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[96] or could not be ascertained, such Negroes were to be exchanged as other prisoners.

The letter from General Lee to General Grant, stating the Confederate position on this subject, is a masterpiece, whether considered from a legal, historical or statesmanlike point of view. See Series II, Vol. VII, Serial No. 120, p. 101O. General Grant in his reply, seeing that he could not answer the arguments of General Lee, contents himself with saying on this point:—

“I have nothing to do with the discussion of the slavery question; therefore decline answering the arguments adduced to show the right to return to former owners, such Negroes as are captured from our army.” Id., p. 1O18.

But to return to General Butler. He says he soon learned that the Confederates were anxious to exchange the prisoners held by them, and so he proposed to the Secretary of War ‘the plan of so exchanging until we had exhausted all our prisoners held by the Rebels, and as we should then have a surplus of some ten thousand to hold them as hostages for our colored troops, of which the Rebels held only hundreds, and to retaliate on this surplus, such wrongs as the Rebels might perpetrate on our soldiers.’ (See Butler's Book, p. 585.)

At first Judge Ould refused to treat with General Butler at all, but in order to resume the cartel, which he was anxious to do, this position was soon abandoned, and so on the 30th of March, 1864, he, by appointment, conferred with General Butler on the subject of resuming the exchange. As the result of this interview, General Butler wrote the Secretary of War, that with the exception of the question about the exchange of Negroes, ‘all other points of difference were substantially agreed upon, so that the exchange might go on readily and smoothly, man for man and officer for officer of equal rank, and officers for their equivalents in privates, as settled by the cartel.’ (Butler's Book, p. 590.) Judge Ould left General Butler on the 31st of March, with the understanding that Butler would confer with his Government about the points discussed, and then confer further with him.

‘In the meantime the exchanges of sick and wounded and special exchanges were to go on.’

On the first day of April, 1864, General U. S. Grant appeared on the scene, and General Butler says:

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