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not reasonable to suppose that a punctilious care for them really stood in the way of the duties of humanity to forty or fifty thousand white captives. This professed care for two or three hundred black slaves, which was made to weigh down all considerations of humanity in behalf of thousands of white men pining in prison, was plainly nothing more than a pretence, a new ground of frivolous excuse, to refuse a general exchange. In November, Colonel Ould wrote to the Confederate secretary of war:
“My own firm conviction is, that even if we were to agree to the unjust demands of the enemy in this respect, we would not secure a general exchange.
I think it very doubtful whether they would agree to a general exchange, even if we consented to treat recaptured slaves as prisoners of war, and delivered those whose term of service had not expired. I am satisfied their course is the result of a conviction forced upon them by the events of the war, that a Confederate soldier is more valuable than a Federal. The miseries of tens of thousands of their own people are as nothing when weighed against a calculation."
Here was the true secret of the game which the North played on the subject of exchange. Men were scarce in the Sonth; the Confederate soldier was superior in prowens to the Yankee; and thus the Government at Washington was convinced that any exchange, man for man, would be to its disadvantage, and deliberately adopted the remorseless and inhuman policy of enforcing the captivity, with all its attendant sufferings, of the prisoners on both sides during the war. This policy of the Yankees exhibited to the unhappy victims from their army an amount of ingratitude that was to the last degree monstrous. General Sherman had not hesitated to avow, with utter disregard of the claims of his captive soldiers on his consideration and protection, that as the terms of service of many had expired, they were not to be regarded as subjects of general exchange.
But the Washington Government was not satisfied, for coneiderations of certain advantage, to consign its soldiers to the extraordinary sufferings of imprisonment incident to the scant supplies in the South, which indeed it was daily endeavoring to dimiuish by blockade and devastation. It went a step further. It paraded these very sufferings, for which it was responsible, which indeed its own malignity had produced, to raise a clamor about the cruelty of the Confederates, and thus engage the sympathies of the world.
It is almost impossible to sound the depths of Yankee cruelty in this subject of exchange.
At one time, in the fall of 1864, the Yankees refused to exchange any prisoners but those who were sick; and then to accuse the inhumanity of the Confederates, the poor, wasted victims of prison diseases were paraded through the country, and had their photographs taken for pictorials, as fair specimens of the results of life in Confederate prisons. The calculation that could have prompted such an exhibition appears indeed to partake of an ingenuity of beings other than man.*
* The following exposé was made in a Richmond paper. It refers to an exchange of sick prisoners made in the fall of 1864:
'The mortality among our unfortunate prisoners sent by sea to Savannah to be exchanged was very remarkable. We have published a list of one hundred and seventeen who died on the passage to Savannah ; also a list of thirty-two who died within a few days after being landed. Distressing as is this mortality, the Confederate newspapers have not been so inconsiderate as to impute it to a wrong cause. Revolting at the shocking inhumanity which limits exchanges to the sick, the feeble, and the dying, we have received home our brethren, emaciated as they are with long-protracted disease, and we have wondered, not that so many died, but tha tso many, travelling in such a condition, should live.
“We have sent to the truce-boat a similar class of the Federal prisoners in our hands; it is for these only that the Yankees have bargained. When the poor creatures reach them, worn and wasted by sickness, and evidencing, in their appearance, that they should be in the hospitals instead of travelling, in place of the sense of shame which the Yankee authorities and people should feel at the consequences of their inhuman policy, with such audacious hypocrisy as a Yankee only can manifest, they seize the occasion to calumniate the Confederates, a reluctant party to a commerce worse than the middle passage,' and only better than protracted imprisonment. They pretend to consider the returned men as samples of those who have been left behind; they charge their weakness and emaciation to starvation, and not to sickness; they clamor like so many howling dervishes ; and with an effrontery that the world beside cannot equal, they extract self-glorification out of their own crime, and heap reproaches on us who are its victims!
“We know that their treatment of our prisoners is horrible enough. But, much as we execrate such conduct, and the people who can practise it, we respect ourselves too much to slander them. We do not pretend that the sick men who are sent home to us are samples of the rest. We are not so false as to represent their emaciation as due to starvation and not to disease. Multitudes of the poor sufferers die, as we have seen, on their way to our lines. Many die before we can take them to our arms. Many die before we can get them into our hospitals; and many there languish and die without a sight of the home for which they risked the travel. In all our distress at this mortality, we are candid enough to recognize the cause, and to tell the truth amid our resentments. Not so the Yankees."
In connection with the history of the prisons of the war, there is something of tribute to be paid to the conduct of General Grant. This high officer, however profuse of the lives of his men in battle, had certainly an unaffected sympathy and interest for the imprisoned soldier. It was through his offices that, in the later months of 1864, an agreement, first proposed by General Lee, was concluded, to the effect that, without releasing either Government from the obligation of affording due provision to its captives, each should have the right of furnishing to its own prisoners, in the possession of the other, under the direction of officers among them, to be paroled for the purpose, such additional supplies of necessary articles as it might deem expedient to send. It is, indeed, indicative of the remorseless policy of the Yankee Government that such concessions to the claims of humanity should have been made sooner by the stern soldier in the field than by their statesmen in the cabinet.
