I have the honor to hand you this dispatch through my aide-de-camp, who will effect an exchange of prisoners if you desire.
I have the honor to be, respectfully, &c.,
U. S. STEAMER WACHUSETT,
City Point, James River, Va., May 21, 1862.
Major General BENJAMIN HUGER,
Commanding Department of the Appomattox, Petersburg, Va.
GENERAL: For some days past several of our vessels have been at anchor here. During that time no Confederate troops had been seen until the afternoon of the 19th instant. No Confederate flag hasbeen hoisted, but whilte flags have been frequently displayed in the village and persons from there have visited our ships.
On the forenoon of the 19th instant I wish another officer visited the village and called at several housea dn were received in a friendly and polite manner. At two of the houses where we called we found a sick lady at each house. They compalined much of being unable to procure medical advice or medicines, the village being without either, and they could not obtain what they needed from Petersburg. I told them that one of our medical officers would visit them and give them advice and medicines. On my return to my ship I infomred our surgeon of the condition of the ladies and he said he would visit them. In the afternoon the surgeon, accompanied by three other officers, went to the village, he on his errand of charity to the sick ladies and they on a visit of curiosity, all trusting for their safety to the charitable object of the visit, to the faith of the white flags and the absence of an enemy's glag or troops.
The party had been landed but a few minutes, and the surgeon was with one of the laides, when the master's mate and five of the boat's crew who were taking care of the boat were informed that armed troops were coming to attack them. They immediatelly got into their boat and shoved off from shore, but were fired upon by soldiers and the master's mater and two of the men killed and two wounded, while the party of officers and five of the boat's crew who were up in the village were made prisoners and taken to Petersburg.
It seems to me that considering the charitable object of the isit, the frequent e flags, the absence of an enemy's flag and the absence until then of enemy's troops, our party should not have been treated as enemies without some previous hint having been given to discontinue our visits, and that they all, but especially the surgeon, should be released.
I hope therefore that upon mature reflection you will agree with me in opinion on the subject and act accordingly.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commander and Senior Officer Present.
NEW YORK, May 22, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON:
Send the North Carolina prisoners from the Old Capitol who were not sents as promised. It is important to me. The steamer will not leae till to-morrow morning.
EDWARD STANLY, Governor, &c.