War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0338 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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COLUMBUS, OHIO, February 28, 1862.

General MEIGS:

The prisoners at Camp Chase require small cooking stoves for officers which I will buy. Ranges will be put up for the men. The quarter-master can furnish received clothing and blankets.


Commissary-General of Prisoners.

[FEBRUARY 28, 1862. -For General Orders, Numbers 50, Department of the Missouri, relating to prisoners of war, see Vol. I, this Series, p. 169.]

NORTFOLK, VA., February 28, 1862.

Major General JOHN E. WOOL, U. S. Army.

GENERAL: I am in receipt of yours of the 27th instant and shall be pleased to confer with you to-day on the subject of the exchange of prisoners. In your letter you remark "it is proper to say that any (your) powers are exclusively limited to the exchange of prisoners as present to Major-General Huger the 13th February, 1862. " By reference to your letter of that date to General Huger I find that you use the following language:

I am, however, instructed to inform you that I am alone clothed with full powers for the purpose of arranging for the exchange of prisoners. Being thus empowered I am ready to confer with you on the subject or the honorable Messrs. Seddon and Conrad or any other person appearing for that purpose. I am prepared to arrange for the restration of all the prisoners to their homes on fair terms of exchange, man for man and officer for officer of equal grade, assimilatig the grade of officers of the Army and Navy when necessary and agreeing upon equitable terms for the number of men or officer of inferior grade to the exchanged for any higher grade when the occasion shall arise. That all the surplus prisoners on either side be discharged on parole with the agreement that any prisoners, of war taken by the other party shall be returned in exchange as fast as captured, and this system to be continued while hostilities continue. I would further inform you or any other person selected for the purpose of making arrangements for the exchange of prisoners that the prisoners taken on board of vessels or otherwise I maritime conflict by the forces of the United States have been put and are ow held only in military custody and on the same footing as the other prisoners taken in arms.

Your language is plain and explicit and admist but of one construction. It is a district proposition for an exchange of all prisoners held by either party, including in terms our privateers, upon a fair and equitable basis, and for the placing upon parole in their own country the surplus held by either party, "and this system to be continued while hostilities continue. "

At the time this proposition was received and accepted by my Government it was believed that we held the largest number of prisoners. It is proper that I should also call you attention tothe fact that my Governmenon the receipt of your letter proceeded to discharge and forward the prisoners hel by it, including, as I am informed, a protion if not all of those held as hostages for our privateers.

No doubling that your Government would cary out in good faith the proposition submitted by yourself these prisoners are being discharged and forwarded to your frontier, and I was charged with the simple duty of reducing to form what had already been agreed upon in substance.

In my interview with you on the 23rd instant we discussed all the points involved in the question of exchnge, and I was pleased to fin.