War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0836 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,

Fort Monroe, Va., January 12, 1864.

Hon. ROBERT OULD,

Commissioner of Exchange, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: Your note addressed to Major-General Hitchcock, in relation to the appointment by the Government of the United States of a commissioner of exchange, is returned.

This Government claims and exercises the power of appointing its own agents to represent its interests, irrespective of any supposed sanction by the Confederate authorities.

No right of declaration of outlawry by those authorities of any officer or soldier of the United States can be admitted or for a moment regarded by the Government of the United States, as it certainly will not be by the persons upon whom such intimidation is attempted.

I am, instructed to renew the offer, leaving all other questions in abeyance, to exchange man for man and officer for officer of equal rank actually held in custody by either party, until all prisoners of war so held are thus exchanged. I take leave to express the hope, from humane considerations to those confined as prisoners of war on either side, that this offer will be accepted.

I am further instructed to inform you that unless the flag of truce sent forward under the sanction of the commanding general of this department is recognized and respected by your authorities, all further communication between this Government and the Confederate authorities by flag of truce must cease, however much the loss of its ameliorating influences upon the rigors of what ought to be a civilized war are is to be regretted; but the responsibility of such determination must be left with those whom your represent.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER,

Major-General Commanding and Commissioner of Exchange.

HDQRS. DEPT OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,

Fort Monroe, Va., January 12, 1864.

Honorable ROBERT OULD,

Commissioner of Exchange, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: It is desirable that a list of all the prisoners held by either belligerents, whether officers or soldiers, should be furnished to each office of exchange, and also a list of all who have died on either side while held as prisoners of war.

It is also desirable that an arrangement should be made by which monthly lists shall be forwarded, as soon as practicable, up to the first of each month, of the persons captured and who have died on both sides.

I am prepared to send forward a list up to the 1st day of December, 1863, and to continue so to furnish, upon condition that you will do the same, monthly lists of prisoners and deaths as above suggested.

i beg to call your attention that your lists already furnished contain the names on only some 123 deaths. Would we could hope that list is correct, but it is impossible.

Please see to it, if this arrangement is made, that we have accurate lists of all the deaths in all the prisoners and prisoners' camps wherein our officers or men are held by your authorities, and on our part it is stipulated that the utmost pains shall be taken to make like accurate