Then they are supplied at much greater cost and trouble to the Government in Richmond than they would be at some point or points in the interior. Our capital is the great point of attack of the enemy in the eastern portion of the Confederacy, and the emergency might arise in which it would be exceedingly inconvenient to have Federal prisoners within its limits. I have no doubt that even now they add much to the sources of information of the enemy with regard to the movements of troops and the disposition of our forces, as it is exceedingly difficult to prevent all communication with persons outside or to remove all means of escape.
The Federal Government seems to have made permanent arrangements to keep their prisoners during the war. I think that like disposition on our part would manifest our indifference on the subject and would bring them to terms of exchange sooner than anything else we could do.
I hardly know what points in the interior to suggest, but one on the extension of the Danville Railroad, near the border of North Carolina, has been named, where wood is cheap and provisions are in abundance, where there is little danger of any raid or attack from the enemy, and whence they could be easily and rapidly transported to City Point in case exchange should be resumed.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF HENRICO,
Richmond, October 28, 1863.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War:
SIR; I have the honor to herewith inclose reports of the commandants of prisoners under my charge, setting forth the failure in the supply of beef for the prisoners.
I would respectfully state that this is [the] fourth occasion upon which we have been unable to furnish the necessary rations, and whilst earnestly calling your attention to the immediate necessity of some remedy, would state that no force under my command can prove adequate to the control of 13,000 hungry prisoners.
JNO H. W-General.
OCTOBER 28, 1863.
This matter seems to cause great trouble and confusion. The Commissary Department and General Winder seem never to agree, and I respectfully as the interposition of the Secretary of War.
A. R. LAWTON,
I do not know the Commissary-General in this matter under the law. I look to the Quartermaster-General for any failure that may take place.
JNO H. WINDER,