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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:

My duty requires me respectfully to recommend a change in the officer in the command of the post, Brigadier-General J. H. Winder, and the substitution in his place of some one who unites both energy and good judgment with some feeling of humanity and consideration for the welfare and comfort (so far as it is consistent with their safe-keeping) of the vast number of unfortunates placed under his control; some one who at least will not advocate deliberately and in cold blood the propriety of leaving them in their present condition until their number has been sufficiently reduced by death to make the present arrangement suffice for their accommodation; who will not consider it a matter of self-laudation and boasting that he has never been inside of the stockade, a place the horrors of which it is difficult to describe, and which is a disgrace to civilization, the condition of which he might, by the exercise of a little energy and judgment, even with the limited means at his command, have considerably improved.

D. T. Chandler, Aisistant Adjutant and Inspector-General.

This report was forwarded to the Secretary of War with the following endorsement:

Adjutant and Inspector-General's office, August 18, 1864.
Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War. The condition of the prison at Andersonville is a reproach to us as a nation. The Engineer and Ordnance Departments were applied to, and authorized their issue, and I so telegraphed General Winder. Colonel Chandler's recommendations are coincided in.

By order of General Cooper.

R. H. Chilton, Assistant Adjutant and Inspector-General.


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:

These reports show a condition of things at Andersonville, which calls very loudly for the interposition of the Department, in order that a change may be made.

J. A. Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War.

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?

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. [199] 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:

Letter of Hon. B. G. H. Kean, Chief clerk of the Confederate war Department.

Lynchburg, Va., March 22, 1876.
Rev. J. William Jones, Secretary Southern Historical Society:
My Dear Sir-Yours of the 20th is received this A. M., and I snatch the time from the heart of a busy day to reply immediately, because I feel that there is no more imperious call on a Confederate than to do what he may to hurl back the vile official slanders of the Federal Government at Washington in 1865, when Holt, Conover & Co., with a pack of since convicted perjurers, were doing all in their power to blacken the fame of a people whose presence they have since found and acknowledged to be indispensable to any semblance of purity in their administration of affairs.

In September, 1865, I was required by the then commandant at Charlottesville to report immediately to him. The summons was brought to me in the field, where in my shirt sleeves I was assisting in the farming operations of my father-in-law, Colonel T. J. Randolph, and his eldest son, Major T. J. Randolph. I obeyed, and was sent by the next train to report to General Terry, then in command in Richmond. He informed me that I was wanted, and had long been sought for, to testify before the Commission engaged in trying Wirz, and I was sent to Washington by the next train. I attended promptly, but it was two or three days before I was examined as a witness. When I was, a paper taken from the records of our War Office was shown me — the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Chandler of his inspection of the post at Andersonville. I remembered the paper well. This writer in the Sauk Rapids Sentinel is in error when he says this report was “delivered in person to the Confederate Assistant Secretary of War.” It had been sent through the usual channels, and reaching the hands of Colonel R. H. Chilton, Assistant Inspector-General, in charge of the inspection branch of the Adjutant and Inspector-General's bureau, was brought into the War Office by Colonel Chilton and placed in my hands, with the endorsement quoted by this writer, or something to that effect. Colonel Chilton explained to me that the report disclosed such a state of things at Andersonville, that he had brought it to me, in order that it might receive prompt attention, [200] instead of sending it through the usual routine channel. I read it immediately, and was shocked at its contents. I do not remember the passage quoted by this writer, but I do remember that it showed that the 32,000 men herded in the stockade at Andersonville were dying of scurvy and other diseases engendered by their crowded condition and insufficient supplies of medicines, suitable food, and medical attendance, at the rate of ten per cent., or about 3,000 a month. Shocked at such a waste of human life, produced by the fraudulent refusal to observe the cartel for exchange of prisoners, whom we had neither the force to guard in a large enclosure, nor proper food for when sick, nor medicines, save such as we could smuggle into our ports or manufacture from the plants of Southern growth, I took the report to Judge Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War, and told him of the horrors it disclosed. He read it, and made on it an endorsement substantially the same quoted, and carried it to Mr. Seddon, then Secretary of War. My office was between that of the Assistant Secretary and the Secretary, and the latter passed through mine with the paper in his hand. I testified to these facts before the Wirz Commission, and also to this further. As well as I remember it was early in August that these endorsements were made. In October, Colonel Chandler, who was, I think, a Mississippian, and with whom I had no previous acquaintance, presented himself in my office, and stated to me that he had been officially informed that General Winder, on being called on in August for a response to the parts of his report which reflected on or blamed him (Winder), had responded by making an issue of veracity with him (Chandler); that he (C.) had promptly demanded a court of inquiry, but that none had been ever ordered. He expressed himself as very unwilling to lie under such an imputation, and urgently desirous to have the subject investigated. His appearance and manner were very good-those of a gentleman and a man of honor; and, in sympathy with his feelings (though I told him that it was extremely improbable that officers of suitable rank could be spared from the service to conduct such an investigation at that time), I told him I would call the attention of the Secretary to the matter. Accordingly I got the report, and placing around it a slip of paper in the usual official manner, I endorsed to this effect: “Lieutenant-Colonel Chandler is here in person, urging that a court of inquiry be named to investigate the issues between him and General Winder touching this report. He seems to feel his position painfully” --addressed to the Secretary of War. Mr. Seddon told me afterwards that in the then state of things it was impossible to spare officers of suitable rank — so many were prisoners that the supply in the field was insufficient, or to that effect — and Colonel Chandler was so informed, either by me in person or by letter. This endorsement of mine, dated in October, 1864, was the thing which connected me with the report, and caused me to be summoned to Washington to trace it into the hands of the Secretary of War. The effort was assiduously made by Colonel [201] L. R. Chipman, the Judge-Advocate of the Wirz Commission, to show by me that this report was seen by President Davis, but that effort failed, because I knew nothing on that subject. This was substantially all that I knew of my own knowledge, and so was competent to prove as a witness, in respect to the report. But very much more came to my knowledge as hearsay, not competent legally, yet as credible as what I knew directly.

