OFFICE COMMISSIONER FOR EXCHANGE,
Fort Monroe, Va., November 13, 1863.
Major General E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Commissioner of Exchange, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to forward you herewith the newspaper containing Mr. Ould's letter and a copy of my reply thereto. Also a copy of his letter accepting the proposition for the release of medical officers, and a copy of his letter relating to the delivery of the remains of killed. *
My letter has been forwarded to Mr. Ould.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. MEREDITH,
Brigadier-General and Commissioner for Exchange.
WASHINGTON, D. C., November 13, 1863.
Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners:
In behalf of citizens of the Northern States imprisoned in Richmond, Va., I wish to state that their position is in the highest degree uncomfortable and threatening to their health. Their food is better than that which the private soldier receives (for I was for three days and nights in a tobacco factory with our privates last week) and yet it is not sufficient, neither in quantity nor in quality. But though They suffer from hunger continually, they suffered more from cold. They have but few blankets, no beds, no blanks or cots; many of our citizens who have the means of living very comfortably at home lie upon the bare floor, often without any covering for weeks or months; their health suffers.
There are some who are kept as hostages for some certain ones of their citizens held by our Government; these, all but two, are at Salisbury, N. C., the two excepted are Friends or Quakers, who are held for two of their citizens, held, they say, by our Government. The number of our citizens (citizens of the Northern States) is unknown to me, but it is much less than the number of Union men and boys of the slave holding States whom they hold for disloyalty to them.
A few weeks ago Mr. Ould informed a Northern citizen, a Mr. Alfred Brengle, of Frederick, Md., imprisoned in the same room with myself, that they had given orders to their cavalry to take a certain number of Union men-I believe 200-and we have noticed that the order has been at last partially executed, for many more Union men from Northern Virginia have been added to the number in the prison before. He (Mr. Ould) added that when they had secured the number they had ordered to be brought in they would have as many as our Government and then that our Government would be willing to exchange.
There are some half dozen or more sutlers and sutlers' clerks in the prison I was in. These men employed a lawyer (Humphrey Marshall) to secure their liberation-he had offered his services. He informed them he had succeeded in everything but in getting the consent of Mr. Ould to the arrangement. The latter, he said, proposed to let them
*See Meredith to Ould, October 17, p. 388; Ould to Meredith, October 20, p. 401; Ould to Meredith, October 27, p. 428; Ould to Meredith, October 27, p. 430; Meredith to Ould, October 29, p. 441; Ould to Meredith, October 31, p. 452, and Ould to Meredith, November 11, p. 501.
33 R R-SERIES II, VOL VI