Warren, that they shall be discharged from confinement and paroled and forwarded through the lines of our forces on their obtaining in writing from competent authority the release from their parole respectively of Capts. Alfred Gibbs, Third U. S. Cavalry, and C. H. McNally, same regiment. For this purpose you will please transmit to General Wool at Fort Monroe to be forwarded to Richmond any open letters that Captains Sheliha and Chipley may write.
I am, &c.,
FORT MONROE, May 14, 1862.
Brigadier General L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General:
I have just received your several communications* relating to the exchange of First Lieutenant M. C. Causten, Nineteenth Infantry. In consequence of the occupation of Nortfolk an interchange of correspondence with the rebel authorities has been interrupted. As soon as re-established I have little doubt - if Major-General Huger has not been deprived of his authority to make exchanges - I will be able to release all officers by exchange or parole that were first taken as prisoners of war.
JOHN E. WOOL,
HDQRS. SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA AND UPPER FLORIDA, NORTHERN DIST., DEPT. OF THE SOUTH,
Hilton Head, May 14, 1862.
Major General J. C. PEMBERTON,
Commanding Department of South Carolina and Georgia.
SIR: Major-General Hunter, commanding the Department of the South, has referred to me your communication of the 12th instant, in which you propose an exchange of prisoners, and in reply to this I would inform you that the action of your chief officers in retaining Colonel Corcoran and others in captivity after their exchanges have been several times sent over to you lines has been the cause as we understand of an order of the President forbidding such exchanges for the present, and for this reason it is impossible to act on your proposition. My previous letter on this subject refers only to a reciprocal return.
Awaiting exchange of such number of prisoners as are now in my command, I have the honor to be,
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. BENHAM,
Washington, May 15, 1862.
Major General E. A. HITCHCOCK, Washington, D. C.
GENERAL: The Secretary of War desires you to visit Forts Lafayette, Columbus and Warren, Camp Chase, Sandusky and other forts and camps where prisoners are confined under authority of the United States Government to inspect their condition and wants. It is feared
* See Vol. II, this Series, pp. 172, 173, 1401 and 1402 for correspondence relating to Causten.