I have been thus particular in these explanations, that the nomenclature herein used may be fully understood.
, on James river
, a place about thirty miles distant by water from Richmond
, and Vicksburg
, were the first places selected for the delivery of the prisoners of both belligerents.
At the former place I met General Lorenzo Thomas
, the first Federal agent of exchange
, in August, 1862.
Not appreciating the magnitude of the work before us, we began to exchange officers by name, one for another.
That method was, however, very soon abandoned for the more expeditious one of exchange by grade, or by equivalent in mass.
Our first duty was to compute the paroles held by each side, and to declare exchanges so far as equivalents could be furnished.
That computation left quite a balance of paroles in Confederate hands — that is, after all the Confederates
, who had been captured and paroled, were declared exchanged, it was found there was an excess of Federal prisoners, for whom the United States
could furnish no equivalents.
Of course that excess continued to remain on parole until, from time to time, equivalents were furnished.
This state of affairs, so far as captures and paroles were concerned, continued until July, 1863, when the disasters at Gettysburg
Yet, during that time, deliveries of Federal prisoners were made as fast as transportation was furnished.
Indeed, more than once the United States
authorities were urged to forward greater facilities for their removal.
the situation became changed, and the excess was thrown on the Federal
From that day began the serious troubles of the exchange question, ending finally in the cessation of all deliveries, except in special cases.
It is true that differences of interpretation of the cartel had existed before that time, and it is also true that there had been mutual complaints and charges of bad faith-such as refusing to deliver officers and men who had been declared exchanged.
I had frequently complained that Confederate officers and men had been detained, sometimes in irons and close confinement under false or frivolous charges; that enlisted men had been treated as guerrillas or bushwhackers, and that recruiting officers, regularly commissioned and in uniform, had been executed as spies; yet exchanges up to that time went on without very serious difficulty.
Complications of these kinds could generally be managed by threatened retaliation.
The practice of the agents of exchange up to May, 1863, had been to recognize paroles taken upon the battle-field, even though the parties thereto were not kept for some time in the possession of the capturing party, or delivered at the points designated in the