itself, and I hope my course will meet the approval of the General in Chief. I wad induced to pursue this course for the reason that the sending of these prisoners to the North would have deprived me of transportation for at least three regiments, and also of a considerable force whch would have been necessary to guard them on their way thither; besides if they had been sent North therewould have been a delay in the exchange of some days, thus prolonging the confinement of our prisoners in the hands of the rebels, who it will be seen by the terms of exchange areto be released at once.
Although this is not in obedience to the letter of my instructions I am sure the General-in-Chief will feel that I am observing thespirit of them. Inclosed pelase find an accurate list* of the prisoners, with a recapitulation. The original parole I still hold but will forward it by the next mail. The prisoners were all embarked for Elizabeth City under the direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn, Twenty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, at 1 o'clock p. m. to-day, and or eby this time handed over to Major Allston, who represents General Huger.
* * * *
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. E. BURNSIDE,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Department of North Carolina.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA,
Roanoke Island, February 20, 1862.
Brigadier General BENJAMIN HUGER,
Commanding Department of Norfolk.
GENERAL: Your letter of the 17th was received by me last night by the hands of Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn. Ihad hoped that a definite arrangement in reference to the communication of rank would have been agreed upon between ourselves, but I shall now proceed to release theprisoners I hold uponthe conditions of my first offer; our prisoners now in your hands to be released in the order of their capture, those longest in confinement first, and will rely upon your acting in good faith in this matter by releasing at once an ample number of our prisoners to absorb not only by direct exchange but by commutationof rank the number rleeased by me, beginning of course with the highest rank, the rule of commutation to be applied to be that adopted by the commission of which you speak. Any surplus prisoners released by either party will be passed to the credit of the other for futuere exchagne. These roll and duplicate copies, which you can readily see was amatter of considerable labor requiring reat care in order to avoid trouble in the future. I send you certified copies of all the rolls of non-commissioned officers, privates and servants, but send one of the original lists of the officers. Copies of these rolls will be sent to Major-General Wool at Old Point Comfort and to Washington.
There are on the officers' roll three volunteer aides and one first lieutenant in Bartow Avengers. The latter, Lieutenant Jargo, I am informed by your officers is only a private, but he represents himself as an officer and is wearing first lieutenant shoulder-straps. Should it beascertained that he is an impostor I should not expecthim exchanged for an officer.