The forbidding of the exchange of General Milroy
's officers, was a violation of it; the holding of, and refusing to exchange, Streight
and his officers, was a violation; the sentence of Sawyer
to be hung, was a violation; the declaring of the Vicksburg
prisoners exchanged, was a violation; the refusal to exchange officers commanding negroes, was a violation; the treatment of General White
, and the treatment of General Goff
, were direct infractions, as was the holding of surgeons and chaplains as prisoners of war.
It must be borne in mind that President Davis
issued his orders declaring General Butler
an outlaw, and had refused to exchange General Streight
and his officers, before the United States Government refused to return Confederate prisoners; and even after the first infraction of the cartel, the government at Washington
continued to send Confederate prisoners to Richmond
, until the refusal to exchange Streight
and his officers.
The truth is, the Federal Government
found it impossible to continue the general exchange of prisoners without giving the Confederate Government the power to deal unjustly with many of the Federal
officers who fell into their hands.
Had Jefferson Davis
and his confederates been permitted to keep Streight
and his officers, and turned them over to the Governor
, to have a mock trial in his State courts, on the false charge of negro stealing, and condemned to imprisonment at hard labor in the Alabama
penitentiary; had they been permitted to hang Sawyer
, and commit indignities upon other Federal officers whom they desired to maltreat, they would, of course, have been glad to continue the exchange.
But the demand of the Confederates
just amounted to this: They must hang or keep in close confinement every Federal officer against whom they chose to prefer charges of a violation of the laws of war, and all officers commanding negro troops, while they required the Federal Government
to return to them all prisoners captured.
They acted all the time as if the Federal Government
were bound to a strict obedience to the laws of war, while they were exempt from that obedience, because they were rebels.
They hung spies, and denied the Federal Government
They assumed the right to declare that officers commanding negro troops, and negro troops themselves, were not entitled to the humanities of war. They assumed that the United States
should not be governed by the accepted code of warfare, but by one specially manufactured for them by the Confederate Government.
By this code, if a commander of the Union
army hung a spy, the Confederate Government would hang a Federal