My observations, during the several days I was in attendance and watching the proceedings of the Commission, convinced me — whether rightly or wrongly subsequent events have in some degree developed — that the destruction of Wirz was a very subordinate object of his so-called trial; that the main objects were to blacken the character of the Southern Government, and, as I thought, to compass the death of Mr. Davis and Mr. Seddon, who were not technically on trial, but were alleged to have “conspired” with Wirz and others to kill and murder the Federal prisoners, &c. One was immured in irons in a casemate of Fortress Monroe, the other was in a casemate in Fort Pulaski. Believing that their lives were in danger, I sought Mr. L. Q. Washington, who was then in Washington, and communicated to him the apprehensions I felt, and urged him to communicate them to Mr. Seddon's friends, with whom I knew him to be intimate. I learned that he did so; and Mrs. Seddon sent Captain Phillip Welford, a gentleman of great intelligence, to Washington to see what was best to be done to protect her helpless husband, who was being prosecuted while a prisoner six hundred miles away. The result of Captain Welford's investigations and conferences with friends in Washington, was that it was not deemed judicious for Mr. Seddon to be represented directly by counsel, but that he should place his materials of defence and explanation touching the Chandler report in the hands of Wirz's counsel; and this was done. The Government had gone into all this matter, and the response, therefore, on every principle of fair dealing or of law, was legitimate in that cause. Colonel Robert Ould and General J. E. Mulford, therefore, were summoned to show what the action of the Confederate Government on Colonel Chandler's report was. Judge Ould attended, and General Mulford was prepared to do so and to corroborate him. Judge Ould, as Mr. Welford informed me, unless my memory is at fault, was prepared to state that as soon as Colonel Chandler's report was presented to Mr. Seddon, the latter sent for him and showed the terrible mortality prevailing at Andersonville, instructed him to go down James river at once with his flag-of-truce boat, see General Mulford, inform him of the state of things there; that its causes, by reason of the blockade, were beyond our resources to prevent; but that we were unwilling that the breach of the cartel should entail such suffering; and to propose that the Federals might send as many medical officers to Andersonville and other prisons as they pleased, with such supplies, and funds, medicine, clothing, and whatever else would conduce to health and comfort, with power to organize their own [202] methods of distribution, and without other restriction than a personal parole of honor not to convey information prejudicial to us, on condition that we, too, should be allowed to relieve the sufferings of our men in Northern prisons by sending medical officers with like powers, who should take cotton (the only exchange we possessed) to buy supplies necessary for our people; that this was immediately communicated early in August, 1864, to General Mulford, who was informed of the state of things at Andersonville; that he communicated this proposition to his immediate superiors, and had no answer for some two or three weeks, and when the answer came it was a simple refusal; that General Mulford promptly communicated this to Judge Ould, and he to Mr. Seddon; that immediately thereon Mr. Seddon directed Colonel Ould to return down the river (James), see General Mulford and say that in three days from the time we were notified that transportation would be at Savannah to receive them, the Federals should have deliverd them ten thousand of the sick from Andersonville, whether we were allowed any equivalent in exchange for them or not, as a mere measure of humanity; that this was promptly done; and General Mulford, as I was informed, would have stated that, so impressed was he with the enormous suffering, which it was the desire of our Government to spare, that not content with an official letter through the usual channels, he went in person to Washington, into the office of Secretary Stanton, told him the whole story, and urged prompt action, but got no reply. Nor was a reply vouchsafed to this offer until the latter part of December, 1864; meanwhile some fifteen thousand men had died. If these be the facts, who is responsible?

