HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, August 12, 1863.
Memorandum for Major-General Hitchcock.
Robert Ould, agent for exchange of prisoner, in his letter of August 5 to Brigadier General S. A. Meredith, claims that the prisoners captured and paroled by the enemy's forces in Maryland and elsewhere prior to the 3rd of July should either be regarded as legally paroled or returned to the enemy as prisoners of war. It will be observed that General Orders, Numbers 100, current series, simply announces general principles, which apply only in the absence of special agreements. So far from changing in any way the cartel, Lieutenant-Colonel Ludlow notified Mr. Ould at the time of giving him this order that our Government would regard no parole as binding which was not given in conformity with the provisions of the cartel. This was not only fully understood at the time, but it is alleged and believed has been carried out by the enemy whenever it suited his convenience. It is understood that rebel prisoners illegally paroled by our officers have been returned to the ranks without exchange. In regard to the prisoners paroled in Maryland and Pennsylvania by General Lee and his officers, it is stated by General Meade that General Lee requested him to appoint a place of exchange in accordance with the provisions of the cartel and that the (General Meade) declined the proposition. Nevertheless, in order to disembarrass himself from the care of these prisoners, General Lee proceeded to parole them. General Lee's officers in receiving these paroles, and our officers and men in giving them, knew, or ought to have known, that they were utterly null and void. And now, after having released our men on illegal paroles, in order to avoid guarding and feeding them when his army was hard pressed and retreating before General Meade, General Lee, or rather his agent, Mr. Ould, insists that the United States Government shall either respect these illegal paroles or deliver the persons so paroled to the Confederate authorities at City Point. This is certainly a most extraordinary demand and cannot be acceded to. In order, however, to avoid any difficulties on this point General Meredith will be authorized to agree with Mr. Ould that all paroles given by officers and men on either side between the 23rd of May and the 3rd of July not in conformity with the stipulations of the cartel be regarded as null and void, a declaration to that effect being published to the armies of both belligerents. The other three points mentioned in General Meredith's letter of the 7th instant seem to be fully understood by him. The Government of the United States will under no circumstances yield either of these points.
The foregoing memorandum has been examined and approved by the Secretary of War.
H. W. HALLECK,
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., August 13, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel J. O. BROADHEAD,
Provost-Marshal, Saint Louis, Mo.:
COLONEL: The report of Medical Inspector John L. Le. Conte, surgeon, U. S. Volunteers, to the Surgeon-General states that there is not a sufficient variety of vegetable food provided for the prisoners at Gratiot Street Prison Hospital at Saint Louis, and that repairs and