Treatment and exchange of prisoners.
Official report of the history Committee of the Grand Camp, C. V., Department of Virginia.
By Hon. Geo. L. Christian, Chairman.Read at Wytheville, Va., October 23rd, 1902.
The previous reports of the History Committee have been published in the Papers. They should be separately presented together in a special publication, as a logical defence of the South, in motive and that which ensued. The actuating principle is made clear and fully justified in morality by luminous presentation, which is impregnably honorable to the action of the Southern States and their people and soldiers throughout a momentous and necessitous struggle. A parallel in history, if ever approached in exemplification, cannot in all time, be more convincingly supported by facts in which the Southern people of both sexes offered and sacrificed in the cause of right and humanity.
To the Grand Camp of Confederate veterans of Virginia:Your History Committee again returns its thanks to you, and the public, for the very cordial way in which you have shown your appreciation of its labors, as contained in its last three reports. It may interest you to know, that whilst these reports have been published and scattered broadcast over this land, no attempt has been made to controvert or deny any principles contended for, or fact asserted, in any of them, so far as we have heard. We think we can, therefore, justly claim that these things have been established: 1st. That the South did not go to war to maintain, or to perpetuate, the institution of slavery. 2nd. The right of secession (the real issue of the war), and that this right was first asserted at the North, and as clearly recognized there as at the South. 3rd. That the North, and not the South, was the aggressor in bringing on the war.  4th. That on the part of the South the war was conducted according to the principles of civilized warfare, whilst on the part of the North it was conducted in the most inhuman and barbarous manner. The last of the above named was the subject of our last report, in which we drew a contrast between the way the war was conducted on our part, and the way it was conducted by our quondam enemies, which, we think, was greatly to the credit of the South. The subject of this report, the
‘Treatment and exchange of prisoners,’is really a continuation and further discussion of the contrast begun in that report and a necessary sequel to that discussion. The further treatment of this subject becomes most important too, from the fact that our people know very little about the true state of the case, whilst both during and since the war, the people of the North, with the superior means at their command, have denounced and maligned the South and its leaders as murderers and assassins, and illustrated these charges by the alleged inhuman and barbarous way in which they treated their prisoners during the late war: e. g., the late James G. Blaine, of Maine, said on the floor of the United States Congress in 1876: ‘Mr. Davis was the author, knowingly, deliberately, guiltily and wilfully of the gigantic murder and crime at Andersonville, and I here before God, measuring my words, knowing their full extent and import, declare, that neither the deeds of the Duke of Alva in the Low Countries, nor the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, nor the thumb-screws and engines of torture of the Spanish Inquisition, begin to compare in atrocity with the hideous crimes of Andersonville;’ and he quoted and endorsed a report of a committee of the Federal Congress made during the war, in which they say: ‘No pen can describe, no painter sketch, no imagination comprehend, its fearful and unutterable iniquity. It would seem that the concentrated madness of earth and hell had found its final lodgment in the breasts of those who had inaugurated the rebellion, and controlled the policy of the Confederate Government, and that the prison at Andersonville had been selected for the most terrible human sacrifice which the world had ever seen.’ It is true that the statement made by Mr. Blaine was denied, and its falsity fully shown by both Mr. Davis and Senator Hill, of Georgia; and  the report of the Committee of the Federal Congress, and an equally slanderous and partisan publication entitled Narration of Sufferings in Rebel Military Prisons (with hideous looking skeleton illustrations of alleged victims), issued by the United States Sanitary Commission in 1864, were fully answered by a counter report of a committee of the Confederate Congress. And it is also true that in 1876, the Rev. John Wm. Jones, D. D., who was then editing the Southern Historical Society Papers, made a full and masterly investigation and report on this subject, vindicating the South and its leaders from these aspersions (for which work, as said in our last report, the Southern people owe Dr. Jones a lasting debt of gratitude.) (The letter of Mr. Davis, the report of the Committee of the Confederate Congress, with other valuable material collected by Dr. Jones, are all published in the first volume of the Southern Historical Papers, and also in a separate volume.) But whilst these publications were most satisfactory to us at the time, they, necessarily, did not contain the contemporaneous correspondence in reference to the exchange and treatment of prisoners, contained in the publication known as ‘Rebellion Offiicial Records,’ published by the Federal Government since that time—a correspondence invaluable, as it makes the representatives of the two Governments, at the time, tell, in their own way, the true story of these events. It is from these letters and other contemporaneous orders and papers, that we propose to show which side was responsible for Andersonville, Salisbury, ‘The Libby,’ and ‘Belle Isle,’ in the South, and for Camp Douglas, Gratiot Street, Fort Deleware, Johnson's Island, Elmira, Point Lookout, and other like places in the North. In doing this we do not think it either necessary or proper to revive the tales of horror and misery contained in many of the personal recitals of the captives on either side, such as are collected in the works of Dr. Jones, the ‘Sanitary Commission,’ and others. Many of these are simply heart-sickening and disgusting; and, making allowances for all exaggerations necessarily incident to the surroundings of the writers, there is enough in them to convince any candid reader that there were cruelties and abuses inflicted on helpless prisoners, by petty officers and guards, that should never have been inflicted, and which we hope the higher officers of neither Government would have permitted or tolerated for a moment. But what we are concerned about is, to show by these ‘official records’ that neither Mr. Davis, nor any Department or representative of the Confederate Government, was responsible for the estab-  lishment of these prisons, and the sufferings therein, as heretofore charged by our enemies, and that the Federal Goverment, through Edwin M. Stanton, H. W. Halleck and U. S. Grant as its representative actors, was directly and solely responsible for the establishment of these places, and consequently for all the sufferings and death which occured therein. The reports and correspondence relative to the exchange and treatment of prisoners fill four of the large volumes of the ‘Rebellion Records,’ and whilst we have striven to tell the full story, or rather to omit nothing essential to the truth, it is simply impossible, within the limits of this report, to do more than call attention to some of the most important and salient features of the correspondence, etc., and only to an extent necessary to disclose the real conditions at the several dates referred to. This is all that we have attempted to do, but we have tried to do this faithfully.
