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[52]

Chapter 39: General Hood's northward march; Sherman in pursuit; battle of Allatoona

During our stay at Atlanta one very important work was accomplished besides the reviewing of the two armies for what General Sherman called “the next move.” It was the exchange of prisoners. That good work went bravely on, owing to the friendly relations between the detachments that both armies sent to the neutral ground. Between 2,000 and 3,000 poor fellows were saved from spending months in either Northern or Southern prisons. The prison life during our war, particularly at Libby and at Andersonville, was the most afflicting and the hardest for men who suffered it and lived to forget or forgive. It always gratified us beyond measure when we could make early exchanges of our men before they were weakened or disabled by the sufferings to which they were almost uniformly subjected.

It was always a very sore and perplexing thing to all army commanders in the field to deal with the subject of exchanges. If we should accept all the apologies of Mr. Davis, and the other Confederate officials as literally true, viz., that the neighborhood of the worst prisons were greatly impoverished by the operations of the war; that prisoners came in in floods, so that it was difficult to provide for them

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