Report of Colonel D. T. Chandler,which was introduced at the Wirz trial, and upon which the Radical press has been ringing the charges ever since. It has been recently thus put in a malignant reply, in a partisan sheet, to Mr. Davis' letter to Mr. Lyons:
On the 5th day of August, 1864, Colonel Chandler, an officer of the Confederate army, made a report to the Rebel War Department regarding the condition of Andersonville prison. He had made one six months before, but no attention had been paid to it. In his last report he said:A writer in the Sauk Rapids Sentinel adds the statement (which is certainly news in this latitude) that upon this report General Winder was “indignantly removed by the Secretary of War,” and that when he carried the order removing him to the President he not only reinstated him, but “immediately added to his power and opportunities for barbarity, by promoting him to the office of Commissary-General of all of the prisons and prisoners of the Southern Confederacy.” This is, indeed, a terrible arraignment of Mr. Davis, if it were true, but there is really not one word of truth in any statement of that character. Mr. Davis not only never saw Colonel Chandler's report, but absolutely never heard of it until last year. We are fortunate in being able to give a clear statement of the history of Colonel Chandler's report, and to show that so far from being proof of any purposed cruelty to prisoners on the part of the Confederate Government, the circumstances afford the strongest proof of just the reverse. We inclosed the slip from the Sauk Rapids Sentinel to Hon. R. G. H. Kean, who was chief clerk of the Confederate War Department.  We may say (for the benefit of readers in other sections; it is entirely unnecessary in this latitude), that Mr. Kean is now Rector of the University of Virginia, and is an accomplished scholar and a high-toned Christian gentleman, whose lightest word may be implicitly relied upon. Mr. Kean has sent us the following letter, which, though hastily written and not designed for publication, gives so clear a history of this report that we shall take the liberty of publishing it in full:This report was forwarded to the Secretary of War with the following endorsement: Not content with this, Colonel Chandler testifies that he went to the War Office himself, and had an interview with the Assistant Secretary, J. A. Campbell, who then wrote below General Cooper's endorsement the following:Thus was the horrible condition of things at Andersonville brought home to the Secretary of War, one of the confidential advisers of the President, who was daily in consultation with him. If all was being done for the prisoners that could be done, how came such reports to be made? But what was the result? A few days after this report was sent in, Winder, the beast, the cruel, heartless coward — the man of whom the Richmond Examiner said, when he was ordered from that city to Andersonville, “Thank God that Richmond is at last rid of old Winder; God have mercy upon those to whom he has been sent” --this man was promoted by Mr. Davis, and made Commissary-General of all the prisons and prisoners in the Confederacy. We come now to a question which we challenge Mr. Davis to answer. Did he know of, or had his attention been called to, Colonel Chandler's report when he promoted General Winder? Dare he deny having made this latter appointment as a reward to Winder for his faithful services at Andersonville?
Letter of Hon. B. G. H. Kean, Chief clerk of the Confederate war Department.
We have also a
Letter from Secretary Seddon,dated March 27th, 1876, from which we give the following extract:
“Unfortunately, during my imprisonment after the war, nearly all the papers and memoranda I had connected with the administration of the War Department were destroyed, and I have had so little satisfaction in dwelling upon the sad sacrifices and sufferings that attended and resulted from the futile though glorious efforts  of our people in their lost cause, that I have sought rather to allow my memories of events to be dimmed or obliterated, than to brighten or cherish them. I have not a copy of any of my own reports, nor of that of Colonel Chandler, to which you specially refer, and have of that by no means a lively recollection. I do remember however, generally, that it severely reflected on General Winder, and while it induced calls for explanation and defence from General Winder, it at the same time, from its terms, inspired an impression of controversy, and perhaps angry and incautious expressions between them, which warned to caution in receiving them as accurate representations of the facts. The Department was aware of the strict instructions which had been given, both verbally and by written orders, for the selection and preparation of the military prisons, especially that of Andersonville, with special view to the health and comfort of the prisoners, and for their humane treatment and supply on the same footing with our own troops, and could not hastily accept an account of such orders being wantonly disregarded by an old, regularly trained officer, rather noted as a rigid disciplinarian, or of cruel and unofficer-like treatment of prisoners on his part. The