I closed my letter to him in these words: “If captivity, privation and misery are to be the fate of officers on both sides hereafter, let God judge between us. I have struggled in this matter as if it had been a matter of life and death to me. I am heartsick at the termination; but I have no self-reproaches.”
The inevitable effect of the new rule insisted upon by the Federal
agent, besides ignoring the tens of thousands of valid paroles held by the Confederates
, would have been to confine exchanges to the officers and men who were in captivity, leaving the excess in prison.
Even if the Confederates
had not have had any paroles to offer as equivalents for deliveries, it was the duty of the adverse party, under the cartel, to make the deliveries and wait for equivalents.
But, in addition to this violation, the course of the Federal
agent in refusing to accept valid paroles as equivalents made a case of aggravation which could not to be tolerated.
So resolute were the Confederate
authorities in this respect that when some of their officers were sent to City Point
to be exchanged only for officers who were in confinement, they refused to receive them on such condition, and they were carried back to Fortress Monroe
I have said that I believe that the course pursued by the Federal
authorities in relation to the paroles held by the Confederates
was the chief and special cause of the suspension of the cartel.
It was not a case for retaliation.
The difficulty could not be obviated or cured even by that violent remedy.
I know there were other hindrances in the way of a full observance of the cartel; but these, singly or altogether, were trivial in comparison.
of Exchange, in his report to Mr. Stanton
, in November, 1865, lays stress on the action of Mr. Davis
and the Confederate Congress in relation to officers in command of negro troops, and cites that as the chief cause of the disruption of the cartel.
But no officer of the Federal
army, during the progress of the war, was ever punished in any way for commanding or leading negro troops, though the Confederates
had in captivity many such.
They were always treated as other Federal officers, and, like them, delivered for exchange or released on parole.
The Confederate law which authorized the delivery of negro soldiers to the authorities of the State
in which they were captured was never enforced, and was, even in those days, considered as legislation in terrorem
. It did not present any practical difficulty, though, doubtless, it would if it had been executed.
and others made very good use of this Confederate legislation in continually thrusting it forward as an excuse for Federal breaches of the cartel.
It was the theme for not a little “high ”