the pleasure of the President to have continued until they were regularly exchanged but for the necessity he is under of awarding to them the same tretment extended the prisoners of the Confederate States.
You will therefore take measures strictly to guard all the prisoners of war under your charge, granting to them every kindness and attention in your power compatible with their safe-keeping. Your are also at liberty to explain to the prisoners the reason for the change in their treatment.
R. E. LEE,
FAIRFAX COURT-HOUSE, July 5, 1861.
Major General R. E. LEE, Commanding at Richmond, Va.
GENERAL: I thank you heartily for your reply* to my former* letter. I have no doubt that the U. S. officials will at first demur to any proposition to exchange, especially for my command, but if our Governmnet insist and urge the violation of the flag of truce, to which entirely my capture was due, the refusal to grant me a hearing even and the force used to compel us to our last course I am sure they must yield. Indeed I always believed this subterfuge was used to relieve themselves of us and virtually to grant us a parole while seeming to refuse to recognize our organization. I hope it may help our case to know that when restored to service it will be with a determination never to be taken again and to win a name for devotion and daring wherever the way may lie. We need only to be assured that we cannot be exchanged to take arms again as best we may, but in kindness to our families, in pity of our misfortune and in justice to our cause we beg the efforts of our officers in our behalf. Will you do me the additional kindness to lay this also before the honorable Secretary of War?
Hoping you will excuse the trouble I have to cause you.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
M. DULANY BALL,
Captain Fairfax Cavalry.
WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, July -, 1861.
M. DULANY BALL, Esq., Fairfax Court-House, Va.
SIR: Your letter of the 13th instant has been received. The answer has been delayed by the press of business upon this Department and by the desire to do full justice to your communication. The painful nature of your present situation is fully appreciated by this Department, and the Secretary of War cannot be insensible to the wrongs which you have suffered or the appeals which you urge. This Department, however, must be bound by law and be guided by a supreme regard to the public faith and the public interests in all its decisions, and no consideration of a personal character can be permitted to interfere with this rule. It has already been declared in a former letter that this Department cannot consider you a prisoners of war. It must be now equally manifest to you that this Government can afford you no protection in any effort to reach Washington for the purpose of recanting your oath. The Government has no power to afford such