offer to retract the order of rejection of all supplies furnished, either by corporate bodies, sanitary commissions, States, or the Government, and as Commissioner Ould has over and over again assured the assistant commissioner of exchange that all private relief was duly forwarded for distribution, and as our own men and officers are now acting as commissaries of distribution in the rebel camps for such supplies as are in fact forwarded, there was another motive for this paper than what appeared upon its face.
Again, this paper came to me at the same time with the information that the Virginia Legislature were discussing and about passing (and, as I am now informed, have passed) a resolution requesting the Confederate authorities to recognize the agent of exchange appointed by this Government. And knowing as I do that this action was taken by the Virginia Legislature because of the pressure brought to bear upon them from the supposed ill-treatment which their prisoners would receive and were receiving at my hands; and taken also in connection with the fact that to relieve that pressure every newspaper in the Confederacy was publishing reports of how well the Confederate prisoners in our hands were treated, it seemed quite certain that this proposition was made-
First. For the purpose of having this Government weaken its position in regard to sustaining the present agent of exchange by adopting what on the first blush appeared to be a humane measure, sent through other channels than though me, precisely as the Confederate authorities weakened their own position of refusing to negotiate with me - by having treated with me in regard to vaccine matters, while they repudiate me as an agent of exchange.
Second. For the purpose of getting an acknowledgment to the country and for use abroad that because of neglect of their soldiers in our hands there was some need that their own surgeons should be sent to them.
Third. To be able to answer the pressure which is now bearing upon them to have the exchange go on by suggesting to their frightened brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, that the sick in our hands would now have the treatment of their own Confederate surgeons, and thereby relieve the Confederate Government from the pressure to have the exchange go on and to recede from the position taken by them.
Therefore I had thought and believed that until some further action should be had by Commissioner Ould on behalf on his Government in regard to the exchange that this proposition should not be even considered, because I know that its consideration will weaken the position of the Government, and that if we can hold to the position taken by us, which is justified by the prisoners themselves in Richmond, and which justifies itself to the world, that the infallible result will be that we shall get such terms as are honorable to us in this matter of exchange, as against these Confederates.
If no action is based upon newspaper reports, and if newspaper men can be kept from interfering with the exchange for purposes of their own self-glorification, I believe that within the week I shall have personal conference with the Confederate commissioner upon all these subjects and arrange most of them satisfactorily, provided nothing is done which shall weaken the belief that unless exchange is effected the sternest and severest retaliation will be worked out.
For I have no doubt that, if that measure of retaliation which I suggested was now being carried out, instead of the first 350 prisoners having just arrived at Point Lookout, after months of delay, the