The denials of facts which abut in your last letter, through they may have some weight in the South, will not avail to convince the people of the North that you are not utterly reckless of integrity and fairness, and full of finesse, in your declarations of exchange and the foundations you claim for them.
S. A. MEREDITH,
Brigadier-General and Commissioner of Exchange.
NOVEMBER 12, 1863.
Captain W. S. WINDER, Assistant Adjutant-General:
A. D. Streight, colonel in [Fifty-first] Indiana Regiment, a prisoner of war, had on his person when he arrived in Richmond a sum of money, which was taken from him and placed in the custody of the quartermaster. He claims this sum as private property, and I am directed to examine and report upon the validity of this claim. The sum is $2,612 in U. S. Treasury notes and $932 in Southern bank bills. Of this he received $100 in U. S. Treasury notes before the parcel was handed over to the quartermaster. The letter of General Forrest, which is filled, confirms the statement of Colonel Streight as to his receiving $800 of the U. S. notes. It was a sharp transaction, by which he shaved his own surgeons at the rate of 80 per cent., receiving from them Confederate notes, which he exchanged with General Forrest for U. S. notes at par. This amount of $800 is certainly private property. Whether the surgeons have may equitable claim to it is for them to settle with Colonel Streight.
As respects the remainder of the money there is no positive proof. All of the U. S. notes are stated by Captain Morfit, quartermaster, to be in the original packages, and not to have been in circulation. This is almost conclusive evidence that it is money belonging to the Government. Colonel Steight explains that he had $5,000 in Southern notes, which he purchased in Nashville to use on his expedition. He ad its that he used it for the purposes of his command. He could have had no other use for it, unless he intended engaging in illicit trade unbecoming his position. He virtually admits that he was disbursing officer of his command, and he cannot now shelter himself behind the unsupported and improbable statement that he was advancing money for his Government out of his own means. He says that he received these notes from his quartermaster. This is very probable and is doubtless true. That he received it in payment of his advances is very improbable.
For these reasons I think it proper to regard all the funds, except $800, as money belonging to the United States therefore liable to confiscation.
Of the $800, $640 is profit on his transaction with the surgeons and with General Forrest. The remaining $160 might be properly regarded as standing on the same footing with the other moneys, but from due respect to the terms of capitulation agreed to by General Forrest, I think it better to allow him to retain the whole sum of $800. I put the sum at $800, though Colonel S. claims that the proper amount is $850. General Forrest states the amount to be $800. I file a copy of what purports to be an order from the War Department at Washington. If this be genuine the Government would be warranted