HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
September 24, 1863.
Honorable ROBERT OULD,
Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I am under the impression that an agreement purporting to have been made between you and the Federal commissioner of exchange appeared in the Richmond papers last summer, the effect of which was that no paroles would be regarded as binding unless the paroled prisoners were delivered at the established points or at some place agreed upon between commanding officers in the field.
An order to that effect was published by the Federal authorities and I desire to know whether it was the result of an agreement between the commissioners.
You will please inform me at your earliest convenience what the facts are with reference to this subject.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
SALT SULPHUR SPRINGS, VA., September 24, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose to you a communication to the Richmond Examiner which I deem it proper in the first place to submit to you. If you consider it at all improper or inexpedient at this time to have it published I ask the favor of you to retain it in your Department, otherwise to have it sent to the Examiner for publication, whichsoever you may prefer. In either case my object will be obtained, which is in the discharge of what I conceive to be my professional duty to the defendant-to have the facts of his case laid fairly before you in reference to any question which may arise as to his exchange as a prisoner of war.
If I rightly construe the correspondence of Mr. Ould with Lieutenant-Colonel Ludlow it seems to concede the status of Doctor Rucker as a prisoner of war but for the charges of murder and larceny which occurred before his connection with the Northern Army and for which subsequent prosecutions are now pending. Hence it seemed to me that any misapprehension or mistake as to the facts of those live charges ought not in justice to remain uncorrected.
I write this without any previous consultation with my colleague, Mr. Michie, to whom I to-day inclose both my letter to you and to the Examiner with a request that if he concurs with me in recollection that he will signify that concurrence in writing at the foot of both these letters and then forward them at once to you.
I have the honor to be, sir, with high respect, &c.,
Attorney for William P. Rucker.
I have no difficulty in saying, at the request of Mr. Harrison, that my recollection of the case of the Commonwealth vs. Rucker concurs entirely with his as stated in the accompanying paper, both as to the nature and state of pleadings in the cases and the circumstances under which they have been delayed on the docket. I have nothing to say about the communication of those matters to a newspaper, but think it important that the Government should be correctly informed, both on account of the rights of the prisoner and its own cause.
THOS. J. MICHIE.