ALS, DNA WR RG 107, Presidential Telegrams, I, 367-68. On March 8, Grant had telegraphed Stanton: ``I understand that rebel prisoners in the North are allowed to take the oath of allegiance and go free. I think this is wrong. No one should be liberated on taking the oath . . . who has been captured while bearing arms against us, except where persons of known loyalty vouch for them. Men who desire to take the oath are the best men to exchange. They can afterward come into our lines if they do not wish to fight.'' (OR, I, XLVI, II, 887).
At 5 P.M. on March 9, he replied to Lincoln's telegram: ``Your dispatch of this morning shows that prisoners of war are being discharged only in accordance with the rule I proposed. I questioned the officers from Camp Morton & Rock Island who arrived here yesterday in charge of prisoners for exchange and they told me that great numbers were being discharged on taking the oath of allegiance. They thought all who desired to do so are permitted to obtain their liberty in this way. I supposed this was in pursuance of a general policy which you knew nothing about and I wanted it changed so that none would be allowed to take the oath . . . except by special permission'' (DLC-RTL).