General McNeil, through his assistant adjutant-general, Lieutenant F. L. Cramer, negotiated this exchange. General Marmaduke then released the said Federal officers in his possession, General McNeil giving him an official written obligation that as soon as General Marmaduke's officers were sufficiently able to travel he would send them to his lines, and Lieutenant William H. Ferrill, less badly wounded than the rest, did return to his lines with the escort that came with the Federal officers.
We remained in the hospital seven weeks and then applied for a pass and escort through the Federal lines. It was not given for some reason unknown to us, but during this time General McNeil was wounded and went away; Adjutant Cramer went to his regiment at Pilot Knob, Mo., and General Davidson, who commanded the district, ordered us to Myrtle Street prison, Saint Louis, where we remained three weeks, and from thence to this place.
The Federal officers who were given for us are now at liberty, and we are not only prisoners, but are held just as all other officers, and may perhaps remain in prison an indefinite time, and that, too, when General McNeil pledged his official word we should be sent to our lines when able to be moved, and upon such positive assurance did General Marmaduke release the Federal officers. To prove that the agreement was perfectly understood Lieutenant Ferrill was sent through, he being well enough to ride.
Who write you this, major, to know whether we cannot be sent through to our lines, hoping you will have the matter investigated. For the truth of every assertion we have made we will refer you to General McNeil, F. L. Cramer, his then adjutant, but now adjutant of the First Nebraska Infantry, and to Adjutant Poole, of the post of Cape Girardeau. These gentlemen know all the facts of the case and know it to be as we represent it. We are satisfied there is a misunderstanding somewhere and believe any one having the authority would send us to our lines.
Hoping you will attend to this for us, major, we are, very respectfully, your obedient servants,
Y. H. BLACKWELL,
J. N. EDWARDS,
Captain Woodsmall is still in prison in Saint Louis.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
July 27, 1863.
Respectfully referred to Major-General Schofield, commanding Department of the Missouri, with the request that he will cause the facts of the within matter to be reported.
Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.
Saint Louis, Mo., August 1, 1863.
Respectfully returned to the major-general commanding. The case of these officers was examined and reported upon by the undersigned July 9, 1863, and it was recommended that they should be regularly paroled and sent within the rebel lines for the reasons there stated.
Brigadier-General and Inspector-General of Department.