my part of it was wholly in obedience to orders from my commanding officer, the lieutenant general
So that it seems that even offers
of exchange from the Confederates
had become disagreeable and annoying, and were met offensively
to put a stop to them.
This statement of General Butler
is substantially repeated by him in his report to the Committee
on the Conduct of the War
, which he concludes by saying, that he was compelled to make the exposition “so
that it might be seen that these lives were spent as a part of the system of attack upon the rebellion, devised by the wisdom of the general-in-chief
of the armies to destroy it by depletion, depending upon our superior numbers to win the victory at last.”
Nor were these the only statements made by General Butler
in relation to these matters.
In his speech at Lowell
on the 28th of January, 1865, after referring to the conference held at Fortress Monroe
between himself and me, he said: “I reported the points of agreement between myself and the rebel agent to the Secretary of War
, and asked for power to adjust the other questions of difference, so as to have the question of enslaving negro soldiers stand alone, to be dealt with by itself; and that the whole power of the United States
should be exerted to do justice to those who had fought the battles of the country, and been captured in its service.
The whole subject was referred by the Secretary of War
to the lieutenant general
commanding, who telegraphed me on the 14th of April, 1864, in substance: ‘ Break off all negotiations on the subject of exchange till further orders.’
And, therefore, all negotiations were broken off, save that a special exchange of sick and wounded on either side went on. On the 20th of April I received another telegram of General Grant
, ordering ‘ not another man to be given to the rebels.’
To that I answered on the same day: ‘Lieutenant General Grant
's instructions shall be implicitly obeyed.
I assume that you do not mean to stop the special exchange of the sick and wounded now going on.’
To this I received a reply in substance: ‘Do not give the rebels a single able-bodied man.’
From that hour, so long as I remained in the department, exchanges of prisoners stopped under that order, because I could not give the rebels any of their able-bodied soldiers in exchange.
By sending the sick and wounded forward, however, some twelve thousand of our suffering soldiers were relieved, being upwards of eight thousand more than we gave the rebels.
In August last, Mr. Ould
, finding negotiations were broken off, and that no exchanges were made, wrote to General Hitchcock
, the Commissioner
, at Washington
, that the rebels were ready to exchange, man for man, all the prisoners ”