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[166] Meanwhile, the first reporter had, perhaps, repudiated the rumor the following day. For a time the issue of boxes was suspended, though we are told by General Butler that this arose from the fact that they were addressed by zealous persons in the North to ‘Our Brave Defenders in Richmond,’ or to ‘Our Starving Soldiers in Richmond.’ Colonel Ould, the Confederate agent of exchange, says that persistent misrepresentation of the action of the Confederate authorities caused the withdrawal of the privilege.

During 1863, the number of prisoners had increased so largely that their care began to be a serious matter upon both sides, both because of the expense of feeding them, and on account of the number of guards withdrawn from service. From the south and west, only a few lines of rickety, single-track railway ran toward Richmond, by which supplies of every sort might be brought. The expense of feeding and guarding prisoners by the tens of thousands began to be felt in the North, and it was impossible for the commandants to maintain longer their personal acquaintance with individuals.

The statement that the Confederate prisoner in the North was given the same food and the same clothing as his guard has been often made and has been generally believed. A study of the ‘Official Records’ shows that such was not the case. The Confederate prisoner did not in fact receive the same clothes as his captor, or the same quantity of food, except for a few months at the beginning of the war. It was announced, in 1862, that the regular soldier's ration had been found too large for men living lives of absolute idleness, and therefore on July 7, 1862, the commissary-general of prisoners issued a circular authorizing its reduction at the discretion of the commandants.

The difference between the cost of this reduced ration and the regular soldier's ration was to constitute a prison fund, out of which articles for the comfort and health of the prisoners were to be bought. This prison fund was in some cases very large, and, while used to buy articles of food for the prisoners,

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