Opposition to the Halt of Prisoner Exchange

Cavalry Charger

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#41
The exchanges were suspended in the late Spring of 1863, before Grant’s victory at Vicksburg and his rising power over policy. I have not seen evidence that he played any important role in the suspension.
Just in answer to this, Pat, and taken from @USS ALASKA 's original link:

"On April 1, 1864, shortly after General Grant was appointed as commanding general of all Union forces, he visited General Butler at Fort Monroe. Butler advised him of the difficulties thus far experienced in the exchange negotiations, and of the large number of Confederate prisoners still in Union prisons. On April 17, General Grant ordered all exchanges to cease.

Meanwhile, the public in the north, and Union prisoners themselves, were increasing pressure on the government to get all Union prisoners released and sent home. Prisoners in Andersonville, Georgia, submitted a petition to the Union government to "effect our speedy release, either on parole or by exchange."

Looks like Grant had the last word, though exchanges up to that point appear not to have been very effective in the circumstances with disagreements ongoing.

This may be where @major bill takes his point:
It is possible both sides used the treatment of POWs for political advantage. Neither side seems to have overly suffered any real consequences for doing so.
And I would refer to the section in italics in the quote above as regards the men's suffering and also add the quotes below:

As they explained:

No one can know the horrors of imprisonment in crowded and filthy quarters but him who has endured it . . . . But hunger, filth, nakedness, squalor, and disease are as nothing compared with the heartsickness that wears prisoners down . . . .

Letters from the public were also addressed to Lincoln. One example, from a concerned father whose son was in Andersonville wrote that his son:

has a family here consisting of a wife and two children in indigent circumstances . . . my said son and 30,000more brave soldiers must perish unless the Government should relieve them by bringing about an exchange.
 

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#42
This is a very thought provoking thread @Cavalry Charger !

Just now saw it today after it was 'bumped'.

I still can't see a captured Union soldier's Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister or Sweetheart worrying about the political status of captured slaves when their own men were imprisoned ANYWHERE within the Confederate States.
 

major bill

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#43
When President Lincoln signed General Order # 252 on July 30 1863, it spelled the end to prisoner exchange over, 1. the re-enslavement of former slaves serving in the Union Army, 2. enslaving free blacks enlisted in the Union Army, and 3. the threat of trying Union officers leading black soldiers (possibly hanging of Union officer). All exchanged did not end immediately, but the general exchange of prisoners was quickly a thing of the past.

There were other issues on both the Union and Confederate sides over how the prisoner exchange was being conducted. Still the reasons above were the main cause of ending wide spread prisoner exchanges. I believe that both the Union's other issues and the Confederate's other issues could have been resolved with limited restrictions on stopping the exchange of prisoners.
 

Cavalry Charger

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#44
This is a very thought provoking thread @Cavalry Charger !

Just now saw it today after it was 'bumped'.

I still can't see a captured Union soldier's Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister or Sweetheart worrying about the political status of captured slaves when their own men were imprisoned ANYWHERE within the Confederate States.
Thank you. When it popped up again I wondered what I had said the first time round in relation to the issue and hoped I had been diplomatic in my handling of the topic. I hadn't been here long then, but it was an issue that when it came to light had been bothering me. I may have a little story to add here just to show the nuances of it all.
 

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#45
This story comes from Julia Dent Grant's memoirs and is recalled at the time the Peace Commissioners met with Lincoln.

"I had quite an interview with the Commissioners, telling them they held a brother of mine as a prisoner and that he was a thorough rebel if there ever was one. I knew this to be so as I had had many a battle royal with him on this subject. These gentlemen asked if General Grant could not exchange him. 'Why, of course not,' I explained, 'my brother is not a soldier.' He was on a visit to a friend in Louisiana when he was captured. I had already approached General Grant on the subject, and he had asked me if I thought it would be just for him to give a war prisoner in exchange for my brother, when we had so many brave men languishing in prison who had fought for the Union. It was hard, but I knew he was right. He consoled me by saying, 'It will not hurt John to have a good, wholesome lesson, and I hope and trust the war will soon be over, and then John will come home with the crowd, and I will do all I can for him then.' So dear brother did not get back until the general exchange of prisoners took place at the close of the war.'"

