making report of any matter relating to the welfare of the parties under their care. Although just one year has elapsed since the date of that communication no answer has been returned.
I have no doubt but that the persons referred to in your letter are very respectable gentleman; yet they are certainly not as well suited to minister to the wants of prisoners as accredited officers whose routine of duty makes them peculiarly fitted to relieve the sick and wounded. I therefore respectfully suggest that your application be so charged as to embrace my offer so long treated with silence. I am quite confident that all the interests of humanity will be promoted by the modification.
It is true that your prisoners are suffering. It is one of the calamities and necessities of the war, made so not by our choice. We have done everything we can consistently with the duty we owe to ourselves. We intend to do the same in the future. But that great suffering must ensue if your prisoner remain in our hands is very certain. For that reason I propose that all of them be delivered to your in exchange, man for and officer for officer, according to grade, for those of ours whom you hold. Will not the cause of humanity be far more promoted by such a course than even if, as your suggest, the friends of prisoners both North and South are satisfied of the exaggeration of the report of suffering so rife in both sections? If, however, prisoners are to remain in confinement, at least us mutually send to their relief and comfort stationary agents whose official duty requires them to devote all their time and labor to their sacred mission.
For the reasons stated I decline the proposed visit of the gentlemen to whom you refer. In doing so I shall be glad to hear from your whether either of the alternatives presented meets with your favor.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Agent of Exchange.
HDQRS. U. S. TROOPS, CITY AND HARBOR OF NEW YORK,
January 24, 1865.
Brigadier General H. E. PAINE, New York:
GENERAL: I have the honor to call your attention to the inclosed copy of an order directed to me.* I respectfully state that I arrived here today from Mobile Bay direct with a cargo of cotton on the U. S. S. transport Atlanta, now lying at Pier Numbers 41, North River, which by my orders I am directed to turn over to Major - General Trimble or Brigadier - General Beall, of the rebel army.
I have been informed at headquarters Department of the East that you have been designated by the United States Government as the officer to transact some portion of the business, and I respectfully request information regarding the time and place I can deliver the cotton to the officer designated. Will you please appoint a time and place for me to see you in person as soon as convenient?
My address is 33 Beekman street.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANK G. NOYES,
Captain and Commissary of Subsistence.
* See Vol. VII, this series, p. 1265.