FORT MONROE, February 22, 1864.
General ED. R. S. CANBY:
Two officers are kept by the rebels prisoners in irons and in close confinement in alleged retaliation for two captains kept in prison by order of General Burnside, having been tried by court-martial. I have addressed Mr. Ould on the subject by last flag of truce and expect an answer soon.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
FEBRUARY 22, 1864.
The two officers in irons in Richmond are army officers. They were placed in irons, as General Butler states, in retaliation for two officers supposed to be similarly held under General Burnside's orders.
The rebels are in error in supposing that two of their officers are in irons as they allege.
General Terry has been communicated with on the subject, and by telegraph states the fact as above.
The naval officers placed in irons on account of Beall's marauding party have been released from close confinement, as I understand, but General Butler must know and it would be well to inquire of him.
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers.
FORT MONROE, VA., February 22, 1864.
SECRETARY OF WAR:
Flag-of-truce boat arrived. No news of military movements of interest. I am able to answer more particularly about the officers in irons. There are but two, in retaliation for two officers confined in Alton, Ill., penitentiary, by order of General Burnside, as is alleged.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 22, 1864.
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
SIR: From a conversation I have just had with Colonels Hobart and Boyd, two of our returned prisoners from Richmond, I am induced to believe that it is expedient to send an experimental boat under flag of truce to City Point with 100, and possibly 200 or 300 officers, prisoners of war, with an offer to exchange them for Federal officers, prisoners in Richmond, of corresponding grades.
The gentlemen above named appear to be quite confident that we can by this means withdraw a number of our prisoners from Richmond; that, notwithstanding the public declaration form the other side on the subject of recognizing or the refusal to recognize General Butler in the business of exchange, the rebel authorities will feel compelled to accept their own officers and return a like number.
If they should refuse to do so the returned prisoners give their opinion that the refusal will seriously damage the cause of the South, and in this opinion I concur and beg leave respectfully to recommend that General Butler be instructed to make the experiment suggested, unless there should be reasons against it unknown to me.
General Butler, of course, would not go to City Point himself. Major Mulford could execute the duty. The officers sent for exchange might