Now this makes we wonder how many higher up in the order of things realized the squalid conditions in which their prisoners were often forced to live, and die. For Grant to assume time in a Northern prison would provide a wholesome lesson for Julia's brother makes me wonder if the conditions in places like Andersonville or Elmira didn't truly come to light until after the war. Was there an expectation that somehow these prisoners were being adequately cared for? And surely the letters reaching relatives and the government were some indication this was not the case.

Not sure how Julia's brother fared and why he was arrested in the first place.
 
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#46
The Confederacy's policy of not taking black prisoners or selling them as slaves was horrific. However, the Union was mainly using that as a pretext. The Confederacy had fewer soldiers, so the Union did not want to exchange prisoners and allow them to continue fighting.
 

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#47
If you think about it from a "practical standpoint", you haven't factored in the Emancipation Proclamation!

Kevin Dally
If you think about it from a "practical standpoint", you haven't factored in the Emancipation Proclamation!

Kevin Dally
What did the Emancipation Proclamation have to do with prisoner of war exchange? I'm not aware that either side sent agents to the other side's POW camps to pick and choose who they wanted in exchange for an enemy POW.
 

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#48
What did the Emancipation Proclamation have to do with prisoner of war exchange?
I think there was a refusal by the Confederate Government to agree to exchange colored troops who were freed under the Emancipation Proclamation. This was the fly in the ointment. And the reason prisoner exchanges were stopped I believe.
 

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#49
What did the Emancipation Proclamation have to do with prisoner of war exchange? I'm not aware that either side sent agents to the other side's POW camps to pick and choose who they wanted in exchange for an enemy POW.
The Emancipation freed slaves living in the territories controlled by Confederate forces on January 1, 1863. It also authorized the recruitment of black soldiers. The Confederates unilaterally barred their inclusion in prisoner exchanges in the Spring of 1863.
 

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#50
The Emancipation freed slaves living in the territories controlled by Confederate forces on January 1, 1863. It also authorized the recruitment of black soldiers. The Confederates unilaterally barred their inclusion in prisoner exchanges in the Spring of 1863.
The Confederate States didn't recognize the Emancipation Proclamation.
 

Pat Young

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#51
The Confederate States didn't recognize the Emancipation Proclamation.
So what? The Confederates didn't get to tell the Union army who its soldiers were. If the Union said "These Black men are United States soldiers entitled to protections under the cartel and the laws of war" then a refusal to accord them those protections was a breach.
 

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#52
I think there was a refusal by the Confederate Government to agree to exchange colored troops who were freed under the Emancipation Proclamation. This was the fly in the ointment. And the reason prisoner exchanges were stopped I believe.
I don't, Grant made clear why the prisoner exchanges stopped. See post 22.
 

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#53
I don't, Grant made clear why the prisoner exchanges stopped. See post 22.
Problem is that the exchanges stopped more than a year earlier and they were largely halted by men other than Grant. As I have said before, much of the discussion of this topic ignores chronology.
 

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#55
So what? The Confederates didn't get to tell the Union army who its soldiers were. If the Union said "These Black men are United States soldiers entitled to protections under the cartel and the laws of war" then a refusal to accord them those protections was a breach.
Perhaps you will get around to answering post 34 and we can take it from there.
 

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#56
Problem is that the exchanges stopped more than a year earlier and they were largely halted by men other than Grant. As I have said before, much of the discussion of this topic ignores chronology.
The Spring of 1862? You also ignore the fact that a man for man advantage gave the Confederates an advantage
 

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#57
Perhaps you will get around to answering post 34 and we can take it from there.
Do I know the number? No. Most black troops were only just enlisting at the time. Yet the Confederate government already saw the disposition of any captured Black troops as a major issue even before more than a few thousand had joined the army because its announcement of enslavement or execution came before the first large number of black priosoners were taken by the Confederates in July 1863.
 

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#59
Do I know the number? No. Most black troops were only just enlisting at the time. Yet the Confederate government already saw the disposition of any captured Black troops as a major issue even before more than a few thousand had joined the army because its announcement of enslavement or execution came before the first large number of black priosoners were taken by the Confederates in July 1863.
So the cessation of the exchange was a preemptive strike?
 

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#60
So the cessation of the exchange was a preemptive strike?
No. There was nothing preemptive about it. It was a response to the announcement by the Confederate government before any large number of black soldiers had been captured that the Confederates would not treat them, or their officers, as prisoners of war.

If, in any conflict, one side unilaterally announced that a portion of the enemy's captured would be executed or enslaved and not included in a cartel, would the other power be inclined to wait until such had actually happened before it took action?
 



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