|We will next introduce the following
It touches on points which we have already discussed, and anticipates some others which we shall afterwards give more in detail. But it is a clear and very interesting narrative of an important eye-witness; and we will not mutilate the paper, but will give it entirely in its original form:
GENERAL D. H. MAURY,
At your request I cheerfully reduce to writing the facts stated by me in our conversation this morning, for preservation in the archives of your society, and as bearing upon a historical question - the treatment of prisoners during our late civil war, which it seems certain politicians of the vindictive type in the North, led by a Presidential aspirant, have deemed it essential to their party success to thrust upon the country again in the beginning of this our centennial year.
It is to be hoped that after a lapse of ten years since we of the South grounded our arms, passion has so far yielded to patriotism, reason, and sentiments of a common humanity in the minds and hearts of the great mass of intelligent people at the North, that all the facts relating to the great struggle between the States of the North and South may be calmly presented, of not for final decision by this generation, al least to aid impartial mankind in the future to judge correctly between the conquering and the vanquished parties to the contest; and to fix the responsibility where it attaches, to the one side or the other, or to both, for sufferings inflicted that were not necessarily incident to a state of war between contending Christian powers.
I now proceed to give you a simple historical narrative of facts within my personal knowledge, that I believe have never been published, although at the request of Judge Robert Ould, of this city, who was the Confederate Commissioner for the Exchange of Prisoners, I wrote them out in 1866, and furnished the Ms. to a reporter of the New York Herald. But the statement never appeared in that journal, for the reason assigned by the reported, that the conductors of the Herald deemed the time inopportune for such a publication. My Ms. was retained by them, and I have never heard of it since.
It is perhaps proper to state how I came to be connected with the prison service of the Confederate States. An almost fatal attack of typhoid fever, in the summer and fall of 1864, so impaired my physical condition that I was incapable of performing efficiently the arduous duties of my position as a cavalry officer on active service in the mountains of Virginia, and therefore I applied to the Confederate War Office for assignment to some light duty father south till the milder weather of the ensuing spring would enable me to take my place at the head of the brave and hardy mountaineers of the Valley and western counties of Virginia I had the honor to command. General R. E. Lee kindly urged my application in person, and procured an order directing me to report to Brigadier-General J. H. winder, then Commissary of Prisoners, whose headquarters were at Columbia, South Carolina. I left my camp in the Shenandoah Valley late in December, 1864, and reached Columbia, I think, on the 6th of January, 1865. General Winder immediately ordered me to the command of all the prisons west of the Savannah river, with leave to establish my temporary headquarters at Aiken, South Carolina, on account of the salubrity of its climate. I cannot fix dates after this with absolute precision, because all my official papers fell into the hands of the United States military authorities after the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston to General Sherman; but for all essential purposes my memory enables me to detail events in consecutive order, and approximately to assign each to its proper date.
A few days after receiving my orders from General Winder, I reached Aiken, and visited Augusta, Georgia, and established an office there in charge of a staff officer, Lieutenant George W. McPhail, for prompt and convenient communication with the prisons of the department.
About my first official act was to dispatch Lieutenant-Colonel Bondurant on a tour of inspection of the prisons in my department, with instructions to report fully on their condition and management. Whilst Colonel Bondurant was on this service, I was forced to quit Aiken by the approach of Kilpatrick's cavalry, moving on the flank of Sherman's army. A detachment of this cavalry reached Aiken within four hours after I left it. I then made Augusta my permanent headquarters, residing, however, a few miles out on the Georgia railroad at Berzelia. Colonel Bondurant promptly discharged the duty assigned to him, and on the state of facts presented in his reports, I resolved to keep up but two prisons, the one at Andersonville and the other at Eufaula. I did this for economical reasons, and because it was easier to supply two posts than four or five so widely scattered; and besides the whole number of prisoners in the department then did not exceed 8,000 or 9,000 - the great majority, about 7,500, being at Andersonville.
