Correspondence from BENJ. F. BUTLER to Hon. E. M. STANTON
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE JAMES
Near Junction of Varina and New Market Roads,
October 3, 1864 -- 7:45 p.m.
Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
Dispatch relative to the negro troops received. I told you they would do well in my department. My colored troops under General Paine, 2,500 strong, carried intrenchments at the point of the bayonet that in a former movement across the river stopped double their number. It was most gallantly done, with most severe loss. Their praises are in the mouth of every officer in this army. Treated fairly and disciplined, they have fought most heroically. I have received a letter from Captain Smith, of the Navy proposing to Ould as exchange of naval prisoners " independently of our commissioner." There have been many negroes captured from the Navy, who are thus abandoned to their fate. Is it not possible for the Government to have a policy? If Sherman exchanges at Atlanta, if Foster at Charleston, if Canby at New Orleans, and Rosecrans in Missouri, then I do not see why we should not exchange here. Our soldiers will not be too well pleased to hear that sailors can and soldiers cannot be exchanged.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,