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[86] that they all ought to have been shot on the field instead of being allowed to occupy such luxurious quarters. This assault, according to his own showing, so aroused the ire of the doughty Colonel, that, regardless of consequences, he sprang to his feet, leaped to the pulpit, shook his fist in the preacher's face, and declared his instant determination, if such insult were repeated, to kick the parson down stairs at the risk of his life. Of course he thus announced himself as a slashing fire-eater, to be admired and worshipped as an intrepid hero by the credulous interviewer and some of his readers.

It seemed a pity to spoil a fiction so sensational and narrated ‘with circumstance,’ but a card published in the papers, over my own signature, set the matter right with the good people of Albany, by assuring them that I had never preached in Libby prison on any subject while Colonel Corcoran was there; that I had never spoken to him nor he to me on any subject, and that the whole statement was a vaporing canard woven out of the spider-web stuff of a braggart's flimsy brain. The close of Colonel Corcoran's life, as I have learned, was characteristic. In December 1863, having meanwhile been exchanged and having joined his regiment, while drunk he mounted a spirited horse near Fairfax Courthouse, and spurring and curbing the steed into madness, he was violently thrown from his back and had his neck broken.

The prisoners very naturally, like Sterne's starling, wanted to get out, and occasionally some would escape by digging tunnels, evading guards, bribing sentinels, scaling the roof and other ingenious devices. They were very anxious to fix up a schedule for exchanges, and wrote piteous appeals to officials at Washington and to friends everywhere to induce the Federal Government to consent to a system of exchanges. But to exchange prisoners would be to recognize belligerent rights to the Confederacy, and that the United States Government seemed very unwilling at that time to do. I need not enter into the particulars of that controversy. It has been proven with the clearness of demonstration, that the Confederate authorities were willing and anxious to exchange man for man, officer for officer, at every period during the whole war, and sometimes when a large balance of prisoners was upon their side, to let all go, upon the usual parole not to serve until regularly exchanged. The obstacles to exchanges were uniformly created by the United States authorities. The prisoners of Libby soon came to understand this, and while some dolefully declared themselves willing to suffer if their Government thought best, the multitude muttered curses both loud and deep against the


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