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[497] that object. In consequence, however, of the clamors of the Northern people for the restoration of their friends, both houses of Congress united in a request to President Lincoln to take immediate steps for a general exchange. Instead of complying with this request, however, two respectable commissioners were appointed to visit the prisoners we held, relieve their necessities, and provide for their comfort at the expense of the United States. It is impossible to conceive any reason for such conduct, unless it was to exasperate and ‘fire up the Northern heart,’ as it was expressed, and thus cause the people to make greater efforts for our devastation. This action on the part of the government was at a later day known by the expression ‘waving the bloody shirt.’

The commissioners arrived at Norfolk, Virginia, but were not allowed to proceed any further. A readiness on our part to negotiate for a general exchange was manifested, and agreed to by them. This was subsequently approved at Washington. Shortly afterward, on February 14, 1862, an arrangement was made between General Howell Cobb on our part and General Wool, the commander at Fortress Monroe, by the terms of which the prisoners of war in the hands of each government were to be exchanged man for man, the officers being assimilated as to rank; our privateersmen were to be exchanged on the footing of prisoners of war; any surplus remaining on either side was to be released; during the continuance of hostilities prisoners taken on either side should be paroled. The exchange proceeded, and about three hundred in excess had been delivered when it was discovered that not one of our privateersmen had been released, and that our men taken prisoners at Fort Donelson, instead of being paroled, had been sent into the interior. Some of the hostages we held for our privateersmen had gone forward, but the remainder were retained. Being informed of this state of affairs, I recommended to Congress that all of our men who had been paroled by the United States government should be released from the obligations of their parole so as to bear arms in our defense, in consequence of this breach of good faith on the part of that government. It was subsequently said, on behalf of the United States government, that the detention of our privateersmen had been intended to be only temporary, to make it certain that the hostages were coming forward.

It is further stated that the only unadjusted point between Generals Cobb and Wool was that the latter was unwilling that each party should agree to pay the expenses of transporting their prisoners to the frontier, and this he promised to refer to his government. At a second interview, on March 1, 1862, General Wool informed General Cobb

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