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[94] Mr. Seddon, the Confederate Secretary of War, wrote to General Lee calling his attention to the murder of two citizens, in the Valley of Virginia, by General Hunter's orders, or by his command, suggesting that some course of retaliation should be put in operation to prevent further atrocities of the kind, and asking General Lee ‘what measure of punishment or retaliation should be adopted?’ (Id., p. 464.) To this inquiry General Lee replied as follows:

‘I have on several occasions expressed to the Department my views as to the system of retaliation, and revolting as are the circumstances attending the murder of the citizens above mentioned, I can see nothing to distinguish them from other outrages of a like character that have from time to time been brought to the attention of the Government. As I have said before, if the guilty parties could be taken, either the officer who commands, or the soldier who executes such atrocities, I should not hesitate to advise the infliction of the extreme punishment they deserve, but I cannot think it right or politic, to make the innocent, after they have surrendered as prisoners of war, suffer for the guilty.’ * * *

On this letter, Mr. Davis makes this endorsement: ‘The views of General Lee I regard as just and appropriate.’

Contrast this letter and this endorsement with the treatment accorded by General Sherman to prisoners, as detailed by him on page 194, Vol. 2 of his Memoirs, and you will see the difference between the conduct of a Christian and a savage.

But we must proceed with the subject of the exchange of prisoners: Some time in the summer of 1863, General S. A. Meredith was appointed a Federal Commissioner of Exchange, and in September Judge Ould attempted to open negotiations with him for a resumption of the cartel. To this attempt by letter no reply was received. He renewed these efforts on October 20th, 1863, saying:

“I now propose that all officers and men on both sides be released in conformity with the provisions of the cartel, the excess on one side or the other, to be on parole. Will you accept this? I have no expectation of an answer, but perhaps you may give one. If it does come, I hope it will be soon.” Id., p. 401.

But nothing was accomplished by both of these efforts. Some time in November or December, 1863, General B. F. Butler was appointed the Federal Commissioner of Exchange. It will be remembered that this man had been outlawed by the Confederate

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