War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0152 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

reason I have declared them exchanged in privates or inferior officers, at your election. I had the right, under the cartel, to make the choice myself; but I preferred that you should do it, and therefore I gave you the notification which I did. If at any time you present officers for exchange who have been paroled, and we have no officers of similar rank on parole, you can declare their exchanges in privates. If at this time you have any officers of the rank I have declared exchanged, or of any other rank, or if you have any particular organization of privates or non-commissioned officers whom you wish exchanged, you have only to state such fact and your selection will be approved. If you hold the paroles of our officers of any rank, as you state, you have only to present them, and whatever is in our hands, whether on parole or in captivity, will be freely given in exchange for them. You say you have again and again invited me to a return to the cartel. Now that our official connection is being terminated, I say to you in the fear of God, and I appeal to Him for the truth of the declaration, that there has been no single moment, from the time when we were first brought together in connection with the matter of exchange to the present hour, during which there has not been an open an notorious violation of the cartel by your authorities. Officers and men, numbering over hundreds, have been, during your whole connection with the cartel, kept in cruel confinement, sometimes in irons or doomed to cells, without charges or trial. They are in prison now, unless God inn His mercy has released them. In our parting moments let me do you the justice to say that I do not believe it is so much your fault as that of your authorities. Nay, more; I believe your removal from your position has been owing to the personal efforts you have made for a faithful observance not only of the cartel but of humanity in the conduct of the war.

Again and again have I importuned you to tell me of one officer or man now held in confinement by us who was declared exchanged. You have to those appeals furnished one-Spencer Kellogg. For him I have searched in vain. On the other hand, I appeal to your own records for the cases where your reports have shown that our officers and men have been held for long months and even years in violation of the cartel and our agreements. The last phase of the enormity, however, exceeds all others. Although you have many thousands of our soldiers now in confinement in your prisons, and especially in that horrible hold of death- Fort Delaware-you have not for several weeks us any prisoners. During those weeks you have dispatched Captain Mulford with the steamer New York to City Point three or four times without any prisoners. For the first two or three times some sort of an excuse was attempted. None is given at this present arrival. I do not mean to be offensive of disrespect what can you think of this covert attempt to secure the delivery of all your prisoners in our hands without the release of those of ours, who are languishing in hopeless misery in your prisons and dungeons?

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Agent of Exchange.

MILITARY PRISON, Alton, Ill., July 26, 1863.

Colonel W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners:

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that 768 Confederate prisoners of war from Vicksburg and points above arrived here this morning, but