were to be the officers, under promises from the rebel authorities. They were thus within the State in the rear of the Union armies,some being even at Maysville, on the Ohio River. They were acting secretly and were not in the dress of recognized rebels; they were therefore proper subjects for arrest and trial as spies. General Burnside caused two of this class of persons, after due trial and conviction, to be executed. Several others were duly tried and sentenced to death, but the sentences were commuted and the offenders were sent to Johnson's Island as prisoners of war.
The rebel authorities asserted their rights in Kentucky and endeavored to throw the protection of the rebel Government over this class of persons. To this end they placed Captains Sawyer and Flinn in cell confinement, under orders for execution in retaliation for the proceedings of General Burnside. At that time we held a son of Robert E. Lee as a captive, having the rank of a brigadier-general; and that officer, with one other of inferior rank, was set apart at Fort Monroe with orders to the commanding officer to execute them in case Sawyer and Flinn were put to death. This checked the proceedings at Richmond, and after some little time Sawyer and Flinn were exchanged for officers of like grade, and Lee was exchanged for Brigadier-General Dow.
But the rebels did not relinquish their attempt or assumed right to recruit in Kentucky. Sawyer and Flinn being exchanged, they put other Union officers in cell confinement to enforce their claim to have 'spies," as we call them, treated as ordinary prisoners of war, giving us formal notice, by letter, of their claim in this respect.
If this claim shall be recognized, or in any manner acceded to, we may expect to find rebel officers more or less openly recruiting for the rebel army in Kentucky; the only penalty in that case, if captured, being that attending an ordinary capture of a prisoner of war.
When Mr. Ould gave the formal notice referred to we were informed that to enforce it other Union officers had been placed in cell confinement in Richmond as hostages for the release of two rebels, one of whom was named Waller. These two-a concession to the rebel claim-were placed on a footing with captured officers.
But this did not stop the attempt to assert the right to recruit in Kentucky. Other military criminals fell under the sentences of commissions and are now held at Johnson's Island; and these are the parties whom the rebels are now endeavoring to protect by the cell confinement of Lieutenant Markbreit and others, and the question now seems to be, Shall the Government allow the rebels to make good their pretensions by acquiescing in their demand for the release of the officers in question through the means they employ-that of cell confinement of certain Union officers, of which Lieutenant Markbreit is one?
The undersigned desires only to present the question as it appears to him, and respectfully submits it.
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers, Commissioner of Exchange.
WASHINGTON, September 17, 1864.
His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
President of the United States:
I take the liberty of applying to you for the exchange of my brother, who is actually being starved to death at Richmond, where he is kept