Charles Peirson received the long-awaited news of his release from prison on parole on the condition that he would not take part in any military actions until he was exchanged. His release order read:
Permission is granted C.L. Peirson to visit Norfolk upon honor not to communicate in writing or verbally for publication any facts ascertained, which if known to the enemy might be injurious to the C.S.A.He was optimistic about his plans for improving the fate of his fellow prisoners and for improving the conditions of the hostages as promised to the provost marshal General Jonathan Winder on January 14. Before his release he visited the hostages in jail and met with General Winder, who assured him that the hostages would be treated as prisoners of war and subject to hanging if the status of the Confederate privateers was changed to prisoners of war.1
Signed for the Secretary of War.
1Charles Lawrence Peirson, "Memorandum of the Battle of Leesburg," Association of Officers of the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment, Reports, Letters and Papers Appertaining to Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, vol. 1, p. 136-37, Twentieth Massachusetts Special Collection, Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts.