exchange of prisoners captured in your recent operations around Mobile, for a like number of U. S. prisoners already paroled and delivered by me at Vicksburg, or for their delivery on parole in accordance with the terms of the cartel agreed upon by the Governments of the Confederate and United States.
I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF WEST MISS., OFFICE OF EXCHANGE,
New Orleans, La., April 14, 1865.
Major General E. A. HITCHCOCK, Commissioner of Exchange, &c.:
GENERAL: I have the honor respectfully to call your attention to the inclosed letter,* written by Colonel Dwight and explaining in a general way the affairs of exchange of prisoners. The inclosed letter specifies that we have at present over 1,600 men who are prisoners in Texas, and there constantly exposed to more or less severe treatment on the part of the officers and men forming the guard over the forts, stockades, &c., in which they are confined, and are actually in want of almost all articles of comfort, and very often suffer for the necessities of life or wholesome food. Hundreds have contracted diseases while imprisoned because they were unable to keep their clothing in proper condition, or had but very little or no clothes at all, and many have died in consequence of exposure. To alleviate their sufferings and bring them back again where they could immediately be of service to the Government it is only necessary to carry out the steps agreed upon in the cartel of July 28, 1864, between the United States and the so-called Confederate States. If the prisoners of war belonging to this department would, as agreed upon, be brought here for exchange, such as Generals Marmaduke, Cabell, and their respective commands, it would at once not only enable us to cancel our present indebtedness, but it would enable us also to exchange all our prisoners confined in Trans-Mississippi Department. I have requested Major Szymanski, assistant agent of exchange in Trans-Mississippi Department, to parole and deliver to us part or all of our prisoners in Texas at some not very distant period, and he has promised to refer the request to the respective authorities and to recommend it, providing we would give him some proof or assurance that we would rapidly deliver equivalents for them. And I hereby have the honor to requet that the general will please give the case his attention and cause the prisoners of war belonging to the Trans-Mississippi Department to be brought here for exchange.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. STERLING,
Captain, First U. S. Infty., Com. and Agent for Exchange,
Military Division of West Mississippi.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., April 14, 1865.
Major General N. J. T. DANA, Commanding, Memphis, Tenn.:
GENERAL: The telegram of Captain George A. Williams in reference to the delivery of paroled prisoners at Vicksburg has been referred to this office, and to meet the objection of the rebel agent I have the
*See Dwight to Hitchcock, March 14, p. 396.