War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0629 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

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you to purchase all such articles for the sick as may be recommended by the surgeon.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. HOFFMAN,

Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.

WASHINGTON, D. C., December 2, 1863.

Major General E. A. HITCHCOCK,

Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners:

SIR: Having executed your instructions of 29th of October last, I respectfully beg leave to report that on or about the 31st of October I reported in person to Brigadier General S. A. Meredith, at Fort Monroe, and at that time anticipated an early meeting with Honorable Robert Ould, the Confederate agent of exchange. The state of the correspondence and negotiations between Mr. Ould and General Meredith, however, rendered it inexpedient that any personal consultation with Mr. Ould should then take place. Under the direction of General Meredith I immediately employed myself in getting forwarded supplies of forward supplies of food and clothing for our prisoners in Richmond, as ordered by the Department. My first and only interview with Mr. Ould was on the 23rd ultimo. It was informal, and indeed unofficial, so far as matters relating to exchange were concerned, but referred mainly to the action of our Government in sending forward supplied to the Richmond prisoners- officers, soldiers, and citizens.

Allusion was incidentally made to the question of exchange and the correspondence and statements that had then recently been punished in the Richmond papers on that subject. I took occasion to assure Mr. Ould that he had misconceived the intention of the United States Government in attributing to it a settled policy against any exchange of prisoners. To which he replied, in substance, that possibly he had; that his last dispatches received from General Meredith contained a communication from Major-General Hitchock to General Meredith on the subject of the paroles in dispute which seemed to evince a spirit of fairness that led him to hope that some settlement favorable to exchange could be made. On the 25th ultimo I accompanied General Meredith to City Point for the purple of having an interview with Mr. Ould. We reached City Point just at evening and as the rebel flag-of-truce boat arrived there with our surgeons and with Mr. Ould on board. In the course of the evening General Meredith held an interview with him on board the rebel boat, at which I was not present. In that interview General Meredith assures me he made a direct inquiry of Mr. Ould if he would exchange, officer for officer, man for man, and rank for rank, or equivalents, to which he replied that he would only do so provided the United States Government would release on parole all Confederate prisoners of war now held as such. At the time I was detailed for duty in your bureau I entertained the conviction that the Confederate authorities would exchange prisoners to the number held by them without reference to existing complications, deferring all disputed question for future settlements. Such conviction was based on assurances repeatedly given to our officers prisoners in Richmond by official connected with the Confederate rule there, and given to me by at least two officers of the Confederate exchange bureau at the time of my release. I also entertained the belief that the Government at