My deliberate conviction at the time, and ever since, has been that the authorities at Washington considered thirty thousand men, just in the rear of General Johnston's army in Georgia, drawing their rations from the same stores from which his army had to be fed, would be better used up there than in the Federal ranks, in view of the fact that they could recruit their armies, while we had exhausted our material; that the refusal to exchange prisoners, and the denial of our offers in regard to the sick at Andersonville, was part of the plan of attrition. It will be remembered that the friends of Federal soldiers in prison at the South had become clamorous about the stoppage of exchanges. The Northern press had taken the matter up, and the authorities had been arraigned as responsible. I have never doubted that one collateral object of the Wirz trial was by a perfectly unilateral trial (?), in which the prosecutor had everything his own way to manufacture an answer to these just complaints. And I feel a conviction that the truth will one day be vindicated; that, having reference to relative resources, Federal prisoners were more humanely dealt with in Confederate hands than Confederate prisoners were in Federal hands. It was their interest, on a cold-blooded calculation, to stop exchanges when they did it-and as soon as it was their interest, they did it [203] without scruple or mercy. The responsibility of the lives lost at Andersonville rests, since July, 1864, on General Meredith, Commissary-General of Prisoners, and (chiefly) on Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War. No one of sound head or heart would now hold the Northern people responsible for these things. The blood is on the skirts of their then rulers; and neither Mr. Garfield nor Mr. Blaine can change the record.

I never heard that there was any particular “suffering” at Libby or Belle Isle, and do not believe there was. Crowded prisons are not comfortable places, as our poor fellows found at Fort Delaware, Johnson's Island, &c.

I have at this late day no means of refreshing my memory in regard to the general orders on the subject of prison treatment, but this as a general fact I do know, that Mr. Davis' humanity was considered to be a stronger sentiment with him than public justice, and it was a common remark that no soldier capitally convicted was ever executed, if the President reviewed the record of his conviction. He was always slow to adopt the policy of retaliation for the barbarities inflicted by local commanders on the other side. The controversy between General Winder and Colonel Chandler was never brought to an investigation, for the reasons mentioned above. What the result of that investigation would have been no one can now tell; but I will say in reference to this true old patriot and soldier — a genial man, whose zeal was sometimes ahead of his discretion — that if he was, at Andersonville, the fiend pretended by the “Bloody shirt” shriekers, he had in his old age changed his nature very suddenly. I never saw any reason to consider Colonel Chandler's report wilfully injurious to General Winder, and supposed that it was the result of those misunderstandings which not unfrequently spring up between an inspecting officer and a post commander, when the former begins to find fault.

I have written hastily. In minor details, the lapse of twelve years may render my memory inaccurate, but of the general accuracy of the narrative I have given, as lying in my own knowledge or reported to me by those whose names I have mentioned, I vouch without hesitation.

Respectfully, yours truly,

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 [204] 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 [205] 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:

Sabot Hill, December 29, 1875.
Mr. W. S. Winder, Baltimore:
Dear Sir — Your letter reached me some two weeks since, and I have been prevented by serious indisposition from giving it an early reply.

I take pleasure in rendering my emphatic testimony to relieve the character and reputation of your father, the late General John H. Winder, from the unjust aspersions that have been cast upon them in connection with the treatment of the Federal prisoners under his charge during our late civil war.

I had, privately and officially, the fullest opportunity of knowing his character, and judging his disposition and conduct towards the Federal prisoners; for those in Richmond, where he was almost daily in official communication with me, often in respect to them, had been some time under his command before, in large measure from the care and kindness he was believed to have shown to them, he was sent South to have the supervision and control of the large number there being aggregated.

His manner and mode of speech were perhaps naturally somewhat abrupt and sharp, and his military bearing may have added more of sternness and imperiousness; but these were mere superficial traits, perhaps, as I sometimes thought, assumed in a manner to disguise the real gentleness and kindness of his nature.

I thought him marked by real humanity towards the weak and helpless — such as women and children, for instance — by that spirit [206] of protection and defence which distinguished the really gallant soldier.

