War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0860 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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Hear me I adjure you, for my cause, your cause, as sacred a cause as ever brought and bound a people together-the cause of our country and our God. Believing that you will instantly lay my case before the authorities at Richmond and demand that justice so long denied me,

I am, your unfortunate but faithful friend,

J. M. MELTON,

[Indorsement.]

Mr. OULD:

Demand explanation and exchange else I shall feel constrained to set aside on officer of the Federal Army for retaliatory treatment.

J. A. S.,

Secretary.

HEADQUARTERS, Columbia, S. C., March 31, 1863.

Brigadier General THOMAS JORDAN, Chief of Staff, Charleston, S. C.

GENERAL: In answer to your communication of March 30 desiring to know if the U. s. naval officers who are in confinement at Columbia are in need of money or any assistance from the United States Government I have the honor to forward you the inclosed communication* from F. S. Conover, acting lieutenant-commander.

Your obedient servant,

JNO S. PRESTON,

Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General, Commanding Post.

RICHMOND, April 1, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War.

SIR: In the matter of Halleck's General Orders, Numbers 49, I have the honor to make the following report:

The cartel of exchange only incidentally treats of the parole of prisoners. The only provisions in it relating to paroles are as follows, to wit:

1. All prisoners of war to be discharged on parole in the days after their capture, and the prisoners now held and those hereafter taken to be transported to the points mutually agreed upon at the expense of the capturing party.

2. Each party upon the discharge of prisoners of the other party is authorized to discharge and equal number if their own officers or men from parole, &c.

3. Nothing in this article contained shall prevent the commanders of the two opposition armies from exchanging prisoners or releasing them on parole at other points mutually agreed on by said commanders.

I see nothing in article 1 of general orders which in any manner conflicts with the cartel.

Articles 2 and 3 are restrictions upon giving paroles. There are no regulations in the cartel as to when paroles may be given or not given.

I do not think that these paragraphs can be said to be in violation of the cartel. They certainly establish a new practice. Is it, however, not within the power of a belligerent in the absence of an express agreement to the contrary to forbid its soldiers from entering into any paroles? These provisions, however, taken in connection with others of the general order are so sweeping that it would not be safe here-

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* Not found; but see p. 823.

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