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Doc. 62.-exchange of prisoners.

Lieutenant-Colonel Whipple, who was sent to exchange the rebel privateersmen for Colonel Corcoran and other Federal prisoners, made the following report of the conduct of the rebel authorities:

headquarters, Department of Virginia, Fortress Monroe, Va., June 6, 1862.
Major-General John E. Wool, Fortress Monroe, Virginia.
sir: I have the honor to report that I left Hampton Roads about three o'clock A. M., on the morning of the second inst., in charge of the privateersmen, prisoners of war--eighty-five in number — and five men, taken from merchant vessels while attempting to run the blockade, on board the steamer Massachusetts for City Point, Va., where in accordance with your instructions, I was to endeavor to effect the release of our officers held as hostages by the rebels, by delivering their privateersmen within their lines on parole.

I communicated with the enemy about two o'clock P. M., of the second, sending your letter — enclosing a list of the prisoners — to Major-General Huger, to whom I also sent a letter informing him of my presence there with the prisoners, and my readiness to release them upon the condition mentioned in your letter. To this letter, I received a reply from the Headquarters, Department of the Appomattox, at Petersburgh, in which I was informed that at ten o'clock A. M., of the third inst., an officer would be sent to “receive the paroled prisoners, and with such instructions relating to them as the government imposed.”

Accordingly, during the afternoon, Major Ash, aid-de-camp of Major-General Huger, came to receive the prisoners, in case I saw fit to turn them over to him, or to await the reply of the “government,” which would be delivered to me at ten o'clock A. M., the next day, June fourth. I acknowledged the receipt of this, and added that my instructions would not permit me to act unless the exchange was simultaneous.

About five o'clock P. M., June fourth, I received a letter stating that there was some misunderstanding as to the extent of General Huger's promise in his letter of May third, which could only be settled by conference, and time must be allowed for that.

I replied to this by inquiring whether they would confer with me on this business, or with whom and when. I waited for a reply to this until five o'clock of the fifth, having, at three o'clock, gone ashore, and left a letter with a [185] picket, to be forwarded to Petersburgh, informing General Huger that, having already waited twenty-four hours for a reply to my communication, I would return to Fortress Monroe, and that any communication on the subject of the exchange would be forwarded by the navy. I then returned to this place, reaching here about eight o'clock A. M., to-day. Owing to the fog the boat could not run last night.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,


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