Before I received Colonel Bondurant's report, General winder died, when, having no superior in command, I reported directly to the Secretary of War at Richmond. Communication with the War Office was at that period very slow and difficult. Great military operations were in progress. General Sherman was moving through the Carolinas. The Federal cavalry under Kilpatrick with Sherman, and Stoneman co-operating from Tennessee, almost suspended mail facilities between Georgia and Virginia, and the telegraph was almost impracticable, because the line was taxed almost to its capacity in connection with active military operations. After the death of General Winder, I made repeated efforts to establish communication with the Secretary of War, and with Commissioner Ould, and obtain some instructions in regard to the prisons and prisoners under my charge. All these efforts failed, at least I received no reply by wire, mail or messenger to any of my inquiries. A newspaper fell into my hands in which, as an item of news, I saw it stated that Brigadier-General Gideon J. Pillow had been appointed General Winder's successor. General Pillow was then at Macon, but had received no official notification of his appointment, and I having none, could not, and did not, recognize him as entitled to command me, but cheerfully, as will appear further on, consulted him in regard to all important matters of administration.
Colonel Bondurant's report on the Andersonville prison, taken in connection with written applications from Captain Wirz which I had received, suggesting measures for the amelioration of the condition of the prisoners, strongly endorsed and approved by Colonel Gibbs, an old United States army officer, a cultivated, urbane and humane gentleman, commanding the post, made it apparent to my mind that I ought to make a personal examination into its condition. This was no easy undertaking, as I had to travel over almost impassible country roads through the desolated belt of country traversed by Sherman's army, in its march through Georgia, for a distance of over seventy miles, before I could reach a railroad to take me to Andersonville. I made the journey, however, in February.
On my arrival at Andersonville, unannounced and unexpected, I made an immediate personal inspection of everything - not only as then existing, but with the aid of the post and prison record, I went back several months, to the period when the mortality was so great, to ascertain, if possible, its cause.
The guard then on duty consisted of a brigade of Georgia State troops, under command of Brigadier-General Gartrell. The post was commanded by Colonel Gibbs, who, as before stated, was an old arm officer; and the prison proper was under the immediate command of Captain Wirz, who was tried and executed at Washington, in 1865, most unjustly, as the verdict of impartial history will establish; just as will be the case in regard to Mrs. Surratt's horrible murder.
The officers first named, and all others on duty there, afforded me every facility to prosecute my investigations to the fullest extent, and were prompt to point out to me measures of relief that were practicable. I went within the stockade and conversed with many of the prisoners. I found the prison and its inmates in a bad condition: not as bad as our enemies have represented, yet unfortunately bad. The location of the stockade was good, and had been judiciously chosen for healthfulness. It occupied two gently sloping hillsides, with a clear flowing brook dividing them; and being in the sandy portion of the pine woods of Georgia, it was free from local malaria, and had the benefit of a genial and healthy climate. It was of sufficient capacity for from 8,000 to 9,000 prisoners, without uncomfortable crowding. The great mortality of the previous year, I have no doubt, resulted in part from an excess of prisoners over the fair capacity of the stockade, and from the lack of sufficient shelter from the sun and rain. Before my arrival at Andersonville, Captain Wirz had, by a communication forwarded through Colonel Gibbs, and approved by him, called my attention to the great deficiency of shelter in the stockade, and asked authority to supply it. He had made a similar application, I was informed, to General Winder some time before, but it had not been acted on before the General's death. In consequence of this want of buildings and shedding within the stockade, the prisoners had excavated a great many subterranean vaults and chambers in the hillsides, which many of them occupied, to the injury of their health, as these places were not sufficiently ventilated.
The prisoners were very badly off for clothing, shoes and hats, and complained of this destitution, and of the quantity and kind of rations - corn bread and bacon chiefly - issued to them. I found, what I anticipated, that we had no clothing to give them. Many of the men on duty as guards were in rags, and held together with strings and thongs, and lieu of overcoats many had to protect themselves against inclement weather with a tattered blanket drawn over the shoulders. Our own men being in this destitute condition, it can be well understood that we could not supply a large demand for clothing prisoners.
They also suffered greatly, and there had been great mortality, for want of suitable medicines to treat the diseases incident to their condition with any considerable success. From this cause, and this alone, I have no doubt thousands died at Andersonville in 1864, who would be living to-day if the United States Government had not declared medicines contraband of war, and by their close blockade of our coasts deprived us of an adequate supply of those remedial agents that therapeutical science and modern chemistry have produced for the amelioration of suffering humanity. The object of this barbarous decree against the Confederacy, it is now well understood, was to expose our soldiers, as well as our wives, children and families, without protection or relief, to the diseases common in our climate, and to make us an easy prey to death, approach us in what form he might; not foreseeing, perhaps, that when the grim monster stalked through our prisons he would find not alone Confederates for his victims, but the stalwart soldiers of the Government which had invoked his aid against us. At the time of my inspection, there was a good deal of sickness amongst the prisoners, but not a large percentage of mortality. Our medical officers, even with their scanty pharmacope, gave equal attention to sick friends and enemies, to guard and to prisoners alike.
