at Port Hudson was strictly in accordance with the cartel. The arrangement was made with General Gardner, one of the opposing generals, and the place of delivery of the prisoners, the manner of their departure, and the conditions, were all agreed to by him and attested with his signature, otherwise not one of the men would have been paroled. I have the honor to forward herewith copies of the papers, which I think will answer all the conditions of the cartel. The prisoners insisted upon having each a copy of his parole, that they might not be compelled to enter service again until they were exchanged.
It was almost a matter of necessity that we should parole them. Twenty-two nine month's regiments were about leaving; there were 12,000 to 15,000 of the enemy on the Mississippi between Port Hudson and New Orleans, against whom it was necessary to move our whole force, and we had neither men to guard nor transports to move them to a place of safety. I am, sure, however, that the proceedings were in accordance with the conditions of the cartel, and that the men can be punished if found in arms against the Government before being regularly exchanged.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
OFFICE COMMISSIONER FOR EXCHANGE,
Fort Monroe, Va., August 7, 1863.
Major General E. A. HITCHCOCK, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inform you that by to-day's boat I have received a most earnest and pressing request from Mr. Ould to grant him a meeting as early as possible. I have not yet sought an interview with him, for the reason that Colonel Ludlow has been quite reticent in regard to matters connected with his late business, nor did I wish to see Mr. Ould until I had some specific instructions from the War Department.
From what I can gather in Colonel Ludlow's letter books I suppose the following are points to be insisted upon:
First. The immediate exchange of Colonel Streight and his command. Second. An agreement that Doctor Green shall be held by the United States Government as a hostage for Doctor Rucker; other surgeons to be exchanged.
Third. That all officers commanding negro troops, and negro troops themselves, shall be treated as other prisoners of war, and exchanged in the same way.
I feel constrained, however, for reason stated above, to ask for full instructions as soon as possible. You may rest assured that I shall enter into no unauthorized agreement with Mr. Ould, nor shall I discuss with him any point on which I am not fully instructed. I have the honor, also, to forward you the inclosed from Mr. Ould, upon which I should like to have your views before seeing him*.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. MEREDITH,
Brigadier-General and Commissioner for Exchange.
* See August 5, beginning "on the 7th day of July", p. 179.