War of the Rebellion: Serial 096 Page 0900 N. AND SE. VA., N.C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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WASHINGTON, D. C., March 9, 1865-11 a.m.

Lieutenant-General GRANT, City Point, Va.:

I see your dispatch to the Secretary of War objecting to rebel prisoners being allowed to take the oath and go free. Supposing that I am responsible for what is done in this way, I think fit to say that there is no general rule, or action, allowing prisoners to be discharged merely on taking the oath. What has been done is that members of Congress come to me, from time to time, with lists of names, alleging that from personal knowledged and evidence of reliable persons they are satisfied that it is safe to discharge the particular persons named on the lists, and I: have ordered their discharge. These members are chiefly from the border States, and those they get discharged are their neighbors and neighbors' sons. They tell me that they do not bring to me one-tenth of the names which are brought to them, bringing only such as their knowledge or the proof satisfies them about. I have, on the same principle, discharged some on the representations of others than members of Congress, as, for instance, Governor Johnson, of Tennessee. The number I have discharged has been rather larger than I liked, reaching, I should think, an average of fifty a day since the recent general exchange commenced. On the same grounds, last year, I discharged quite a number at different times, aggregating perhaps a thousand, Missourians and Kentuckians, and then members returning here since the prisoners' return to their homes report to me only two cases of proving false. Doubtless some more have proved false, but, on the whole, I believe what I have done in this way has done good, rather than harm.

A. LINCOLN.

CITY POINT, VA., March 9, 1865.

President A. LINCOLN, Washington, D. C.:

Your dispatch of this morning shows that prisoners of war are being discharged only in accordance with the rule I proposed. I questioned the officers from Camp Morton and Rock Island, who arrived here yesterday in charge of prisoners for exchange and they told me that great numbers were being discharged on taking the oath of allegiance. They thought all who desired to do so were permitted to obtain their liberty in this way. I supposed, of course, this was in pursuance of a general policy which you knew nothing about, and I wanted it changed so that none would be allowed to take the oath of allegiance except by special permission.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

CITY POINT, VA., March 9, 1865.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War, Washington:

The following dispatch just received.* I have ordered the expedition back to finish up their work and break up supplying the rebel army from the north via Fredericksburg, if I can.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

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*See Roberts to Bowers, 10 p.m. March 8, beginning- I have just got back from Fredericksburg, p. 891.

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