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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 46, Part 2 (Appomattox Campaign)
Page 825 Chapter LVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

[Inclosure No. 2.] HEADQUARTERS C. S. ARMIES, March 2, 1865.

Lieutenant General U. S. Armies:

Commanding U. S. Armies:

GENERAL: Lieutenant-General Longstreet has informed me that in an interview with Major-General Ord that officer expressed some apprehension lest the general terms used by you with reference to the exchange of political prisoners should be construed to include those charged with capital offenses. General Ord further stated that you did not intend to embrace that class of cases in the agreement to exchange.

I regret to learn that such is your interpretation, as I had hoped that by exchanging those held under charges by each party it would be possible to diminish to some extent the sufferings of both without detriment to their interests.

Should you see proper to assent to the interview proposed in my letter of this date I hope it may be found practicable to arrive at a more satisfactory understanding on this subject.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

[Inclosure No. 3.] CITY POINT, VA., March 4, 1865.

General R. E. LEE,

Commanding C. S. Army:

Your two letters of the 2nd instant were received yesterday. In regard to any apprehended misunderstanding in reference to the exchange of political prisoners, I think there need be none. General Ord and General Longstreet have probably misunderstood what I said to the former on the subject, or I may have failed to make myself understood, possibly. A few days before the interview between Generals Longstreet and Ord, I had received a dispatch from General Hoffman, Commissary-General of Prisoners, stating, in sub-stance, that all prisoners of war who were or had been in close confinement or irons, whether under charges or sentence, had been ordered to City Point for exchange. I forwarded the substance of that dispatch to Lieutenant-Colonel Mulford, assistant agent of exchange, and presumed it probable that he had communicated it to Colonel Robert Ould. A day or two after an officer, who was neither a prisoner of war nor a political prisoner, was executed after a fair and impartial trial and in accordance with the laws of war and the usage of civilized nations. It was in explanation of this class of cases I told General Ord to speak to General Longstreet. Reference to my letter of February 16 will show my understanding on the subject of releasing political or citizen prisoners. In regard to meeting you on the 6th instant, I would state that I have no authority to accede to your proposition for a conference on the subject proposed. Such authority is vested in the President of the United States alone. General Ord culd only have meant that I would not refuse an interview on any subject on which I have a right to act, which, of course, would be such as are purely of a military character, and on the subject of exchanges which has been intruste to me.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.


Page 825 Chapter LVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 46, Part 2 (Appomattox Campaign)
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