authorities, too, knew only too well the grave and growing deficiencies of all supplies, and the sad necessities the war was by its ruthless conduct imposing on all affected by its course. They also knew that unexpected events had forced the assemblage of a far greater number of prisoners than had been anticipated and provided for in the few safer points of confinement, before others had or could be provided for them, and we were daily looking and counting on a large number being removed by the liberal offer of some 10,000 of those suffering from sickness to be returned (without equivalent) to the Federals; and on the completion of new, safe prisons for the accommodation of others. The Department, under such circumstances, could not so hastily receive and act on the representations of this report, or condemn General Winder without investigation and response from him. His reports and explanations were of a very different character, and, as far as I now recollect, deemed exonerating. I cannot recall exactly the time or circumstances of his promotion as General, but certainly no advance was ever accorded under any conviction of inhumanity or undue severity to prisoners by him, much less as a support to him therein, or a reward for such conduct.”Do not these letters show beyond all cavil that so far from there being a deliberate purpose on the part of the Confederate Government to murder Federal prisoners, that a report of their suffering condition met the promptest attention; that General Winder was at once asked to explain the charges made against him, and did give satisfactory explanations; that Colonel Chandler's request for a court of inquiry was only postponed because officers to compose the court could not be spared from the field, and that without  waiting to hear General Winder's explanations, Mr. Seddon sent Judge Ould to tell the Federal Agent of Exchange of the reported suffering of the Federal prisoners, and to urge the acceptance of his humane proposition, that if they would not exchange, or allow their own surgeons to come to their relief, or allow the Confederate Government to buy medicines for them, they would at least send transportation to Savannah and receive their sick without any equivalent. And since the Federal Government turned a deaf ear to all of these appeals, are they not responsible before God and at the bar of history for every death that ensued? If it could be proven beyond all doubt that the officers at Andersonville were the fiends incarnate that Northern hatred pictures them to be, there is not one scintilla of proof that the Government at Richmond ordered, approved or in any way countenanced their “atrocities.” It is not, therefore, necessary for our purpose that we should go into any
Defence of General Winder.And yet, as an act of simple justice to the memory of this officer, we give the following letters:
Special attention is called to the following from the venerable Adjutant-General of the Confederacy, whose endorsement upon the report of Colonel Chandler has been as widely copied (and perverted) as the reported action of Mr. Seddon “indignantly removing General Winder” :
The two following letters need no comment, except to call attention to the fact that General Beauregard's call for the prisoners was avowedly in retaliation for General Sherman's previous course, and that General Winder's refusal to fill the requisition is a most significant refutation of the charge of brutality to prisoners made against him: 
Since the foregoing was written we have seen a letter from Judge Ould, in the Saint Louis Globe-Democrat, which so ably refutes the charge made against him on the faith of a garbled letter of his, and brings out other points so clearly, that we give it entire except the introductory paragraphs:
We will add an explanation of another letter which purports to have been written by Judge Ould during the war, and which has been widely circulated in the Radical papers as proof positive of inexcusable cruelty to prisoners. The popular version of this letter is as follows:
 Judge Ould says that he does not remember ever to have written such a letter, and we have searched his letter-book (in which he was accustomed to have all of his letters copied) in vain for the slightest trace of it. We might simply demand the production of the original letter. But Judge Ould thinks it possible that in one of his many contests with Confederate quartermasters in the interest of Federal prisoners he may have complained that transportation was not promptly furnished the prisoners — that the parties complained of made explanations to the effect that they could not furnish the transportation at the time without seriously interfering with feeding the Confederate army, and that he may have made on the papers some such endorsement, referring to some special set of circumstances. The reference could not be to the general question of feeding the prisoners, for with that Judge Ould had nothing to do; and he defies the production of all of the papers in his department to show that he was ever otherwise than humane to prisoners. We have thus given the other side the full benefit of about all they have been able in eleven years to garble from the Confederate records.
