Unpleasant Arithmetic: Civil War POW Camp Death Rates

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#21
It was bad either way---Andersonville was a small piece land with thousands packed in---unsanitary and no clean water until they found a spring---prisoners known as Raiders stole from other prisoners---all were guarded by teens who would shoot if you went over the dead line. Some of the Raiders were later hanged by the warden after trial by their follow prisoners.
 

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#22
Grant did not want to exchange along with Lincoln---They let those men suffer to try to end the war---They knew Confederates exchanged would be right back in the front lines---It was simply wearing down the South's manpower.
That's a popular myth, but it's only a myth.

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, July 2, 1863.
Col. WILLIAM H. LUDLOW,
Agent for Exchange of Prisoners, Fort Monroe:
COLONEL: Your dispatch of the 1st instant is received. It is stated that some of the officers and men of the colored regiments captured west of the Mississippi River have been hung by order of General Taylor, and that others (colored) have been sold into slavery under some pretended State authority. It is understood that General Grant has made a formal demand on General Taylor to know if these statements are true, and also that all such prisoners be treated in accordance with the stipulations of the cartel and the rules of civilized war. It is also stated that a portion of Colonel Streight's command captured have been refused the right of exchange under the cartel and are improperly retained by the enemy.
It is the duty of the United States to afford protection to all persons duly received into the military service, and if the enemy should violate the cartel and laws of war in the treatment of prisoners our Government will be reluctantly compelled to resort to retaliation. While we shall ask for nothing to which we are not entitled by well-established laws, we cannot permit a deliberate and systematic violation of the usages of civilized warfare to pass unpunished. However much we may wish to avoid any act by which the innocent may suffer for the crimes of the guilty, there are occasions where summary retaliation must be resorted to. I am fully aware that violations of law, both civil and military, will sometimes occur under any Government or organization, and complaints are not made where the proper authorities employ all legitimate means to rebuke and punish the offenders. It is hoped that the statements I have alluded to may be incorrect or mere exaggerations, as is not unusually the case on both sides, and that the matter may be properly and satisfactorily arranged.
In connection with this matter I inclose herewith a copy of a report of General Rosecrans upon General Bragg's letter in regard to his stripping Coburn's brigade of their blankets, clothing, &c. You will please again call Mr. Ould's attention to General Bragg's conduct as admitted by himself. Instead of depriving prisoners of war of their clothing we have issued to them large quantities of blankets to make them comfortable and have generally exchanged them in better condition than when captured. The enemy, on the contrary, has frequently treated our troops with great inhumanity and sent them back in a condition utterly disgraceful to the captors. It is hoped that this matter will be properly investigated and the abuse corrected.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
General-in. Chief.
[OR Series II, Vol VI, p. 73]

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Washington, October 26, 1863.

Major-General BANKS, New Orleans:
GENERAL: Your dispatches of October 16 and 17 are received.
In regard to our prisoners of war held by the enemy, I submit the following brief explanation of the difficulties in effecting any exchanges on account of the utter disregard of the cartel by the rebel authorities.
The enemy commenced the violation of this solemn agreement by refusing to deliver and exchange certain classes of officers and men, and as soon as they had in their possession a large number of their own, paroled by General Grant at Vicksburg and yourself at Port Hudson, they entirely ceased delivering ours as required by the cartel, but placed them in close confinement. They then proceeded to declare all of their own paroled prisoners "duly exchanged" without any equivalents delivered to us. In this way they have been able to return to duty in the field a much larger number of men than if they had made regular exchanges. This was a most shameless violation of the cartel and the general laws of war.
To now exchange the rebel prisoners in our hands for ours in the possession of the rebels would be to admit the legal exchange of the rebel prisoners already returned to duty.
Generals Hitchcock and Meredith have been doing their best to arrange this difficulty and to renew the system of exchanges established by the cartel, but it is almost useless to expect any justice or honesty from a rebel, who is described by Shakespeare "upon whom do swarm the multiplying villainies of nature."
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief.
[OR Series II Vol VI p. 419]

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, November 17, 1863.Major-General BUTLER, Fort Monroe: The whole subject of exchange of prisoners is under direction of Major-General Hitchcock, to whom, as commissioner of exchange, that branch of the service has been committed. He will be glad to have any idea or suggestion you may be pleased to furnish, but there should be no interference without his assent. It is known that the rebels will exchange man for man and officer for officer, except blacks and officers in command of black troops. These they absolutely refuse to exchange. This is the point on which the whole matter hinges. Exchanging man for man and officer for officer, with the exception the rebels make, is a substantial abandonment of the colored troops and their officers to their fate, and would be a shameful dishonor to the Government bound to protect them. When they agree to exchange all alike there will be no difficulty. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War. [OR Ser II Vol 6 p. 528]

