that the interests of the government of the United States required that they should return to prison and remain there. They carried back the sad tidings that their government held out no hope of their release.
We have a letter from the wife of the chairman of that delegation (now dead) in which she says that her husband always said that he was more contemptuously treated by Secretary of War Stanton than he ever was at Andersonville.1Another prisoner, Henry M. Brennan, writes:
I was at Andersonville when the delegation of prisoners spoken of by Jefferson Davis left there to plead our cause with the authorities at Washington; and nobody can tell, unless it be a shipwrecked and famished mariner, who sees a vessel approaching and then passing on without rendering the required aid, what fond hopes were raised, and how hope sickened into despair, waiting for the answer that never came. In my opinion, and that of a good many others, a good part of the responsibility for the horrors of Andersonville rests with General U. S. Grant, who refused to make a fair exchange of prisoners.The following extracts are from the official report of Major General Butler to the Committee on the Conduct of the War, which was appointed by a joint resolution of Congress, during the war:
Mr. Ould left on the 31st of March, 1864, with the understanding that I would get authority and information from my Government, by which all disputed points could be adjusted, and would then confer with him further, either meeting him at City Point or elsewhere for that purpose. In the mean time exchanges of sick and wounded, and special exchanges, should go on. General Grant visited Fortress Monroe on April 1st, being the first time I had ever met him. To him the state of the negotiations as to exchange2 was verbally communicated; and most emphatic directions were received from the Lieutenant-General not to take any step by which another able-bodied man should be exchanged, until further orders from him.General Butler next gives the following from General Mulford, United States assistant agent of exchange, addressed to him:
General: The Confederate authorities will exchange prisoners on the basis heretofore proposed by our Government—that is, man for man. This proposition was proposed formally to me after I saw you.General Butler's report continues as follows:
Accident prevented my meeting the rebel commissioner, so that nothing was done; but after conversation with General Grant, in reply to the proposition of Mr. Ould to exchange all prisoners of war on either side held, man for man, officer for officer, I wrote an argument showing our right to our colored soldiers. This argument set forth our claims in the most offensive form possible,