States drifting into actual want.
Perhaps, too, some of them thought that the story, real or exaggerated, of the sufferings of the prisoners would “fire the Northern
Be all this as it may, I suppose no one is prepared to challenge the suspension of the cartel as an unwise military expedient in a Federal point of view.
In other aspects of the case it was not quite so clever.
In the early spring of 1864, still desirous of restoring the cartel, even with modifications if they were pressed, I determined to invoke the aid of General B. F. Butler
, having learned that it would not be disagreeable to him to have an interview.
some months before that time had been appointed Federal Agent of Exchange
The Confederate Government very unwisely, as I then thought, and now think, had refused to recognize him as an agent of exchange, or to hold any intercourse with him as such.
About the time of his appointment he sent a detachment of prisoners, requiring, however, a return delivery of a like number of such as were in confinement.
Lest the United States Government might suppose from the refusal of the Confederate
authorities to recognize General Butler
as an agent of exchange, that they did not desire the full restoration of the cartel, I expressed in writing to General Mulford
their readiness to resume and to deliver all prisoners, the excess to be on parole; but refusing any other arrangement, and notifying him that unless this was the distinct understanding, no deliveries would be made.
I delivered at the same time to General Mulford
more prisoners than he brought, notifying him that I accepted his delivery as in earnest that such was the understanding of the Federal Government
I concluded my letter to him by saying, that “in no event can we consent that the general release of prisoners, so distinctly required by the cartel, shall be evaded by partial deliveries.
Accepting the present delivery as a step toward a general exchange on the principles of the cartel, I trust I may be permitted to express the hope that deliveries on the basis above indicated, will be continued until all the troops in confinement on both sides are released.”
The date of this letter was December 27th, 1863.
Some two or three months afterward, I had a reason to believe that General Butler
held views favorable to the restoration of the cartel, though in the interval of these dates very few deliveries were made, and I had no official information that a general release would take place.
But I was confident that General Butler
and I could discuss controverted questions in better temper than General Meredith
, the Federal Agent of Exchange
, and myself had manifested.
Moreover, the information which I had from time to time received as to his interference in behalf