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, December 5, 1863.
Mr. PRESIDENT:
A general summary of the military operations of the past year is furnished by the report of the General-in-Chief, herewith submitted. In the operations that have been alluded to, prisoners of war to the number of about 13,000 have fallen into the hands of the enemy and are now held by them. From the commencement of the rebellion until the War Department came into my charge there was no cartel or formal exchange of prisoners; but at an early period afterward a just and reasonable cartel was made between Major-General Dix and the rebel General Hill, which, until recently, was faithfully acted upon by both parties. Exchanges under that cartel are now stopped, mainly for the following reasons: First. At Vicksburg over 30,000 rebel prisoners fell into our hands, and over 5,000 more at Port Hudson. These prisoners were paroled and suffered to return to their homes until exchanged pursuant to the terms of the cartel. But the rebel agent, in violation of the cartel, declared the Vicksburg prisoners exchanged; and, without being exchanged, the Port Hudson prisoners he, without just cause, and in open violation of the cartel, declared released from their parole. These prisoners were returned to their ranks, and a portion of them were found fighting at Chattanooga and again captured. For this breach of faith, unexampled in civilized warfare, the only apology or excuse was that an equal number of prisoners had been captured by the enemy. But, on calling for specifications in regard to these alleged prisoners, it was found that a considerable number represented as prisoners were not soldiers, but were non-combatants--citizens of towns and villages, farmers, travelers, and others in civil life, not captured in battle, but taken at their homes, on their farms, or on the highway, by John Morgan and other rebel raiders, who put them under a sham parole. To balance these men against rebel soldiers taken on the field would be relieving the enemy from the pressure of war and enable him to protract the contest to indefinite duration. Second. When the Government commenced organizing colored troops the rebel leader, Davis, by solemn and official proclamation, announced that the colored troops and their white officers, if captured, would not be recognized as prisoners of war, but would be given up for punishment by the State authorities. These proceedings of the rebel authorities were met by the earnest remonstrance and protest of this Government, without effect. The offers by our commissioner to exchange man for man and officer for officer, or to receive and provide for our own soldiers, under the solemn guarantee that they should not go into the field until duly exchanged, were rejected. In the meantime well-authenticated statements show that our troops held as prisoners of war were deprived of shelter, clothing, and food, and some have perished from exposure and famine. This savage barbarity could only have been practiced in the hope that this Government would be compelled, by sympathy for the suffering endured by our troops, to yield to the proposition of exchanging all the prisoners of war on both sides, paroling the excess not actually exchanged; the effect of which operation would be to enable the rebels to put into the field a new army 40,000 strong, forcing the paroled prisoners into the ranks without exchange, as was done with those paroled at Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and also to leave in the hands of the rebels the colored soldiers and officers, who are not regarded by them as prisoners of war, and therefore not entitled to the benefit of the proposed exchange. The facts and correspondence relating to this subject are detailed in the accompanying report of Major-General Hitchcock, commissioner of exchanges. As the matter now stands, we have over 40,000 prisoners of war, ready at any moment to be exchanged, man for man and officer for officer, to the number held by the rebels. These number about 13,000, who are now supplied with food and raiment by this Government and by our benevolent and charitable associations and individuals. Two prisoners, Captains Sawyer and Flinn, held by the rebels, are sentenced to death, by way of a pretended retaliation for two prisoners tried and shot as spies by command of Major-General Burnside. Two rebel officers have been designated and are held as hostages for them. The rebel prisoners of war in our possession have heretofore been treated with the utmost humanity and tenderness consistent with security. They have had good quarters, full rations, clothing when needed, and the same hospital treatment received by our own soldiers. Indulgence of friendly visits and supplies was formerly permitted, but they have been cut off since the barbarity practiced against our prisoners became known to the Government. If it should become necessary for the protection of our men, strict retaliation will be resorted to. But while the rebel authorities suffer this Government to feed and clothe our troops held as prisoners we shall be content to continue to their prisoners in our hands the humane treatment they have uniformly enjoyed.
Respectfully submitted.
EDWIN M. STANTON,Secretary of War.
[OR Ser II Vol 6 pp. 647-649]

CITY POINT, VA., August 24, 1863.
I propose that all paroles on both sides heretofore given shall be determined by the general orders issued by the War Department of the United States, to wit, No. 49, No. 100, and No. 207 of this year, according to their respective dates, and in conformity with paragraph 131 of General Orders, No. 100, so long as said paragraph was in force. If this proposition is not acceptable I propose that the practice heretofore adopted respecting paroles and exchanges be continued. In other words, I propose that the whole question of paroles be determined by the general orders of the United States, according to their dates, or that it be decided by former practice. Re. OULD,
Agent of Exchange.
In reply to my demand for the release of Colonel Streight and his command I was informed that they were in Richmond held as other prisoners of war, and will be exchanged when exchanges of officers are resumed. In relation to Doctor Rucker, Mr. Ould referred me to his letter of August 16, which I have the honor to forward herewith.

**To my demand "that all officers commanding negro troops, and negro troops themselves, should be treated as other prisoners of war, and be exchanged as such," Mr. Ould declined acceding, remarking that they (the rebels) would "die in the last ditch" before giving up the right to send slaves back to slavery as property recaptured, but that they were willing to make exceptions in the case of free blacks. He could not exactly tell me how his authorities intended to distinguish between the two (free and slave), but presumed that evidence as to the fact of freedom would be taken into consideration. As their laws put slave and free upon the same footing no comment is necessary.**

An informal proposition was made to the following effect: "To exchange officer for officer of the same grade, except such as are in command of negro troops;" which was declined.

Mr. Ould expresses a willingness to release all chaplains, provided that one Septimus Cameron, who, he stated, had been in prison for a year, should be released, or indicted for any offense he may have committed. On my inquiring about and urging the release of the members of the Sanitary Commission, I was informed that they would be set free on making a statement in writing that they had at any time been of assistance to rebel soldiers. General Neal Dow has been handed over to the Governor of Alabama. Lieutenant-Colonel Powell is in Libby Prison, Richmond. I have notified the rebel authorities in relation to the two above-named officers, as directed in yours of the 18th ultimo [instant].

The rebel authorities wish to continue exchanging non-commissioned officers and privates as usual, returning as many as we send. I have given you, I believe, the substance of all that took place, according to your suggestion. I avoided much discussion. No agreement as to exchanges was arrived at.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. MEREDITH,
Brigadier-General and Commissioner for Exchange. [OR Ser II Vol 6 pp. 225-226]

From the above, we can see the exchanges were halted before Grant took command of Union armies.

