of prisoners confined at Point Lookout
, still more emboldened me. I then believed, and now believe, that Point Lookout
was more humanely governed than any other prison depot from Fort Warren
to Western Missouri
It may perhaps astonish some people when I say that of all the persons having control of matters pertaining to exchanges whom I encountered, he was the fairest and the most truthful.
The distance between him and Hitchcock
in these respects was almost infinite.
I went to Fortress Monroe
on a flag-of-truce steamer, and was received by General Butler
with great courtesy.
I remained there three days, during which we had protracted discussions.
He expressed himself in the general in favor of the cartel, though in a mere military point of view he thought it was a disadvantage to the United States
To some of the provisions of the cartel he expressed very decided objections.
We mutually yielded our opposing views, and at length there remained but one matter upon which we could not agree, and that was negro slaves.
There was no difference between us as to Northern negro soldiers or even the free negro soldier of the South
I agreed that both of these classes should be deemed proper subjects of exchange.
But I contended if Southern soldiers recaptured their former slaves that, under the jus postliminii
, they had the right to hold them in their former state; that under our Constitutions, Confederate and State, slaves were recognized as property, and on recapture followed the rule of all property, and reverted to their former condition.
I held that an edict of emancipation promulgated by a hostile power did not defeat the rights of the owner, when the slave came back into his possession by recapture.
, on the other hand, while admitting that under the Constitution
and laws of the Southern States
, slaves were property while under the dominion of their masters, contended that if they fled from them and sought the protection of the United States
, and were then clothed with freedom, that then if recaptured by their masters, they were taken as freemen, and not as slaves.
Availing myself of his admission that slaves were property under our Constitutions and laws, I asked him whether, if he emancipated Confederate horses and declared that their backs should never again be desecrated by saddle or harness, such an edict would extinguish the former owner's rights on recapture.
He did not answer the question.
Perhaps he did not find it easy.
I wish I had space to give the discussion more at length.
In the course of it, General Butler
let fly a good many expressions which certainly did not lack vigor, if they were objectionable on