Curtis shall have sent an equal number of Confederate prisoners to Van Buren, or some other military post within our lines. The agreement closes with this paragraph:
If any of the prisoners held by Major-General Curtis and named in the annexed list cannot for any cause be delivered as agreed, others actually in the service-military service-of the Confederate States shall be sent in their stead without unnecessary delay.
On the 1st of May, 1862 (2), General Halleck, writes from Monterey to Brigadier-General Ketchum ordering him to have "the agreement between Generals Curtis and Price carried out without delay"; orders the prisoners to be conveyed by steamer down the Mississippi River and turned over to Commodore Foote, who will have them landed within [the] Confederate lines; ample subsistence being furnished. If those named on list cannot be furnished others are to be substituted.
On the 19th of May (3) Flag-Officer C. H. Davis*, U. S. Navy, writes to Brigadier-General Villepigue requesting him to remove from steamer Kennett 200 prisoners sent into the Confederate lines by order of General Halleck in obedience to an agreement entered into by Generals Price and Crutis for exchange of prisoners. Captain Davis also asks for receipt of same written on the list sent for that purpose.
General Villepigue writes Captain Davis March 20 that whilst temporarily absent fom his headquarters on the 19th (4) Colonel Andrew Jackson, Jr., second in command, through inadvertence or carelessness, received 202 Confederate prisoners of war just from and infected prison at Alton, Ill., with two cases of smallpox among them in exchange for same number of Federal prisoners free from any contagions disease. General Villepigue demands the enemy disavow so barbarous an act by receiving them again in their own lines and caring for them until cured of smallpox.
Captain Davis replies to this letter 21st of May (5) that he has not a sufficient knowledge of all the circumstances in the case, such as the condition of the building occupied by prisoners in Alton, their health at the time released, &c., to enter into the details of the subject. But to remove ground for complaint he proposes a temporary neutral hospital be established for the use of the infected. The location he leaves to Captain Dove and General Villepigue to determine.
General Villepigue replies (6) May 21 that he constures the above letter into a refusal to take back the prisoners and declines the proposition of Captain Davis. The two prisoners already broken out with smallpox wouldbe exposed to unnecessary risk and discomfort to be again removed.
Paper numbered 7 is a latter from General Villepigue to Geneal Jordan standing the facts in the case and commenting severely upon the "barbarous" conduct of the enemy in the affair. He holds Captain [Flag-Officer] Davis personally blameless, as the prisoners were sent direcly through from Alton, but from what he learns from the prisoners themselves he regards the transaction as a deliberate attempt of our enemies to spread the most loathsome disease among us. This he has sufficiently guarded against. Colonel Jackson is stated to have been ignorant of the prisoners' condition when he received them.
Paper marked 8 is a letter+ from General Price, dated Van Buren, March 26, addressed to General Halleck. He calls General Halleck's attention to the fact that after the battle of Lexington he forhwith liberated more than 3,500 prisoners whilst he holds a large number of
* Correspondence between Davis and Villepigue omitted here; see Davis to Ketchum and its inclosures, May 22, p. 571.
+ Not found.