Could a picture have been taken of the men who arrived in Richmond
from the prison-pens during those days, it would not be believed that the men who walked from the boat in Rocketts
in June, 1865, were the proud soldier boys that left here in April, 1861.
Silent, friendless, and sorrowful each one went his way. No welcome, no cheer awaited their return to this city and to their homes.
Oh how few could boast of having homes!
Nothing but ruins everywhere; but the man who was a good soldier generally proved himself to be a good citizen.
The ruins are gone, war and desolation have passed—may it never return.
I close with the following interesting statistics: The report of Mr. Stanton
, as Secretary of War
, on the 19th of July, 1866, contains the following facts: He states that the number of Federals in Confederate prisons was two hundred and seventy thousand, of which twenty-two thousand five hundred and seventy-six died; while the number of Confederate prisoners in Federal prisons is put down as two hundred and twenty thousand, of which number twenty-six thousand four hundred and thirty-six died.
According to these figures the percentage of Federal prisoners who died in Southern prisons was under nine, while that of the Confederates
in Northern prisons was over twelve.
These figures tell their own story.
We of the South
did what we could for the prisoners that fell into our hands.
Our poverty and the destruction of our means of supplies plead our cause of not being able to offer better accommodation to them.
We, the soldiers of the Confederacy
, fared no better; but the Federal Government
—it can only offer expediency as an excuse.