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Letter concerning exchange of J.R. Burch and Jos. W, Paulin of Virginia. August 18, 1861.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, August 18, 1861.

SIR: Your letter of the 10th instant asking for the exchange of J. R. Burch and Jos. W. Paulin, citizens of Virginia now confined as prisoners of war at Fortress Monroe, has been received. In reply I have the honor to inform you that an exchange of cartels upon the terms usually recognized and practiced in civilized warfare has been already invited by our Government. No reply, however, has yet been received, and until that proposition shall have been accepted it would be manifestly inconsistent with the dignity of this Government to make any further effort in that direction and therefore impossible to effect the exchange proposed. It is needless to assure you, sir, that this Department regrets in common with the whole Confederate Government that the Government of the United States has seen fit to adopt a course so much at variance with the customs of civilized warfare as well as with every dictate of humanity; but such being the case self-respect requires that we should accept the terms which have been [put] upon us by our adversaries and adhere unflinchingly to the policy which is thus rendered necessary.
Very respectfully,

Secretary of War.

SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 2, pg. 1372

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