Grant continued to carry out the policy that had been established before he was promoted.

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
In the Field, Culpeper Court-House, April 17, 1864.
Maj. Gen. B. F. BUTLER, Comdg. Dept. of Virginia and N. Carolina,
Fortress Monroe, Va.:
GENERAL:
Your report of negotiations with Mr. Ould, C. S. agent, touching the exchange of prisoners, has been referred to me by the Secretary of War with directions to furnish you such instructions on the subject as I may deem proper. After a careful examination of your report the only points on which I deem instructions necessary are: First. Touching the validity of the paroles of the prisoners captured at Vicksburg and Port Hudson. Second. The status of colored prisoners. As to the first, no arrangement for the exchange of prisoners will be acceded to that does not fully recognize the validity of these paroles and provide for the release to us of a sufficient number of prisoners now held by the Confederate authorities to cancel any balance that may be in our favor by virtue of these paroles. Until there is released to us a sufficient number of officers and men as were captured and paroled at Vicksburg and Port Hudson not another Confederate prisoner of war will be paroled or exchanged. As to the second, no distinction whatever will be made in the exchange between white and colored prisoners; the only question being, were they at the time of their capture in the military service of the United States. If they were the same terms as to treatment while prisoners and conditions of release and exchange must be exacted and had in the case of colored soldiers as of white soldiers. Non-acquiescence by the Confederate authorities in both or either of these propositions will be regarded as a refusal on their part to agree to the further exchange of prisoners, and will be so treated by us.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U.S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.
[OR Ser II, Vol 7, pp. 62-63]

In October of 1864, R. E. Lee proposed an exchange of prisoners to Grant:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
October 1, 1864.
Lieut. Gen. U.S. GRANT, Commanding Armies of the United States:
GENERAL: With a view of alleviating the sufferings of our soldiers, I have the honor to propose an exchange of the prisoners of war belonging to the armies operating in Virginia, man for man, or upon the basis established by the cartel.
With much respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
General.
[OR Series II, Vol VII, pp. 906-907]

Grant was receptive to this proposal, but insisted that Black troops be exchanged as well:

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
October 2, 1864.
General R. E. LEE, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:
GENERAL: Your letter of yesterday proposing to exchange prisoners of war belonging to the armies operating in Virginia is received. I could not of a right accept your proposition further than to exchange those prisoners captured within the last three days and who have not yet been delivered to the Commissary-General of Prisoners. Among those lost by the armies operating against Richmond were a number of colored troops. Before further negotiations are had upon the subject I would ask if you propose delivering these men the same as white soldiers.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U.S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.
[OR Series II Vol VII p. 909]

Lee then refused to include the Black troops he considered to be escaped slaves. How he would know which were escaped slaves and which weren't is unknown:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
October 3, 1864.
Lieut. Gen. U.S. GRANT,
Commanding Armies of the United States:
GENERAL: In my proposition of the 1st instant to exchange the prisoners of war belonging to the armies operating in Virginia I intended to include all captured soldiers of the United States of whatever nation and color under my control. Deserters from our service and negroes belonging to our citizens are not considered subjects of exchange and were not included in my proposition. If there are any such among those stated by you to have been captured around Richmond they cannot be returned.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
General.

[OR Series II Vol VII, p. 914]

Grant then properly declines to participate in the exchange since the rebels refused to treat all US soldiers equally:

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
October 3, 1864.
General R. E. LEE, Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:
GENERAL: Your letter of this date is received. In answer I have to state that the Government is bound to secure to all persons received into her armies the rights due to soldiers. This being denied by you in the persons of such men as have escaped from Southern masters induces me to decline making the exchanges you ask. The whole matter, however, will be referred to the proper authority for their decision, and whatever it may be will be adhered to.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U.S. GRANT,
Lieutenant-General.
[Ibid.]
 
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#23
It is a myth that Grant stopped the prisoner exchange. This was initiated by politicians on both sides with the main issue being the disposition of black U.S. soldiers. However later the confederates capitulated on the issue and Grant did cause a delay in the resumption of the exchange. CSA officials offered to resume the cartel in the summer of 1864 including black prisoners. Butler, the Union Commissioner of the Exchange contacted Grant for help. Grant responded:


"It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons not to exchange them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks to fight our battles. Every man we hold, when released on parole or otherwise, becomes an active soldier against us at once either directly or indirectly. If we commence a system of exchange which liberates all prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South is exterminated. If we hold those caught they amount to no more than dead men. At this particular time to release all rebel prisoners North would insure Sherman's defeat and would compromise our safety here." – General Ulysses S. Grant

Butler and Ould agreed to exchanges of sick and wounded soldiers in September 1864 but the original cartel was never restarted. Grant began exchanging prisoner on his own negotiation in early 1865. He ordered that confederates unfit for duty or from states firmly under federal control be exchanged first. Later he wanted to force Rebels who were unwilling to return to the confederate army to be exchanged against their will. He was overturned on this.

While Grant was not involved in the halt of the exchange he took actions that delayed its resumption. Later when the war was obviously won he allowed exchanges but shied away from the original Dix-Hill cartel methods. He adopted policies that favored the union armies in the field by limiting the return of exchanged Confederates most likely to continue the fight.
 

