Any communication respecting this mater addressed to Captain William H. Chester, assistant inspector-general, care of General Berry, will receive immediate attention and be thankfully received.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. A. CLAYBROOK,
P. S. -My prison life here close I hope now in a few days.
R. A. C.
OFFICE EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS,
Richmond, April 25, 1863.
Captain Stephen Chester, U. S. Army, Engineer Corps, Fifteenth New York Regiment, was sent North via City Point and flag-of-truce boat April 23, 1863.
Agent of Exchange.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF SOUTHERN VIRIGINIA,
Petersburg, April 9, 1863.
Honorable J. A. SEDDON, Secretary of War.
DEAR SIR: On the receipt of your letter which I return that you may at a glance have the whole matter before you I directed Major W. H. Ker, adjutant-general's department, to proceed to the Model Farm Barracks and investigate the alleged grievance. On the back of the letter you will find his report.
I have a great deal of trouble with these prisoners. Those that are not in service cannot be supplied with clothing until they are conscripted and mustered into service.
These men have the same clothing to protect them now that they have had ever since they left the prisons in the United States, and cannot be worse of with fires in the barracks than they were en route to this place.
Money paid to pettifogging lawyers I apprehend has often had something to do with the numerous complaints that come before you.
You may remember that the militia were called out and after all the trouble of mustering them into service and when the expense had been incurred and when they were rendering good service in guarding the paroled prisoners you caused them to be discharged, thus requiring me to take old soldiers from the field to relieve them.
That you may see the patriotism and influence that may have induced men to appeal to you for their discharge I inclose you a copy of a letter from the captain of the militia. You will perceive that Mr. Collier was hired to get you to discharge them.
He is also their agent to get them their pay and I am told by the captains has the power of attorney to draw it of many of them.
I have the honor to be, yours, respectfully,
S. G. FRENCH,
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
PETERSBURG, VA., April 8, 1863.
Major General S. G. FRENCH, Commanding, &c., Petersburg.
GENERAL: I have investigated the matters referred to in the within letter and submit the following report:
J. N. Mills, A. B. Williams, G. W. Cook and Richard Richardson have been discharged; the other signers of the letter are retained at