The subject does not, however, admit of discussion, and I refer you to the concluding paragraph of my letter of the 16th instant. *
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. E. PICKETT,
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT,
Richmond, Va., February 27, 1864.
Major JOHN E. MULFORD, Assistant Agent of Exchange:
SIR: In reply to General Butler's letter of instructions to you of the 23rd instant + I beg leave to assure you that it has always been the desire and purpose of the Confederate authorities to conform in practice to every provision of the cartel, and especially to that important part of it which requires the speedy delivery of all prisoners. I can confidently appeal to the action of this Government to sustain this declaration. Your own long connection with matters pertaining to the exchange of prisoners enables you to attest the truth of this statement.
The only difficulty now in the way of the resumption of the cartel is the refusal of the Federal Government to deliver the excess of prisoners on parole. If the U. S. authorities are ready to abandon this position and deliver all the prisoners now in their custody the Confederate Government will unhesitatingly meet the movement with corresponding action. Special or partial exchanges are liable to so many objections that in future they will be steadily refused.
If a general exchange, on the principles of the cartel, is resumed there may perhaps be some delay in the delivery of a portion of the Federal prisoners, owing to the fact that some of them have been removed farther to the south. All of them, however, will be returned to you as soon as the conveniences of transportation will allow. Of course we would expect and demand that the same rule should be observed by the Federal authorities, so as to insure the delivery of all prisoners in their hands with the least possible delay. Such we consider "a just and true interpretation of the provisions of the cartel. " May I not therefore confidently except that our prisoners will be promptly delivered at City Point?
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Agent of Exchange.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., February 27, 1864.
Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to inform you that Major-General Butler, commissioner for exchange, reports the exchange of Colonel W. H. Powell, Second West Virginia Cavalry, now on parole in this city, for Colonel R. H. Lee, of the rebel army. Colonel Powell may therefore be ordered to join his regiment for duty.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.
* See Series I, Vol. XXXIII, p. 867.
+ Not found.