War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0808 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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and if that succeeded, they would not dare thereafter to refuse to exchange private soldiers. I thought very well of this suggestion and addressed a note to the Secretary of War, communicating it and recommending its trial. The Secretary at once accepted the suggestion and directed General Canby, then on duty in the War Office, to require General Butler to make that trial. But General Butler thought proper to send a mixed boat load of officers and men.

Here, then, was another effort to make exchanges on equal terms. The enemy accepted the prisoners sent over the lines but did not return a like numer. This fact was publicly stated by the newspapers at Richmond and was confirmed by official reports received at the office of General Hoffman, the Commissary-General of Prisoners, after several boat loads had passed. When the purpose of the rebel commissioner became apparent, not to make exchanges man for man but only in proportionate numbers, the fact, with the evidence for it, was submitted to the Secretary of War, and then it was, as stated above, that General Grant was instructed to take the subject under his own supervision, with the result already alluded to.

After General Butler took charge of the duties in connection with the exchange of prisoners I was not officially advised of his proceedings, because he, being of senior rank to myself, made no reports to me; but in August, 1864, there was published in the journals of the day a letter, over the signature of General Butler, of the highest importance in connection with this subject. No official copoy was furnished to me and I have never seen the letter of Judge Ould to which it refers, the authenticity of which, however, is sufficiently vouched in the letter of General Butler, which commences, addressed to Judge Ould, in these words:

SIR: Your note to Major Mulford, assistant agent of exchange, under date of the 10th of August, has bee referred to me. You therein state that Major Mulford has several times proposed to exchange prisoners respectivelyd held by the two belligerents, officer for officer and man for man; and that the offer has also been made by other officials having charge of matters connected with the exchange of prisoners, and that this proposl has been heretofore declined by the Confederate authorities. That you now consent to the above proposition and agree to deliver to you (Major Mulford) the prisoners held in captivity by the Confederate authorities, provided you agree to deliver an equal number of officers and men.

This letter, cited by General Butler, from Colonel Ould shows conclusively by whom the proposition for an equal exchange was originally made. It shows also that it had been repeatedly made by the Government and had been as repeateldy refused by the rebel authorities.

The matter had been placed in General Butler's hands, and he answered Judge Ould's letter, asking some preliminary explanations, which I believe were never made, and the opportunity of a final action upon Judge Ould's letter was thus cut off by himself.

The reasons which induced General Butler's action may no doubt be seen, in part at least, in the letter he addressed to Judge Ould, which was published in the journals of the day. I have never heard that the matter was referred to the Secretary of War, and have never understood that he gave any order in the premises.

We learn from General Butler's letter that Judge Ould did not reach his conclusion in reference to Major Mulford's proposition until a period of eight months had elapsed.

It is impossible to approach the subject of this report without being solemnly impressed by a sense of the horrors inflicted upon the prisoners of war in the South; but in making the report I have left impera-