Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/199

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189
Treatment of Prisoners.


their blood does not stain my garments. This is not criticism upon the acts of anybody, but only the enunciation of a fact, in explanation of which the responsibilities of my position will not allow me to say more."

If this astounding recital is true, it unmasks one of the most remarkable examples upon record of cold-hearted atrocity, studied deceit and cruel imposition on the public. We forbear all remark on General Grant's alleged share in these discreditable transactions until a reasonable time has elapsed for him or such of his friends as may be cognizant of the facts, to make the denial due to his reputation. But candor requires no such delay in judging of General Butler. He has unconsciously painted his own portrait in colors of the blackest craft and hypocrisy. He attempts to cast on General Grant the admitted odium of leaving thousands of our captured brothers to die deaths of horror and starvation. "Their blood," he says, "does not stain my garments." But, by his own showing, this hypocritical pretender to mercy and humanity was the accomplice and tool of General Grant in a business revolting to humanity! By his own account, he gave his aid, he lent the resources of his devilish cunning, in writing a piece of chicanery deliberately intended to place the whole subject in a false light! It was a fixed and foregone conclusion that no prisoners should be exchanged; and he himself informs us that he (Butler) was base enough and subservient enough to prostitute his talents in the preparation of a document setting forth false reasons for an act of monstrous inhumanity to our starving captives! He knew when he wrote that letter to Mr. Ould that the reasons stated in it were sham reasons; that while affecting anxiety for an exchange, no exchange was either desired or would be permitted; that, to use his own unblushing language, it was written "not for the purpose of furthering exchange of prisoners, but for the purpose of preventing the exchange."