We may add here, in advance of the order of our narrative, that General Grant, having been subsequently empowered with the duties of exchanging prisoners, and put in a position to overrule the behests of such men as Stanton and Butler, did himself immortal honor in instantly authorizing a general exchange, and breaking by a stroke of the pen all the tissues of falsehood and cunning in which this matter had been so long entangled. This act has done more for his reputation in just and humane history than any victory of his in the field. But the benefit of it came too late for the South, and only a few thousand Confederate prisoners reached home in time to witness the catastrophe of the spring of 1865.
The blockade at Wilmington.-How ineffective. —FIRST EXPEDITION AGAINST FORT
FISHER.Butler's powder-ship. The two days' bombardment.- Landing of Butler's troops.-Butler decides not to attack.-His suddon departure. He is removed from command.-SECOND EXPEDITION AGAINST Fort FISHER.-FALL OF WILMINGTON.-Landing of Terry's command. - Movements of General Hoke. The assault on the fort.-A feu d'enfer.- Desperate fighting.-The Confederates overpowered.-Surrender of Fort Fisher.- Evacuation of Fort Anderson.-Yankee occupation of Wilmington.—How a part of General Sherman's campaign in the Carolinas.-SHERMAN'S SIXTY DAYS IN THE CAROLINAS.—Direction of his march.Crossing the Savannah River.-Mismanagement of the Confederate troops.-Sherman at Branchville.—THE FALL OF CHARLESTON.--Hardee joins Beauregard.Conflagration in Charleston.—Explosion at the railroad depot.-A scarred city.Charleston as seen through Yankee cyos.-CAPTURE AND BURNING OF COLUMBIA.— Wild and savage scenes of pillage. --The city on fire. — Four thousand citizens homeless.--Sherman's march northward.-His organization of “bummers." The column of smoke.—The Yankees at Winnsboro'.-More of the enemy's atro cities.—Sherman's feint upon Charlotte.- His occupation of Fayetteville.-Hampton attacks Kilpatrick.--Sherman's appointment of a rendezvous with Schofield. -Hardee's fight near Averysboro'.- What he did with half a corps of Confeder ates.- THE BATTLE OF BENTONVILLE.-Success of the Confederates.- No decisive results.-Sherman's move towards Goldsboro'.-Schofield's movement.--Sherman's success.—His congratulatory order.-A military conference at City Point, Virginia.
WILMINGTON had long been a thorn in the enemy's side. , Mr. Welles, the Yankee secretary of the navy, had declared, in his last official report, that Wilmington, owing to the peculiarity of its situation, could not be absolutely closed to blockade-runners, without the co-operation of the army; for the forts which protected it were in such shoal water that the heavily armed ships could not get at them. Fifty fast Yankee steamers had been unable to close this port.
FIRST EXPEDITION AGAINST FORT FISHER.
At the close of the summer of 1864, an expedition had been planned against Fort Fisher, according to Mr. Welles' sugges,
' tion of the co-operation of a land force. It was delayed, for various reasons, until the winter. Vice-Admiral Farragut was
selected by the Yankee Government to take charge of the naval force, but was unable to assume that duty on account of ill health. Rear-Admiral Porter was then transferred from the command of the Mississippi squadron to the command of the North-Atlantic blockading squadron. The most powerful fleet ever known in American history was assembled at Hampton Roads, under command of Admiral Porter. The land force consisted of six thousand five hundred infantry, two batteries of artillery, and a few cavalry. On the 13th and 14th of December the expedition started, General Butler with the army transports proceeding to a place twenty-five miles off New Inlet. Admiral Porter, with his fleet, proceeded to Beaufort to complete taking on his ammunition and supplies, including some powder for a vessel proposed to be exploded before Fort Fisher, and some ammunition for the monitors, which were towed light from Fortress Monroe to Beaufort.
Wilmington was then but feebly garrisoned. A number of Confederate troops there had been sent to increase the forces opposed to Sherman in his march across the State of Georgia. General Butler had supposed that he would find an easy conquest there; and, in fact, he had foisted himself upon the expedition to get what he supposed would be a cheap glory, for the command of it had been given to General Weitzel, and Butler had insisted upon accompanying him, for the reason that the scene of operations was within his department, and the troops from his command.
A novel feature was introduced into the expedition against Fort Fisher, viz., a vessel loaded with a large quantity of powder to be exploded as near the fort as possible. The idea appears to have originated with General Butler, in consequence of reading of the terrible effects of the explosion of a large quantity of gunpowder at Erith, England, some time before. He suggested it to the departments at Washington, and they submitted it to their engineer and ordnance officers for examination and report. Those officers, while not anticipating any very wonderful results from this new experiment, still deemed it of such importance as to recommend its trial.
On Friday, 23d of December, Admiral Porter gave orders that the powder vessel be sent in as near Fort Fisher as possible, and exploded that night at one o'clock. Information of