Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/392
384 . Southern Historical Society Papers.
by the North or South. If its history is to be written, however, it is better for it to be based upon facts than fiction.
" It is a well-known fact,*' said Dr. White, " that the Confederate authorities used every means in their power to secure the exchange of prisoners, but it was the policy of the United States Government to prevent it, as is well shown by a letter of General Grant to Gen- eral Butler, dated August the i8th, 1864, in which he said :
- 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 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.'
- This policy," continued the Doctor, " not only kept our men out
of the field, but threw upon our impoverished commissariat the feed- ing of a large number of prisoners."
TREATMENT OF PRISONERS.
In refutation of the charge that prisoners were starved, let it be noted that' the Confederate Congress in May, 1861, passed a bill pro- viding that the rations furnished to prisoners of war should be the same in quantity and quality as those issued to the enlisted men in the army of the Confederacy. And the prisoners at Andersonville received the same rations that were furnished the Confederate guard. That this was sometimes scant, every old rebel in the field can testify. But this was due to our poverty.
" According to the report of Secretary of War Stanton, the num- ber of Federal prisoners who died in Confederate prisons is 22,576, and according to the same authority the number of Confederate prisoners who died in Northern prisons is 26,436. According to the report of Surgeon-General Barnes the number of Confederates held in Northern prisons during the war was 220,000, and the number of Federal prisoners held in Confederate prisons was 270,000."
" It is to be observed that in all of the calculations of mortality