in the act, shall apply to any court or officer in the Confederate States for a writ of habeas corpus, it will be the duty of the officer having the command or custody of such person forthwith to report the case, with all the relevant facts, to the War Department for instructions as to the proper answer to be made to such writ, and in the mean time to retain the custody and control of such person under this order, a copy of which will be communicated to the officer or court issuing the writ, as affording the reason why time should be given to make a more complete return.

IV. In all cases when the requisite delay cannot be obtained, it will be the duty of the officer having command and custody of persons embraced in the preceding section, or who may have in custody as prisoners any person charged under any of the sections of the above recited act of Congress, to make a special return in writing, and under oath, that the body of such persons so detained by him is detained by the authority of the Secretary of War, and that he declines, under and by virtue of his authority and the act of Congress aforesaid, to produce the body of such person, or to make further appearance or return to the said writ.

V. The commanding General of the Trans-Mississippi Department will perform the functions devolving upon the War Department, under these orders, in that portion of the Confederacy.

By order,

S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General.

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Samuel Cooper (1)
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February 17th, 1864 AD (1)
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