I am certainly a wiser man now than I was two months ago, and if allowed to do so whether exchanged or not could soon bring to the field a company of eager youths whose bitter experience would make them cannot be effected I should hope our services might still be received, as our obligation would be but a personal thing between us and the United States Government and something into which you are not bound to inquire. Of course if you still think differently we must submit. There is only one way for us then. If I return to prison (of course at my own risk) will you then exchange for me and give me my rank? I will serve for a private's pay and indeed as a rivate. I trust, sir, you may afford me some relief, as you express the hope that I may wipe out the stain on our arms by noble deeds and yet leave me noway of performing those deeds except a suicidal one.
I must find something to do as I really have no way of providing for my family, our income having failed, nor will I be content but in active service. I am sorry to trouble you, but I cannot resist the inclination when I find they are crying for exchange, I shall toil for my country as long as a foot of her soil is held by the base oppressor, but I will never cease to strive for my own vindication till the cruel arts they practiced, the violation of that flag and the youth and inexperience of myself and men have cleared us in the good opinion of the world. When all is known it will be done. Virginia has not recalled from me the commission I hold under her authority. I do not know why you refuse my the title it convoys. It cannot be recalled except by sentence of a court-martial, and Heaven knows I would rejoice to have to incur that danger.
I am, therefore, with high respect, your obedient servant,
M. DULANY BALL,
Captain Fairfax Cavalry.
WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, August 20, 1861.
To Dr. S. Hagadorn,* Clark Rodman, William Stewart and Orderly Sergeant John Hoskins, for and on behalf of fifty others, prisoners of war taken in arms against the Confederate States of America:
Your various communications addressed to the President of the Confederate States of America and to this Department praying for your discharge on parole, or favor an agreement with the Government at Washington by which you may be exchanged for C. S. prisoners held by that Government, have been duly read and considered.
It does not comport with the policy of this Government to discharge any more of its prisoners upon parole, in view of the fact that proceedings are even now being instituted in the courts of New York thorough which a large number of persons so discharged are sought to be furnished with a subterfuge under which they may again enlist and enter the field against our peace and safety; but not only have the petitions which some of your fellow prisoners addressed to the Government at Washington praying to be exchanged been forwarded to that Government, but the President of the Confederate States of America has also addressed to that Government a communication proposing an exchange of prisoners in accordance with the uniform and universal rule of civilized warfare.
The Government at Washington have not thought proper to respond either to the one or the other. That Government has so far ignored
*See case of Hagadorn, Vol. II, this Series, p. 1501 et seq.