DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, January 14, 1862.
Major General GEORGE B. McCLELLAN, Washington.
GENERAL: I inclose for your consideration a letter of the 4th instant from W. E. Woodruff, colonel of the Second Kentucky Regiment, a prisoner of war at Columbia, S. C., addressed to the Honorable Robert Mallory, a Representative in Congress from that State, on the subject of an exchange of prisoners.
I am, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM H. SEWARD.
COLUMBIA JAIL, S. C., January 4, 1862.
Honorable ROBERT MALLORY [Representative in Congress].
DEAR SIR: This will be handed you by Captain Sprague, of Seventh Ohio Regiment, who has been confined with us and has just been exchanged. My friends write me that they have written you in reference to my exchange, but deeming this a fitting opportunity I write you on the same subject. Myself, Lieutenant colonel Neff and Captain Austin, Second Kentucky Regiment, were captured July 17, 1861, and are consequently the oldest prisoners and should be the first exchanged. Let me urge upon you to give this some consideration and do all you can for our release. Six months in confinement is quite enough, and as hostages for the privateers we have at least a claim upon the Government.
As the REpresentative from my district I claim your efforts in my behalf and shall rely upon your efforts.
W. E. WOODRUFF,
Colonel Second Kentucky Regiment.
Washington, January 14, 1862.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR.
SIR: I have the honor to return the letter of the Honorable W. M. Dunn, of the Military Committee of the House of Representatives, asking what legislation if any is necessary to provide for sending supplies of clothing to soldiers and prisoners of war. Some clothing has been sent to Norfolk to be distributed by the enemy to the prisoners of war in their hands. I think the Secretary of War has in this exercised only a discretion vested in his office by the necessity of the case. It might perhaps be well to recognize this, however, by direct legislation and I submit a draft of a bill for that purpose.
M. C. MEIGS,
DRAFT OF BILL.
Be it enacted, That the President of the United States be and he is hereby authorized to take such measures as in his jdugement may be advisable to supply our soldiers held as prisoners by the public enemies with clothing and such other supplies as may be necessary for their health and for the alleviation of their distress.
13 R R-SERIES II, VOL III