announce to the army that the irregular practice of paroling small squads of men and individuals, without rolls or other reliable evidence of any kind, which had very generally prevailed, must be discontinued, and that thereafter the cartel should be rigidly adhered to. This announcement had been made to the Confederate authorities through you.
There have been no 'successive changes of purpose in the matter of paroles," as you assert, nor changes of any kind, except so far as to return to a strict observance of the cartel; and this is a change the propriety of which I do not think you can question.
The figures which I gave you in my letter of October 17 were not given as embracing all declared exchanged in General Orders, 167, of June 8, but only those which Lieutenant-Colonel Ludlow used to makeup the balance due him after arranging that declaration with you. It was the declaration which Lieutenant-Colonel Ludlow made to covert his balance that you cite as the precedent which authorized you to announces unexpectedly your declarations of September 12. The Eightieth Illinois, 311 men - not 400, as you say- was accidentally omitted from my letter, and by a clerical error Seventy-third Indiana was written Seventy-fifth Indiana. Paragraphs 5 and 6 of General Orders, 167, cover the troops referred to, and other paragraphs cover the captures mentioned by you. Any discrepancy in numbers declared exchanged at that time, on either side, is of little consequence, as up to the date of that order it is assumed that the exchange account was satisfactorily balanced.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. MEREDITH,
Brigadier-General and Commissioner for Exchange.
Near Fort Monroe, Va., November 7, 1863.
Brigadier General Neal Dow wished me to lay before General Meredith the following statements of facts in regard to our soldiers at Belle Isle, which facts General Dow had obtained from personal observation and inquiry at the island when on Thursday of this week he visited it for the purpose of distributing the clothing and blankets which the United States Government sent to the soldiers. He declares that the soldiers on Belle Isle are suffering beyond endurance. There are 5,400 on the island, which is low and unhealthy. They have not tents, into which by crowding more than one-half can enter at all; the remainder sleep without on the bare ground without sufficient clothing and almost entirely without blankets. Many have no pants; many have no shirts; so of shoes; and almost every individual lacks some essential article of clothing. They are on half rations, have no fuel of any kind, no soap is issued to them; they are consequently very filthy, of necessity. They need socks, additional supply of blankets and clothes, unless exchanged soon; shoes, mostly 8, 9, and 10. They are dying at the rate of eight and ten daily now, and the rate must fearfully increase from they ought to be exchanged if possible, or many, many lives will be sacrificed and the health of the most of the remainder impaired.
The above embraces the substance of what General Dow desires me to say to you, taken from my notes of his conversation.
I wish to add for myself, for I spent three days this week in one of the tobacco factories ("Scott's") with about 160 privates who were