My great grandfather (5th Maine) was captured by the Confederate army, imprisoned in Salisbury, then agreed to fight with the 8th Co, 2nd Foreign Brigade (POWs) to avoid starvation. He was recaptured by the Union and imprisoned in Nashville. He signed an oath of allegiance and enlisted in the Navy. Can you tell me if the note on the following William F. Irwin in Ohio (provost).might refer to him or another Wm. F. Irwin. It reads "His parole of honor to report to these headquarters daily." Also, what does it mean? Is it like reporting to a parole officer. I know such language was applied to deserters, thieves, etc. I thought he was sent back to Maine after his reenlistment.

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A "parole of honor" was just an agreement made by released POWs not to take up arms against those who had taken them prisoner. Here's an example from the War of 1812. These inhabitants of Bangor were "captured" by the British, but released on the condition that they not join the fight against their captors. The "unless regularly exchanged" part means that, if the British and Americans swapped prisoners, the parolees would again be allowed to take up arms.

Thanks, Chris. You are a wonder!


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