Washington if the number of prisoners there demand it. Has the execution of William B. Compton, sentenced to be hung as a spy, been suspended?
WM. H. LUDLOW,
WASHINGTON, June 1, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel W. H. LUDLOW,
Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners:
About 200 prisoners of war at Old Capitol and some citizens and 140 prisoners left Louisville May 25. The papers say the execution of W. B. Compton has been suspended. I can learn nothing officially.
Commissary-General of Prisoners.
CITY POINT, June 1, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel WILLIAM H. LUDLOW, Agent of Exchange.
SIR: I was about proceeding to Fortress Monroe or as near to it as I would be allowed to go when Captain Mulford came up the river. I am afraid your proceeding in relation to declarations of the exchange of your men will lead to complication and difficulty. The Holly Springs capture according to my recollection pays off the number due to you at our last interview. You have most sent more than 600 since including to-day's arrival. For that number you declare exchanged five regiments (Ninety-first Illinois, Fifty-first Indiana, Seventy-third Indiana, Third Ohio and Eightieth Illinois), also the capture at Mount Sterling and the men of the Indianola.
How many the Mount Sterling capture are I do not know but I am very sure the aggregate of the above greatly exceeds the balance due to you.
I protest against the declarations of exchange where the number is not know and agreed upon by us. You can readily perceive without my statement what grave objections might be made to such a proceeding. Why not make exchanges by rolls of which we can have a copy and in relation to which we have mutually agreed as in the Holly Springs capture? How am I to know how many men of the Eightieth Illinois Regiment were taken prisoners or when or where they were captured? I throw out these observations as suggestions for your reflection. I think you will agree with me that when we or you are in excess of prisoners neither party should declare any exchange except where the lists have been adjusted between us and the number declared to be exchanged known and agreed on between us. I do not so much object to your over-running the number due to you as the certainty of great complication and prospect of misunderstanding by pursuing the course you have done in this case.
You have not given me any reply even yet to my inquiries in relation to your declaration of exchange as to parties captured at Muldraught's Hill or the Sixty-sixth Indiana. I hope I shall not be compelled to wait much longer.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Agent of Exchange.