HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,
Fort Monroe, January 17, 1863.
Co. . W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners.
COLONEL: The rolls of north Carolina captures were used by me in my last interview with Mr. Ould and are already counted. I have juts returned from City Point but have not yet received a decisive answer on the Subject of the release or parole of our officers. I shall receive it early next week. I am endeavoring to get all captured before the 12th of January out of Confederate prisons for I have every reason to believe that all captured after that date will be disposed of as directed in the message of Jefferson Davis, viz. be handed over to the different States authorities. But upon all these points I shall be better advised in a few days. I would recommend you to retain all the political or citizen prisoners until I can communicate with you again. I expect from Confederate sources further information relating to them. Your four letters for the South received and forwarded. A large number of the Murfreesborough prisoners are at Richmond. I have sent a boat up for them to-day.
Yours, very respectfully,
WM. H. LUDLOW,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Agent for Exchange of Prisoners.
P. S. - The release of W. J. Peters was promised tome by Mr. Ould without any equivalent. I had long pressed for his release. The substitution of Voegler for White will doubtless be satisfactory.
W. H. L.
RICHMOND, VA., January 17, 1863.
Lieutenant-Colonel LUDLOW, Agent of Exchange.
SIR: I regretted very much on reaching City Point meridian on the 16th instant to find you had left. I did not receive any notice that you would be obliged to leave at 11 o'clock on that day. If I had, however, I do not see how I could have been at City Point any sooner.
In your communication of the 14th instant you desire to know whether the Federal commissioned officers now prisoners will be released. I have already furnished you with an official copy of the proclamation of President Davis dated December 23, 1862. In conformity therewith officers will not be released on parole but will be exchanged for those of corresponding rank. If you have any Confederate officer in your possession and will deliver him an officer of like grade will be delivered to you and they will be mutually declared to be exchanged. So if you have released any officer on parole we will deliver to you an officer of corresponding rank and declare them exchanged. The Federal officers, however, now in our possession will not be surrendered to you on parole. This rule will apply only to commissioned officers. We are ready at any time to release on parole and deliver to you your non-commissioned officers and privates.
This course has been forced upon the Confederate Government not only by the refusal of the authorities of the United States to respond to the repeated application of this Government in relation to the execution of Mumford but by their persistence in retaining Confederate officers who were entitled to parole and exchange. You have now of captures that are by no means recent many officers of the Confederate service who are retained in your military prisons East and West.