specific authority on the subject of exchanging prisoners. " As I have none I send you his letter for such information as it may give.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WYTHE COUNTY, VA., October 14, 1861.
Honorable JEFFERSON DAVIS.
DEAR SIR: I take the privilege of addressing a few lines to you. Although a private soldier in the Army of the Confederate States and of Floyd's brigade I have had the misfortune of falling into the hands of the Union men and Yankees of Western Virginia. On the 4th day of October, near our lines in Greenbrier County, Va., I was taken while out in search of something to eat and was taken near Raleigh, and there I had the privilege of getting away by swearing that I would not take up arms against the Northern Army, and also the privilege of coming home if I would take the oath that I would not go to the Army any more and would come straight home. I being a man of family thought it was the best to get off and come to them that to stay with the Yankees till this war is over, so I came home without any pass from my officers but with one from my captors and the oath that I took also; but the people here are divided as to the rights of my taking that oath and some would take me up while others would not. I determined to write to you and get a discharge if I have the right to swear out of prison, and if not I hope you will write to me as soon as this comes to hand and let me know what I must do, as I consider my oath binding. I will stay at home till I hear from you. I was one of the first to join Floyd's army and would have been one of the last to have left had not I had bed luck. I have not written to him, as I thought you had the right to make me fight or discharge me. My present necessity caused me to write to you, otherwise I would not have done it. Direct to Max Meadows, Wythe County, and write as soon as this comes to hand.
So nothing more, but remain,
Your obedient servant,
ISAAC N. REESE.
NORFOLK, October 15, 1861.
General S. COOPER:
I reported on the 10th instant the arrival of seventy-three prisoners from Roanoke Island. I recommended the privates be released on parole. No answer has been received. If none comes to-morrow I will forward them to Richmond next day, Thursday, 17th instant.
WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, October 16, 1861.
Major General B. HUGER, Norfolk, Va.
SIR: Your letter of the 14th instant with its inclosure has been submitted to me by the Adjutant-General. In reply I have to say that this Government has on all occasions been ready to exchange prisoners on fair terms according to the usages of civilized nations and that it