To me he always expressed sympathy, and manifested a strong desire to provide for the wants and comforts of the prisoners under his charge. Very frequently, from the urgency of his claims in behalf of the prisoners while in Richmond, controversies would arise between him and the Commissary-General, which were submitted to me by them in person for my decision, and I was struck by his earnestness and zeal in claiming the fullest supplies the law of the Confederacy allowed or gave color of claim to. This law required prisoners to have the allowance provided for our own soldiers in the field, and constituted the guide to the settlement of such questions. Strict injunctions were invariably given from the Department for the observance of this law, both then and afterwards, in the South, and no departure was to be tolerated from it except under the direst straits of self-defence. Your father was ever resolved, as far as his authority allowed, to act upon and enforce the rule in behalf of the prisoners.

When sent South I know he was most solicitous in regard to all arrangements for salubrity and convenience of location for the military prisons, and for all means that could facilitate the supplies and comforts of the prisoners, and promote their health and preservation. That afterwards great sufferings were endured by the prisoners in the South was among the saddest necessities of the war; but they were due, in a large measure, to the cessation of exchange, which forced the crowding of numbers, never contemplated, in the limited prison bounds which could be considered safe in the South, to the increasing danger of attack on such places, which made Southern authorities and commanders hostile to the establishment of additional prisons in convenient localities, and to the daily increasing straits and deficiencies of supplies of the Confederate Government, and not to the want of sympathy or humanity on the part of your father, or his most earnest efforts to obviate and relieve the inevitable evils that oppressed the unfortunate prisoners. I know their sad case, and his impotency to remedy it caused him keen anguish and distress.

Amid the passions and outraged feelings yet surviving our terrible struggle, it may be hard still to have justice awarded to the true merits and noble qualities of your father, but in future and happier times I doubt not all mists of error obscuring his name and fame will be swept away under the light of impartial investigation, and he will be honored and revered, as he ought to be, among the most faithful patriots and gallant soldiers of the Southern Confederacy.

Very truly yours,


Montreal, 20th June, 1867.
My Dear Sir--* * * I have never doubted that all had been done for the comfort and preservation of the prisoners at Andersonville [207] that the circumstances rendered possible. General Winder I had known from my first entrance into the United States army as a gallant soldier and an honorable gentleman. Cruelty to those in his power, defenceless and sick men, was inconsistent with the character of either a soldier or a gentleman. I was always, therefore, confident that the charge was unjustly imputed. * * * The efforts made to exchange the prisoners may be found in the published reports of our Commissioner of Exchanges, and they were referred to in several of my messages to the Confederate Congress. They show the anxiety felt on our part to relieve the captives on both sides of the sufferings incident to imprisonment, and how that humane purpose was obstructed by the enemy in disregard of the cartel which had been agreed upon. * * * *

I am, very respectfully and truly, yours,

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” :


Alexandria, Va., July 9, 1871.
Dear Sir--* * * I can, however, with perfect truth declare as my conviction that General Winder, who had the control of the Northern prisoners, was an honest, upright and humane gentleman, and as such I had known him for many years. He had the reputation in the Confederacy of treating the prisoners confided to his general supervision with great kindness and consideration, and fully possessed the confidence of the Government, which would not have been the case had he adopted a different course of action toward them; and this was exemplified by his assignment to Andersonville by the special direction of the President. Both the President and Secretary of War always manifested great anxiety that the prisoners should be kindly treated and amply provided with food to the extent of our means, and they both used their best means and exertions to these ends.

Yours truly,

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: [208]

Alexandria, April 3, 1868.
My Dear Captain — Yours of the 2d has been received, and in reply I beg leave to say that I have no copies of the letters and orders referred to, but I have an entry in my journal of the date of the 9th of January, 1865, whilst headquarters were at Montgomery, Alabama. The entry is substantially as follows: “In pursuance of orders, I addressed a letter to General Winder, requesting him to turn over thirty Federal prisoners to Major Hottle, quartermaster, for the purpose of taking out sub-terra shells and torpedoes from the cuts in the West Point and Atlanta railroad. Shortly afterwards I received from General Winder a reply, stating that he could not comply with the request, as it would not only violate the orders of the War Department, but would be in contravention of the laws and usages of war.”

I have no objection to your using this information on such occasions and terms as you may deem proper for the vindication of your father, but I would suggest this consideration: that a public use in the present heated and embittered condition of political affairs would result in no practical use, and might possibly create unnecessary prejudice against those now living and to Southern interests.

