Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 01.djvu/138

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130
Southern Historical Society Papers.

V.

General John E. Mulford is personally cognizant of the truth of most, if not all, the facts which I have narrated. He was connected with the cartel from its date until the close of the war. During a portion of the time he was Assistant Agent of Exchange on the part of the United States. I always found him to be an honorable and truthful gentleman. While he discharged his duties with great fidelity to his own Government, he was kind—and I might almost say, tender—to Confederate prisoners. With that portion of the correspondence with which his name is connected he is, of course, familiar. He is equally so with the delivery made at Savannah and its attending circumstances, and with the offer I made as to the purchase of medicines for the Federal sick and wounded. I appeal to him for the truth of what I have written. There are other Federal corroborations to portions of my statements. They are found in the report of Major-General B. F. Butler to the "Committee on the Conduct of the War." About the last of March, 1864, I had several conferences with General Butler at Fortress Monroe in relation to the difficulties attending the exchange of prisoners, and we reached what we both thought a tolerably satisfactory basis.

The day that I left there General Grant arrived. General Butler says he communicated to him the state of the negotiations, and "most emphatic verbal directions were received from the Lieutenant-General not to take any step by which another able-bodied man should be exchanged until further orders from him;" and that on April 30, 1864, he received a telegram from General Grant "to receive all the sick and wounded the Confederate authorities may send you, but send no more in exchange." Unless my recollection fails me, General Butler also, in an address to his constituents, substantially declared that he was directed in his management of the question of exchange with the Confederate authorities, to put the matter offensively, for the purpose of preventing an exchange.

The facts which I have stated are also well known to the officers connected with the Confederate Bureau of Exchange.

At one time I thought an excellent opportunity was offered of bringing some of them to the attention of the country. I was named by poor Wirz as a witness in his behalf. The summons was issued by Chipman, the Judge Advocate of the military court. I obeyed the summons, and was in attendance upon the court for some ten days. The investigation had taken a wide range as to the conduct of the Confederate and Federal Governments in the matter of the treatment of prisoners, and I thought the time had come when I could put before the world these humane offers of the Confederate authorities, and the manner in which they had been treated. I so expressed myself more than once—perhaps too publicly. But it was a vain thought.

Early in the morning of the day on which I expected to give my testimony, I received a note from Chipman, the Judge Advocate,