regard to the records, that in the reports of the superintendents of prisons, under the headings of ‘conduct’ almost invariably show ‘good’ and ‘very good.’ Let us contrast these reports of uniform good conduct of Confederates in prison with the severity of the manner in which they were treated by their cruel guards. For men whose behavior was ‘good’ to be treated as they were was simply wanton cruelty without cause. The south had a double duty imposed upon it, in the case of prisoners in their prisons and it also contributed to the comfort of Confederate soldiers in Northern prisons. The Confederate government sent large quantities of cotton to the north to be sold and the proceeds to be applied for the purchase of supplies for the Confederates in prison. Confederate General William N. R. Beall was in a Yankee prison. He was released on parole of honor and was designated for the purpose of receiving and selling the cotton and buying supplies, and distributing them amongst the prisoners at various prisons. Eight hundred and thirty bales of cotton sent to New York, after being properly prepared for market, sold at public auction February 8th, 1865, at an average price of 82 cents per pound, netted $331,789.66, which sum was used for the purpose of buying supplies for our prisoners in Northern prisons. On August 8, 1865, General U. S. Grant sent a telegram to General Butler as follows:
On the subject of exchange, however, I differ with General Hitchcock. It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons not to release them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks to fight our battles. To commence a system of exchange now which liberates all prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South is exterminated. If we hold those already caught they amount to no more than so many dead men. At this particular time, to release all rebel prisoners would insure Sherman's defeat and compromise our safety here.After abundant and indubitable proofs, the responsibility for the suffering of prisoners North and South has been laid upon the authorities of the United States Government, and there let it abide in history.