War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0212 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,

Fort Monroe, Va., January 24, 1862.

Brigadier General L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U. S. Army.

GENERAL: * * * To this communication* I would add a suggestion from General Huger which is worthy of consideration:

As the exchange of prisoners is now established would it not save you and myself a great deal of labor and trouble if the two Governments appointed agents to attend to it? It could be done with more system and regularity, and the officers and men might be kept together. My Government is willing to make any arrangement to facilitate the exchange of prisoners and I ask your assistance to have this done under proper regulations.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN E. WOOL,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,

Fort Monroe, Va., January 24, 1862.

Brigadier General L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

GENERAL: I received yesterday+ your communication relating to the exchange of Colonel O. B. Willcox, Michigan Volunteers, for Colonel John Pegram. On the 21st instant I informed you that the exchange of Colonel Willcox was refused. The reason assigned in a communication addressed to myself was that he was 'selected by lot as a hostage to be treated exactly as your (our) Government treats our (their) citizens captured on the ocean. " Major-General Huger adds:

If the privateersmen are put on the same footing as the other prisoners of war and are liable to exchange my Government will then release such officers as are now retained as hostages to be dealt with exactly as our men are treated. I count, general, on your influence to get this arrangement acceded to for the cause of humanity.

From all which you will perceive that the release of Colonel Willcox cannot be effected unless the privateersmen and hostages are placed on the same footing.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN E. WOOL,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,

Fort Monroe, Va., January 24, 1862.

Major General B. HUGER, Commanding at Norfolk, Va.

GENERAL: Herewith I return without comment a letter++ addressed to Abraham Lincoln. I do so because I am not prepared to believe that you would knowingly send to me or through me such a communication.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN E. WOOL,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,

Fort Monroe, Va., January 24, 1862.

Major-General HUGER, Commanding at Norfolk, Va.

GENERAL: I send herewith by a flag of truce the following persons: * * * William Biggs and Benjamin R. Holt, prisoners of

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*For part omitted, see Vol. I, this Series, p. 76.

+Reference to letter of the 21st, p. 202.

++Not found.

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