was over-worked in making the hasty preparations required of me, not having had time to partake of any nourishment on that day (the 14th) from early in the morning until all the prisoners were on board of the boat.
The report of Captain John E. Mulford, Third New York Volunteers, is referred to, and it is evident that if it is correct he has a fine memory for reporting details; but as I do not desires to flatter that officer I feel assured in saying that that report was made out for special purposes, because the second report exposes the promptings of the first wherein he says: "A number of the prisoners demanded of me their money," &c. He does not state the number, which I believe consisted of two Jews who had been brought on from Baltimore for exchange the day previous and who on board of the boat informed me that Provost-Marshal McPhail, of Baltimore, had taken their money from them.
I informed them that no money belonging to prisoners had ever been in my possession; that the officials making the arrests were the responsible parties, and if they would make their statements in writing and give the same to Captain Mulford that on that officer's return I would endeavor to ascertain the whereabouts of their funds, and if not confiscated I had no doubt that Captain Mulford would be able to bring it to them on his return trip. Why Captain Mulford should insinuate that I had any knowledge of the prisoners' money is rather incomprehensible to me when I know from Judge Turner that Captain Mulford called on him in relation to the money of the prisoners previous to the writing of Colonel Hoffman's communication, who informed him that Provost-Marshal McPhail had placed the money in his (Judge Turner's) hands. The adage that hypocrites are often discovered by overacting their parts is in my opinion applicable in this case to Captain John E. Mulford, of the Third New York Volunteers.
I received a note from Colonel Hoffman on the 25th ultimo as he states, but having to prepare rolls, provisions, transportation, &c., for the departure of nearly 500 prisoners and my clerical force being inadequate to the tasks I had little time to devote to preliminaries and acted as I believed in a manner to merit intelligent approbation. The selection of the prisoners for exchange had always been intrusted to me in accordance with the evidence I could obtain of their cases and my general knowledge of their respective characters. I had also been instructed by the military governor and by General Hitchock not to stand upon technicalities, but to do the best I could to facilitate the requests of Colonel Hoffman in regard to exchanges; and on these verbal instructions I sent about twenty citizen prisoners on boat of the boat, not one of whom has been named as an improper person for exchange. I have never released any prisoners from my custody except on orders from the Secretary of War or military governor. Hence my answer to Captain W. T. Hartz.
Colonel Hoffman did make a request of me on the following morning, as he states. I furnished him with the list and exhibited his note, but did not do so as my authority for sending the prisoners, and reminded him of the request he had made on the 14th ultimo in relation to the forty prisoners (before alluded to), when he remarked that that was but a verbal request. I informed him of my instructions from the military governor and General Hitchock and had acted accordingly.
Colonel Hoffman may not be aware that Washington is the home of my boyhood as well as the birthplace of my children. Yourself and the Assistant Secretary have known me for years and I flatter myself that you have never heard my veracity or had by any citizen