to do so, but not to put other persons across the lines. Your proposed declaration of the exchange is, in the opinion of this Department, irregular, and ought not to be made, because it would be seized upon as a justification of the irregular and improper course pursued by the rebels; and besides, from its indefiniteness, would not afford pursued by the rebels; and besides, from its indefiniteness, would not afford protection to our own troops, and would lead to serious embarrassment in the final arrangement of exchanges, if one can be made. The reasons for this opinion are more particularly set forth in the reply furnished to you by Major-General Hitchcock upon this subject. * I think that upon consideration of that report you will yourself be satisfied that the proposed declaration of exchange is premature, and would afford serious advantages to the rebels in the present controversy.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
FORT MONROE, February, 10, 1864-10 p. m.
SECRETARY OF WAR:
Your telegram and the letter of General Hitchcock have been received. I will send you the full report upon this matter of declaration of exchange, but I do not choose to sleep upon so gross a misrepresentation as has been made to you of my proposed declaration of exchange. First. It is in precise words like those that have been made heretofore. Second. It affects no paroled prisoners; it only affects those actually received at City Point. It touches no paroled prisoners; it interferes with no questions; it is in exact conformity with the cartel. Allow me to send you the words of the declaration: "All prisoners heretofore held by the Confederate authorities, whether civilians, officers, or soldiers, received at City Point before the 20th of January from the Confederate commissioner are declared exchanged. " Is there one word in this about prisoners on parole? Besides, it is agreed to by Commissioner Ould. I only sent up for a flag-of-truce boat for women and children because I was informed that an agreement was made that one should go once in every six months. I certainly don't care to send one.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
FORT MONROE, February 10, 1864.
Your communication [in] regard to the exchange of General Lee is received. I will take measures to have the proper inquiries made.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 10, 1864.
Honorable HENRY WILSON, U. S. Senate:
MY DEAR SIR: From conversation with a surgeon of the army who has had much intercourse with rebels-privates, officers, and surgeons-at Knoxville and Chattanooga I believe that it is important that Congress pass a resolution approving the President's amnesty proclamation. The rebel officers persuade their men that the amnesty will, if accepted by individuals, still leave their property liable to confiscation.
*See February 8, p. 926