HEADQUARTERS FOR DELAWARE, December 16, 1863.
Colonel WILLIAM HOFFMAN, U. S. Army,
Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:
COLONEL: In reply to your telegram of this day* I have the honor to inform you that the smallpox is not only decreasing in number, but also in its form. Deaths are very few. The sutler has been authorized to sell to prisoners such articles as you designated.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION, Vermilionsville, December 16, 1863.
Colonel E. L. MOLINEUX, Inspector-General, &c.:
COLONEL: I have just received the inclosed document+ from Saint Martinsville. As it is impossible for the Confederate Army to protect those of our citizens who are within or near the lines of the Federal Army I submit the inclosed through you to the commanding general, trusting his sense of justice in the matter of defenseless non-combatants. When the firing took place on Sunday upon the citizens of the town there was no Confederate soldier in the place, as I am informed; but the firing war, as I have been informed, upon men, women, and children promiscuously as they were returning from church, and one very old man dangerously wounded. I call your attention to this matter for the reason that I do not believe such barbarity to be sanctioned by the officers of the Federal Army.
I call your attention to the case of Romulus McBride, a citizen of this village. I believe he is a blacksmith. This man never has belonged to the Confederate Army. He was conscripted but discharged for disability. His wife is distressed to a degree that she has become an invalid. I hope you will, if possible, have this man released.
Major Levy desired his compliments to be returned to you for the use of your horse in his ambulance and for other kindnesses and courtesies. The horse will be sent back with the prisoners.
Accept, my dear colonel, for yourself personally, the very best wishes of the winter. I hope the fate of war may some time make you my prisoner so that I will be able to show you how I appreciate an opponent of your qualities. I regret I have nothing to send you; not a newspaper, nor even "Louisiana lighting. "
Brigadier-General, Commanding First Cavalry Division.
P. S. - The compliments of my young friend and staff officer, Captain Wells. He will meet you again before this close of negotiations.
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, December 16, 1863.
Hon. J. A. CAMPBELL, Assistant Secretary of War:
SIR: In compliance with your indorsement on the accompanying paper++ I have the honor to make the following report:
I think it is very clear that the Government, in ordering paroled
++See Polk to Cooper, November 24, p. 558.