Robert Ould, chief of the bureau of exchange, was born January 31, 1820, at Georgetown, D.C. After a course of study in Jefferson college, Pennsylvania, he was graduated in letters at Columbia college, Washington, D.C., in 1837, and in law at William and Mary college, in 1842. Subsequently he practiced the profession of law at Washington until 1861. Notable events in his antebellum legal career were his service on the commission under President Pierce for the codification of the District laws, and his appointment to the District attorneyship, in which office one of his first duties was the prosecution of Daniel E. Sickles for the killing of Philip Barton Key. He held the office of District attorney until after the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, when he went with his family to Virginia. In 1861 he was appointed assistant secretary of war of the Confederate States, a post he held during Mr. Benjamin's tenure of that portfolio. Under the cartel of exchange of prisoners of war, arranged by Generals Dix and Hill, in July, 1862, Mr. Ould was appointed agent of exchange on behalf of the Confederacy, and in this position, which he held during the continuance of hostilities, he earned the respect of all parties by his earnest and humane efforts to effect the exchange of brave and suffering prisoners, and his careful attention to all the details of his office. At Appomattox he tendered his parole to General Grant, who declined to treat him as a prisoner, not regarding an officer of exchange as liable to capture, and sent him under safeguard to Richmond. He was subsequently imprisoned by order of Secretary Stanton, indicted for treason and tried by a military commission, which was compelled under the law to acquit him. He then resumed the practice of law at Richmond, Va.
Confederate Military History
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