Very truly yours,

New Orleans, February 15, 1876.
My Dear Sir — I regret to find from your letter of inquiry, that General Sherman seeks to extenuate one of those violations of the rules of civilized warfare, which characterized his campaign through Georgia and South Carolina, by the easily refuted slander upon the Confederate army to which you call my attention, namely: That in his employment of Confederate prisoners during that campaign to search and dig up torpedoes, he acted “only in retaliation” for the like employment of Federal prisoners by Confederate commanders — an assertion reckless even for General Sherman, whose heedlessness of what he writes and speaks was notorious before the appearance of his “Memoirs.”

I myself can recall no occasion when Federal prisoners were or could have been employed, as alleged by that General, even had it been legitimate, and not a shocking inhumanity, to do so; that is to say, I do not believe General Sherman can specify, with date, any place that came into possession of the Confederates during the war, where torpedoes were planted, which they had to remove either by resort to the use of Federal prisoners or any other means. There certainly was never such a place or occasion in the departments which I commanded.

I recollect distinctly, however, learning immediately after the fall of Savannah, that General Sherman himself had put Confederate prisoners to this extraordinary use in his approach to that city, as also at the capture of Fort McAllister, and I thereupon made, [209] through my Chief of Staff, Colonel G. W. Brent, a requisition on our Commissary of Prisoners of War, General Winder, for a detachment of Federal prisoners, to be employed in retaliation, should the occasion occur. I further recollect that your brother answered that, under his instructions from the Confederate War Department, he could not comply; also that, in his belief, prisoners could not right-fully be so employed.

That General Sherman, as I had heard at the time, did so employ his prisoners, stands of record at page 194, vol. 2, of his Memoirs: “On the 8th (December, 1864), as I rode along, I found the column turned out of the main road, marching through the fields. Close by, on the corner of a fence, was a group of men standing around a handsome young officer, whose foot had been blown to pieces by a torpedo planted in the road. * * * * He told me that he was riding along with the rest of his brigade staff of the Seventeenth Corps, when a torpedo, trodden on by his horse, had exploded, killing the horse and literally blowing off all the flesh from one of his legs. I saw the terrible wound and made full inquiry into the facts. There had been no resistance at that point; nothing to give warning of the danger; the Rebels had planted eight inch shells in the road with friction matches to explode them by being trodden on. This was no war, but murder, and it made me very angry. I immediately ordered a lot of Rebel prisoners to be brought from the provost guard with picks and shovels, and made them march in close order along the road, so as to explode or discover and dig them up. They begged hard, but I reiterated the order, and could hardly help laughing at their stepping so gingerly along the road where it was supposed sunken torpedoes might explode at eack step, but they found no other till near Fort McAllister.”

Here we have his own confession that he pushed a mass of unarmed men, prisoners of war, ahead of his column to explode torpedoes, which he apprehended were planted in the approaches to a strongly fortified position, his ability to carry which he greatly doubted, as may be seen from his “Memoirs.” He does not there pretend that he acted “in retaliation” at all, but because, forsooth he was “angry” that one of his officers had been badly wounded by a torpedo which had been planted in his path “without giving warning of danger” ! Surely his own narrative, with its painful levity, gives as bad a hue to the affair as General Sherman's worst enemies could desire. It remains to be said that he omits mention of another instance of this unwarrantable employment of prisoners of war. After General Hazen (on December 13) had handsomely assaulted and carried Fort McAllister, General Sherman, in person, ordered the Confederate engineer officer of the fort, with men of that garrison then prisoners, to remove all the torpedoes in front of the fort which might remain unexploded; gallant soldiers who, under their commander, Major G. W. Anderson, had “only succumbed as each man was individually overpowered.” (General Hazen's [210] official report). Major Anderson, in his report, says: “This hazardous duty (removal of the torpedoes) was performed without injury to any one; but it appearing to me as an unwarrantable and improper treatment of prisoners of war, I have thought it right to refer to it in this report.” General Sherman might with equal right have pushed a body of prisoners in front of an assaulting column to serve as a gabion-roller.

His manner of relating the incidents, which I have quoted in his own words, is calculated to give the impression that the use of the torpedoes is something so abhorrent in regular warfare that he could subject his unarmed prisoners to the hazard of exploding them and deserve credit for the act! A strange obliquity in the general-in-chief of an army which has, at the present moment, a special torpedo corps attached to it as an important defensive resource to fortified places; in one who, moreover, was carefully taught at West Point how to plant the equivalent of torpedoes as known to engineers of that date--i. e., “crows'-feet,” “trous-de-loups,” “fougasses,” “mines,” etc.