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#24
It is a myth that Grant stopped the prisoner exchange. This was initiated by politicians on both sides with the main issue being the disposition of black U.S. soldiers. However later the confederates capitulated on the issue and Grant did cause a delay in the resumption of the exchange. CSA officials offered to resume the cartel in the summer of 1864 including black prisoners. Butler, the Union Commissioner of the Exchange contacted Grant for help. Grant responded:


"It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons not to exchange them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks to fight our battles. Every man we hold, when released on parole or otherwise, becomes an active soldier against us at once either directly or indirectly. If we commence a system of exchange which liberates all prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South is exterminated. If we hold those caught they amount to no more than dead men. At this particular time to release all rebel prisoners North would insure Sherman's defeat and would compromise our safety here." – General Ulysses S. Grant

Butler and Ould agreed to exchanges of sick and wounded soldiers in September 1864 but the original cartel was never restarted. Grant began exchanging prisoner on his own negotiation in early 1865. He ordered that confederates unfit for duty or from states firmly under federal control be exchanged first. Later he wanted to force Rebels who were unwilling to return to the confederate army to be exchanged against their will. He was overturned on this.

While Grant was not involved in the halt of the exchange he took actions that delayed its resumption. Later when the war was obviously won he allowed exchanges but shied away from the original Dix-Hill cartel methods. He adopted policies that favored the union armies in the field by limiting the return of exchanged Confederates most likely to continue the fight.
It appears this was not as a result of a rebel offer to exchange all regardless of color. but rather the result of a request for a special exchange:

CITY POINT, August 18, 1864.

General BUTLER:

I see the steamer New York has arrived. Is she going to Aiken's Landing or elsewhere under flag of truce?

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant - General.

HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
In the Field, August 18, 1864.

Lieutenant - General GRANT, City Point:

Steamer New York is to go to Aiken's Landing under flag of truce, at which places he is to received certain communications and special exchanges, among whom is General Bartlett, and to arrange a meeting between Commissioner Ould and myself for a conference in regard to the treatment of our prisoners and some cases of retaliation.

BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major - General, Commanding.

CITY POINT, VA., August 18, 1864.

Major - General BUTLER, Commanding, &c.:

I am opposed to exchanges being made until the whole matter is put on a footing giving equal advantages to us with those given to the enemy. In the meantime I direct that no flags of truce be sent to the enemy nor any arrangements or agreements entered in to with him without my first being fully advised of what is being done and yielding my consent to it.

The steamer New York will not be permitted to proceed to Aiken's Landing until I receive are port of the full object of the mission and the load she now has on board.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant - General.

BUTLER'S HEADQUARTERS, August 18, 1864. - 7 p. m.

Lieutenant - General GRANT:

Telegram received. No exchange has or will be made which will give the enemy any advantage. To show that my views and the lieutenant -general's are in exact accordance, I will send letter written to General Hitchcock today upon this subject with the indorsement referred to.

I have exchanged no body but wounded men since the 1st of May, except surgeons, non - combatants, and a few cases of special exchange. A full report will be made to the lieutenant - general of all that was intended to be done in the matter.

BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major - General, Commissioner of Exchange.

[Inclosure.]

HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
In the Field, Va., August 18, 1864.

Major - General HITCHCOCK,

Commissioner of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: I have received one or two indorsement from you which say in substance that "it is desirable to have all our prisoners exchanged. " I agree [to] that if all means all. But do the Government intend to abandon the colored troops? That is the only question now pending. All others can be settled. From my conversation with the lieutenant - general he does not deem it desirable to move from the position taken on that question. I will again call the subject to the attention of Mr. Ould and obtain an interview with him if possible.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major - General and Commissioner of Exchange.

CITY POINT, VA., August 18, 1864.

Major - General BUTLER, Commanding, &c.:

I am satisfied that the object of your interview had the proper sanction and therefore meets with my entire approval. I have seen from Southern papers that a system or retaliations going on in the South which they keep from us and which we should stop in some way. On the subject of exchange, however, I differ from General Hitchcock. It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons not to exchange them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks to fight our battles. Every man we hold, when released on parole or otherwise, becomes as active soldier against us at once either directly or indirectly. If we commence a system of exchange which liberates all prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South is exterminated. If we hold those caught they amount to no more than dead men. At this particular time to release all rebel prisoners North would insure Sherman's defeat and would compromise our safety here.

U. S. GRANT,
Lieutenant - General.

HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
AUGUST 18, 1864.

Lieutenant - General GRANT,
Commanding Armies of the United States, City Point:

GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose to you a few of the applications and orders about special exchanges, to which I wish to call your attention; * also a copy of a letter written this morning to Major - General Hitchcock, commissioner of exchange at Washington, upon the subject of his indorsement "that an exchange would be very desirable,"+ and also a direction from the Secretary of War upon the necessity of making some arrangement about the treating of our prisoners in cases of supposed retaliation.

As these papers are original may I ask you the favor that they shall be returned?

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major - General and Commissioner for Exchange.

[OR Series II, Vol. 7, pp. 605-607]

Note that this exchange occurred in August, while the rebels were still refusing to exchange black troops. See the exchange above between Grant and Lee from October, two months later.
 

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#25
Nine days after the exchange between Butler and Grant, Butler sent this letter to the rebels:

HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,
In the Field, August [27], 1864.

Honorable ROBERT OULD, Commissioner for Exchange:

SIR: Your note to Major Mulford, assistant agent of exchange, under date of 10th of August, has been referred to me. *

You therein state that Major Mulford has several times proposed to exchange prisoners respectively held by the two belligerents, officer for officer, and man for man, and that "the offer has also been made by other officials having charge of matters connected with the exchange of prisoners," and that "this proposal has been heretofore declined by the Confederate authorities; " that you now consent to the above proposition, and agree to deliver to you (Major Mulford) the prisoners held in captivity by the Confederate authorities, provided you agree to deliver an equal number of officers and men. As equal numbers are delivered from time to time they will be declared exchanged. This proposal is made with the understanding that the officers and men on both sides who have been longest in captivity will be first delivered, where it is practicable.

