WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, January 26, 1862.
Major General BENJAMIN HUGER, Norfolk, Va.
SIR: First. In response to yours of 23rd instant, inclosing offer of General Wool for exchange to Messrs. Claiborne and Forrest for Major James V. Bromford, Sixth Infantry, I remark that Major Bromford has already been tendered for Pegram. I now offer for these two naval officers Major D. H. Vinton, of the U. S. Army. I learn from what seems good authority that Major Vinton, released on parole in Texas, has been and is now in service of the United States and West Point, thus relieving other officers for active service and violating his parole. I hope this statement is not true, but it will be not inopportune to report the matter to General Wool and making inquiry into the truth of a report so derogatory to the reputation of Major Vinton*.
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I am, your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
NORFOLK, January 26, 1862.
Honorable W. N. H. SMITH.
MY DEAR SIR: I am released on parole for thirty days to secure the release of Major Reeve, of the Regular Army. If you feel any interest in my story, and think I can be of equal service here to his release, please see the Secretary of War and effect my exchange. My parole is for thirty days only. The chief object of my visit is to secure the release of our prisoners of war at Fort Warren. We have now 400 men and officers there from our State and Virginia. Colonel Dimick, the commanding, wishes the Texas regulars now in Texas (244) released. Upon the assurance from Colonel [General] Huger that eased he will immediately release all the men and officers. These Texans are the oldest prisoners and farthest removed from any aid, have fewest friend and sympathizers at home.
Do try and have this accomplished and as soon possible. Our soldiers are dispirited at their long confinement, and want much to be at home. They will all go in for the war, and are as good as regulars, Call in the aid of Bridgers, Davis, Dortch and Bragg for our men, and have General Huger to give the proper reply. I will be in Richmond on Thursday or Saturday night. Meantime help us if possible. I go home to-morrow to see my wife and see after Burnside. I left Wise very well.
H. A. GILLIAM.
Major Gilliam, the writer of this, is major of the Seventh [Seventeenth] North Carolina Volunteers, captured at Hatteras, and is well known to me, and I should be glad to have their release asked for.
W. N. H. SMITH.
* See Huger to Wool, January 29, p. 78.