Honorable WALTER PRESTON(chairman): Two questions have been given to Mr. Smith for Mr. Preston to ask the Secretary of War. I omitted the two following which I now wish prescribed:
3. Did I, or did I not, protest against Danville being a place for keeping prisoners, because it was a terminus of railroads and had no southern extension, and having already to supply large hospitals!
Answer. I did not understand the Commissary- General to insist exactly against the selection of Danville as a place of confinement for the prisoners, but while I was considering the propriety of sending them there he certainly urged, as a consideration against it, that it would be more difficult to subsist them, both because some of the counties around were believed to have had a deficient crop and because there was no direct railroad communication from the south; other considerations, however, left me, I thought, no other reasonable alternative, and a limited number were sent there.
4. Please state what discretion was allowed by you in feeding prisoners under the arrangement between the Quartermaster-General and Commissary- General.
Answer. My answer to the second question fully replies to this. No other discretion that I recollect was allowed than is there explained.
L. B. NORTHROP.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WESTERN LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, January 8, 1864.
Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS, Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to forward herewith a copy of the cartel* entered into on the 4th instant by commissioners appointed, respectively, by Major General N. P. Banks, U. S. Army, and myself, and copy of a letter* from General Banks commissioner, containing an offer to deliver the prisoners recently captured by the U. S. forces in Texas, of or the consideration and action of the lieutenant- general commanding. In order that there may be no delay in the exchange and delivery of prisoners embraced in the cartel, I have to request that the officers captured at Brashear City and in the La Fourche country, and the officers and men captured on the Fordoche by my command may be sent for and kept at Shreveport, so that they may be brought to the point of delivery as soon as I am informed by General Banks that he is ready to deliver his prisoners, the greater number having been sent North, and it being necessary to send their for them. In correspondence between General Banks and myself he has declared his intention of releasing civilians who have been arrested by his forces and detained in custody, and expresses a determination to put a stop in the future to such arrests of private citizens disconnected with the army. I have, therefore, to request that you will have the citizens who were arrested by me in my campaign in the La Fourche county last summer and forwarded to Shreveport, and Mr. F. Anderson, a reporter of the New York Herald, who was captured on the gun- boat Queen of the West, sent to this place at one, in order that I may release them and return them to their friends.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
*See pp. 817, 812, respectively.