The popular heart at the time of his sacrifice thirsted for blood, notwithstanding the oceans that flowed during the war, but when the first frenzy was over the more cautious panderers to the tastes of their countrymen felt that there was danger of shocking the minds of the civilized world, and desisted.
If poor Wirz
was guilty, he was the least guilty of all those charged with the same crime, and was but a mere instrument in the hands of others.
His executioners owed it to themselves and to the cause of truth and justice to bring the others to trial in order to vindicate their action in his case, and failing in this, they must stand before the world as his murderers.
Sufferings there were doubtless at Andersonville
and other prisons, but how could they be avoided?
Our men in the army were suffering, and our women at home were suffering.
Could the men who came down to kill and plunder us expect a better fate than that which befell our own soldiers and people?
Many perhaps died from the want of proper medicines, but thousands upon thousands of our own wounded and sick died from the same cause.
Who deprived us of the means of getting medicines?
When we could not feed, clothe, and provide for these prisoners in such a manner as would satisfy them, whose fault was it that they were not released to be cared for by their own friends?
Who issued the order forbidding their being paroled?
Who put a stop to the exchange?
Was it to be expected that we would turn those men loose to come back again to kill and plunder our people?
Kindred to this is another charge of plundering and disfiguring the dead.
Now as to the question of plundering, I cannot but think that it is more cruel to plunder the living than the dead, especially if the living be helpless women and children.
I presume it is not necessary to state the reasons why I entertain this opinion.
It is to me a little strange that the men who applauded