t in writing as soon as possible.
But no answer ever came.
For nearly a year after the war began, although many prisoners were captured and released on parole, on both sides, the Federal authorities refused to enter into any arrangement for the exchange of prisoners, taking the absurd position that they would not treat with rebels in any way which would recognize them as belligerents.
The English government had already recognized us as belligerents as early as May, 1861.
As the Earl of Derby tersely said in the House of Lords:
The Northern States could not claim the rights of belligerents for themselves, and, on the other hand, deal with other parties, not as belligerents, but as rebels.
After awhile the pressure on the Federal authorities by friends of the prisoners was so great that they were induced to agree to a cartel for the exchange of prisoners on the very basis offered by the Confederates in the beginning.
These negotiations were commenced on the 14th of February