HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORFOLK,
Norfolk, Va., December 17, 1861.
Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH,
Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
SIR: I have referred your letter of the 7th instant to my Government and have received instructions in reply.
You state: "I understand that quite a number of seamen are held as prisoners by the Confederate States. "
I am informed that we have a number of common seamen prisoners of war whom I am authorized to relaease for the individuals, late officers of the U. S. Navy and Marine Corps, mentioned in your letter. Please let me know your wishes. If you prefer it my Government will propose army officers in exchange for the prisoners named by you. If you will allow Messrs. butt and Dalton their release upon parole I will agree to send them back unless the persons agreed upon in their places are released in a reasonable time. Mr. Butt's family are here and Mr. Dalton's mother has left her family in Mississippi and is here hoping to see her son. You will recollect that Master's Mate Abbott is on parole and no substitute has yet been sent for him.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Department.
NEAR SHEPHERDSTOWN, December 18, 1861.
Colonel W. H. LINK.
SIR: I am authorized be the authorities at Richmond to say to you that if you will release my husband, Mr. R. D. Shepherd, and such persons as he may select from among those now held by you an order will be issued by the Confederate Government releasing a corresponding number of prisoners of the same rank who are now held by it. My anxiety for my husband's release causes me to take the active part I have in this matter, and I trust that I may be as successful with you as I have been thus far. Do me the favor to let me hear from you at your very earliest convenience.
MRS. R. D. SHEPHERD.
I certify that the proper authority has been obtained for the release of the above-described prisoners now held by the Confederate Government upon the arrival of Mr. Shepherd and companions.
Captain, Commanding the District.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,
Fort Monroe, Va., December 19, 1861.
Major General B. HUGER, Commanding at Norfolk, Va.
GENERAL: If convenient I would be obliged if you will send a boat on Monday next when I will have all the clothing for prisoners of war ready and designated for the prisoners at their several places of confinement. Please answer.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN E. WOOL,