Figures of Secretary Stanton.Yet after all that has been said on this subject, the stubborn fact remains that over three per cent. more Confederates perished in Northern prisons than of Federal prisoners in Southern prisons. The figures to prove this statement have been several times given in this discussion, but they are so significant that we give them again in the form in which they were presented by Honorable B. H. Hill in his masterly reply to Mr. Blaine. Mr. Hill said:
Now, will the gentleman believe testimony from the dead? The Bible says, “The tree is known by its fruits.” And, after all, what is the test of suffering of these prisoners North and South? The test is the result. Now, I call the attention of gentlemen to this fact, that the report of Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of War--you will believe him, will you not?--on the 19th of July, 1866--send to the library and get it — exhibits the fact that of the Federal prisoners in Confederate hands during the war, only 22,576 died, while of the Confederate prisoners in Federal hands 26,436 died. And Surgeon-General Barnes reports in an official report — I suppose you will believe him — that in round numbers the Confederate prisoners in Federal hands amounted to 220,000, while the Federal prisoners in Confederate hands amounted to 270,000. Out of the 270,000 in Confederate hands 22,000 died, while of the 220,000 Confederates in Federal hands over 26,000 died. The ratio is this:  More than twelve per cent. of the Confederates in Federal hands died, and less than nine per cent of the Federals in Confederate hands died. What is the logic of these facts according to the gentleman from Maine? I scorn to charge murder upon the. officials of Northern prisons, as the gentleman has done upon Confederate prison officials. I labor to demonstrate that such miseries are inevitable in prison life, no matter how humane the regulations.An effort has since been made by the Radical press to discredit these figures, and it has been charged that “Jeff. Davis manufactured them for Hill's use.” But with ample time to prepare his rejoinder, and all of the authorities at hand, Mr. Blaine did not dare to deny them. He fully admitted their truth, and only endeavored to weaken their force by the following explanation, of which we give him the full benefit:
Now, in regard to the relative number of prisoners that died in the North and the South respectively, the gentleman undertook to show that a great many more prisoners died in the hands of the Union authorities than in the hands of the Rebels. I have had conversations with surgeons of the army about that, and they say that there were a large number of deaths of Rebel prisoners, but that during the latter period of the war they came into our hands very much exhausted, ill-clad, ill-fed, diseased, so that they died in our prisons of diseases that they brought with them. And one eminent surgeon said, without wishing at all to be quoted in this debate, that the question was not only what was the condition of the prisoners when they came to us, but what it was when they were sent back. Our men were taken in full health and strength;. they came back wasted and worn — mere skeletons. The Rebel prisoners, in large numbers, were, when taken, emaciated. and reduced; and General Grant says that at the time such superhuman efforts were made.for exchange there were 90,000 men that would have re-enforced the Confederate armies the next day, prisoners in our hands who were in good health and ready for fight. This consideration sheds a great deal of light on what the gentleman states.The substance of this extract is that Mr. Blaine does not deny the greater mortality of our prisoners in Northern prisons, but accounts for it on the supposition that our men were so much “exhausted, so ill-clad, ill-fed and diseased,” that they “died of diseases that they brought with them.” Now, if this explanation were true it would contain a fatal stab to Mr. Blaine's whole argument to prove Confederate cruelty to prisoners. If our own soldiers were so ill-clad and ill-fed as to render them exhausted, and so diseased that when taken prisoners they died like sheep, despite the tender nursing and kind, watchful care  which (according to Mr. Blaine). they received at the hands of their captors, how could a Government which had not the means of making better provision for its own soldiers provide any better than we did for the thousands of prisoners which were captured by these emaciated skeletons? And what shall we say of General Grant and his splendid army of two hundred thousand hale, hearty, well equipped men, who, in the campaign of 1864, were beaten on every field by forty thousand of these “emaciated and reduced” creatures, until, after losing over a third of their men, they were compelled to skulk behind their fortifications at Petersburg, and absolutely refused “the open field and fair fight,” which Lee and his “ragamuffins” offered them at every point from the Wilderness to Petersburg? But, of course, the whole thing is absurd. Our men were on half rations, and in rags, it is true; but a healthier, hardier set of fellows never marched or fought, and they died in Northern prisons (as we shall hereafter show) because of inexcusably harsh treatment. These official figures of Mr. Stanton and Surgeon-General Barnes tell the whole story, and nail to the counter the base slander against the Confederate Government.
