Applications have been made for the release of some without success, and other have been kept in confinement so long as to justify the conclusion that you refuse both parole and exchange.
One prominent instance I will bring to your notice. General B. F. Butler has retained Brigadier-General Clark and thirteen others for several months. At the latest advices received by us they were still in custody. During the whole of the time that they have been thus detained we had a large excess of Federal prisoners all of whom were either promptly exchanged or delivered to you on parole.
This is by no means a solitary case. I have now and have had for a long time authentic evidence in [my] possession of the retention of a large number of Confederate officers by your military authorities. Several prominent cases have also very recently been presented tome. You are very well aware that this has been a subject of complaint ever since the adoption of the cartel. In view of all these facts the Confederate Government has determined to refuse any parole to your officers until the grievances of which it has complained are redressed. of course this applies to such commissioned officers as were captured before the date of President Davis' message. He himself has indicated what disposition will be made of such as may be captured after that date.
In your communication of the 14th instant you also refer to the case of Mrs. Piggott who you say "was taken from her home at Williamsburg, Va., with forty of her slaves and who is now detained at Richmond or some other place within the Confederate lines. "
Without any comment upon the singularity of the request that slaves made free by President Lincoln's proclamation should be promptly returned as the property of Mrs. Piggott I inform you that Mrs. Piggott was released from custody on habeas corpus a long time ago. She is a citizen of Virginia, responsible to the laws of that State and the Confederacy. The Confederacy and State authorities will not allow any interference by the United States with the course of justice in any one of the Confederate States. They will not entertain even a protest. No fears of retaliation upon "ladies" or any one else will ever make them relinquish their rightful and exclusive control.
I perceive by your published noticed you have made a mistake in declaring exchanged the Federal prisoners paroled at Goldsborough and delivered at Washington, N. C. These are the 1,300 that I have so constantly pressed upon you and for whom you have given no equivalent or credit. You have the list in your possession. I delivered it to you that you might examine more fully into the matter. Those men have not been exchanged. I hope you will make the proper correction.
When shall I see you at City Point again?
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Agent of Exchange.
Wheeling, January 17, 1863.
Colonel WM. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners.
SIR: I have the honor to inclose* copy of letter from the president of the board of directors of the House of Refuge at Cincinnati stating
* Omitted; substance herein stated.