From a slight ambiguity in your phraseology, but more, perhaps, from the antecedent action of your authorities, and because of your acceptance of if, I am in doubt whether you have stated the proposition with entire accuracy.

It is true, a proposition was made both by Major Mulford and myself, as agent of exchange, to exchange all prisoners of war taken by either belligerent party, man for man, officer for officer, of equal rank, or their equivalents. It was made by me as early as the first of the winter of 1863-64, and has not been accepted. In May last I forwarded to you a note desiring to know whether the Confederate authorities intended to treat colored soldiers of the U. S. Army as prisoners of war. To that inquiry no answer has yet been made. To avoid all possible misapprehension or mistake hereafter as to your offer now, will you say now whether you mean by "prisoners held in captivity" colored men, duly enrolled and mustered into the service of the United States, who have been captured by the Confederate forces, and if your authorities are willing to exchange all soldiers so mustered into the U. S. Army, whether colored or otherwise, and the officers commanding them, man for man, officer for officer?

At an interview which was held between yourself and the agent of exchange on the part of the United States, at Fort Monroe, in March last, you will do me the favor to remember the principal discussion turned upon this very point, you, on behalf of the Confederate Government, claiming the right to hold all negroes who had heretofore been slaves and not emancipated by their masters, enrolled and mustered into the service of the United States, when captured by your forces, not as prisoners of war, but, upon capture, to be turned over to heir supposed masters or claimants, whoever they might be, to be held by them as slaves.

By the advertisements in your newspapers, calling upon masters to come forward and claim these men so captured, I suppose that your authorities still adhere to that claim; that is to say, that whenever a colored soldier of the United States is captured by you, upon whom any claim can be made by any person residing within the States now in insurrection, such soldier is not to be treated as a prisoner of war, but is to be turned over to his supposed owner or claimant, and put at such labor or service as that owner or claimant may choose; and the officers in command of such soldiers, in the language of a supposed act of the Confederate States, are to be turned over to the Governors of States, upon requisitions, for the purpose of being punished by the laws of such States for acts done in war in the armies of the United States.

You must be aware that there is still a proclamation by Jefferson Davis, claiming to be Chief Executive of the Confederate States, declaring in substance that all officers of colored troops mustered into the service of the United States were not to be treated as prisoners of war, but were to be turned over for punishment to the Governors of States
.

I am reciting these public acts from memory, and will be pardoned for not giving the exact words, although I believe I do not vary the substance and effect. These declarations on the part of those whom you represent yet remain unrepealed, unannulled, unrevoked, and must therefore be still supposed to be authoritative. By your acceptance of our proposition, is the Government of the United States to understand that these several claims, enactments, and proclaimed declarations are to be given up, set aside, revoked, and held for naught by the Confederate authorities, and that you are ready and willing to exchange, man for man, those colored soldiers of the United States, duly mustered and enrolled as such, who have heretofore been claimed a Confederate States, as well as white soldiers?

If this be so, and you are so willing to exchange these colored men claimed as slaves, and you will so officially inform the Government of the United States, then, as I am instructed, a principal difficulty in effecting exchanges will be removed.

As I informed you personally, in my judgment, it is neither consistent with the policy, dignity, nor honor of the United States, upon any consideration, to allow those who, by our laws solemnly enacted, are made soldiers of the Union, and who have been duly enlisted, enrolled, and mustered as such soldiers - who have borne arms in behalf of this country, and who have been captured while fighting in vindication of the rights of that country - not to be treated as prisoners of war, and remain unexchanged and in the service of those who claim them as masters; and I cannot believe that the Government of the United States will ever be found to consent to so gross a wrong.

Pardon me if I misunderstood you in supposing that your acceptance of our proposition does not in good faith mean to include all the soldiers of the Union, and that you still intend, if your acceptance is agreed to, to hold the colored soldiers of the Union unexchanged, and at labor or service, because I am informed that very lately, almost contemporaneously with this offer on your part to exchange prisoners, and which seems to include all prisoners of war, the Confederate authorities have made a declaration that the negroes heretofore held to service by owners in the States of Delaware, Maryland, and Missouri, are to be treated as prisoners of war when captured in arms in the service of the United States. Such declaration, that a part of the colored soldiers of the United States were to be prisoners of war, would seem most strongly to imply that others were not to be so treated; or, in other words, that colored men from the insurrectionary States are to be held to labor and returned to their masters, if captured by the Confederate forces while duly enrolled and mustered into and actually in the armies of the United States.

In the view which the Government of the United States takes of the claim made by you to the persons and services of these negroes, it is not to be supported upon any principle of national or municipal law.

Looking upon these men only as property, upon your theory of property in them, we do not see how this claim can be made; certainly not how it can be yielded. It is believed to be a well-settled rule of public international law, and a custom and part of the laws of war, that the capture of movable property vests the title to that property in the captor, and therefore, when one belligerent gets into full possession of property belonging to the subjects or citizens of the other belligerent, the owner of that property is at once divested of his title, which rests in the belligerent government capturing and holding such possession. Upon this rule of international law all civilized nations have acted, and by it both belligerents have dealt with all property, save slaves, taken from each other during the present war.

If the Confederate forces capture a number of horses from the United States, the animals are immediately claimed to be, and, as we understand it, become the property of the Confederate authorities.

If the United States capture any movable property in the rebellion, by our regulations and laws, in conformity with the international law and the laws of war, such property is turned over to our Government as its property. Therefore, if we obtain possession of that species of property known to the laws of the insurrectionary States as slaves, why should there by any doubt that that property, like any other, vests in the United States?

If the property in the slave does so vest, the jus disponendi, the right of disposing of that property, rests in the United State.

