HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF SOUTH CAROLINA, &C.,
Savannah, February 17, 1862.
Lieutenant Colonel JOHN S. PRESTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, &c., Columbia.
COLONEL: I am directed by the commanding general to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 11th instant. As regards that portion wherein you state that the prison now occupied by the prisoners of war "is totally unfitted for their safe- keeping, health or comfort," he desires to be informed if you can suggest any means by which their security and comfort can be improved where they now are, or whether there is any place where better arrangements can be had than in Columbia. The causes stated by you as impairing the efficiency of the guard now on duty at the jail might be overcome by organizing another company at some point removed from Columbia for this service, and let it take the place of Captain Shiver's, which could then be disbanded. He desires to know if this cannot be done.
General Ripley has been written to in reference to the conduct of quartermaster's and commissary departments at Columbia and desired to remedy the existing difficulties as far as practicable.
I am, &c.,
[T. A. WASHINGTON,
WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmind, Va., February 18, 1862.
Breig. General HOWELL COBB.
SIR: You have been slected to perform the duty of arrnigng with bGeneral Wool the details necessary for carrying out a exchage of prisoenrs withthe enemy. For your full comprhension of the matters intrusted to you I inclose herwith the following papers:
1. Copy of a letter addressed by me to Messrs. James A. Seddon and harles M. Conrad under date of the 6th instnat, or which letter a copy was fowarded toGeneral Wool through General Huger, now commanding at Norfolk.
2. A copy of teletter of General Wool to General Huger under date of the 13th instant, informing the latter that General Wool was alone "clothed with full power forth purpose of arranging for the Wool accepts substantially and indeed almost in words the propsitions sumbitted by me in the nature of instuctins to Messrs. Seddona and Conrad, and declares "that he is ready to confer with them or any other person appearing for that purpose. "
As there remain to be arranged only the necessary military details for executing the purpose common to both parties it has been deemed necessary to send commissioners, and you are as a brigadier- general in our service authorized and instucted to proceed via Norfolk and to confer with General Wool on the subject, and to enter into written stipulations with him for carring out the proposed exchange on the principles involved in our proposals and the acceptance of them by the enemy.
For your guidance in the matter I give the following instuctions:
1. That all prisoners deliverd up on parole by either party shall be so delivered on the frontier at the expense of the captors, the prisoners to pay no part of the cost of their delivery.
2. Each party to have the right of selecting such of its own paroled citizens as it chooses to have released agianst an equal number of