Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/247

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The Historical Register on our Papers.

President Davis, but we respectfully submit that if he will read the paper more carefully, he will find that he does not "admit that the ex-President was captured on his way to the spring with women with a pail, and that he had a cloak thrown over him probably for disguise." On the contrary, he shows beyond all cavil that Mr. Davis wore no article of woman's attire, and that the "petticoat story," so industriously circulated and made the subject of phographs and cuts for illustrated papers, was a pure fabrication, palmed off for the purpose of belittleing as gallant a gentleman as ever drew sword in defence of the right.

Our critic thinks our discussion of the treatment of prisoners at Anderson ville "not so candidly handled." Well, we wish he would point out our want of candor and meet our statement of facts. And if he will do so, we hereby offer to publish in full what he may write, provided he will publish our reply in the Historical Register. But he will pardon us for saying that, in his very brief notice of our discussion of this question, he is guilty of the want of candor which he charges against us. We freely admitted that there were probably cases of individual cruelty to prisoners in our hands, but we showed that the laws of the Confederacy, the orders of our authorities, and the whole spirit of our people were opposed to the ill treatment of prisoners in any respect. We gave detailed proofs to show that the mortality of prisoners at Andersonville was from causes entirely beyond the control of our Government, and we especially proved that the charge of cruelty to prisoners made against President Davis was so void of a shadow of evidence that even Holt and his band of trained perjurers shrunk from going into a trial of the charge. We proved that the Confederacy made every effort to mitigate the sufferings of Federal prisoners, not only by offering, again and again, to carry out the cartel for the exchange of prisoners, but by proposing to allow each side to send their own surgeons and supplies to their prisoners—by offering to buy medicines, hospital stores, &c., for the exclusive use of Federal prisoners, paying for them in gold, cotton or tobacco—and by offering at last, when all other propositions had been refused, to send back without equivalent fifteen thousand of the prisoners we held.

On the other hand, we gave the most abundant proofs that the Federal authorities were guilty of every cruelty which they charged against us. We gave the figures to show that the monthly death-roll of Confederates at Elmira ranged as high as four per cent. of the whole number of prisoners, while at Andersonville it was less than