degree the mortality, not only of gunshot wounds, but of all diseases, and especially of pneumonia, diarrhœa and dysentery. I have recorded numerous incontrovertible facts to show that the scorbutic ulcers and hospital gangrene, and the accidents from vaccination arising at Andersonville, were by no means new in the history of medicine, and that the causes which induced these distressing affections have been active in all wars and sieges, and amongst all armies and navies.
In truth, these men at Andersonville were in the condition of a crew at sea confined on a foul ship, upon salt meat, and unvarying food, and without fresh vegetables. Not only so, but these unfortunate prisoners were like men forcibly confined and crowded upon a ship tossed about on a stormy ocean without a rudder, without a compass, without a guiding star, and without an apparent boundary or end to their voyage; and they reflected in their steadily increasing miseries the distressed condition and waning fortunes of a desolated and bleeding country, which was compelled, in justice to her own unfortunate sons, to hold their men in this most distressing captivity.
The Federal prisoners received the same rations, in kind, quality and amount, issued to Confederate soldiers in the field. These rations were, during the last eighteen months of the war, insufficient, and without that variety of fresh meat and vegetables, which would ward off scurvy, from soldiers as well as prisoners. As far as my experience extended, no body of troops could be confined exclusively to the Confederate rations of 1864 and 1865, without manifesting symptoms of the scurvy.
The Confederate rations grew worse and worse as the war progressed, and as portion after portion of the most fertile regions of the Confederate States were overrun and desolated by the Federal armies. In the straitened condition of the Confederate States, the support of an army of one hundred thousand prisoners, forced on their hands by a relentless policy, was a great and distressing burden, which consumed their scant resources, burdened their rotten lines of railroad, and exhausted the overtaxed energies of the entire country, crowded with refugees from their desolated homes.
The Confederate authorities charged with the exchange of prisoners used every effort in their power, consistent with their views of national honor and rectitude, to effect an exchange of all prisoners in their hands, and to establish and maintain definite rules by which all prisoners of war might be continuously exchanged as soon as possible after capture.Whatever the feelings of resentment on the part of the Confederates may have been against those who were invading and desolating their native land, which had been purchased by the blood of their ancestors from the English and Indians, the desire for the speedy exchange and return of the great army of veterans held captives in Northern prisons was earnest and universal, and this desire for speedy and continuous exchange on the part of the Government,