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    Chapter 10

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    Chapter 11
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    Few questions intimately connected with the actual operations of the
    Rebellion have been enveloped with such a mass of conflicting statement
    as the responsibility for the interruption of the exchange. Southern
    writers and politicians, naturally anxious to diminish as much as
    possible the great odium resting upon their section for the treatment of
    prisoners of war during the last year and a half of the Confederacy's
    existence, have vehemently charged that the Government of the United
    States deliberately and pitilessly resigned to their fate such of its
    soldiers as fell into the hands of the enemy, and repelled all advances
    from the Rebel Government looking toward a resumption of exchange. It is
    alleged on our side, on the other hand, that our Government did all that
    was possible, consistent with National dignity and military prudence,
    to secure a release of its unfortunate men in the power of the Rebels.

    Over this vexed question there has been waged an acrimonious war of
    words, which has apparently led to no decision, nor any convictions--the
    disputants, one and all, remaining on the sides of the controversy
    occupied by them when the debate began.

    I may not be in possession of all the facts bearing upon the case, and
    may be warped in judgment by prejudices in favor of my own Government's
    wisdom and humanity, but, however this may be, the following is my firm
    belief as to the controlling facts in this lamentable affair:

    1. For some time after the beginning of hostilities our Government
    refused to exchange prisoners with the Rebels, on the ground that this
    might be held by the European powers who were seeking a pretext for
    acknowledging the Confederacy, to be admission by us that the war was no
    longer an insurrection but a revolution, which had resulted in the 'de
    facto' establishment of a new nation. This difficulty was finally gotten
    over by recognizing the Rebels as belligerents, which, while it placed
    them on a somewhat different plane from mere insurgents, did not elevate
    them to the position of soldiers of a foreign power.

    2. Then the following cartel was agreed upon by Generals Dig on our side
    and Hill on that of the Rebels:


    The undersigned, having been commissioned by the authorities they
    respectively represent to make arrangements for a general exchange of
    prisoners of war, have agreed to the following articles:

    ARTICLE I.--It is hereby agreed and stipulated, that all prisoners of
    war, held by either party, including those taken on private armed
    vessels, known as privateers, shall be exchanged upon the conditions and
    terms following:

    Prisoners to be exchanged man for man and officer for officer.
    Privateers to be placed upon the footing of officers and men of the navy.

    Men and officers of lower grades may be exchanged for officers of a
    higher grade, and men and officers of different services may be exchanged
    according to the following scale of equivalents:

    A General-commanding-in-chief, or an Admiral, shall be exchanged for
    officers of equal rank, or for sixty privates or common seamen.

    A Commodore, carrying a broad pennant, or a Brigadier General, shall be
    exchanged for officers of equal rank, or twenty privates or common

    A Captain in the Navy, or a Colonel, shall be exchanged for officers of
    equal rank, or for fifteen privates or common seamen.

    A Lieutenant Colonel, or Commander in the Navy, shall be exchanged for
    officers of equal rank, or for ten privates or common seamen.

    A Lieutenant, or a Master in the Navy, or a Captain in the Army or
    marines shall be exchanged for officers of equal rank, or six privates or
    common seamen.

    Master's-mates in the Navy, or Lieutenants or Ensigns in the Army, shall
    be exchanged for officers of equal rank, or four privates or common
    seamen. Midshipmen, warrant officers in the Navy, masters of merchant
    vessels and commanders of privateers, shall be exchanged for officers of
    equal rank, or three privates or common seamen; Second Captains,
    Lieutenants or mates of merchant vessels or privateers, and all petty
    officers in the Navy, and all noncommissioned officers in the Army or
    marines, shall be severally exchanged for persons of equal rank, or for
    two privates or common seamen; and private soldiers or common seamen
    shall be exchanged for each other man for man.

    ARTICLE II.--Local, State, civil and militia rank held by persons not in
    actual military service will not be recognized; the basis of exchange
    being the grade actually held in the naval and military service of the
    respective parties.

