SOUTH MILLS, CAMDEN, COUNTY, N. C.,
April 24, 1862.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS, President, &c.
MY DEAR SIR: I had the misfortunate to be taken a prisoner of war at Roanoke Island on the 8th of Febraury last. Since my release upon parole I have visited Richmond three times of the purpose of endeavoring to effect an exchange between myself and a Northern prisoner of like garde. When last in Richmond the Secretary of War agreed to send a U. S. officer of my grade to Fortress Monroe with the understanding that he was to return to Richmond in a specified time in the event of a failure on his part to procure and exchange for myself. Before sending this officer, however, he referred the matter to Your Excellency, and I afterwards understood from him that you disapproved of the arrangement for the reason that negotiations were then pending between the two Governments relative to a general exchange of prisoners. In and interview which I subsequently had with Your Excellency I understood that in all probability there would be a general exchange of prisoners in a few days. Since that time I have anxiously awaited the reception of intelligence that would have more than filled my inmost soul with joy. But no such intelligence have I received. I am still bound by the conditions of my parole. I am still surronded by the enemy on all sides without the privilege of striking a blow in defense of my home and my country. My oject in writing now is to ask you if it be possible have me released from my parole at once. I will give you some of my reasons for desiring an immediate exchange: First, I am anxious to do all I can toward the achievement of Southern independence. Second, I desire temporarily at least to raise a guerilla company to operate in this (Albemarle) region where the enemy are prowiling about in small marauding parties greatly to the annoyance of the citizens of this community. I am throughly acquainted with the geography of this whole section of country and am perfectly famolitical sentiments of its citizens. I think therefore I should possess facilities not only for moving with certainly and to advantage from point to point, but for detecting and bringing to justice those of the citizens who are guilty of disloyalty. I could in comparatively a short time raise in this immediate vicinity from 200 to 300 men who are anxious for me to lead them in the guerilla service. If it were possible to get my entire company exchanged at once I should have ninety men, all of whom have been revised in this community and are all well acquainted with the country. May I do not in view of the above statement ask Your Excellency to propose to the Government of the United States an immediate exchange for myself and company? I promise if released to do servise of which my country will not be ashamed. I beg leave to refer Your Excellency to letters from the members of Congress of my State left by me on file in the office of the Secretary of War. Will you be so kind as to let me hear from you at your earliest convenience?
Your humble and obedient servant,
JAMES W. HINTON,
Captain Company A, Eighth Regiment North Carolina Troops.
Secretary of War attention.