Failure to make a case against Mr. Davis.But a crowning proof that this charge of cruelty to prisoners is false; may be more clearly brought out than it has been above intimated. In the proceedings against Wirz, Mr. Davis and other Confederate leaders were unquestionably on trial. Every effort that partisan hatred or malignant ingenuity could invent was made to connect Mr. Davis with and make him responsible for the “crimes of Andersonville.” The captured Confederate archives were searched perjured witnesses were summoned, and the ablest lawyers of the reigning party put their wits to work; but the prosecution utterly broke down. They were unable to make out a case upon which Holt and Chipman dared to go into a trial even before a military court, which was wont to listen patiently to all of the evidence for the prosecution, and coolly dismiss the witnesses for the defence. Does not this fact speak volumes to disprove the charge, and to show that no cases can be made out against our Government? But an even stronger point remains. After despairing of convicting Mr. Davis on any testimony which they had or could procure, they tried to bribe poor Wirz to save his own life by  swearing away the life of Mr. Davis, who was then in irons at Fortress Monroe. Mr. Hill thus strongly puts it:
Now, sir, there is another fact. Wirz was put on trial, but really Mr. Davis was the man intended to be tried through him. Over one hundred and sixty witnesses were introduced before the military commission. The trial lasted three months. The whole country was under military despotism; citizens labored under duress; quite a large number of Confederates were seeking to make favor with the powers of the Government. Yet, sir, during those three months, with all the witnesses they could bring to Washington, not one single man ever mentioned the name of Mr. Davis in connection with a single atrocity at Andersonville or elsewhere. The gentleman from Maine, with. all his research into all the histories of the Duke of Alva and the massacre of Saint Bartholomew and the Spanish inquisition, has not been able to frighten up such a witness yet. Now, sir, there is a witness on this subject. Wirz was condemned; found guilty, sentenced to be executed; and I have now before me the written statement of his counsel, a Northern man and a Union man. He gave this statement to the country, and it has never been contradicted. Hear what this gentleman says: “On the night before the execution of the prisoner Wirz, a telegram was sent to the Northern press from this city, stating that Wirz had made important disclosures to General L. C. Baker, the well known detective, implicating Jefferson Davis, and that the confession would probably be given to the public. On the same evening some parties came to the confessor of Wirz, Rev. Father Boyle, and also to me as his counsel, one of them informing me that a high Cabinet officer wished to assure Wirz that if he would implicate Jefferson Davis with atrocities committed at Andersonville, his sentence would be commuted. The messenger requested me to inform Wirz of this. In presence of Father Boyle I told Wirz next morning what had happened.” Hear the reply: “Captain Wirz simply and quietly replied: “Mr. Schade, you know that I have always told you that I do not know anything about Jefferson Davis. He had no connection with me as to what was done at Andersonville. I would not become a traitor against him or anybody else, even to save my life.”” Sir, what Wirz, within two hours of his execution, would not say for his life, the gentleman from Maine says to the country to keep himself and his party in power.The statement of Mr. Schade is confirmed by the following extract from the Cycle, of Mobile, Alabama:
In the brief report of the speech of Mr. Hill in Congress on Monday  last, copied in another place, it will be observed that he refers to a statement made by Captain Wirz to his counsel just before his death. The subjoined letter from Professor R. B. Winder, M. D. now Dean of the Baltimore Dental College, who was a prisoner in a cell near that of Wirz, will give a more detailed account of the same transaction. The letter was written in reply to an inquiry made in the course of investigation in the history of the transactions which have been made the subject of discussion in Congress. Dr. Winder speaks of the statement as having been already several times published. We do not remember to have seen it before. At any rate, it will well bear repetition, and will come in very pertinently, apropos of the recent debate: Have we not made out our case so far as we have gone? But our material is by no means exhausted, and we shall take up the subject again in our next issue. We propose to discuss still further the question of exchange, and then to pass to a consideration of the treatment of Confederate prisoners by the Federal authorities. We ask that any of our friends who have material illustrating any branch of this subject will forward it to us at once. We have a number of diaries of prison life by Confederates who did not find Elmira, Johnson's Island, Fort Delaware, Rock Island, Camp Douglas, Camp Chase, &c., quite so pleasant as Mr. Blaine's rose-colored picture of Northern prisons would make it appear. And we have also strong testimony from Federal soldiers and citizens of the North as to the truth of our version of the prison question. But we would be glad to receive further statements bearing on this. whole question, as we desire to prepare for the future historian the fullest possible material for the vindication of our slandered people. To those who may deprecate the reopening of this question, we would say that we did not reopen it. The South has rested in silence for years under these slanderous charges; and we should have, perhaps, been content to accumulate the material in our archives, and leave our vindication to the “coming man” of the future who shall be able to write a true history of the great struggle for constitutional freedom. But inasmuch as the question has been again thrust upon the country by a Presidential aspirant, and the Radical press is filled with these calumnies against our Government, we feel impelled to give at least an outline of our defence. We will only add that we have not made, and do not mean to make, a single statement which we cannot prove before any fair-minded tribunal, from documents in our possession.