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[323] now in our hands be returned to your lines. This is not accompanied with any proposition to release our prisoners now in your hands: so far from that being the case, he promises “to continue to supply food and clothing as heretofore” to such. General Hitchcock need not have urged you to “lose no time in communicating his letter.” No degree of haste would have secured the assent of the Confederate authorities to a proposition so flagrantly unequal. We are ready to relieve your Government from the burthen of supplying “food and clothing as heretofore” to our people in your hands, and if they are sent to us, yours shall be returned to you, the excess on one side or the other to be on parole. I hope you will urge upon General Hitchcock the acceptance of this proposition “as due to the most solemn consideration in the face of the civilized world.” We are content that the “civilized world” should draw its own conclusions when it contrasts the two offers. I will thank you to forward this communication to General Hitchcock, or inform him that the Confederate authorities decline to accept his proposition.

Respectfully, &c.,

Ro. Ould, Agent of Exchange.

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:

Confederate States of America, December 11th 1863.
Brigadier-General S. A. Meredith, Agent of Exchange:
Sir,--As the assent of the Confederate Government to the transmission by your authorities and people, of food and clothing to the prisoners at Richmond and elsewhere, has been the subject of so much misconstruction and misrepresentation, and has been made the occasion

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