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[182] a little slip of paper bearing the single word “Death.” It is the ballot he drew, when a prisoner of war in a jail at Richmond, when he and two others were chosen by lot to be hanged, in retaliation for the sentencing to death of certain Confederate officers charged with piracy. The sentence of the pirates was happily commuted, and General Lee and his comrades were subsequently exchanged.

During the war a persistent effort was made to misrepresent our cause, and its defenders, by the use of inappropriate terms. Our privateers were called ‘pirates,’ our cruisers were called ‘privateers,’ and Admiral Semmes, though regularly commissioned, was sometimes called ‘a pirate,’ by Northern officials and writers. I find this word even now, when time and reflection should have corrected the misnomer, is used in the paragraph copied into your paper. I know nothing of the person referred to, but the story of a ballot having been drawn with a premature sentence of death is refuted by the statement of the course pursued by the Confederate Government on the question of retaliation, in the event of the threat to execute some of our privateersmen who had been captured when cruising, with letters of mark, in 1861.

On pages 10, 11, 12, vol. 2, of the ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ the case is fully stated as follows:

Reference has been made to our want of a navy, and the efforts made to supply the deficiency. The usual resort under such circumstances to privateers was, in our case, without the ordinary incentive of gain, as all foreign ports were closed against our prizes, and, our own ports being soon blockaded, our vessels, public or private, had but the alternative of burning or bonding their captures. To those who, nevertheless, desired them, letters of marque were granted by us, and there was soon a small fleet of vessels composed of those which had taken out these letters, and others which had been purchased and fitted out by the Navy Department. They hovered on the coast of the Northern States, capturing and destroying their vessels, and filling the enemy with consternation. The President of the United States had already declared in his proclamation of April 19th, as above stated, that “any person, who, under the pretended authority of the said (Confederate) States, should molest a vessel of the United States, or the persons or cargo on board,” should be held amenable to the laws of the United States for the prevention of piracy. This was another violation of international law, another instance of arrogant disregard for universal opinion. The threat, if meant for intimidation, and to deprive the Confederacy of one of the usual weapons of war,



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