Captain Irving and the “steamer Convoy” --supplies for prisoners.Judge Ould for the following interesting and conclusive paper, in which he not only explodes the statement about the “Steamer Convoy,” quoted in Notes and Queries of our June number, but gives a most valuable vindication of the Confederate  Government on the whole question of supplies for prisoners.] In the Notes and Queries of the June number of the Southern Historical papers, after quoting from the Michigan Post and Tribune a statement “that, in November, 1863, the United States Government sent Captain Irving up the James with the steamer Convoy, laden with clothing and provisions for the Union soldiers at Libby and Bell Isle, and that the steamer Convoy returned still laden as she went, the Rebel scoundrels refusing to allow the goods to be delivered to the sufferers there.” I am asked to tell what I know “about the effort of the steamer Convoy.” In reply, I say that, according to the best of my recollection and belief, this is the first time I ever heard of Captain Irving or the steamer Convoy. It is true that many years have elapsed since the alleged occurrence, but yet, if it ever happened, it would be strange if I did not recollect something about it. Upon reference to my correspondence with the Federal authorities during the war, I find no allusion to Captain Irving or the Convoy, but I do find enough to satisfy any reasonable mind that any such statement, as of the date given, is an utter falsehood. At the risk of being tedious, I will present the action of the Confederate Government on this matter of the contribution of clothing and provisions from the North to Federal prisoners confined in the South. Only one of the letters produced in this communication has been heretofore published, to-wit: that of January 24th, 1864. For a long time previous to November, 1863, food and clothing had been sent by flag of truce boats from the North to City Point, then the headquarters of exchange, and there received and delivered over to the parties to whom they were consigned. Sometimes such food and clothing were directed to individual parties, and sometimes to Federal prisoners generally, or to Federal prisoners confined at some particular prison. These consignments multiplied to such an extent, that, at the instance of the Federal authorities, General Neal Dow, then a prisoner at the Libby, was appointed to take charge of them and distribute them. General Dowe having proved very inefficient in this matter, and having availed himself of his parole to do things which were against the word of honor which he had given, I notified the Federal authorities on the 16th November, 1863, that Colonel A. Von Schrader, Inspector-General of Fourteenth Army Corps, Colonel Cesnola, Fourth New York Cavalry, and Lieutenant-Colonel I. F. Boyd, Quartermaster Twentieth Army Corps, had been appointed as members of the Board to superintend the distribution of supplies, of which there was then a  large supply on hand. These officers were given such a parole as would enable them to discharge the duty with efficiency, with full liberty to report their proceedings to their own government. While this state of affairs was in existence, it was ascertained that false and unjust accusations against the Confederate authorities were industriously circulated at the North in respect to the distribution of these supplies. This at length became such a grievance, that on November 18th, 1863, I addressed the following letter to Brigadier-General S. A. Meredith, then Federal Agent of Exchange, in answer to a letter of General Hitch-cock, forwarded to me:
It was hoped that this protest would have the effect of preventing any further trouble in that direction. But such was not the case. The misrepresentation increased instead of diminishing, until at length the directions which were put upon the packages were insults to the Confederate authorities. In addition, the Confederate authorities were charged at the North with the confiscation of the stores, notwithstanding the fact that the officers named receipted for them and forwarded the receipts to their government. The Confederate authorities were unwilling to allow this state of affairs to continue, and accordingly I wrote on the 11th December, 1863, the following letter to the Federal Agent of Exchange:
No further supplies were sent from the North for some time. But the Confederate Government anxious that some fair, proper and reciprocal plan for the relief of prisoners on both sides should be adopted, directed me to bring the matter to the attention of the Federal authorities, which I did on January 24th, 1864, in the following letter:
To this letter I never received any reply. I brought it several times both verbally and in writing to the attention of the Federal authorities, but without avail. It was perhaps too just and humane to be formally declined, and therefore resort was had to silence. I have always believed that the reciprocity feature of the proposal prevented its acceptance.  Deliveries of food and clothing, except perhaps in the case now and then of individual prisoners, practically ceased after this date, until October, 1864, when, on the 6th day of that month, I varied the form of the proposal of January 24th, hoping that the modification would receive the approval of the Federal authorities, especially as the number of prisoners on both sides had greatly increased, and the Confederate resources had been more than correspondingly diminished. On the 6th of October, 1864, I wrote the following letter:
A copy of this letter was sent on the 7th October to Secretary Stanton. It seems that these letters were forwarded to General Grant, and he communicated with General Lee on October 19th, 1864, who replied with the following letter on the 19th:
From this date, after an interruption of nearly eight months, deliveries of food and clothing to prisoners on both sides were made, continuing until nearly the close of the war. I deem it proper to repeat  that during the period of interruption, the Confederate proposal of January 24th, 1864, was before the Federal authorities, and its acceptance continuously urged. As the last agreement concerning supplies related only to such as were sent by the respective governments, in the interest of humanity I sought to extend the agreement to supplies contributed by individuals, and accordingly on the 25th November, 1864, I addressed the following letter to the Federal Agent of Exchange.
Under the plan thus adopted Government supplies were consigned to officers of the respective parties, those representing the Confederate authorities at the North being Generals Trimble and Beale, and those representing the Federal authorities at the South being General Hays and Colonel Wild. All these officers were granted paroles to enable them more efficiently to discharge their duties. The goods sent were invoiced in duplicate, and one of the invoices signed by the proper  officer and returned to his Government. In this way it was conclusively shown that the goods sent were received. The reports made from time to time by the receiving officers, showed how and when they were distributed. From this narration it very clearly appears that no food or clothing on board the steamer Convoy, or any other steamer, was refused in November, 1863. But the correspondence herein produced not only shows that fact, but fully explains the attitude of the Confederate States on the question of supplies to prisoners, and if it does no other service, will at least show to our people that the charges of inhumanity against the Confederate Government in this respect are entirely unfounded. I am unable to furnish the replies of the Federal authorities to such of the letters as were answered. They are on file, however, at Washington, and will verify what I have stated.