First. There is now a great pressure upon the Lincoln Government from the friends of certain officers in favor of a system of general exchange. If these officers are specially exchanged their friends cease their efforts, and the pressure is diminished pro tanto. Lieutenant-Colonel Hunter is one of the most prominent of this class. I am strongly of the opinion that he should be held for the benefit of our imprisoned officers generally.
Second. It would establish a precedent which, if not followed by us, would produce dissatisfaction amongst our officers now in confinement and their relatives and friends amongst us. The friends of other officers would immediately send in similar applications. If their requests were complied with the end of the matter would be that all the Yankee officers now in our hands would be released, while more than a thousand of ours would remain in Yankee prisons subject to any outrage or oppression which the enemy might choose to inflict upon them. The only case of a special exchange lately arranged is that of General Kemper for General Graham. That was done under very peculiar circumstances and with your express approbation. It cannot fairly be used as a precedent.
Third. Another very grave objection to special exchanges is found in the necessity which would be imposed upon us of making selections from our officers now in confinement. When all or nearly all have done so well those who would be left behind and their friends would be very apt to think they had just grounds of complaint. At least a thousand officers would be in that situation after all the Yankee officers had been specially exchanged.
For these and another reasons which might be named I do not think the proposed exchanged should be made.
Agent of Exchange.
SAINT LOUIS, MO., November 22, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington:
Trusten Polk, who is a prisoner at Sandusky, is said to be at the point of death. His daughter asks permission to visit him. I respectfully recommend that it be granted.
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
CHATTANOOGA, November 22, 1863.
Colonel W. HOFFMAN:
Is it to be understood that Mr. Ould's declaration of exchange of rebel prisoners delivered at City Point July 25, 1863, is unauthorized? That we are still to consider them prisoners of war and, taken in arms, to try them accordingly? See your letter of November 6 to General Grant, with inclosure.
W. D. WHIPPLE,
Washington City, November 23, 1863-9. 45 a. m.
General SCHOFIELD, Saint Louis:
You may allow Trusten Polk's daughter to visit him. I shall also order him to be released on parole. He is reported to be exchanged