authorities have determined to place the distribution under the control and management of a board of Federal officers. I will give you their names in my next communication. I will transmit the reports of the board from time to time.
Agent of Exchange.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, D. C., November 15, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
SIR: In compliance with your orders I submit the following summary of military operations since my last annual report: *
* * * *
PRISONERS OF WAR.
On the 22nd of July, 1862, Major-General Dix and Major-General Hill entered into a cartel for the exchange of prisoners during the existing war, specially stipulating when and where exchanges should be made and how declared, defining the meaning of a parole, and the rights and obligations of prisoners under parole, and when and how they were to be released from these obligations. Special agreements of this kind, modifying and explaining the general laws of war, furnish the rules of conduct for the contracting parties in all cases for which they provide or to which they are applicable.
Finding that the rebel authorities were paroling prisoners contrary to these stipulations, they were notified on the 22nd of May last that all paroles not given in the manner prescribed by the cartel would be regarded as null and void. Nevertheless, they continue to extort, by threats and ill-treatment, from our men paroles unauthorized by the cartel, and also refused to deliver colored prisoners and their officers. It is stated that they sold the former into slavery and sentenced the latter to imprisonment and death for alleged violation of local State laws. This compelled a resort to retaliatory measures, and an equal number of their prisoners in our hands were selected as hostages for the surrender of those retained by them. All exchanges under the cartel, therefore, ceased. In violation of general good faith and of engagements solemnly entered into the rebel commissioner then proceeded to declare exchanged all his own paroled prisoners and ordered their return to the ranks of their regiments then in the field. And we are now asked to confirm these acts by opening new accounts and making new lists for exchange, and the rebels seek to enforce these demands by the most barbarous treatment of our officers and men now in their hands.
Rebel prisoners held by the United States have been uniformly treated with consideration and kindness. They have been furnished with all necessary clothing and supplied with the same quality and amount of food as our own soldiers, while our soldiers who, by the casualties of war, have been captured by them have been stripped of their blankets, clothing, and shoes, even in the winter season, and then confined in damp and loathsome prisons and only half fed on damaged provisions, or actually starved to death, while hundreds have terminated their
*For portions here omitted see Series III.