War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0220 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill., February 14, 1865.

Bvt. Brigadier General WILLIAM HOFFMAN,

Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to respectfully report that the question is constantly asked by the prisoners of war at this camp, "If we decline to be exchanged and are willing to take and abide by the oath of allegiance to the Government of the United States, what will it avail us? Will we be released from imprisonment, and if so, within what period of time?" Probably if assurances could be officially given that within a reasonably specified time such prisoners would be released, from one-fourth to one-third of the prisoners of war at this camp would publicly decline exchange. Your telegram of this date, from which is quoted, "Arrangements will be made at the proper time for the discharge of those who publicly decline the offer of exchange," is too indefinite to induce any prisoner to refuse exchange, as the question recurs-When will that proper time be? I deem it my duty to report this condition of their minds and respectfully ask definite information for my guidance.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Eighth Regiment Veteran Reserve Corps, Commanding Post.


Decatur, Ala., February 14, 1865.

Brigadier General H. W. WESSELLS, U. S. Army,

Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to forward herewith a copy of a communication received from General Roddey* by flag of truce in relation to the exchange of prisoners, and also giving the organizations composing his command as requested. I would respectfully request that enough prisoners be sent to this point to effect the exchange as requested by General Roddey.+

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

RICHMOND, VA., February 14, 1865.

Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Army:

SIR: I have the honor to report the following amount of supplies for Federal prisoners received and distributed by me since my last report of the 1st instant: On the 6th instant I received from Colonel Robert Ould, Confederate agent of exchange, 2,500 blouses, 2,500 pair of trousers, 2,500 shirts, 1,928 blankets, and 4 private packages. On the 8th instant I shipped the following supplies for the Federal prisoners at Danville, consigned to Colonel G. G. Prey, One hundred and fourth New York Volunteers, viz, 27 private packages, 992 blankets, 500 pair


* See February 8, p. 198.

+ For similar letter to General George H. Thomas, see Series I, Vol. XLIX, Part I, p. 713.