would be pleased with a change of practice and the adoption of a mutual system of kind treatment of prisoners. With this view i address you this communication.
The principles upon which the armies of the United States conduct this war within the territory of the Confederate States-burning its dwellings, devastating the country, destroying unharvested corps and supplies of every description, with railroads leading to and supplying military prisons-make it difficult if not impracticable for the Confederate Government to treat prisoners of war as it desires to do. Nevertheless, to effect results so important to the health, comfort, and lives of men who may become prisoners of war, I feel it my duty to make the effort, and therefore propose for the adoption of the two belligerent Governments the following stipulations, viz:
First. Each Government stipulates to select healthy localities for its military prisons, to build comfortable barracks with ample prison grounds and hospital accommodations, and to issue to their prisoners the same rations, in kind and quantity (to be agreed upon hereafter by the Commissary-Generals of Prisoners of the two armies), and to provide them with such articles of clothing, blankets, hats, and shoes as may be necessary, corresponding as nearly as practicable with the uniforms with which each soldiers it soldiers in the field.
Second. That the armies, soldiers, and citizens of both Governments shall not molest or in any way interfere with military prisons when established and the Governments notified thereof. It must be obvious that if this is not agreed to, upon the approach of either army threatening the safety of the prisoners they will be removed,a and all the arrangement made for their comfort and health at great expense will be lost, and as a consequence the prisoners must suffer.
Third. That the Confederate Commissary-General of Prisoners be allowed (if necessary) to ship cotton to the markets of the United States, or other foreign markets, to purchase for Federal prisoners in our hands subsistence, clothing, blankets, shoes, hats, hospital and medical stores, in quantities sufficient for Federal prisoners, and to provide in advance, to be kept in prison depots, such supplies for 10,000 prisoners. To give this stipulation practical value, these supplies must railroads leading from the ports of entry to the prisons be broken up, or the running of cars interfered with while engaged in the transportation of such supplies. The Confederate Commissary-General must have authority to appoint an agent in the United States to dispose of the cotton and purchase and ship the supplies. The shipment of cotton to the markets of the United States and the export of the supplies above specified, and their entry into Southern ports, must be free from import and export duties, as they are made for the exclusive benefit of Federal prisoners of war.
Fourth. The Confederate Government stipulates that through its Commissary-General of Prisoners it will apply all the supplies purchased to their wants, and to no other use.
Without adequate preparation for the reception of the large number of prisoners unexpectedly accumulated in the hand of the Confederate Government (owing to the suspension of the exchange of prisoners) it is probable that, with every effort on its part to provide adequately for them, there was suffering. It is equally certain that, without appreciating the embarrassments thus occasioned my Government, yours, by harsh retaliatory measures, has inflicted great suffering upon our men in your hands.