War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0287 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

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of the 13th and 17th of July you will find out who was the equivalent. It had been our practice, whenever a special exchange was declared by one party, to allow the other to select the equivalent from prisoners already paroled or delivered. I pursued that course in the case of the Vicksburg general officers. The equivalent could be found in officers and men paroled at Fredericksburg, in pursuance of an agreement between Generals Lee and Hooker. If that was not satisfactory, the equivalent could easily be found in the 10,000 prisoners whom I released from captivity and sent to City Point. In that 10,000 there was an excess of more than 6,000 at least over the number you had delivered at the same place since the last general declaration of exchange. My letter of the 17th of July contains a fair statement not only of the practice of the agents of exchange, but of the grounds of my authority to declare the exchange of the Vicksburg general officers, including General M. L. Smith. The efforts to cast discredit upon the regular and honorable exchange of these officers is, to use a phrase of your own in one of your letters of the 14th instant, 'simply ridiculous. "

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

RO. OULD,

Agent of Exchange.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,

Fort Monroe, September 14, 1863.

Honorable ROBERT OULD, Agent of Exchange, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: I would respectfully ak to be informed of the status of Colonel William H. Powell. Is he or is he not held and treated as a prisoner of war, subject to exchange like other prisoners in case exchanges should be resumed?

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. A. MEREDITH,

Brigadier-General and Commissioner for Exchange.

HEADQUARTERS DEFENSES OF BALTIMORE,

Fort McHenry, Md., September 14, 1863. *

Colonel W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners:

COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th instant,# in which you state that your-

Letter of instructions of the 3rd instant# was intended to apply to all prisoners of war, including spies under trial or sentence, whether soldiers or citizens, and to all prisoners belonging to the rebel States; also that persons who reside in the loyal States arrested for disloyal conduct are political prisoners only, and are not classed as prisoners of war.

The prisoners held at this post hitherto have been divided into three classes, as follows:

First. Soldier prisoners, or those belonging to the U. S. Army and charged with offenses punishable by military law.

Second. Prisoners of war, who are subject to no punishments except that of being held in safe confinement until duly exchanged.

Third. Political prisoners, or those other than the first class who are charged with offenses for which they may be tried and punished by a court-martial or military commission.

This classification, so far as it relates to prisoners of war and political prisoners, I have regarded as fully authorized by General Orders, No.

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*Should be 1864.

#See Vol. VII, this series, pp. 714, 811.

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