HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE EAST,
New York City, March 5, 1864.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
SIR: In the publication by the Senate of the correspondence on the subject of the exchange of prisoners* I observed that the whole of the correspondence between Mr. Ould and myself previous to the 14th of January, 1864 , and much of it since that date, does not appear. I have felt it my duty to inform you of this fact and that I turned over to Brigadier-General Meredith all the correspondence and papers which passed between Mr. Ould and myself during the whole time I was on duty as agent for exchange of prisoners.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. LUDLOW,
Lieutenant Colonel and Assist. Insp. General, Department of the East.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., March 5, 1864.
Captain STEPHEN E. JONES,
Aide-de-Camp and Provost-Marshal, Louisville, Ky.:
CAPTAIN: Your letter of the 27th ultimo in relation to political prisoners held in Louisville is received. The orders of the War Department require that all political prisoners who have been reported to this office shall not be discharged without the authority of the Secretary of War, but it is not expected that any will be reported here against whom there are not apparently well founded charges of disloyal acts. Many are arrested under circumstances which make it proper, but a little investigation shows the innocence of the accused, and he should be released; but this should take place before reporting to this office. Prisoners confined for civil offenses not connected with the rebellion are not political or state prisoners and are not to be reported to this office.
Instructions have been given to the general commanding departments to order without delay the trial of all persons arrested as spies, or for other grave offenses, and you will therefore forward charges against all persons so charged now in your custody through the district commander, with the names of witnesses, and request a trial to be ordered. When prisoners are tried before a military tribunal for political or for other offenses the sentence will be executed, whatever it may be, even though they have been reported to this office. If there are prisoners in custody for ordinary offenses against the law who have through mistake been reported to this office they may properly be transferred to the prisons appropriated for such cases, and be so reported on your rolls and returns.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.
*Senate Executive Document Numbers 17, Thirty-eighth Congress, first session.