For my part, from the day of the capitulation of Fort Sumter, in 1861, when, in order to save a brave soldier and his command from all unnecessary humiliation, I allowed Major Anderson the same terms offered him before the attack--i. e., to salute his flag with fifty guns, and to go forth with colors flying and drums beating,. taking off company and private property — down to the close of the war, I always favored and practiced liberal treatment of prisoners. At the same time, however, I always urged the policy of rigid and prompt retaliation, at all cost, for every clear infraction of the set-tled laws of war; for history shows it to be the only effectual method of recalling an enemy from inhuman courses. Washington never hesitated to apply the painful remedy during our Revolutionary war.

I am yours, most truly,

G. T. Beauregard. W. H. Winder, Esq., New York, N. Y.

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:

Richmond, Va., October 5th, 1875.
* * * * * * * *

I will now give the history and contents of the letter which “S.” produces as the sole proof of my premeditated complicity in the murder of Federal prisoners. When Richmond was evacuated in April, 1865, this letter was found among the scattered debris of General Winder's office. The first time I ever saw it published in full was in the Washington Chronicle, a well-known Republican [211] paper, of the date of August 25, 1868. It was then and there made the basis of a savage attack upon me. Of course, everything in the letter which could be damaging to me was set forth. The latter part of it was printed in italics. I will give the letter as it appeared in the Chronicle, and beneath it I will give the version of “S.” I did not retain a copy, but I believe the letter as it appeared in the Chronicle is exactly the one which I did write. Here, then, are the two versions:

The Chronicle version.

Sir — A flag-of-truce boat has arrived with 350 political prisoners, General Barrow and several other prominent men amongst them.

I wish you to send me, at 4 o'clock Wednesday morning, all the military prisoners (except officers) and all the political prisoners you have. If any of the political prisoners have on hand proof enough to convict them of being spies, or of having committed other offences which should subject them to punishment, so state opposite their names. Also, state whether you think, under the circumstances, they should be released.

The arrangement I have made works largely in our favor. We get rid of a set of miserable wretches, and receive some of the best material I ever saw.

Ro. Ould, Agent of Exchange. Brigadier-General Winder.

The version of “S.”

The arrangement I have made works largely in our favor; in getting rid of a miserable set of wretches, and receive in return some of the best material I ever saw. This, of course, is between ourselves.

“S.” gives as the date of my letter, in his first communication, August 1, 1864. In his last communication “S.” admits his mistake, or that of the compositor, and says that the true date is August 1, 1863. It will be seen, according to the copy in the Chronicle, that the letter has no date. It is the veriest pretence for “S.” to shift his date from August 1, 1864, to August 1, 1863. I am confident the letter had no date, and that it was written long before August, 1863. Your readers can draw their own conclusion as to this double attempt to change the face of my letter.

But, dates aside, I ask your attention to the difference of the two versions. “S.” not only cuts off the first part of the letter, which explains the purport of the latter part, but he adds to the original the words, “this of course is between ourselves.” In his last communication he makes great ado about these words, and lo! they now turn out to be a forgery. I do not think they amount to much, nor would they be any cause of shame if I had written them. But “S.” seems to think otherwise, and makes use of a plain forgery [212] to sustain his false charge against me. Could not “S.” have been content with suppressing that portion of my letter which explained its last paragraph, without forging an addition to it? Moreover, the version of “S.” makes me use worse grammar than is my wont. In addition to his attempt to show me to be a felon, does he desire to take from me “the benefit of clergy” ? When this letter of mine appeared in the Washington Chronicle, in 1868, I addressed a communication to the National Intelligencer, which was published in that paper on the 29th August, 1868, explaining the circumstances under which it was written, and showing very clearly that the latter paragraph of it did not relate to soldiers at all. In that communication I stated what I now repeat — that some three hundred and fifty political prisoners had arrived at City Point, and being anxious not to detain the Federal steamer, I wrote to General Winder to send all the political prisoners he had in his charge, as well as soldiers; that it was as to these political prisoners that I wrote the last paragraph in the letter; that it so manifestly appeared from the context; that every word in the paragraph was true, both as to the class received and those sent off; that not one Confederate soldier in service was received at that time; that scarcely any one of the three hundred and fifty had been in prison a month; that all of them had been recently arrested as sympathizers with the Confederate cause; that those sent off were miserable wretches indeed, mostly robbers and incendiaries from Western Virginia, who were Confederates when Confederate armies occupied their country, and Unionists when Federal troops held it, and who in turn preyed upon one side and the other, and so pillaged that portion of the State that it had almost been given over to desolation; that they were men without character or principle, who were ready to take any oath or engage in any work of plunder; that I then reiterated what I had before written — that they were “a set of miserable wretches” ; that the Federal soldiers who had passed through my hands knew well, I hoped, that I would not have applied any such phrase to them; and especially so if the calamities of prison life had prostrated them, and that inasmuch as in my letter I had referred to an arrangement which I had made, I must have referred to the exchange of political prisoners which I had just negotiated, and not to the exchange of military prisoners, which was negotiated by the cartel.