    ARTICLE III.--If citizens held by either party on charges of disloyalty,
    or any alleged civil offense, are exchanged, it shall only be for
    citizens. Captured sutlers, teamsters, and all civilians in the actual
    service of either party, to be exchanged for persons in similar

    ARTICLE IV.--All prisoners of war to be discharged on parole in ten days
    after their capture; and the prisoners now held, and those hereafter
    taken, to be transported to the points mutually agreed upon, at the
    expense of the capturing party. The surplus prisoners not exchanged
    shall not be permitted to take up arms again, nor to serve as military
    police or constabulary force in any fort, garrison or field-work, held by
    either of the respective parties, nor as guards of prisoners, deposits or
    stores, nor to discharge any duty usually performed by soldiers, until
    exchanged under the provisions of this cartel. The exchange is not to be
    considered complete until the officer or soldier exchanged for has been
    actually restored to the lines to which he belongs.

    ARTICLE V.--Each party upon the discharge of prisoners of the other party
    is authorized to discharge an equal number of their own officers or men
    from parole, furnishing, at the same time, to the other party a list of
    their prisoners discharged, and of their own officers and men relieved
    from parole; thus enabling each party to relieve from parole such of
    their officers and men as the party may choose. The lists thus mutually
    furnished, will keep both parties advised of the true condition of the
    exchange of prisoners.

    ARTICLE VI.--The stipulations and provisions above mentioned to be of
    binding obligation during the continuance of the war, it matters not
    which party may have the surplus of prisoners; the great principles
    involved being, First, An equitable exchange of prisoners, man for man,
    or officer for officer, or officers of higher grade exchanged for
    officers of lower grade, or for privates, according to scale of
    equivalents. Second, That privates and officers and men of different
    services may be exchanged according to the same scale of equivalents.
    Third, That all prisoners, of whatever arm of 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, so
    soon thereafter as practicable. Fourth, That no officer, or soldier,
    employed in the service of either party, is to be considered as exchanged
    and absolved from his parole until his equivalent has actually reached
    the lines of his friends. Fifth, That parole forbids the performance of
    field, garrison, police, or guard or constabulary duty.

    JOHN A. DIX, Major General.

    D. H. HILL, Major General, C. S. A.


    ARTICLE VII.--All prisoners of war now held on either side, and all
    prisoners hereafter taken, shall be sent with all reasonable dispatch to
    A. M. Aiken's, below Dutch Gap, on the James River, in Virginia, or to
    Vicksburg, on the Mississippi River, in the State of Mississippi, and
    there exchanged of paroled until such exchange can be effected, notice
    being previously given by each party of the number of prisoners it will
    send, and the time when they will be delivered at those points
    respectively; and in case the vicissitudes of war shall change the
    military relations of the places designated in this article to the
    contending parties, so as to render the same inconvenient for the
    delivery and exchange of prisoners, other places bearing as nearly as may
    be the present local relations of said places to the lines of said
    parties, shall be, by mutual agreement, substituted. But nothing in this
    article contained shall prevent the commanders of the two opposing armies
    from exchanging prisoners or releasing them on parole, at other points
    mutually agreed on by said commanders.

    ARTICLE VIII.--For the purpose of carrying into effect the foregoing
    articles of agreement, each party will appoint two agents for the
    exchange of prisoners of war, whose duty it shall be to communicate with
    each other by correspondence and otherwise; to prepare the lists of
    prisoners; to attend to the delivery of the prisoners at the places
    agreed on, and to carry out promptly, effectually, and in good faith,
    all the details and provisions of the said articles of agreement.

    ARTICLE IX.--And, 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 affect 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.

    JOHN A. DIX, Major General.
    D. H. HILL, Major General. C. S. A.

    This plan did not work well. Men on both sides, who wanted a little rest
    from soldiering, could obtain it by so straggling in the vicinity of the
    enemy. Their parole--following close upon their capture, frequently upon
    the spot--allowed them to visit home, and sojourn awhile where were
    pleasanter pastures than at the front. Then the Rebels grew into the
    habit of paroling everybody that they could constrain into being a
    prisoner of war. Peaceable, unwarlike and decrepit citizens of Kentucky,
    East Tennessee, West Virginia, Missouri and Maryland were "captured" and
    paroled, and setoff against regular Rebel soldiers taken by us.

    3. After some months of trial of this scheme, a modification of the
    cartel was agreed upon, the main feature of which was that all prisoners
    must be reduced to possession, and delivered to the exchange officers
    either at City Point, Va., or Vicksburg, Miss. This worked very well for
    some months, until our Government began organizing negro troops. The
    Rebels then issued an order that neither these troops nor their officers
    should be held as amenable to the laws of war, but that, when captured,
    the men should be returned to slavery, and the officers turned over to
    the Governors of the States in which they were taken, to be dealt with
    according to the stringent law punishing the incitement of servile
    insurrection. Our Government could not permit this for a day. It was
    bound by every consideration of National honor to protect those who wore
    its uniform and bore its flag. The Rebel Government was promptly
    informed that rebel officers and men would be held as hostages for the
    proper treatment of such members of colored regiments as might be taken.

    4. This discussion did not put a stop to the exchange, but while it was
    going on Vicksburg was captured, and the battle of Gettysburg was fought.
    The first placed one of the exchange points in our hands. At the opening
    of the fight at Gettysburg Lee captured some six thousand Pennsylvania
    militia. He sent to Meade to have these exchanged on the field of
    battle. Meade declined to do so for two reasons: first, because it was
    against the cartel, which prescribed that prisoners must be reduced to
    possession; and second, because he was anxious to have Lee hampered with
    such a body of prisoners, since it was very doubtful if he could get his
    beaten army back across the Potomac, let alone his prisoners. Lee then
    sent a communication to General Couch, commanding the Pennsylvania
    militia, asking him to receive prisoners on parole, and Couch, not
    knowing what Meade had done, acceded to the request. Our Government
    disavowed Couch's action instantly, and ordered the paroles to be treated
    as of no force, whereupon the Rebel Government ordered back into the
    field twelve thousand of the prisoners captured by Grant's army at

    5. The paroling now stopped abruptly, leaving in the hands of both sides
    the prisoners captured at Gettysburg, except the militia above mentioned.
    The Rebels added considerably to those in their hands by their captures
    at Chickamauga, while we gained a great many at Mission Ridge, Cumberland
    Gap and elsewhere, so that at the time we arrived in Richmond the Rebels
    had about fifteen thousand prisoners in their hands and our Government
    had about twenty-five thousand.

    6. The rebels now began demanding that the prisoners on both sides be
    exchanged--man for man--as far as they went, and the remainder paroled.
    Our Government offered to exchange man for man, but declined--on account
    of the previous bad faith of the Rebels--to release the balance on
    parole. The Rebels also refused to make any concessions in regard to the
    treatment of officers and men of colored regiments.

    7. At this juncture General B. F. Butler was appointed to the command of
    the Department of the Blackwater, which made him an ex-officio
    Commissioner of Exchange. The Rebels instantly refused to treat with
    him, on the ground that he was outlawed by the proclamation of Jefferson
    Davis. General Butler very pertinently replied that this only placed him
    nearer their level, as Jefferson Davis and all associated with him in the
    Rebel Government had been outlawed by the proclamation of President
    Lincoln. The Rebels scorned to notice this home thrust by the Union

    8. On February 12, 1864, General Butler addressed a letter to the Rebel
    Commissioner Ould, in which be asked, for the sake of humanity, that the
    questions interrupting the exchange be left temporarily in abeyance while
    an informal exchange was put in operation. He would send five hundred
    prisoners to City Point; let them be met by a similar number of Union
    prisoners. This could go on from day to day until all in each other's
    hands should be transferred to their respective flags.

    The five hundred sent with the General's letter were received, and five
    hundred Union prisoners returned for them. Another five hundred, sent
    the next day, were refused, and so this reasonable and humane proposition
    ended in nothing.

    This was the condition of affairs in February, 1864, when the Rebel
    authorities concluded to send us to Andersonville. If the reader will
    fix these facts in his minds I will explain other phases as they develop.
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