I investigated particularly the food question, and found that no discrimination was made in the issue of rations to guards and prisoners. In quantity, quality and kind the daily supply was exactly the same, man for man. It is true it was very scanty, consisting of a third or half a pound of meat a day, and usually a pint or pint and a half of corn meal, with salt. Occasionally there were small supplies of wheat flour, and sometimes a very few potatoes, but they were rarely to be had. Other vegetables we had none. General Lee's army in Virginia lived but little if any better. The food was sound and wholesome, but meagre in quantity, and not such in kind and variety as Federal soldiers had been accustomed to draw from their abundant commissariat. Our soldiers did very well on "hog and hominy," and rarely complained. The Federals thought it horrible to have nothing else, and but a scanty supply of this simple food. Great scoundrelism was detected amongst the prisoners in cheating each other. They were organized in companies of a hundred each in the stockade, and certain men of their own selection were permitted to come outside the stockade and draw the rations for their fellows, and cook them. Many of these rascals would steal and secrete a part of the food, and as opportunity offered to sell it at an exorbitant rate to their famished comrades. Shortly before I went to Andersonville six of these villains were detected, and by permission of the prison authorities the prisoners themselves organized a court of their own, tried them for the offence, found them guilty, and hung them inside the stockade. This event led to a change in the mode of issuing rations, which precluded the possibility of such a diabolical traffic in stolen food.
Bad as was the physical condition of the prisoners, their mental depression was worse, and perhaps more fatal. Thousands of them collected around me in the prison, and begged me to tell them whether there was any hope of release by an exchange of prisoners. Some time before that President Davis had permitted three of the Andersonville prisoners to go to Washington to try and change the determination of their Government and procure a resumption of exchanges. The prisoners knew of the failure of this mission when I was at Andersonville, and the effect was to plunge the great majority of them into the deepest melancholy, home- sickness and despondency. They believed their confinement would continue till the end of the war, and many of them looked upon that as a period so indefinite and remote that they believed that they would die of their sufferings before the day of release came. I explained to them the efforts we had made and were still making to effect an exchange. A Federal captain at Andersonville, learning that I had a brother of the same rank (Captain F. M. Imboden, of the Eighteenth Virginia Cavalry) incarcerated at Johnson's Island, in Lake Erie, where he was in a fair way to die from harsh treatment and a lack of food, represented to me that he had powerful connections at Washington, and thought that if I would parole him he could effect his exchange for my brother, and perhaps influence a decision on the general question of exchanges. He agreed to return in thirty days if he failed. I accepted his terms, and with some difficulty got him through the lines. He failed, and returned within our lines, but just in time to be set at liberty again, as will appear further on. I regret that I have forgotten his name, and have no record of it.
I have already alluded to Captain Wirz's recommendation
to put up more shelter. I ordered it, and thereafter daily a hundred or
more prisoners were paroled and set to work in the neighboring forest.
In the course of a fortnight comfortable log houses, with floors and good
chimneys - for which the prisoners made and burnt the brick - were erected
for twelve or fifteen hundred men, and were occupied by those in feeble
health, who were withdrawn from the large stockade and separated from the
mass of prisoners. This same man (Captain Wirz), who was tried and hung
as a murderer, warmly urged the establishment of a tannery and shoemaker's
shop, informing me that there were many men amongst the prisoners skilled
in these trades,
After having given my sanction and orders to carry
out every suggestion of others, or that occurred to my own mind for the
amelioration of the condition of the prisoners as far as we possessed the
means, and having issued stringent orders to preserve discipline amongst
the guarding troops, and subordination, quiet and good order amongst the
prisoners, I went to Macon to confer with General Howell Cobb and General
Gideon J. Pillow as to the proper course for me to pursue in the event
of our situation in Georgia becoming more precarious, or the chance of
communication with the Government at Richmond being entirely cut off, which
appeared to be an almost certain event in the very near future. After a
full discussion of the situation, there was perfect accord in our views.