Now, the United States have disposed of the property which they have acquired by capture in slaves taken by them, by giving that right of property to the man himself, to the slave - i. e., by emancipating him and declaring him free forever; so that if we have not mistaken the principles of international law and the laws of war, we have no slaves in the armies of the United States. All are free men, being made so in such manner as we have chosen to dispose of our property in them which we acquire by capture.

Slaves being captured by us, and the right of property in them thereby vested in us, that right of property has been disposed of by us by manumitting them, as has always been the acknowledged right of the owner to do to his slave. The manner in which we dispose of our property while it is in our possession certainly cannot be questioned by you.

Nor is the case altered if the property is not actually captured in battle, but comes either voluntarily or involuntarily from the belligerent owner into the possession of the other belligerent.

I take it no one would doubt the right of the United States to a drove of Confederate mules, or a herd of Confederate cattle, which should wander or rush across the Confederate lines into the lines of the U. S. Army. So it seems to me, treating the negro as property merely, if that piece of property passes the Confederate lines and comes into the lines of the United States, that property is as much lost to its owner in the Confederate States as would be the mule or ox, the property of the resident of the Confederate States, which should fall into our hands.

If, therefore, the principles of international law and the laws of war used in this discussion are correctly stated, then it would seem that the deduction logically flows therefrom, in natural sequence, that the Confederate States can have no claim upon the negro soldiers captured by them from the armies of the United States, because of the former ownership of them by their citizens or subjects, and only claim such as result, under the laws of war, from their capture merely.

do the Confederate authorities claim the right to reduce to a state of slavery freemen, prisoners of war, captured by them? This claim our fathers fought against under Bainbridge and Decatur when set up by the Barbary powers on the northern shore of Africa, about the year 1800, and in 1864 their children will hardly yield it upon their own soil.

This point I will not pursue further, because I understand you to repudiate the idea that you will reduce freemen to slaves because I understand you to capture in war, and that you base the claim of the Confederate authorities to re-enslave our negro soldiers when captured by you upon the jus postlimini, or that principle of the law of nations which rehabilitates the former owner with his property taken by an enemy when such property is recovered by the forces of his own country. Or, in other words, you claim that, by the laws of nations and of war, when property of the subjects of one belligerent power captured by the forces of the other belligerent is recaptured by the armies of the former owner, then such property is to be restored to its prior possessor, as if it had never been captured; and therefore under this principle your authorities propose to restore to their masters the slaves which heretofore belonged to them which you may capture form us.

But this postliminary right under which you claim to act, as understood and defined by all writers of national law, is applicable simply to immovable property, and that, too, only after the complete subjugation of that portion of the country in which the property is situated upon which this right fastens itself. By the laws and customs of war this right has never been applied to movable property.

True it is, I believe, that the Romans attempted to apply it in the case of slaves, but for 2,000 years no other nation has attempted to set up this right as ground for treating slaves differently from other property.

but the Romans even refused to re-enslave men captured from opposing belligerents in a civil war, such as ours unhappily is.

Consistently, then, with any principle of the law of nations, treating slaves as property merely, it would seem impossible for the Government of the United States to permit the negroes in their ranks to be re-enslaved when captured, or treated otherwise than as prisoners of war.

I have forborne, sir, in this discussion to argue the question upon any other of different grounds of right than those adopted by your authorities in claiming the negro as property, because I understand that your fabric of opposition to the Government of the United States has the right of property in man as its corner stone. Of course it would not be profitable in settling a question of exchange of prisoners of war to attempt to argue the question of abandonment of the very corner stone of their attempted political edifice. Therefore I have omitted all the considerations which should apply to the negro soldier as a man, and dealt with him upon the Confederate theory of property only.

I unite with you most cordially, sir, in desiring a speedy settlement of all these questions, in view of the great suffering endured by our prisoners in the hands of your authorities, of which you so feelingly speak. Let me ask, in view of that suffering, why you have delayed eight months to answer a proposition which, by now accepting, you admit to be right, just, and humane, allowing that suffering to continue so long? One cannot help thinking, even at the risk of being deemed uncharitable, that the benevolent sympathies of the Confederate authorities have been lately stirred by the depleted condition of their armies, and a desire to get into the field, to affect the present campaign, the hale, hearty, and well-fed prisoners held by the United States, in exchange for the half-starved, sick, emaciated, and unserviceable soldiers of the United States now languishing in your prisons. The events of this war, if we did not know it before, have taught us that it is not the Northern portion of the American people alone who know how to drive sharp bargains.

The wrongs, indignities, and privations suffered by our soldiers would move me to consent to anything to procure their exchange, except to barter away the honor and faith of the Government of the United States, which has been so solemnly pledged to the colored soldiers in its ranks.

Consistently with national faith and justice we cannot relinquish this position. With your authorities it is a question of properly merely. It seems to address itself to you in this form: Will you suffer your soldier, captured in fighting your battles, to be in confinement for months rather than release him by giving for him that which you call a piece of property, and which we are willing to accept as a man?

You certainly appear to place less value upon your soldier than you do upon your negro. I assure you, much as we of the North are accused of loving property, our citizens would have no difficulty in yielding up any piece of property they have in exchange for one of their brothers or sons languishing in your prisons. Certainly there could be no doubt that they would do so were that piece of property less in value than $5,999 in Confederate money, which is believed to be the price of an able-bodied negro in the insurrectionary States.

Trusting that I may receive such a reply to the questions propounded in this note as will lead to a speedy resumption of the negotiations for a full exchange of all prisoners and delivery of them to their respective authorities,

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major-General and Commissioner for Exchange.
[OR Series II, Vol. 7, pp. 687-691]

On August 31, the confederate Secretary of War James Seddon wrote to Gov. Bonham of South Carolina:

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT,
Richmond, Va., August 31, 1864.

