War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0415 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

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friends, and it was considered imprudent and even dangerous by my surgeon to subject me to the fatigue and discomforts incident to a retreating army. Besides these circumstances an agreement was entered into between my immediate commander, General Wise, on my part and Colonel N. on his, to which I was in no way privy until after its completion and part execution by the release of Colonel Nortion.

What that agreement was has been strangely enough a subject of great difference of opinion, General Wise having always contended and so informed me at the time that it operated as an exchange without any further formality to be executed, and with no obligations on my part toward the Federal Government except a just and proper one of keeping secret from my command after my release any information I might have gained of the stength, position or designs of the forces under your command. You on the other hand have always contended the agreement simply extended to operate as a release on parole not to serve until exchanged of either Colonel N. and myself.

You know the sequel; I was arrested by your order as a prisoner of war. I had no choice at that time in my enfeebled condition of health to save myself from a long rigorous imprisonment but to accept without question your construction of the agreement but freely and voluntarily to give my parole of honor, which has been honorably and punctiliously kept. Released on that parole, on reaching our lines I reported myself to General Wise as a prisoner of war on parole, at which he expressed great surprise and astonishment, and after I left as I have since understood opened a correspondence with you on the subject. In that correspondence you insisted on your construction of the agreement, and the last letter from General Wise as I understood reiterated his, and states that he considered me released from obligation and on his part relieved Colonel Norton. In your letter of September, which is the last from you, used this expression: "Colonel Patton are both on parole and as honorable gentlemen I expect them to observe it. " At the close of the correspondence it was communicated to me by General Wise with a decided expression of opinion on his part that I ought to resume service the instant my health permitted. This I declined to do although my suffering country demanded the services of her loyal sons, because I would not under any circumstances subject myself to the imputation in any quarter of having deviated from the strictest rules of sensitive honor, and because being a prisoner of the Federal Government I acknowledged no authority but theirs to relieve me from my position. Consequently I remained on parole, although in some quarters it might have been thought that I was standing on a mere punctilio.

Subsequently to my great astonishment and surprise and from what I deemed reliable authority I learned that Colonel Norton had resumed service and was in command of his regiment in Kentucky. I was unable to verify the fact even if true, which I trust it is not. I did not intend to allow the dereliction of duty on the part of Colonel Norton to place me in a dishonorable position. I therefore still adhered to my parole, but as soon as my health permitted commenced negotiations through the Department of War of the Confederate States to effect an exchange. This after many delays I succeeded in doing and on the - March, 1862, was informed by the Secretary of War in an official letter that I was duly exchanged and was ordered to resume service immediately. I am exchanged either for Colonel Lee, Cogswell or Colonel Wood - which one was assigned to me I do not know. I, however, had the assurance of General R. E. Lee that everything was