thousand more sick and wounded prisoners to him than they received.
Is it necessary to go behind this pregnant fact to show any other proof that the Confederates
were ready to agree to any fair system of exchange?
Even upon a plan injurious to them and violative of the terms of the cartel, they delivered an excess of eight thousand prisoners in a comparatively short space of time.
Indeed, the whole operation had become so monstrously wrong that General Butler
, under the instincts of self-preservation, proposed to “stand from under,” and declined to carry the burden any longer.
Before, however, he came to that conclusion, it began to be seriously feared that the Confederates
, in their anxiety to secure exchanges on any terms, would agree to the Federal
demand about the delivery and exchange of their own slaves, and, in apprehension of that result, we have it on the authority of General Butler
himself that he and General Grant
conferred together as to how exchanges were to be prevented in that event.
What result their ingenuity reached we are not informed.
The Confederates never gave an opportunity for disclosure, as they maintained their position on the slave question to the end.
Not having been able to obtain any answer to my letter to General Hitchcock
, I made another move in August, 1864, the actual result of which staggers belief.
Under the instructions of the Confederate
authorities, I offered to the United States
their sick and wounded without requiring any equivalents
. I tendered ten or fifteen thousand of this class, to be delivered at the mouth of the Savannah river
, assuring the Federal
agent that if the number for which he might send transportation could not be readily made up from the sick and wounded at Andersonville
and elsewhere, I would supply the deficiency with well men. Although this offer was made in the summer of 1864, transportation was not sent to the Savannah river
until about the middle or last of November, and then I delivered as many prisoners as could be transported with the means at hand, some thirteen thousand in number, among whom were more than five thousand well men. It has been asserted that no such offer was made in August, 1864, and that the first proposal, looking to anything like a general delivery of the sick and wounded, was first made by the United States
, in October, 1864, and that the delivery at Savannah
was in consequence of this last-mentioned movement.
so asserted on the floor of the House of Representatives, on the 17th of July, 1867, when the question of an inquiry into the treatment of Confederate soldiers in Northern prisons was under discussion.
He is mistaken.
The offer in August was made