His Excellency M. L. BONHAM,

Governor of South Carolina, Columbia, S. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of the 23rd instant relative to the disposition of negroes captured in arms from the enemy. The embarrassments attending this question and the serious consequences which might ensue from the rigid enforcement of the act of Congress originally passed on the subject, have co-operated with the objections which have been made by the authorities of some of the States to receive negroes directed to be turned over to them, and with the inability, when they have been turned over, to obtain criminal trials, to induce the Department to assume the responsibility of modifying the proposed action in relation to such negroes. It has been considered best, in view of the whole subject, to make a distinction between negroes so taken who can be recognized or identified as slaves and those who were free inhabitants of the Federal States. The former are regarded and treated as recaptured slaves, under the provisions of the act approved October 13, 1862, which makes arrangement for their return to the owners establishing title. This, it will be observed, will not free them from the liability to criminal proceedings in the hands of owners, if it be deemed necessary for the vindication of the criminal justice of the states to which they belong, while at the same time it recognizes and secures the property of the owner. The free negroes of the North are held in strict confinement and not as yet formally recognized in any official dealings with the enemy as prisoners of war, but, except in some trivial particulars indicative of inferior consideration are treated very much in the same manner as our other captives. The decision as to their ultimate disposition will probably be referred to Congress, and, as far as I can judge from the prevalent opinion which has reached me, it is probable they will be recognized in some form as prisoners of war. In relation to the negroes received by you I would advise the delivery to their owners of such as are identified as slaves and the return of those discovered to have been originally free to the Confederate authorities.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
[OR Series II, Vol. 7, pp. 703-704]

We also have these:

CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, WAR DEPARTMENT,
Richmond, Va., August 31, 1864.

P. L. STRATTON, Esq., Lynchburg, Va.:

SIR: The President has referred your letter of the 22nd instant, asking that one of the Federal negroes now under guard in Lynchburg be given you in place of a negro boy carried away by Hunter's forces, to this Department for reply. You are informed that the said Department has no authority to grant the request, as the act of Congress make other dispositions of slaves captured from the army.

Respectfully,

JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

AUGUST 31, 1864.
The RELATIVES AND FRIENDS OF CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS CONFINED IN NORTHERN PRISONS:

On the 22nd of July, 1862, the cartel of exchange was agreed upon. The chief if not only purpose of that instrument was to secure the release of all prisoners of war. To that end the fourth article provided that all prisoners of war. To that end the fourth article provided that all prisoners of war should be discharged on parole in ten days after their capture, and that the prisoners then held and those thereafter taken should be transported to the points mutually agreed upon, at the expense of the capturing party. The sixth article also stipulated 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, as soon thereafter as practicable."

From the date of the cartel until July, 1863, the Confederate authorities held the excess of prisoners. During that interval deliveries were made as fast as the Federal Government furnished transportation. Indeed, upon more than one occasion I urged the Federal authorities to send increased means of transportation. As ready as the enemy always has been to bring false accusations against us, it has never been alleged that we failed or neglected to make prompt deliveries of prisoners who were not under charges when we held the excess. On the other hand, during the same time, the cartel was openly and notoriously violated by the Federal authorities. Officers and men were kept in cruel confinement, sometimes in irons, or doomed to cells, without charges or trial.

In July, 1863, the enemy, for the first time since the adoption of the cartel, held an excess of prisoners. As soon as that fact was ascertained, whenever a delivery was made by the Federal authorities they demanded an equal number in return. I endeavored frequently to obtain from the Federal agent of exchange a distinct avowal of the intentions of his Government as to the delivery of prisoners, but in vain. At length, on the 20th of October, 1863, I addressed to Brigadier-General Meredith the following letter, to wit: *

On the 29th of October, 1863, I received from General Meredith a communication informing me that my proposal of the 20th was "not accepted. " I was insultingly told that if the excess of prisoners was delivered they would be wrongfully declared exchanged by me and put in the field. To show how groundless this imputation was it is only necessary for me to state that since then I have repeatedly offered to give ten Federal captives for every Confederate soldier whom the enemy will show to have been wrongfully declared exchanged. From the last-named date until the present time there have bene but few deliveries of prisoners, the enemy in each case demanding a like number in return.

It will be observed that the Confederate authorities only claimed that the provisions of the cartel should be fulfilled. They only asked the enemy to do what without any hesitation they had done during the first year of the operation of the cartel. Seeing a persistent purpose on the part of the Federal Government to violate its own agreement, the Confederate authorities, moved by the suffering of the brave men who are so unjustly held in Northern prisons, determined to abate their fair demand, and accordingly on the 10th of August, 1864, I addressed the following communication to Major John E. Mulford, assistant agent of exchange, in charge of the flag-of-truce boat, which, on the same day, I delivered to him at Varina, on James River. +

I accompanied the delivery of the letter with a statement of the mortality which was hurrying so many Federal prisoners at Andersonville to the grave. On the 20th of the same month, Major Mulford returned with the flag-of-truce steamer, but brought no answer to my letter of the 10th of August. In conversation with him I asked him if he had any reply to make to my communication, and his answer was that he was not authorized to make any. So deep was the solicitude which I felt in the fate of the captives in Northern prisons that I determined to make another effort. In order to obviate any objection which technicality might raise as to the person to whom my communication was addressed, I wrote to Major General E. A. Hitchcock, who is the Federal commissioner of exchange, residing in Washington City, the following letter, and delivered the same to Major Mulford on the day of its date. * Accompanying that letter was a copy of the communication which I had addressed to Major Mulford on the 10th of August.

