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[116] for exchange, and soon was involved in acrimonious controversy with Colonel Ould.

General Butler, who had been appointed to command at Fortress Monroe, was, at his own suggestion, created a special agent for exchange, and from that time onward made no reports to General Hitchcock, commissioner for exchange, but assumed the title and duties of commissioner. At first, the Confederate authorities refused to treat with General Butler, but finally Secretary Seddon, on April 28, 1864, wrote: ‘It may well excite surprise and indignation that the Government of the United States should select for any position of dignity and command a man so notoriously stigmatized by the common sentiment of enlightened nations. But it is not for us to deny their right to appreciate and select one whom they may not inappropriately, perhaps, deem a fitting type and representative of their power and characteristics.’ After this, Colonel Ould opened negotiations. Previously, General Butler had written many letters to Colonel Ould which the latter answered in detail but addressed his replies to Major Mulford, the assistant agent for exchange. With the natural shrewdness of an astute lawyer, General Butler saw that too many questions were involved for the public to gain a clear idea of the matters in question. Therefore, he was willing to grant to Colonel Ould what the previous commissioners for exchange had refused to do, setting forth in his confidential communication to Secretary Stanton that his great object was to get exchanges started again, and even to exchange a considerable number of prisoners.

The Union authorities held so much larger numbers that they could afford to do this and still retain a number large enough to guard against cruel treatment of negro troops. Butler wrote that it was his object, after exchanges had continued for some time, to bring the matter of negro troops sharply and clearly into view, and to make further exchanges depend absolutely upon the treatment of negro troops as prisoners

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