The policy of the Confederate Government as shown by acts of Congress, etc.To show the declared purpose and policy of the Confederate Government towards the prisoners of war from the beginning: As early as May 21st, 1861, two months before the first battle of Manassas, the Confederate Congress passed an act providing that— ‘All prisoners of war taken, whether on land or at sea, during the pending hostilities with the United States, shall be transferred by the captors from time to time, and as often as convenient, to the Department of War; and it shall be the duty of the Secretary of War, with the approval of the President, to issue such instructions to the Quartermaster-General, and his subordinates, as shall Provide for the safe custody and sustenance of prisoners of war; and that rations furnished prisoners of war shall be the same in quantity and quality as those furnished to enlisted men in the Army of the Confederacy.’ By an Act of February, 1864, the Quartermaster-General was relieved of this duty, and the Commissary-General of Subsistence was ordered to provide for the sustenance of prisoners of war, and according to General Orders No. 159, Adjutant Inspector General's Office, it was provided that ‘Hospitals for prisoners of war are placed on the same footing as other Confederate States Hospitals in all respects, and will be managed accordingly.’ 
General Lee's orders.General Lee, in his testimony before the Reconstruction Committee of Congress, says of the treatment of prisoners on the field: ‘The orders always were, that the whole field should be treated alike. Parties were sent out to take the Federal wounded, as well as the Confederates, and the surgeons were told to treat the one as they did the other. These orders given by me were respected on every field.’ And there is nothing in all the records, so far as we can find, which indicates that any Department of the Confederate Government, or any representative of any such Department, failed to carry out these provisions of the law, and these orders, as far as they were able to do so. Of course, there were times when, by reason of insufficient transportation, and insufficient supplies of food and clothing of all kinds, it was simply impossible to get proper supplies and in sufficient quantities to prevent great suffering among the prisoners in Southern prisons. But this was equally true of the Confederate soldiers in the field, and the assertion on page 68 of the before-referred — to publication by the Northern Sanitary Commission, headed by Dr. Valentine Mott, shows its partisanry and worthlessness as history, when it charges the Confederate authorities with ‘deliberately withholding necessary food from their prisoners of war, and furnishing them with what was indigestible and loathsome, when their own army was abundantly supplied with good and wholesome food;’ * * * ‘of depriving their prisoners of their own clothing, and also of withholding the issue of sufficient to keep them warm when the soldiers of their own army were well equipped and well protected from exposure to the wet and cold.’ The world now knows, that at the very time when these false charges were being formulated, the Confederate soldiers in the field were almost naked and starving, and that nearly ninety per cent. of the rest of their equipment had been captured from their enemy in battle.
Exchange of prisoners.From the very beginning, the Confederate authorities were anxious to make an arrangement for the exchange of prisoners, and indeed that the war should be conducted in all of its features on the highest and most humane plane known to civilized nations. To that end Mr. Davis wrote Mr. Lincoln on July 6th, 1861, as follows:  ‘It is the desire of this Government so to conduct the war now existing as to mitigate its horrors as far as may be possible; and with this intent, its treatment of the prisoners captured by its forces has been marked by the greatest humanity and leniency consistent with public obligation. Some have been permitted to return home on parole, others to remain at large under similar conditions, within this Confederacy, and all have been furnished with rations for their subsistence, such as are allowed to our own troops.’ This letter was sent to Washington by special messenger (Colonel Taylor); but he was refused an audience with Mr. Lincoln, and was forced to content himself with a verbal reply from General Scott to the effect that the letter had been delivered to Mr. Lincoln, and that he would reply to it in writing as soon as possible. But no answer ever came. For nearly a year after the war began, although many prisoners were captured and released on parole, on both sides, the Federal authorities refused to enter into any arrangement for the exchange of prisoners, taking the absurd position that they would not treat with ‘rebels’ in any way which would recognize them as ‘belligerents.’ The English government had already recognized us as ‘belligerents’ as early as May, 1861. As the Earl of Derby tersely said in the House of Lords: ‘The Northern States could not claim the rights of belligerents for themselves, and, on the other hand, deal with other parties, not as belligerents, but as rebels.’ After awhile the pressure on the Federal authorities by friends of the prisoners was so great that they were induced to agree to a cartel for the exchange of prisoners on the very basis offered by the Confederates in the beginning. These negotiations were commenced on the 14th of February, 1862, General John E. Wool representing the Federal and General Howell Cobb the Confederates, the only unsettled point at that time being that General Wool was unwilling that each party should agree to pay the expense of transporting their prisoners to the frontier; and this he promised to refer to his Government. At a second interview on March 1st, 1862, General Wool informed General Cobb that his Government would not consent to pay these expenses, and thereupon General Cobb promptly receded from this demand and agreed to accept the terms offered by General Wool. General Wool had stated in the beginning that he alone was clothed with fullpower to effect this arrangement, but he  now stated that his Government ‘had changed his instructions.’ And so these negotiations were broken off, and matters left as before they were begun. The real reason for this change was that in the meantime the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson had given the Federals a preponderance in the number of prisoners. Soon, however, Jackson's valley campaign, the battles around Richmond, and other Confederate successes, gave the Confederates the preponderance, and this change of conditions induced the Federals to consent to terms, to which the Confederates had always been ready to accede. And so on July 22nd, 1862, General John A. Dix, representing the Federals, and General D. H. Hill, the Confederates, at Haxall's Landing, on James river, in Charles City county, entered into the cartel which thereafter formed the basis for the exchange of prisoners during the rest of the war whenever it was allowed by the Federals to be in operation. Article four of this cartel provided as follows: ‘All prisoners of war, to be discharged on parole, in ten days after the capture, and the prisoners now held and those hereafter taken, to be transferred to the points mutually agreed upon, at the expense of the capturing party.’ Article six provided that—