On the afternoon of the 30th of August I was notified that the flag-of-truce steamer had again appeared at Varina. On the following day I sent to Major Mulford the following note, to wit:

RICHMOND, August 31, 1864.
Major JOHN E. MULFORD, Assistant Agent of Exchange:

SIR: On the 10th of this month I addressed you a communication to which I have received no answer. On the 22nd instant I also addressed a communication to Major General E. A. Hitchcock, U. S. commissioner of exchange, inclosing a copy of my letter to you of the 10th instant. I now respectfully ask you to state in writing whether you have any reply to either or said communications, and if not, whether you have any reason to give why no reply has been made.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

RO. OULD,
Agent of Exchange.

In a short time I received the following response, to wit:

FLAG-OF-TRUCE STEAMER NEW YORK,
Varina, Va., August 31, 1864.

Honorable R. OULD, Agent of Exchange:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of to-day, requesting answer, &c, to your communication of the 10th instant, on the question of the exchange of prisoners, to which, in reply, I would say I have no communication on the subject from our authorities, nor am I yet authorized to make answer.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN E. MULFORD,
Major and Assistant Agent of Exchange.

I have thus fully set before you the action of the Confederate authorities, in relation to a matter which laws so near your hearts, and how it has been received by the enemy.

The fortunes of your fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, and friends are as dear to those authorities as their persons are precious to you, and I have made this publication not only as an illustration of Federal bad faith, but also that you might see that your Government has spared no effort to secure the release of the gallant men who have so often fronted death in the defense of our sacred cause.

RO. OULD,
Agent of Exchange.
[OR Series II, Vol. 7, pp. 704-706]
 
Joined
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Messages
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#26
Ould's letter of 8/10/1864 offered to comply with the man for man exchange that had been previously proposed by the Union side.

Butler consulted Grant who wrote this on 8/18/1864
"It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons not to exchange them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks to fight our battles. Every man we hold, when released on parole or otherwise, becomes an active soldier against us at once either directly or indirectly. If we commence a system of exchange which liberates all prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South is exterminated."

Grant wrote Seward this on 8/19/1864
"We ought not to make a single exchange nor release a prisoner on any pretext whatever until the war closes. We have got to fight until the military power of the South is exhausted, and if we release or exchange prisoners captured it simply becomes a war of extermination."

Butler wrote back to Ould on 8/27/1864 asking if black troops were included in the exchange as listed in your post but Ould claimed to have never received the reply.

Also noted in your post is Ould's letter of 8/31/1864 stating he had no answer to his 8/10/1864 letter.

In September Hood and Sherman agree to a prisoner exchange independently of the commissioners.

In October Grant rejects Lee's proposed exchange based upon the question of black troops.

Later in October Stanton instructs Grant "take any steps you may deem proper to effect the release and exchange of our soldiers and loyal persons held as prisoners by the rebel authorities."

Jan 24, 1865 Ould repeats his offer to Grant as a " man for man exchange."

Grant initiates an exchange with a view to minimize Confederate prisoners returning to fight. Several thousand prisoners were exchanged each week. Grant suspends the exchange in April due to the military situation at Petersburg.



 
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
468
Location
Arlington, Virginia
#27
Grant did not want to exchange along with Lincoln---They let those men suffer to try to end the war---They knew Confederates exchanged would be right back in the front lines---It was simply wearing down the South's manpower.
That's one of the most persistent myths in popular civil war history. The exchange cartel broke down temporarily several times because of debates over the numbers "owed" by each side. But the specific reason given for the War Department's suspension in May, 1863 was passage of the Confederate Retaliatory Act. This law stated that African American enlisted men would not be treated as POWs but re-enslaved, or enslaved, and their officers would be tried by military commissions for "inciting servile insurrection."

Several unsuccessful attempts were made to restart the cartel, but unilateral "exchanges" by the rebels and persistent refusal to treat black soldiers of the US army as POWs prevented it.

As for Grant, he wasn't CIC when the cartel initially broke down. After he gained the position, in April 1864, he ordered Butler not to restart exchanges until USCT received equal consideration. This the rebels continued to refuse.

Grant's off-quoted comment about exhausting the Confederacy's manpower did not come until several months later, in August 1864.

There's a fairly complete chronology here, but the upshot is that the principal barrier to exchanges was the Confederacy's refusal to recognize African American soldiers in the US army as the free men they were: http://www.jfepperson.org/pow.htm

I hope this clarifies my earlier statement.
 

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Messages
18,510
Location
Laurinburg NC
#29
POW deaths for Company E, 40th NC/3rd artillery

The battery was overrun and captured 15 January 1865 at Fort Fisher. A few men escaped (including a great-grandfather) and fought with the infantry at Wyse Forks and Bentonville.

Pow camps where prisoners were sent and numbers who survived and those who died of disease.

Fort Columbus, New York Harbor- 3 officers all three survived.

Enlisted men

Fort Delaware – 1 (survived)

Elmira – 26-- 11 died and 15 survived (3 of the 15 died in a Richmond hospital shortly after release.

Point Lookout-- 48 -- 8 died and 40 survived.

North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865, A Roster, Vol I, Artillery, pp. 417-427.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
755
Location
Georgia Coast
#30
After reading all the info presented the fact is non-exchange helped the North and hurt the South----Even in Jan. 1865 Lincoln was offering 400,000,000 in bonds to pay the South for their lost property to come back in the Union. Still politicians on both sides stalled peace. A big part of the stall was non-exchange of prisoners---And without a doubt the men in the field on both sides suffered. All the conflicting correspondence between officers on both sides does not a myth make. The fact was non-exchange was a winner for Grant and a loser for the men held on both sides.
 

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