I am not prepared to recommend this course, but I feel called upon to brings this subject particular to your notice for such disposition as you may direct.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major General of Vols. and Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners.
Postscript to the letter of General Hitchcock to the New York Times, published December 2, 1863. *
To the Editor of the New York Times:
In further explanation of the subject of exchange of prisoners of war I make the following extract from a letter addressed to Mr. Ould by Colonel William Ludlow (as agent of exchange), dated New York, July 22, 1863, by which it will be seen that Colonel Ludlow expressly declined to acquiesce in a proposition for the release of the officers captured and paroled by General Grant at Vicksburg:
Your communication of the 17th instant (July, 1863) has been forwarded to me here (Colonel Ludlow being temporarily absent from Fort Monroe at the time). There is no authority in the cartel for your proposed declaration of exchange of your officers captured at Vicksburg in the manner you indicate.
Yet Mr. Ould subsequently, after Colonel Ludlow had been relieved by General Meredith, made the declaration not only for the exchange of he officers, including one lieutenant-general, but of the non-commissioned officers and privates, embracing nearly all of General Grant's captures. Colonel Ludlow proceeds:
The cartel provides for exchange of equal rank such are exhausted and then for equivalents. In consequence of the very much larger number of your officers and men we hold on parole and in confinement you can give no equivalents for the general officers you desire to have exchanged. You cannot for a moment assume that you can select a general and declare his equivalents in those of inferior rank when we hold the paroles of your officers of the men rank as the latter. But even supposing this arrangement was permitted by the cartel I do not see how you could avail yourself of it at this time.
You will recollect that since the proclamation of Honorable Jefferson Davis of December last, and more especially since the passage of the Confederate Congress in reference to our captured officers, both of which were in violation of the cartel, and have caused in the one case a temporary and in the other a continued suspension of exchanges of officers, that all such exchanges have been subjects of special agreement between us.
To avoid the complications and annoyances of these special agreements I have again and again urged you to return to the cartel, but up to the present moment in vain. On the contrary, you retain in close confinement large numbers of our officers for whom I have made a demand and tendered equivalents. Until you consent to return to the terms prescribed by the cartel for exchange of officers I shall not consent to any exchanges, except on special agreements
I repeat to you that I decline unite to your proposed declaration of exchange of officers captured at Vicksburg, and if recaptured they will be dealt with as violators of their parole. Ought you not, in justice to those officers, to notify them of the exact conditions of their cases and thus enable them to avoid being placed in false positions?
If you are authorized to deliver our officers now held in close confinement, an the cartel in exchanges of all officers and men, all the complicated questions which have arisen within the last few months can be promptly disposed of.
It has been supposed by some, and the idea seems to have been assiduously set on foot, that because the subject of the exchange of colored troops or of officers confined in Southern prisons, captured
* See p. 594.