The stipulations and provisions above mentioned are to be of binding obligation during the continuance of the war, it matters not which party may have the surplus of prisoners. ... That all prisoners, of whatever arm of the service, are to be exchanged or paroled in ten days from the time of their capture, if it be practicable to transfer them to their own lines in that time; if not, as soon thereafter as practicable.Article nine provided that— ‘In case any misunderstanding shall arise in regard to any clause or stipulation in the foregoing articles, it is mutually agreed, that such misunderstanding shall not interrupt the release of prisoners on parole, as herein provided; but shall be made the subject of friendly explanation, in order that the object of this agreement may neither be defeated nor postponed.’ It is readily seen that both General Dix and General Hill acted with the utmost good faith in the formation of this cartel, with a common purpose in view, to the carrying out of which each pledged the good faith of his Government; and in Article 9 they made ample  provision to prevent any cessation in the work of exchanging promptly all prisoners captured during the war. And we now propose to show that this would have been the case but for the bad faith and bad conduct of the representatives of the Federal Government. As was contemplated by the cartel, each of the two Governments appointed its Commissioners of Exchange to carry it into execution. On the part of the Federals, Major General E. A. Hitchcock was appointed, with two assistants, Colonel Wm. H. Ludlow, and Captain (afterward Brigadier-General) John E. Mulford, as assistants. On the part of the Confederates, the late Judge Robert Ould, of the Richmond (Va.) Bar, was the sole representative. The writer had the privilege of knowing both General Mulford and Judge Ould well, and, in his opinion, no better selections could have been made by their respective Governments. Judge Ould was a man of splendid judicial bearing, singular honesty of purpose and kindness of heart, with capacity both in speaking and in writing, to represent his Government with unsurpassed ability. General Mulford was a man of fair abilities, and of great kindness of heart. Of General Hitchcock and Colonel Ludlow, he can only speak from what they disclose of their characteristics in their letters. General Hitchcock exhibits a profound distrust of what he terms the ‘rebel’ authorities in all of his letters, and frequently displays a temper and impatience, seemingly, not warranted by the surrounding circumstances. Colonel Ludlow, at times, exhibits great fairness; at other times, manifest unfairness, but always displays shrewdness and ability. There is abundant evidence in these records to show that the true reason why Mr. Lincoln did not reply to Mr. Davis' letter of July 6th, 1861, hereinbefore quoted, was that he and the other authorities at Washington did not intend from the beginning to conduct the war, in any of its features, according to the recognized principles of civilized warfare, although they had adopted the rules of Dr. Leiber apparently for this purpose, as the law to govern the conduct of their armies in the field. As conclusive evidence of this, it was shown in our last report that on the very day of the date of the cartel, the Federal Secretary of War, by order of Mr. Lincoln, issued an order to the military commanders in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, directing them to seize and use any property belonging to citizens of the Confederacy which might be ‘necessary or convenient for their several commands,’ without making any provision for compensation therefor. About the same time, and, doubtless, by  the same authority, Generals Pope and Steinwehr issued their infamous orders, also referred to in our last report. All of these orders were so contrary to all the rules of civilized warfare, and especially to those adopted by the Federal authorities themselves, that on August 1st, 1862 (just ten days from the date of the cartel), the Confederate authorities were driven to the necessity of issuing an order declaring, among other things, that Pope and Steinwehr and the commissioned officers of their commands, ‘had chosen for themselves (to use General Lee's words) the position of robbers and murderers, and not that of public enemies entitled, if captured, to be treated as prisoners of war.’ Later on, in the fall of that year, came the barbarous orders and conduct of Generals Milroy, Butler and Hunter, which led to the proclamations of outlawry against these officers, and directing that they and their commissioned officers should not be treated, if captured, as prisoners of war, and, therefore, should not be exchanged, but kept in confinement. In September, 1862, Mr. Lincoln's emancipation proclamation was issued, to take effect January 1st following, which caused Mr. Davis to issue another proclamation on December 23rd, 1862, directing that any Federal officer who should be arrested whilst either enrolling, or in command of negroes, who were slaves, should be turned over to the authorities of the several States in which the offenses were committed, and punished for the crime of inciting servile insurrection. These several proclamations of Mr. Davis created considerable uneasiness among the Federal authorities, and furnished the very pretext for which they were doubtless longing, for either violating, or suspending, the terms of the cartel. And so, on January 16th, 1863, we find Colonel Ludlow writing to his superior, General Hitchcock, as follows: ‘I have the honor to enclose to you a copy of the Richmond Enquirer, containing Jeff. Davis' message. His determination, avowed in most insolent terms, to deliver to the several State authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that may hereafter be captured, will, I think, be persevered in. You will remember that after the proclamation of Jeff. Davis, of December 23d, 1862, I urgently advised another interview (the last one I had with Mr. Ould, and in which very important exchanges were declared). I then did so anticipating that the cartel might be broken, and wishing to make sure of the discharge from their parole of 10,000 of our men. This was effected, and in a manner so advantageous  to our Government that we gained in the count of 20,000 exchanged, about 7,000 men. I had almost equally good success in the exchange declared on November 11th, 1862. If an open rupture should now occur, in the execution of the cartel, we are well prepared for it. I am endeavoring to get away from the Confederate prisons all our officers captured previously to the date of the message of Jeff. Davis (the 12th instant), with what success I shall know early next week.’ (See Series II, Vol. V., Reb. Rec., Serial 118, p. 181.) This transaction, of which we find Colonel Ludlow thus boasting to his superior, will surely be sufficient to establish his reputation for shrewdness as a trader, or exchanger. So flagrant had been the violations of the cartel and the abuses committed by the Federals in pretending to carry it out (some of which are confessed, as we have just seen, by Colonel Ludlow), that on January 17th, 1863, Judge Ould wrote Colonel Ludlow, complaining in the strongest terms, and stating that if he (Colonel Ludlow) had any Confederate officer in his possession, or on parole, he would be exchanged for his equivalent. But that beyond that, he would not, and could not, parole commissioned officers then in his possession, but would continue to parole non-commissioned officers and privates. He said: ‘This course has been forced on the Confederate Government, not only by the refusal of the authorities of the United States to respond to the repeated applications of this Government in relation to the execution of Munford, but by their persistence in retaining Confederate officers who were entitled to parole and exchange.’ He said: “You have now, of captures that are by no means recent, many officers of the Confederate service, who are retained in your military prisons East and West. Applications have been made for the release of same without success, and others have been kept in confinement so long as to justify the conclusion that you refuse both to parole and exchange.” Id., pp. 186-7. Judge Ould then called Colonel Ludlow's attention to several instances of these abuses and mistakes, and asked that they be corrected. In his letter of January 25th, 1863, he says: “If any injustice has been done to you by our agreement, about reducing officers to privates, or in any other subject matter, I will promptly redress it.” * * ‘There must be many officers in your  and our possession who, by our agreement, made at the last interview, were declared exchanged. Such certainly ought to be mutually delivered up. The excess is on our side, but I will stand it because I have agreed to it. I must, however, insist upon the immediate delivery of such of our officers as are included in the agreement.’ P. 213. On December 30th, 1862, the following order was issued by General H. W. Halleck, signing himself as ‘General-in-Chief:’ “No officers, prisoners of war, will be released on parole till further orders.” Id., p. 248. This, he said, was done in consequence of the course then being pursued by the Confederate authorities. But notwithstanding this order, and this action of the Confederate authorities here complained of, exchanges seemed to have gone on, the Commissioner on either side constantly complaining that his adversary had broken the cartel. And on April 11th, 1863, we find Judge Ould again writing Colonel Ludlow, saying: “I am very much surprised at your refusal to deliver officers for those of your own, who have been captured, paroled and released by us since the date of the proclamation and message of President Davis. The refusal is not only a flagrant breach of the cartel, but can be supported on no rule of reciprocity or equity.” * * ‘You have charged us with breaking the cartel. With what sort of justice can that allegation be supported when you delivered only a few days ago over ninety officers, most of whom had been forced to languish and suffer in prison for months before we were compelled, by that and other reasons, to issue the retaliatory order of which you complain? Those ninety-odd are not half of those whom you unjustly held in prison. On the other hand, I defy you to name the case of one who is confined by us, whom our Government has declared exchanged. Is it your idea that we are to be bound by every strictness of the cartel, while you are at liberty to violate it for months, and that, too, not only in a few cases, but hundreds?’ * * *‘If captivity, privation and misery are to be the fate of officers on both sides hereafter, let God judge between us. I have struggled in this matter as if it had been a matter of life and death to me. I am heart-sick at the termination, but I have no self reproaches.’ Id., p. 469. In Ludlow's reply to this letter, he simply says Judge Ould was mistaken in his charges and complaints, but he did not succeed in  pointing out one single instance in which Judge Ould was in error. Notwithstanding all these charges and counter charges, exchanges still went on, and so we find Colonel Ludlow reporting to Secretary Stanton on May 5th, 1863, as follows-
It seems that the Confederate Congress had refused to sustain Mr. Davis, in his suggested retaliatory measures about the treatment of officers to the extent he had recommended, and so exchanges went on with the result as just above reported, up to May 6th, 863, and with but few, if any, complaints against the Confederates of ill treatment to prisoners to that time. But how does the case stand, in this respect, at this time, with the Federals? We have only space here for two quotations to show this, and both of these are from their own witnesses, and it would seem that these would offset ‘Andersonville,’ ‘The Libby,’ or any other place this side of the infernal regions. On February 9th, 1862, Judge Ould wrote Colonel Ludlow: ‘I see from your own papers, that some dozen of our men captured at Arkansas Pass were allowed to freeze to death in one night at Camp Douglas. I appeal to our common instincts, against such atrocious inhumanity.’ Id., p. 257. We find no denial of this charge. On May 10th, 1863, Dr. Wm. H. Van Buren, of New York, on behalf of the United States Sanitary Commission, reported to the Secretary of War the condition of the hospitals of the prisoners at Camp Douglas, near Chicago, and Gratiot street, St. Louis. In this report he incorporates the statements of Drs. Hun and Cogswell, of Albany, N. Y., who had been employed by the Sanitary Commission to inspect hospitals, and Dr. Van Buren commends these gentlemen as men of high character and eminent fitness for the work to which they had been assigned. It is from the statement of these Northern gentlemen  that we quote. They caption their report from Albany, April 5th, 1863, and say, among other things, as follows: ‘In our experience, we have never witnessed so painful a spectacle as that presented by these wretched inmates; without change of clothing, covered with vermin, they lie in cots, without mattresses, or with mattresses furnished by private charity, without sheets or bedding of any kind, except blankets, often in rags; in wards reeking with filth and foul air. The stench is most offensive. We carefully avoid all exaggeration of statement, but we give some facts which speak for themselves. From January 27th, 1863, when the prisoners (in number about 3,800) arrived at Camp Douglas, to February 18th, the day of our visit, 385 patients have been admitted to the hospitals, of whom 130 have died. This mortality of 33 per cent. does not express the whole truth, for of the 148 patients then remaining in the hospital a large number must have since died. Besides this, 130 prisoners have died in barracks, not having been able to gain admission even to the miserable accommodations of the hospital, and at the time of our visit 150 persons were sick in barracks waiting for room in hospital. Thus it will be seen that 260 out of the 3,800 prisoners had died in twenty-one days, a rate of mortality which, if continued, would secure their total extermination in about 320 days.’ Then they go on to describe the conditions at St. Louis, showing them to be even worse than at Chicago, and after stating that the conditions of these prisons are ‘discreditable to a Christian people,’ they add: ‘It surely is not the intention of our Government to place these prisoners in a position which will secure their extermination by pestilence in less than a year.’ See also report of U. S. Surgeon A. M. Clark, Series II., Vol. VI., p. 371. See also Id., p. 113. Is it not a little surprising, that when the representatives of this same Sanitary Commission published their savage and partisan report in September, 1864, as to the way their prisoners were being treated in Southern prisons, which report they had adorned with pictures of skeletons alleged to have come from our prison hospitals, they did not make some allusion to the condition of things as found by them in their own hospitals? But as further evidence of violations of the cartel, it will be seen that on May 13th, 1863, Judge Ould wrote to Colonel Ludlow again  calling his attention to the ‘large number of our officers captured long since and still held by them’; threatenened retaliation if the unjust and harsh course then pursued by the Federals towards our officers was persevered in, and concluded as follows: ‘Nothing is now left as to those whom our protests have failed to release, but to resort to retaliation. The Confederate Government is anxious to avoid a resort to that harsh measure. In its name I make a final appeal for that justice to our imprisoned officers and men which your own agreements have declared to be their due.’ Id., p. 607. Again, on the next day, he wrote, naming several of Mosby's men who had been carried to the Old Capitol prison. He then said: ‘They are retained under the allegation that they are bushwhackers and guerillas. Mosby's command is in the Confederate service, in every sense of the term. He is regularly commissioned, and his force is as strictly Confederate as any in our army. Why is this done? This day I have cleaned every prison in my control as far as I know. If there is any detention anywhere, let me know and I will rectify it. I am compelled to complain of this thing in almost every communication. You will not deem me passionate when I assure you it will not be endured any longer. If these men are not delivered, a stern retaliation will be made immediately.’ Id., p. 632. And again on the 22nd, of May, 1863, he wrote, saying: ‘You are well aware that for the last six months I have been presenting to you lists of Confederate officers and soldiers and Confederate citizens, who have been detained by your authorities in their prisons. Some of these, on my remonstrance, have been released and sent to us, but by far the greater number remain in captivity.’ He then tells Colonel Ludlow that he is satisfied that he (Ludlow) has tried to have these prisoners released, but without avail, and then tells him again that the Confederates were compelled to notify him that they must resort to retaliation; but telling him further that he will be notified of each case in which this course is pursued. On the same day he wrote another letter calling Ludlow's attention to the report that Captains McGraw and Corbin had been tried and sentenced to be shot for recruiting for the Confederates in Kentucky, and saying that if these men were executed the Confederate  authorities had selected two captains for execution in retaliation; and he concludes this letter with this significant language: “In view of the awful vortex into which things are plunging, I give you notice, that in the event of the execution of these persons, retaliation to an equal extent at least will be visited upon your own officers, and if that is found ineffectual the number will be increased. The Great Ruler of Nations must judge who is responsible for the initiation of this chapter of horrors.” Id., page 690-1. In a letter of January 5th, 1863, Judge Ould wrote: ‘Nothing is nearer my heart than to prevent on either side a resort to retaliation. Even if made necessary by course of events, it is much to be deplored. These are not only my own personal views, but those of my Government.’ It is almost unnecessary to say that, of course, these complaints and threats and appeals, would not have been made, at the time, and in the manner they were made, had not just cause existed there-for, and that the Federal authorities were solely responsible for the condition of affairs then existing. (See another letter of the same date on the same page as to political prisoners.) This being the condition of things, on May 25th, 1863, the following order was issued by the Federals:
I have just returned from City Point, and have brought with me all my officers who have been held by the Confederates, and whom I send to City Point to-night. I have made the following declarations of exchanges:（1) All officers and enlisted men, and all persons, whatever may have been their classification or! character, who have been delivered at City Point up to the 6th of May, 1863. （2) All officers who have been captured and released on parole up to April 1st, 1863, wherever they may have been captured. ...Id., p. 559. See also p. 564.
