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[34] the number of prisoners in Confederate hands was so large and their political influence so great, that commanders were authorized to make special exchanges, and many were made both in the East and in the West.

This denial of belligerent rights could not be maintained, since the Government was forced to take warlike measures for the suppression of the so-called insurrection, and no real attempt was made to carry this theory to its logical conclusion, except in the case of the first privateers captured. Learning that the Confederacy had issued commissions for privateers to prey upon the commerce of the United States, President Lincoln issued a proclamation on April 19, 1861, declaring that these would be treated as pirates.

An opportunity to enforce the proclamation soon arose. The privateer Savannah, with thirteen men on board, was captured off Charleston Harbor on June 3d. The prisoners were taken to New York and placed in the ‘ Tombs ’ (the city prison), where they remained until turned over to the War Department and transferred to Fort Lafayette, on February 3, 1862. They were brought to trial on the charge of piracy on October 23, 1861, but they had excellent counsel and their case was presented with such skill and vigor that the jury disagreed. Before another trial could be had, it had been decided to treat them as prisoners of war. Undoubtedly this decision was hastened by the attitude of Great Britain, which was decidedly unfriendly to the claim of the United States, but the principal cause was the action of the Confederate Government, to be mentioned hereafter.

The day after the battle of Bull Run (or Manassas), July 22d, the schooner Enchantress, under charge of a prize crew from the privateer Jeff Davis, was captured and the crew was taken to Philadelphia. There, Walter W Smith, prize-master, was tried for piracy in the United States Court, October 22-28th, and was convicted. Soon after the news reached Richmond, the following order was issued:

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