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and, and the provisions for the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the personal liberty of the citizen were daily violated, and these sacred rights of man suppressed by military force. But some of these hostile actions require here a more specific consideration. They were the antecedents of oppressive measures which the enemy strove to enforce upon us during the entire war. The third session of the provisional Congress commenced at Richmond on July 20, 1861, and ended on August 31st. At the previous session a resolution had been passed authorizing the President to cause the several executive departments, with the archives thereof, to be removed to Richmond at such time as he might determine prior to July 20th. In my message to the Congress of that date, the cause of removal was stated to be that the aggressive movements of the enemy required prompt, energetic action; that the accumulation of his forces on the Potomac sufficiently demonstrated that his first efforts
e on parole. At the same time we sent a statement of the mortality prevailing among the prisoners at Andersonville. As no answer had been received relative to this proposal, a communication was sent, on August 22, 1864, to Major General E. A. Hitchcock, United States Commissioner of exchange, containing the same proposal which had been before delivered to the assistant commissioner, and a request was made for its acceptance. No answer was received to either of these letters, and on August 31st the assistant commissioner stated that he had no communication on the subject from the United States government, and that he was not authorized to make an answer. This offer, which would have released every soldier of the United States confined in our prisons, was not even noticed. Indeed, the United States government had, at that time, a large excess of prisoners, and the effect of the proposal, if carried out, would have been to release all the prisoners belonging to it, while a lar