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[325]

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:

Confederate States of America, war Department, Richmond, Virginia, October 6th, 1864.
Major John E. Mulford, Assistant Agent of Exchange:
Sir,--As it appears to be more than probable that a large number of prisoners will be held in captivity by both belligerents during the coming winter, the cause of humanity to which, though foes, we all owe a common allegiance, demands that some measure should be adopted for the relief of such as are held by either party. To that end I propose that each government shall have the privilege of forwarding for the use and comfort of such of its prisoners as are held by the other necessary articles of food and clothing. The manner of their distribution, with all proper safeguards, can be agreed upon in the future. A fair reciprocity is only asked. The articles that can be mutually sent can also be made the subject of agreement. I propose that each may send necessary clothing, and blankets, and rations of meat, bread, coffee, sugar, tobacco, pickles and vinegar.

I would suggest that the receipt of the stores, and their distribution amongst the prisoners for whom they are intended, might be authenticated by the certificate of the senior officer at the respective camps or depots.

In order to carry out this arrangement with effectiveness, it would be necessary that we should make purchases outside the limits of the Confederate States, and then ship them to one of your ports. It would be impracticable to send the stores by your flag of truce boats.

Of course the supplies referred to, in this communication, are to be considered as being in addition to such rations as are furnished by the government which has the prisoners in custody. Neither belligerent is to be discharged from the obligation of feeding and clothing the prisoners in its charge.


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