to his own Government, a deserter, and desertion from an enemy is always to be encouraged.
Second. The President's proclamation encourages rebel soldiers to leave their ranks and resume their allegiance to the United States. To compel prisoners of war who are willing to abandon the rebel cause and take the oath of allegiance to return to the rebel ranks would not only be violation of the usages of war, but an abandonment of the policy of the President's proclamation.
Third. The enemy has no claim whatever upon us to return such of his men as voluntarily choose to remain with us.
Fourth. No rebel prisoner has during this war been returned to the enemy against his will. To force such to return now would expose them to punishment by their own authorities for having offered to desert their cause.
Fifth. Most of the prisoners who have expressed an unwillingness to be exchanged are from Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana, States now in or about to return to the Union. To force back into the rebel such of their citizens as wish to be loyal would be unjust to these States as well as to the individuals themselves. I think that on a full consideration of this matter General Grant would be disposed to change his recommendation. It is much cheaper to feed an enemy in prison than to fight him in the field.
H. W. HALLECK,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
City Point, February 17, 1865.
The within official copies of papers on the subject of shipping Confederate cotton at Mobile are respectfully furnished for the information of Judge Robert Ould, agent of exchange, C. S. A.*
U. S. GRANT,
FEBRUARY 23, 1865.
Respectfully referred to Honorable Secretary of War through Colonel Bayne.
Agent of Exchange.
FEBRUARY 27, 1865.
Respectfully forwarded to the Secretary of War.
The cotton was promptly provided by N. Harleston Brown. The inclosed letter of General Maury explains any delay in sending it out.
* See Granger to Maury, December 7, 1864, Vol. VII, p. 1200; Maury to Granger, December 12, 1864, I bid., p. 1217; Maury to Commanding Officer U. S. Naval Forces, December 19, 1864, I bid., p. 1247; Maury to Granger, December 22, 1864, I bid., p. 1261; Special Orders, Numbers 61, District of West Florida and South Alabama, December 24, 1864, I bid., p. 1265; Granger to Maury, December 25, 1864, I bid., p. 1271; Jenkins to Maury, December 26, 1864, I bid., p. 1276; Noyes to Montgomery, January 5, 1865, p. 27; Noyes to Montgomery, January 13, 1865, p. 67; Maury to Cooper, January 15, 1865, p. 77; Noyes to Montgomery, January 16, 1865, p. 82; Halleck to Canby, January 16, 1865, p. 79; Granger to Christensen, January 25, 1865, p. 128, ante.