papers-no official, communication having been made to my knowledge - is in the words contained in the following extract:
Declaration of Commissioner Ould. -Commissioner Ould declares exchanged all prisoners heretofore held by the Union authorities, whether officers, soldiers, or civilians, received at City Point before January 1, and all officers and men of Vicksburg capture who reported for duty at Enterprise, Miss., prior to November 14, 1863; also all officers and men of the Vicksburg capture belonging to the First Tennessee Artillery.
If General Butler's declaration is vague this by Mr. Ould is of like character, but in extreme; for no one can know who or how many rebel prisoners of war "reported for duty at a place called Enterprise, in Mississippi, prior to November, 1863. "
I must here notice the fact that the Commissary-General of prisoners has received no list of prisoners affected by General Butler's declaration, and is not in a position to have the usual order issued on the subject by the Adjutant-General of the Army.
General Butler states in his telegram that his declaration is in conformity with custom. The custom has been for the two agents to meet and agree upon the numbers or parties who should be exchanged, and then our agent has been accustomed to communicate the particulars to the Commissary-General of Prisoners, who has then submitted a copy to the Adjutant-General for announcement, and this announcement has been, in fact, the "declaration" of exchange. In this manner the individuals affected and the country have been kept advised of the state of exchanges.
I have but this further to say, that if General Butler's mode of making exchanges by some secret agreement with Mr. Ould, to be followed by an indefinite declaration by Mr. Ould, like that above, be sanctioned it will require but a very short time to involve the whole subject of exchanges in confusion, so that no one on either side of the line will know who is or is not exchanged.
I might be disposed here to remark upon the extraordinary language of General Butlers's telegram, but, as I claim to have some respect for both decency and discipline, I abstain from following an example which, though it may find admirers among some ignorant novices in the service, will hardly be excused by any one who pretends to be a soldier.
I respectfully request that General Butler may be furnished a copy of this communication.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers and Commissioner of Exchange.
OFFICE COMMISSIONER FOR EXCHANGE,
Fort Monroe, Va., February 12, 1864.
Honorable ROBERT OULD, Agent for Exchange, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: Will your authorities make a special exchange of Captain Ralph Olmstead Ives, Tenth Massachusetts Regiment, captured at Warrenton, Va., September 3, 1863, and now a prisoner at Salisbury, N. C.?
This Government is willing to give any Confederate officer of equal rank in exchange for Captain Ives.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major-General and Commissioner for Exchange.
60 R R-SERIES II, VOL VI