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[58]

General Sullivan A. Meredith, of Philadelphia, followed Colonel Ludlow as Federal agent of exchange. At my first interview with him I strongly suspected that he had been sent to break off exchanges, instead of furthering them. I was convinced of it afterward. He abounded in all the qualities which would make him useful on just such a service. He was coarse, rude, arrogant, and so unacquainted with the matters committed to his charge, that it was difficult to transact any business with him.

General Hitchcock, whom I never saw during the war, had his headquarters at Washington. He styled himself “Commissioner for the Exchange of prisoners.” What his precise function was I never was able to learn; for while he was Commissioner at Washington, there was always a Federal Agent of Exchange somewhere else. How far the authority of each extended, or how far one was subordinate to the other, or how far one could refuse what the other allowed, or deny what the other said, never clearly appeared. I suppose that both could be put to valuable uses, “each after his kind.” As far as I could gather, Hitchcock seems to have been a sort of Tycoon of exchanges, solemnly sitting in Washington to superintend matters about which he knew little or nothing, if his report is to be believed. He never condescended to write to me, though I did more than once to him, not having any special fear of his august sacredness. One of these letters, which he ought to have answered, and for his failure so to do, he deserves to be impaled upon the wrath of mankind, I will give. Oh! what weltering woe and wretchedness it would have saved.

Richmond, Va., January 24th, 1864.
Major General E. A. Hitchcock, Agent of Exchange:
Sir:--In view of the present difficulties attending the exchange and release of prisoners, I propose that all such, on each side, shall be attended by a proper number of their own surgeons, who, under rules to be established, shall be permitted to take charge of their health and comfort.

I also propose that these surgeons shall act as commissaries, with power to receive and distribute such contributions of money, food, clothing and medicines as may be forwarded for the relief of prisoners. I further propose that these surgeons be selected by their own governments, and that they shall have full liberty at any and all times, through the Agents of Exchange, to make reports not only of their own acts, but of any matters relating to the welfare of the prisoners.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Robert Ould, Agent of Exchange.

It gives me no pleasure to write these things; nor do I seek to bring myself unduly forward in this matter. I wish the cup could pass from me. But the official position I occupied during the war

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