settled policy which has hitherto prevailed on the subject of negro slaves recaptured by our forces.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. H. MAURY,
T. B. Hanly, member of Congress, forwards list of prisoners represented to be confined in cells in the common jail at Helena, Ark.*
MARCH 6, 1865.
Returned to Honorable Secretary of War.
I brought the within cases to the attention of the Federal authorities nearly six months ago, and again after the recent agreement about the release of all prisoners in close confinement or irons. On the 18th of January last I embraced them in the lists which on that day I forwarded as being some of the persons who were so held by the Federal authorities. I know the fact that an order was given by General Grant for their release and delivery, as well as all others in similar situation. Hoffman, the Federal commissary of prisoners, has, I believe, thrown obstacles in the way of the execution of this order without daring openly to attack it. This fact coming to the notice of General Grant, he repeated the order, and Hoffman is now reluctantly obeying it. I have received many of the persons whose names I forwarded and who were sent under the appellation of "thieves and murderers" by Hoffman. I hope and believe these Helena prisoners will soon arrive. The distance is so great that I have much difficulty in getting evidence that they were kept in confinement afte the promulgation of Grant's order. If I can get testimony upon that point I do not think Colonel Hoffman will fare well.
Agent of Exchange.]
CITY POINT, VA., March 7, 1865.
Brigadier General W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners:
The enemy are putting all their returned prisoners into the ranks of the Eastern army without regard to the organization to which they belong. As the men returned to us are unfit for duty, I wans all of the same class in our hands returned befor any well men are sent back.
U. S. GRANT,
WASHINGTON, March 7, 1865.
Brigadier General W. P. RICHARDSON,
Commanding Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio:
I hear that you give transportation to released prisoners. It is not authorized.
Commissary-General of Prisoners.
* Original papers not found.