After this full and frank explanation of the letter, nothing more for some seven years was heard of it, until it was revived in a false, forged and garbled form by “S.” a few weeks since.

Before its publication in the Chronicle, it had, however, appeared in the famous Wirz trial — whether in its true or false form, I do not know. In this respect the letter was more fortunate than I was, for I was not permitted to appear. Wirz had summoned me through the proper channel as a witness in his behalf. I went to Washington in obedience to the summons, and was in attendance upon the court martial. While in such attendance my subpoena [213] was revoked by the Judge-Advocate, and I was dismissed. I venture to assert that this was the first case where it ever happened, even in countries more unhappy than our own, that a witness who had been duly summoned for the defence was dismissed by the prosecution.

In my letter to Colonel Wood, the chief complaint that I made against “S.” was that he published only a part of my letter to General Winder and ignored the remainder, which was a full explanation of what he did publish. The matter of dates to which I referred was merely incidental. Now, “S.” in his reply has a good deal to say about the matter of dates, without pretending to excuse himself for garbling the body of the letter. Whether he has any excuse I know not, but I certainly do know that he has offered none. When I charge him with suppressing a material part of my letter, a part which gave full explanation, it will not do for “S.” to ignore such charge; and launch out into explanations,. satisfactory or unsatisfactory, about a mere change of dates.

In his last communication, “S.” seeks to answer what I had declared in my letter to Colonel Wood, to wit: That the Federal authorities were responsible for the suffering of Federal prisoners. I referred to a certain statement of mine published in August, 1868, in the Saint Louis Times and National Intelligencer. I herewith send a copy of that statement, and beg, in the interest of the truth of history, that you will republish it. I ask it, not in the interest of hate, nor to revive sectional controversy, nor to inflame the now subsiding passions of war. Least of all do I desire to put any stigma upon the people of the North, for the sin was that of individuals, and they few in number. I think, if a due investigation were made, it would be found that the number of sinners would not exceed a half dozen. I substantially my statement to prove my case by Federal testimony. The witnesses are alive now, and the proofs at hand, if the archives have not been mutilated or destroyed. The due investigation of such matter, if prosecuted with judicial fairness, instead of increasing any feeling of hate between the North and South, would tend to allay it. It would conclusively show that the sections were not to be blamed; that the people on both sides were not justly amenable to any reproach; that honor, integrity and Christian civilization in the main reigned North and South; that maltreatment of the defenceless and suffering was loathed. alike by Federal and Confederate people; that the story of their participation in or countenance of such wrongs is a shameless libel, and that our civil war, although necessarily harsh and brutal in its general aspect, was illustrated on both sides by high and shining examples of moderation, kindness, good faith, generosity and knightly courtesy. I do not believe that an investigation which would develop these facts would tend to fan into a flame the old passions of the war. So far from that, I believe it would serve to make us respect each other the more. It is true that the national wrath might fall upon a few persons who really are [214] the only ones who are responsible for the frightful miseries of the prisoners of the war; but such a result, even independent of the vindication of the truth, would be far better than that the people of either side should believe that the other, even under the promptings of evil passions, joined in a crusade against the helpless and suffering.

The statement which I ask you to publish contains a reference to only some of the points and some of the proofs which can be brought forward. I seek not to make myself prominent, or to bring myself unduly forward in this matter. I wish the cup could pass from me. But the official position which I. occupied during the war, as well as the fact that the propositions looking to the relief of prisoners went through my hands, seems to require that I should step to the front. When I do; I hope that my conduct may be marked by becoming modesty and firmness.

In my letter to Colonel Wood, I stated that “every one of the many propositions for the relief of Federal prisoners, which I not only made, but pressed upon the Federal authorities, was uniformly disregarded.” The proof of that is found in the statement which I now ask you to publish. “S.” attempts to meet my charge by showing from the evidence given on the Wirz trial, that there was a large amount of stores near Andersonville during the time the Federal prisoners were confined there. I do not know whether this evidence conforms to the truth or not. But, admitting that it does, how does it answer the charge that I proposed to exchange officer for officer and man for man; or the charge that I proposed that the prisoners on each side should be attended by a proper number of their own surgeons, who, under rules to be established, should be permitted to take charge of their health and comfort, with authority, also, to receive and distribute such contributions of money, food, clothing and medicine, as might be forwarded for the relief of prisoners; or the charge that I offered to the United States authorities their sick and wounded, without requiring any equivalent; or the charge that I offered to make purchases of medicines from the United States authorities, to be used exclusively for the relief of Federal prisoners, paying therefor in gold, cotton or tobacco, at double or thrice the price, if required, and giving assurances that the medicines so bought would be used exclusively in the treatment of Federal prisoners, and, indeed, that they might be brought within our lines by Federal surgeons and dispensed by them?

