On comparing oposition it did not appear that there was any essential difference on any of the questions presented, except the following offered by you, viz:
Prisoners to be discharged or paroled within ten days of their capture and to be delivered on the frontier of their own country free of expense to the prisoners and at the expense of the capturing party.
Although I assented to the apparent fairness of simply paying the expenses of transfering prisoners from one section of the country to another, yet I would have objected to its phraseology in some particulars. I, howevere, at the time stated that it was not embraced in my instructions, and therefore I could not entertain it without further directions. I informed you as I believed it was usual to settle such questions at the close of the war. I, however, suggested that we should arrange the cartel, as there appeared but little or no difference between us on any other point presented and leave the question of expense for transporting prisoners to future negotiations or correspondence. To this you did not assent but desired that it should be incorporated in the cartel. This I could not assent to without further instructions, and consequently we adjoured to meet again as soon as the were received.
I have no doubt if you had not introduced the proposition referred to we would have had no difficulty in arranging the cartel on the basis presented by the Honorable J. P. Benjamin, which corresponded with my own. In regard to exchange of prisoners there has been on any part every disposition to reciprocate any exchanges that would lead to their emelioration or better their condition, and I have every reason to blieve that the Administration of the country has been equally as anxious to believe them and to avoid any unnecessary severity.
In relation to those prisoners taken on board of vessels, or others, in maritime conflict, and some of whom were tried as pirates, thnsferred from close confinement to fort Lafayette where they have light and air and room for exercise. These will undoubtedly be exchanged as stated in my letter of the 13th ultimo to Major-General Huger.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN E. WOOL,
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Indianapolis, Ind., March 5, 1862.
General M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I visited the prisoners at Camp Morton to-day and found them as well cared for as could be expected under the circumstances.
I have approved of the construction of some further accommodations for them, suggested by Captain Ekin, assistant quartermaster, and some few improvements to promote their health and comfort, all of which can [be] done at trifling expense. By this means the prisoners at Terre Haute will be provided for.
There are a great many sick among the prisoners and many are being sent to the hospital every day. They were much exposed to inclement weather before their capture which, with much unavoidable exposure since, is now resulting in very general sickness. Three to six die daily.