Page:Abraham Lincoln address (1909).djvu/29

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

27

army of the Confederacy"; that "hospitals for prisoners of war are placed on the same footing as other Confederate States' hospitals in all respects, and will be managed accordingly." And General Lee says, "The orders always were that the whole field should be treated alike; parties were sent out to take the Federal wounded as well as Confederate, and the surgeons were told to treat the one as they did the other. These orders given by me were respected on very field."

At the very beginning of hostilities, the Confederate authorities were likewise most anxious to establish a cartel for the exchange of prisoners. The Federals refused to do this until July 22, 1862, and almost directly after this cartel was established it was violated and annulled by the Federal authorities with Mr. Lincoln at their head. On the 6th of July, 1861, Mr. Davis wrote to Mr. Lincoln, saying:

"It is the desire of this government so to conduct the war now existing as to mitigate its horrors as far as may be possible, and with this intent its treatment of the prisoners captured by its forces has been marked by the greatest humanity and leniency consistent with public obligation."

This letter was sent to Washington by a special messenger (Colonel Taylor), but he was refused even an audience with Mr. Lincoln, and although a reply was promised, no reply to it was ever made.

On the 2d of July, 1863, Mr. Davis addressed another letter to Mr. Lincoln and tried to send it to him by the hands of Vice-President Stephens, saying:

"I believe I have just grounds of complaint against the officers and forces under your command for breach of the cartel; and being myself ready to execute it at all times, and in good faith, I am not justified in doubting the existence of the same disposition on your part. In addition to this matter, I have to complain of the conduct of your officers and troops in many parts of the country, who violate all the rules of war by carrying on hostilities not only against armed foes, but against non-combatants, aged men, women and children, while others not only seize such property as is required for the use of your troops, but destroy all private property within their reach," etc.

And he implored Mr. Lincoln to take steps "to prevent further misunderstanding as to the terms of the cartel, and to enter into such arrangement and understanding about the mode of carrying on