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[185] few who take the pains to ascertain the truth; but in response to the allegations imputed, in the latest news from America to General Hitchcock, that “for the delays in exchanging and the consequent sufferings of the prisoners, the fault rested entirely with the Confederates,” I would recall the following facts:

The first effort to establish a cartel of exchange was made by the Confederates when I was temporarily in charge of the War Office, at Richmond, toward the close of the Provisional Government. General Howell Cobb on our part, and General Wool on the part of the United States, agreed on a cartel which was submitted to their respective governments for approval. In my instructions to General Cobb he was especially directed to propose that, after exhausting exchanges, the party having surplus prisoners in possession should allow them to go home on parole till the other belligerent should succeed in capturing an equivalent number for exchange. When this proposal was made by us, we held a larger number of prisoners than were in the hands of the enemy. It was accepted by General Wool as one of the terms of the cartel, but, unfortunately, some successes of our enemies intervened before ratification by their government. They obtained, in their turn, an excess of prisoners, and at once refused to ratify the cartel. In the ensuing year, when General Randolph was Secretary of War, the Confederates were a second time in posession of an excess of prisoners, and succeeded in negotiating a cartel under which they liberated many thousands of prisoners on parole, without any present equivalent, thus securing in advance the liberation of a like number of their own soldiers that might afterward fall into the enemy's hands. This cartel remained for many months in operation. No check or difficulty occurred as long as we made a majority of captures.

In July, 1863, the fortune of war became very adverse to the Confederacy. The battle of Gettysburg checked the advance of General Lee on the Federal capital, while almost simultaneously the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson gave to our enemies a large preponderance in the number of prisoners. The authorities at Washington immediately issued general orders refusing to receive from General Lee the prisoners held by him, until they should be reduced to possession in Virginia, thus subjecting their own men to the terrible sufferings glanced at by Colonel Fremantle, in order to embarrass General Lee's movements. They further refused to restore to us the excess of prisoners held by them, after having received for nearly or quite a year the benefit of the special provision of the cartel when it operated in their favor; and during the entire war they never once consented to a delivery to us of any prisoners in excess of the number for which we were prepared to return an immediate equivalent.

It requires no sagacity to perceive that every motive of interest as well as of humanity operated to induce us to facilitate the exchange of prisoners and to submit even to unjust and unequal terms in order to recover soldiers whom we could replace from no other source. On the other hand, interest and humanity were at war in

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