HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
OFFICE COMMISSIONER FOR EXCHANGE,
Fort Monroe, Va., March 18, 1864.
Honorable ROBERT OULD, Agent for Exchange, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: Will your authorities make a special exchange of Private D. Cowles, Company B, Tenth Wisconsin Volunteers, a prisoner of war at Danville, Va.?
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major-General and Commissioner for Exchange.
WASHINGTON CITY, D. C., March 18, 1864.
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose herewith a statement of prisoners of war received and delivered at City Point since the last authorized declaration of exchange, which was made up to September 1 last. * The statement has been made by Colonel Hoffman, Commissary-General of Prisoners, from official data. I desire to state that the regular system of exchanges had partially ceased through the action of the rebel authorities some months prior to the 1st of September, but as the cartel had not been declared null, deliveries continued to be made for a time, by which we came into possession of most of the prisoners embraced in the statement of Colonel Hoffman. At length however, the rebel agent, Mr. Ould, in violation of the cartel and in defiance of all authority, gave notice to General Meredith that he would on a certain day declare exchanged a long body of prisoners who had been captured and paroled by General Grant at Vicksburg, giving General Meredith notice at the same time that he might make a corresponding declaration. The declaration to the 1st of September was then made on our part as our only recourse at that time; but the irregularity in the course of Mr. Ould made it proper and, as I considered, necessary to cease making either deliveries or declarations until some proper understanding could be had with the rebel authorities. The few deliveries made by Mr. Ould subsequently to the 1st of September I could look upon in no other light than as attempts on his part to draw from us the indirect sanction to his proceedings, which he would have urged had we declared them exchanged; and it is certain that if we had thus gratified him he would have urged our own proceedings as a full justification of himself. I could make this more plain by going more into detail, but I deem it unnecessary. We have latterly made deliveries of prisoners ourselves, but without receiving full equivalents, and I now suggest not say under the cartel itself, which has been practically abrogated) we have a right to declare exchanged a number of our own officers and men now on parole corresponding to the number of rebel prisoners delivered at City Point since the 1st of September.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers and Commissioner of Exchange.
*See March 17, p. 1072.