best known to him as being a portion of those troops. He afterward made a further declaration including others; but there remained yet some troops under special designations, such as fragments of certain Mississippi regiment of infantry, the Memphis Appeal Battery Light Artillery, the Vaiden Battery Artillery, and other fragments, amounting in all to 1,474 privates, with sundry officers, the knowledge of whom has probably but recently reached him; and as he had determined to free all of the paroled troops in the South within his reach he wrote to General Meredith on the 3rd instant, announcing his purpose to declare exchanged on the 6th of the month all of those officers and men; which, of course, he has done, thus carrying out literally his avowed purpose that he would proceed to declare exchanges "whenever he conscientiously felt the right to do so, for the purpose of putting men into the field. "
At the time he made his first declaration of exchange (of the Vicksburg prisoners) he stated in letter to General Meredith that he had "valid paroles" for more than all of prisoners he had declared exchanged. When called upon for those paroles he furnished the tabular statement, a copy of which is hereto annexed (marked D), amounting to over 18,000 men, as already referred to. In forwarding that tabular statement he informed General Meredith that he had other valid paroles which he was collecting evidence of and which in due time he would claim credit for-thus holding out an indefinite claim for paroles not recognized by the laws of war and of men not delivered according to the cartel; and now, in forwarding the last list, he uses the same indefinite language, that he has in his possession valid paroles 'sufficient to counterbalance this and the other exchanges" he has declared.
By this unauthorized procedure the rebel agent would establish a practice by which the aid of rebel raiders ranging over unprotected portions of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, &c., he may have it in his power at any time to discharge from their parole any number of men we may permit to go South on parole. If we now call upon him to justify his last declaration of exchange he would without doubt furnish another tabular statement embracing miscellaneous captures by guerrilla parties depredating upon and capturing peaceable people, whose only offense is fidelity to the Government established by their fathers.
I have stated in my report that the rebel agent had delivered at City Point, according to the cartel, about 15,000 men, for whom he had receipts, and that having done so he was entitled to declare a like number of his own men discharged from their parole, he furnishing a "list" of them. Instead of conforming thus to the cartel he has informally, without any proper conference with General Meredith and against the formal protest of General Meredity's predecessor, Colonel Ludlow, actually discharged from their parole and put the officers and men into the rebel army about 37,000 men, and this, too, without giving the smallest intimation, though invited to do so, of a purpose to abandon the grounds taken be the rebel authorities with regard to captured officers of the Federal Army or to captured officers and men of the colored troops, the laws and proclamations with respect to these officers and men remaining unrepealed and ready to be enforced the moment the rebels feel safe in bringing them to bear.
E. A. HITCHCOCK.