In my letter to Colonel Wood, I stated that I offered the Andersonville prisoners, without requiring equivalents, in August, 1864; that I urged the Federal authorities to send transportation for them quickly, and that I accompanied the offer by an official statement of the monthly mortality, and set forth our utter inability to provide for the prisoners. “S.” endeavors to assail the truth of this statement by showing that there were large supplies at Andersonville at or about that time. Admitting the truth of the figures of “S.” (for as to their correctness I know nothing), how does that [215] fact disprove our utter inability? The mere fact that I offered these prisoners, without requiring equivalents, is very strong proof of itself of our inability. But were sick men to be physicked with “bacon, meal, flour, rice, syrup and whiskey,” which were stored at Americus and elsewhere in Southwestern Georgia? I offered to send off the sick and wounded wherever they might be, at Andersonville and elsewhere. We had no medicines — the blockade was rigid — the Federal authorities had declined to send any medicines, even by the hands of their own surgeons, and therefore it was I said we were utterly unable to provide for the prisoners. It will be observed that my declaration of utter inability to provide for the prisoners follows immediately my statement of the monthly mortality at Andersonville. I referred more to medicine than to food, though I did not intend entirely to exclude the latter. But does not “S.” know that there were others besides the prisoners at Andersonville, who were to be cared for? We had a large army in the field. We had our own hospitals to supply. Our armies everywhere were drawing from Georgia. It was because the stores at Americus, Albany and elsewhere were not sufficient to supply both prisoners and our own soldiers, that I made the propositions to the Federal authorities which I have heretofore mentioned.

“S.” also denies that the mortality at Andersonville was greater after I proposed to deliver the Federal prisoners, without requiring their equivalents, than it was before. It is the truth, however much “S.” may deny it. Of course I speak of the percentage of mortality, and not the aggregate. After August there were fewer prisoners at Andersonville. They were removed to other depots. The mortality rate was greater after August than before. It could have been spared if transportation had been sent when I so requested.

I am sorry to tax your columns with so long a communication, but I could not well do justice to the subject in less space.

Yours, respectfully,

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:

Confederate States of America, war Department, Richmond, Virginia, March 21, 1863.
My Dear Sir — If the exigencies of our army require the use of trains for the transportation of corn, pay no regard to the Yankee prisoners. I would rather they should starve than our own people suffer.

I suppose I can safely put it in writing, “Let them suffer.”

Very truly, your faithful friend,


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: [217] 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 [218] 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 [219] 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 [220] 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:

Baltimore, November 16, 1875.
Major W. T. Walthall:
My Dear Sir — Your letter of the 25th of last month was duly received, and except from sickness should have been replied to long ago. I take pleasure in giving you the facts which you request, but they have already been published several times in the different papers of the country.

A night or two before Wirz's execution, early in the evening, I saw several male individuals (looking like gentlemen) pass into Wirz's cell. I was naturally on the “qui vive” to know the meaning of this unusual visitation, and was hoping and expecting, too, that it might be a reprieve — for even at that time I was not prepared to believe that so foul a judicial murder would be perpetrated — so I stood at my door and directly saw these men pass out again. I think, indeed I am quite certain, there were three of them. Wirz came to his door, which was immediately opposite to mine, and I gave him a look of inquiry which he at once understood. He said: “These men have just offered me my liberty if I will testify against Mr. Davis and criminate him with the charges against the Andersonville prison; I told them that I could not do this, as I neither knew Mr. Davis personally officially, or socially, but that if they expected with the offer of my miserable life to purchase me to treason and treachery to the South, they had undervalued me.” I asked him if he knew who the parties were. He said “no,” and that they had refused to tell him who they were — but assured him that they had full power to do whatever they might promise. This is all, and as you perceive, I did not hear the conversation, but merely report what Wirz said to me — but he also made the same statement to his counsel, Mr. Schade, of Washington city, and he has also, under his own signature, published these facts.

You will better understand the whole matter from the accompanying diagram of our respective jails. The doors opened immediately opposite, and it was such hot weather that they allowed the doors to be open — the corridor being always heavily guarded by sentinels, and a sentinel was always posted directly between these openings — but Wirz and myself were often allowed to converse.

Very truly yours,


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.

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