And similar orders were sent to all commanders of Federal forces throughout the country. Ib., p. 696. See also pp. 706-7, 722. It is surely unnecessary, then, after reading these letters, and this order, to say which side was responsible for violations of the cartel while it remained in operation, and for the suspension of its operations, as well as for the first maltreatment of prisoners. With the exception of exchanges in individual cases, this suspension of the cartel continued. So that, on July 2nd, 1863, Mr. Davis addressed a letter to Mr. Lincoln (which we have never seen before), in which he said, among other things, after referring to the differences  that had arisen between the Commissioners in carrying out the cartel, and the hardships incurred by reason of its suspension—as follows: ‘I believe I have just ground of complaint against the officers and forces under your command for breach of trust of the cartel, and being myself ready to execute it at all times and in good faith, I am not justified in doubting the existence of the same disposition on your part. In addition to this matter I have to complain of the conduct of your officers and troops in many parts of the country, who violate all the rules of war by carrying on hostilities, not only against armed foes, but against non-combatants, aged men, women and children, while others not only seize such property as is required for the use of your troops, but destroy all private property within their reach, even agricultural implements, and openly avow the purpose of seeking to subdue the population of the districts where they are operating by starvation that must result from the destruction of standing crops and agricultural tools. Still again others of your officers in different districts have recently taken the lives of prisoners who fell into their power, and justify their act by asserting a right to treat as spies the military officers and enlisted men under my command who may penetrate into States recognized by us as our allies in the warfare now waged against the United States, but claimed by the latter as having refused to engage in such warfare. I have therefore on different occasions been forced to make complaints of these outrages, and to ask from you that you either avow or disclaim having authorized them, and have failed to obtain such answer as the usages of civilized warfare require to be given in such cases. These usages justify and indeed require redress by retaliation as the proper means of repressing such cruelties as are not permitted in warfare between Christian peoples. I have notwithstanding refrained from the exercise of such retaliation because of its obvious tendency to lead to war of indiscriminate massacre on both sides, which would be a spectacle so shocking to humanity, and so disgraceful to the age in which we live, and the religion we profess, that I cannot contemplate it without a feeling of horror that I am disinclined to doubt you would share. With the view then of making our last solemn attempt to avert such calamities, and to attest my earnest desire to prevent them, if possible, I have selected the bearer of this letter, the Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, as a Military Commissioner, to proceed to your headquarters, under flag of truce, there to confer and agree on the subjects above mentioned; and I  do hereby authorize the said Alexander H. Stephens to arrange and settle all differences and disputes, which have arisen, or may arise in the execution of the cartel for exchange of prisoners of war, heretofore agreed on between our respective land and naval forces; also to prevent further misunderstandings, as to terms of said cartel, and finally to enter into such arrangement and understanding about the mode of carrying on hostilities between the belligerents as shall confine the severities of the war within such limits as are rightfully imposed, not only by modern civilization, but by our common Christianity.’ Reb. Rec., Series II, Vol. VI, p. 75-6. On the 4th of July, 1863, Mr. Stephens, accompanied by Judge Ould, took the foregoing and proceeded down the James river under flag of truce, for the purpose of delivering the letter and of conferring with Mr. Lincoln. They were stopped by the blockading squadron, under the command of Acting Rear Admiral S. P. Lee, near Newport News, and Mr. Stephens then communicated to Admiral Lee the nature of his mission. This communication to Admiral Lee was reported to the Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Gideon Wells, and by the latter to the Secretary of War, Mr. Edwin M. Stanton. After Mr. Stephens had been kept for two days awaiting a reply, he was informed that the Secretary of War refused to permit him to proceed further on the ground, that ‘the customary agents and channels are considered adequate for all needful communications and conferences.’ See Mr. Stephens' report, Id., p. 94. Between the date of Mr. Davis' letter and the 6th of July, when the refusal came to allow Mr. Stephens to proceed further on his attempted mission of mercy and justice, Gettysburg had been fought, and Vicksburg had fallen, and these disasters to the Confederates had not only made the Federals arrogant, but had also given them for the first time since the cartel a preponderance of prisoners, and hence from that time forward, their interest and their policy was to throw every obstacle possible in the way of the further exchanges of prisoners. The foregoing letter of Mr. Davis exhibits the loftiest statesmanship and Christian character, and should inspire us with a new desire to do honor to his memory, as well as fill us with pride that we had as our civil leader, one so noble, so humane, so just, and so true. It is interesting to us to know that Mr. Davis and General Lee were in full accord in their views on the question of retaliating on prisoners for offences committed by others. On the 13th of July, 1864,  Mr. Seddon, the Confederate Secretary of War, wrote to General Lee calling his attention to the murder of two citizens, in the Valley of Virginia, by General Hunter's orders, or by his command, suggesting that some course of retaliation should be put in operation to prevent further atrocities of the kind, and asking General Lee ‘what measure of punishment or retaliation should be adopted?’ （Id., p. 464.) To this inquiry General Lee replied as follows: ‘I have on several occasions expressed to the Department my views as to the system of retaliation, and revolting as are the circumstances attending the murder of the citizens above mentioned, I can see nothing to distinguish them from other outrages of a like character that have from time to time been brought to the attention of the Government. As I have said before, if the guilty parties could be taken, either the officer who commands, or the soldier who executes such atrocities, I should not hesitate to advise the infliction of the extreme punishment they deserve, but I cannot think it right or politic, to make the innocent, after they have surrendered as prisoners of war, suffer for the guilty.’ * * * On this letter, Mr. Davis makes this endorsement: ‘The views of General Lee I regard as just and appropriate.’ Contrast this letter and this endorsement with the treatment accorded by General Sherman to prisoners, as detailed by him on page 194, Vol. 2 of his Memoirs, and you will see the difference between the conduct of a Christian and a savage. But we must proceed with the subject of the exchange of prisoners: Some time in the summer of 1863, General S. A. Meredith was appointed a Federal Commissioner of Exchange, and in September Judge Ould attempted to open negotiations with him for a resumption of the cartel. To this attempt by letter no reply was received. He renewed these efforts on October 20th, 1863, saying: “I now propose that all officers and men on both sides be released in conformity with the provisions of the cartel, the excess on one side or the other, to be on parole. Will you accept this? I have no expectation of an answer, but perhaps you may give one. If it does come, I hope it will be soon.” Id., p. 401. But nothing was accomplished by both of these efforts. Some time in November or December, 1863, General B. F. Butler was appointed the Federal Commissioner of Exchange. It will be remembered that this man had been outlawed by the Confederate  authorities prior to this time, and it was openly charged, and generally believed, that this appointment was made solely to make communication between the belligerents the more difficult by embarrassing the Confederates, and consequently to throw this additional obstacle in the way of further exchange of prisoners. Immediately on taking charge, General Butler says he saw Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War, and suggested that the Confederate prisoners in their hands should be sheltered, fed, clad and otherwise treated as Federal prisoners were being treated by us; and this suggestion, he says, Mr. Stanton at once assented to. (See Butler's Book, p. 585.) In other words, he says, in effect, that because the Confederates, in their exhaustion and poverty, could not adequately supply the needs of their men in our prisons, therefore, he and the Federal Secretary of War thought it right as an act of revenge and retaliation to withhold these comforts and supplies from our men in their prisons when they had adequate means of all kinds to supply the needs of these men. Surely comment on this statement is unnecessary. After Mr. Lincoln's emancipation proclamation went into effect, as we have said, on January 1st, 1863, the Federals enrolled a large number of slaves in their armies. This greatly embarrassed, as well as exasperated, the Confederates. We have heretofore stated the stand proposed by Mr. Davis, and recommended by him to the Confederate Congress, to turn over the officers of these colored troops to the State authorities in which any of them might be captured, to be tried in the courts of such State for the crime of inciting servile insurrection, and that Congress refused to sustain him fully in that recommendation. The question then arose as to exchanging Negro prisoners. The Federal authorities contended that where slaves were captured by them, or when they deserted and came to them and enlisted in their armies, they thereby became free, and should be placed on the same footing with their white soldiers, in respect to exchanges, as well as in all other respects. The Confederates, on the contrary, contended that whatever might be the effect on the status of the slave by going to the Federals and enlisting in their armies, yet should they be recaptured by the Confederates, that restored them to their former status as slaves, and they should then be returned to their masters or put to work by the Confederates, and their masters compensated for their labor. In those cases where the masters did not reside in the Confederacy,  or could not be ascertained, such Negroes were to be exchanged as other prisoners. The letter from General Lee to General Grant, stating the Confederate position on this subject, is a masterpiece, whether considered from a legal, historical or statesmanlike point of view. See Series II, Vol. VII, Serial No. 120, p. 101O. General Grant in his reply, seeing that he could not answer the arguments of General Lee, contents himself with saying on this point:— “I have nothing to do with the discussion of the slavery question; therefore decline answering the arguments adduced to show the right to return to former owners, such Negroes as are captured from our army.” Id., p. 1O18. But to return to General Butler. He says he soon learned that the Confederates were anxious to exchange the prisoners held by them, and so he proposed to the Secretary of War ‘the plan of so exchanging until we had exhausted all our prisoners held by the Rebels, and as we should then have a surplus of some ten thousand to hold them as hostages for our colored troops, of which the Rebels held only hundreds, and to retaliate on this surplus, such wrongs as the Rebels might perpetrate on our soldiers.’ (See Butler's Book, p. 585.) At first Judge Ould refused to treat with General Butler at all, but in order to resume the cartel, which he was anxious to do, this position was soon abandoned, and so on the 30th of March, 1864, he, by appointment, conferred with General Butler on the subject of resuming the exchange. As the result of this interview, General Butler wrote the Secretary of War, that with the exception of the question about the exchange of Negroes, ‘all other points of difference were substantially agreed upon, so that the exchange might go on readily and smoothly, man for man and officer for officer of equal rank, and officers for their equivalents in privates, as settled by the cartel.’ （Butler's Book, p. 590.) Judge Ould left General Butler on the 31st of March, with the understanding that Butler would confer with his Government about the points discussed, and then confer further with him. ‘In the meantime the exchanges of sick and wounded and special exchanges were to go on.’ On the first day of April, 1864, General U. S. Grant appeared on the scene, and General Butler says: 
And the reason assigned by General Grant for this course was that, the exchange of prisoners would so strengthen General Lee's army as to greatly prolong the war, and therefore it was better that the prisoners then in confinement should remain so, no matter what sufferings would be entailed thereby. ‘I said,’ says General Butler, ‘I doubted whether, if we stopped exchanging man for man, simply on the ground that our soldiers were more useful to us in Rebel prisons than they would be in our lines, however true that might be, or speciously stated to the country, the proposition could not be sustained against the clamor that would at once arise against the administration.’ * *. * Id., p. 594. And he adds: ‘These instructions in the then state of negotiations, rendered any further exchanges impossible and retaliation useless.’ This condition of affairs, for which, as we have seen, General Grant was solely responsible, continued, with little change, till the latter part of January, 1865. It was during this interval of nearly a year that the greatest sufferings and mortality occurred. Finally the clamor was so great for a renewal of the cartel that General Grant consented, and from that date exchanges continued to the end of the war, although when a large number of prisoners were sent to General Schofield, at Wilmington, on February 21st, 1865, he refused to receive them. Vol. VIII, p. 286. On the 10th of January, 1864, in view of the large numbers of prisoners then held on both sides, and the sufferings consequently engendered thereby, Judge Ould addressed a letter to Major (afterwards General Mulford), proposing to deliver all prisoners held by us for an equivalent held by the Federals. But to this letter no reply was ever made. On the 22nd of August he wrote making the same offer to General Hitchcock, but received no reply to this letter either. And so on the 31st of August, 1864, Judge Ould published a statement setting forth in detail the efforts made by the Confederate authorities to carry out the cartel in good faith, stating how it had been violated from time to time, and finally suspended, solely by the bad faith and bad conduct of the Federals.  On the 1st of October, 1864, General Lee proposed to General Grant to renew the cartel, but no agreement could be reached on the subject, and so on the 6th of October, 1864, Judge Ould addressed a letter to General Mulford and proposed, in view of the probabilities of the long confinement of prisoners on both sides, ‘that some measures be adopted for the relief of such as are held by either party. To that end I propose,’ says he, ‘that each Government shall have the privilege of forwarding for the use and comfort of such of its prisoners as are held by the other, necessary articles of food and clothing.’ * * * P. 930. Whilst this proposition was finally accepted by the Federals, it took a whole month to get their consent to it. General Mulford's reply is dated November 6th, 1864. As early in that year as January 24th, Judge Ould had written General Hitchcock, proposing that the prisoners on each side be attended by their own surgeons, and that these surgeons should ‘act as Commissaries, with power to receive and distribute such contributions of money, food, clothing, and medicines as may be forwarded for the relief of prisoners. I further propose,’ says he, ‘that these surgeons be detailed by their own Governments, and that they shall have full liberty at any and all times, through the agents of exchange, to make reports, not only of their own acts, but of any matters relating to the welfare of prisoners.’ To this very important and humane letter, Judge Ould says, ‘no reply was ever made.’ I Southern Historical Society Papers, 128. If its terms had been accepted by the Federals (and nothing could have been fairer), what sufferings would have been prevented and how many lives would have been saved? But, as we now know, General Grant did not wish to keep these men from dying in our prisons. On the contrary, he preferred that the Confederates should be burdened with caring for them when living and charged with their death should they die, and in this way he would continue to ‘fire the Northern heart’ against us. On the same principle, and for the same reason, he not only refused to agree to let us purchase medicine and other necessary supplies for these sick prisoners, but refused for months to receive from ten to fifteen thousand, which we offered to deliver up without receiving any equivalent in return. But above all these, he did not wish them exchanged, because of the recruits which would thereby come to General Lee's army. Notwithstanding the fact, as shown by our last report, it was by General Grant's orders that General Sheridan devastated the Valley  of Virginia as he did, yet his considerate treatment of General Lee and his men at Appomattox and his fidelity to General Lee's parole there given, after the war, have caused us to think kindly of him and to place him in a different class from that in which we have placed Stanton, Halleck, Sherman, Sheridan, Pope, Butler, Hunter, Milroy, and other Federal officers, who took such delight in treating us with such wicked and wanton brutality during the war. But as has been recently said of him by a distinguished Northern writer, who was an officer in his army, and therefore knew him better than we did, General Grant was ‘of coarse moral as well as physical fibre;’ and nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the cruel and heartless way in which he treated his own as well as our prisoners. He was so vindictive and cruel that on February 7th, 1865, he refused to make any arrangements with Judge Ould whereby our prisoners could receive contributions of assistance from friends at the North. (Vol. VIII., p. 140.) And, as we have just seen, he preferred that his own men should die in our prisons, rather than to relieve them, when we offered to deliver them to him without any equivalent in return, because of the great mortality at Andersonville, which we were unable to avert, and of which he was fully apprised. At the expense of being tedious then, we have thought it right to give in much detail the facts in relation to the formation and operation of the cartel for the exchange of prisoners, and to show clearly from the records why this cartel was suspended, and who was responsible therefor. And we have done so, because this conduct was the true cause of substantially all the sufferings and deaths which came to the prisoners on both sides during the war. That we have shown that the Federal Government, with Edwin M. Stanton, H. W. Halleck and U S. Grant as its representatives, is solely responsible, we think cannot be denied, and that history will so attest. Mr. Charles A. Dana, the Federal Assistant Secretary of War, in an editorial in the New York Sun, commenting on the letter of Mr. Davis to Mr. James Lyons, written in reference to the strictures of Mr. Blaine, referred to in the early part of this report, said as follows:
To him the state of the negotiations as to exchange was communicated, and most emphatic verbal directions were received from the Lieutenant-General not to take any steps by which another able bodied man should be exchanged until further orders from him.Butler's Book, p. 592.
This letter shows clearly, we think, that the Confederate authorities, and especially Mr. Davis, ought not to be held responsible for the terrible privations, sufferings and injuries which our men had to endure while they were kept in Confederate military prisons. The fact is unquestionable, that while the Confederates desired to exchange  prisoners, to send our men home, and to get back their own, General Grant steadily and strenuously resisted such an exchange. * * * “It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons,” said Grant, in an official communication, “not to exchange them; but it is humane to those left in the ranks to fight our battles. If we commence a system of exchanges which liberates all prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South is exterminated. If we hold those caught they are no more than dead men.” * * * This evidence [says Dana] must be taken as conclusive. It proves that it was not the Confederate authorities who insisted on keeping our prisoners in distress, want and disease, but the commander of our own armies. * * * Moreover [says he] there is no evidence whatever, that it was practicable for the Confederate authorities to feed our prisoners any better than they were fed, or to give them any better care and attention than they received. The food was insufficient, the care and attention were insufficient, no doubt, and yet the condition of our prisoners was not worse than that of the Confederate soldiers in the field, except in so far as the condition of those in prison must of necessity be worse than that of men who are free and active outside.This is the statement, as we have said, of the Federal Assistant Secretary of War, during the war, and, of course, he knew whereof he wrote. He was the man by whose authority General Miles put the shackles upon Mr. Davis, when he was in prison at Fortress Monroe, and was therefore prejudiced in the highest degree against Mr. Davis and the Confederate authorities generally. And his statement must be taken as conclusive of this whole question. When we add to this the pregnant fact that the report of the Federal Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, dated July 19, 1866, shows that of the Federal prisoners in Confederate prisons only 22,576 died; whilst of the Confederate prisoners in Federal prisons 26,436 died, and the report of the Federal Surgeon-General Barnes, published afrer the war, showing that the whole number of Federal prisoners captured and confined in Southern prisons during the war was, in round numbers, 270,000 while the whole number of Confederate prisoners captured and confined in Northern prisons, was, in like round numbers, 220,000. From these two reports it will be seen that whilst there were 50,000 more prisoners in Southern than in Northern prisons, during the war, the deaths were four thousand less. The per centum of deaths in Southern prisons being under  nine, while the per centun of deaths in Northern prisons was over twelve. We think it useless to prolong this discussion, and feel confident that we can safely submit our conduct on this, as on every other point involved in the war, to the judgment of posterity and the impartial historian, and can justly apply to the Southern Confederacy the language of Philip Stanhope Wormsley, of Oxford University, England, in the dedication of his translation of Homer's Iliad to General Robert E. Lee, ‘the most stainless of earthly commanders, and, except in fortune, the greatest.’ Thy Troy is fallen, thy dear land
Is marred beneath the spoiler's heel;
I cannot trust my trembling hand
To write the things I feel.
Ah realm of tombs: but let her bear
This blazon to the end of time:
No nation rose so white and fair,
None fell so pure of crime.