The Treachery of a Yankee.
Right Rev. Bishop Johns
, of Virginia
, has written the following letter to Mr. Stanton
, the Federal Secretary of War
, in correction of the statements of a Federal Surgeon
who was paroled at the request of Bishop Johns
This letter was sent to Stanton
with the request that he would publish it. As might be expected, he declined to publish it:
, Jan. 28, 1864.
To the Hon. Secretary of War
, U. S.
Allow me to submit for your consideration a simple statement, with no other design than to subserve the cause of humanity as connected with the treatment of prisoners.
Some weeks since it was my privilege to obtain the release of Dr. Goldsborough
, a Surgeon in the U S. Army.
I had repeatedly visited him during his confinement, and was permitted to proffer to him and others similar situated any assistance which I deemed proper.
He invariably replied to my inquiries that he was furnished with everything which a prisoner of war could expect — wanted nothing but an additional under garment to supply the place of one which he had lost at Gettysburg
This I offered to send him at once; but as he expressed a preference for purchasing it with his own funds, which were in the possession of Gen. Winder
, I had the order procured and placed at his disposal.--He did not use it, and, in a subsequent interview, attempted an explanation, but so confused in its character that I changed the conversation to relieve his embarrassment.
At a later date he sent for me to show me a letter which he had received, informing him of the illness of his father and brother, and of their great desire to see him, and asked me to try and procure his parole for this purpose.
He urged this on the ground of his being a non- combatant — assuring me that he had not joined the army from any the South
--but that, being with support in the line of his profession.
I went immediately to Judge Ould
and asked for the parole, solely on the plea of humanity.
He replied that, under existing difficulties, which had arrested the exchange of prisoners, he did not feel authorized to yield to the sympathy which the case involved, unless by so doing something could be effected towards a general exchange of surgeons and chaplains; but if Dr.
G. could and would visit Washington
for this purpose, and use his own and such other influence as he could obtain to promote this and the plan proposed by Judge Ould
, then the parole might be granted.
I asked for these conditions in writing, and handed them to Dr.
G. for his consideration.
He assured me that he cordially approved of the views of Judge Ould
, and would do all in his power to prevail upon his own Government to concur.
He then signed an agreement to this effect and took a copy for himself.--By the next flag of truce he was permitted to return to the United States
, and carried with him the funds which, during his imprisonment, had been in the keeping of the Provost Marshal
In parting, I took the liberty of stating to him that my ability to be of service to others would depend very much on his course after his liberation, and expressed the hope that nothing would occur to make me regret my agency in procuring his parole.
His assurances left no room for apprehending the slightest disappointment.
And yet, this man, with a worthy name, which he should have changed before prostituting it by ingratitude and false hood, had scarcely reached his home when he began to utter the grossest misrepresentations as to the treatment to which his fellow prisoners and himself had been subjected — hastened to Washington
, not to comply in good faith with his engagements as an agent for effecting a humane arrangement; but to widen the existing breach — inflame revenge by his report of cruelties which he knew had never been practiced; and then boast that his statements had stimulated his Government to severe retaliation upon the Confederate
soldiers in their prisons.
As I was connected with his parole, which afforded him the opportunity for attempting to increase the sufferings of others, I deem it a duty to make this statement to correct the false impression which his uncontradicted representation may have produced, and to prevent the misery which might ensue.
My own testimony is as follows: During my visits to Libby prison, to minister to its inmates as need might require, I have often appealed to them, individually and in groups, to know if they had any cause to complain of the treatment which they experienced, assuring them of my readiness to secure the redress of any real grievance.
The uniform reply has been that they had no inhumanity to complain of, and that except the want of out door exercise they wanted nothing but to go home.
The spacious rooms of the building, which was originally an extensive tobacco warehouse, I always found sufficiently warmed and ventilated, and the appearance of the inmates that of persons in good health.
In penning this statement, I do but comply with the demands of conscience and humanity, and shall be most happy if it serves to prevent all unnecessary suffering on the part of those whom the fortune of war has subjected to imprisonment.
With due consideration, yours, J. Johns
of the P. E. Church Va