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General Lee's orders.

General Lee, in his testimony before the Reconstruction Committee of Congress, says of the treatment of prisoners on the field:

‘The orders always were, that the whole field should be treated alike. Parties were sent out to take the Federal wounded, as well as the Confederates, and the surgeons were told to treat the one as they did the other. These orders given by me were respected on every field.’

And there is nothing in all the records, so far as we can find, which indicates that any Department of the Confederate Government, or any representative of any such Department, failed to carry out these provisions of the law, and these orders, as far as they were able to do so. Of course, there were times when, by reason of insufficient transportation, and insufficient supplies of food and clothing of all kinds, it was simply impossible to get proper supplies and in sufficient quantities to prevent great suffering among the prisoners in Southern prisons. But this was equally true of the Confederate soldiers in the field, and the assertion on page 68 of the before-referred — to publication by the Northern Sanitary Commission, headed by Dr. Valentine Mott, shows its partisanry and worthlessness as history, when it charges the Confederate authorities with ‘deliberately withholding necessary food from their prisoners of war, and furnishing them with what was indigestible and loathsome, when their own army was abundantly supplied with good and wholesome food;’ * * * ‘of depriving their prisoners of their own clothing, and also of withholding the issue of sufficient to keep them warm when the soldiers of their own army were well equipped and well protected from exposure to the wet and cold.’ The world now knows, that at the very time when these false charges were being formulated, the Confederate soldiers in the field were almost naked and starving, and that nearly ninety per cent. of the rest of their equipment had been captured from their enemy in battle.

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S. D. Lee (2)
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