held by them, as I had proposed in December.
Under the instructions by the lieutenant general
I wrote to Mr. Ould
, a letter, which has been published, saying: ‘Do you mean to give up all your action, and revoke all your laws about black men employed as soldiers ’ These questions were therein argued justly, as I think, not diplomatically, but obtrusively and demonstratively, not for the purpose of furthering exchange of prisoners, but for the purpose of preventing and stopping the exchange, and furnishing a ground on which we could fairly stand.
I am now at liberty to state these facts, because they appear in the correspondence on the subject of exchange, now on the public files of Congress, furnished by the War Department upon resolution.
I am not at liberty to state my opinions as to the correctness and propriety of this course of action of the lieutenant general
in relation to exchanges, because, as it is not proper to utter a word of condemnation of any act of my superiors, I may not even applaud where I think them right, lest, not applauding in other instances, such acts as I may mention would imply censure.
I only desire that the responsibility of stopping exchanges of prisoners, be it wise or unwise, should rest upon the lieutenant general
commanding, and not on me. I have carried the weight of so grave a matter for nine months, and now propose, as the facts are laid before Congress and the country, not to carry any longer any more of it than belongs to me.”
It would be a curious study to compare these statements of a Federal general with General Hitchcock
's report of the same matters.
I have not the space to do so here, and must content myself in using General Butler
as my proof that the reason why my aforesaid letter to General Hitchcock
was not answered was not that it was not received or not considered, but that policy prevented it. But, as the same policy would not allow a direct refusal to accede to such terms, my letter, instead of receiving a reply, was met by an “argument offensively put,” from another person, who, doubtless, was much more capable of making it than General Hitchcock
Silence covered Hitchcock
, while General Butler
, in obedience to the orders of the lieutenant general
, fulminated “obtrusively and demonstratively — not for the purpose of furthering exchange of prisoners, but for the purpose of preventing and stopping the exchange.”
Heaven knows that Hitchcock
had virus enough to perform that service “offensively” to the last degree; but the managers seem to have thought, and, doubtless, correctly, he had a lack of other essential qualifications.
There is another noteworthy fact disclosed in this confession of General Butler
It appears that these maligned Confederates delivered eight