General Pillow was expecting to receive official notice of his appointment
as Commissary of Prisons, in which event he would become my commanding
officer. General Cobb commanded the State troops of Georgia, and I was
dependent on him for a sufficient force to discharge my duties and hold
the prisoners in custody. There was eminent propriety, therefore, in our
conferring with each other, and acting harmoniously in whatever course
might be adopted. General Pillow took a leading part in the discussion,
and in shaping the conclusions to which we came. In the absence of official
information or instructions from Richmond, we acted upon what the newspapers
In pursuance of this determination, and as soon
as the necessary arrangements could be made, a detachment of about 1,500
men, made up from the two prisons, was sent to Jackson, Mississippi, by
rail and delivered to their friends. General "Dick" Taylor at that time
com- manded the department through which these prisoners were sent to Jackson,
Before any further communication reached me from Saint Augustine, General Wilson, with a large body of cavalry, approached Georgia from the West. It was evident that his first objective point was Andersonville. Again conferring with Generals Cobb and Pillow, and finding we were powerless to prevent Wilson's reaching Andersonville, where he would release the prisoners and capture all our officers and troops there, it was decided without hesitation again to send the prisoners to Jacksonville and turn them loose, to make the best of their way to their friends at Saint Augustine. This was accomplished in a few days, the post at Andersonville was broken up, the Georgia State troops were sent to General Cobb at Macon, and in a short time the surrender of General Johnston to Sherman, embracing all that section of country, the Confederate prisons ceased to exist, and on the 3d of May, 1865, I was myself a prisoner of war on parole at Augusta, Georgia. A few days later I was sent with other paroled Confederates to Hilton Head, South Carolina, where I met about 2,000 of the Andersonville prisoners, who had been sent up from Saint Augustine, to be thence shipped North. Their condition was much improved. Many of the were glad to see me, and four days later I embarked with several hundred of them on the steam transport "Thetis" for Fortress Monroe, and have reason to believe that every man of them felt himself my friend rather than an enemy.
It has been charged that Mr. Davis, as President of the Confederate States, was responsible for the sufferings of prisoners held in the South. During my four months' connection with this dis-agreeable branch of Confederate military service, no communication, direct or indirect, was ever received by me from Mr. Davis, and, so far as I remember, the records of the prison contained nothing to implicate him in any way with its management or administration. I have briefly alluded to the causes of complaint on the part of prisoners, and even where these were well founded, I am at a loss to see how Mr. Davis is to be held responsible before the world for their existence, till it is proved that he knew of them and failed to remove delinquent officers.
The real cause of all the protracted sufferings of prisoners North and South is directly due to the inhuman refusal of the Federal Government to exchange prisoners of war, a policy that we see from the facts herein stated was carried so far as to induce a commanding officer, at Saint Augustine, to refuse even to receive, and acknowledge that he had received, over 6,000 men of his own side, tendered to him unconditionally, from that prison in the South which, above all others, they charged to have been the scene of unusual suffering. The inference is irresistible that this officer felt that it would be dangerous to his official character to relieve the Confederacy of the burthen of supporting these prisoners, although he and his countrymen affected to believe that we were slowly starving them to death. The policy at Washington was to let Federal prisoners starve, if the process involved the Confederates in a similar catastrophe - and "fired the Northern heart."
I have introduced more of my personal movements and actions into this recital than is agreeable or apparently in good taste, but it has been unavoidable in making the narrative consecutive and intelligible, and I trust will be pardoned, even if appearing to transcend the bounds of becoming modesty. In the absence of all my official papers relating to these subjects (which I presume were taken to Washington after I surrendered them, and are still there, unless it was deemed policy to destroy them when Captain Wirz was on trial), I have not been able to go into many minute details that might add interest to the statement, but nothing, I think, to the leading fact - that the United States refused an unconditional delivery of so many of its own men, inmates of that prison (Andersonville), which they professed then to regard as a Confederate slaughter-pen and place of intentional diabolical cruelties inflicted on the sick and helpless. was this course not a part of a policy of deception for "firing the Northern heart"? Impartial history will one day investigate and answer this question. And there we may safely leave it, with a simple record of the facts.
Very truly, your friend,
J. D. IMBODEN.
The above documents seem to us to show beyond all controversy that whatever suffering existed at Andersonville (and it is freely admitted that the suffering was terrible), resulted from causes which were beyond the control of the Confederate Government, and were directly due to the cold-blooded, cruel policy of the Federal authorities, which not only refused to exchange prisoners, but rejected every overture to mitigate their sufferings.
The Federal Government has had possession of the confederate archives for now nearly eleven years. The Confederate leaders and their friends have been denied all access to those archives, while partisans on the other side have ransacked them at will in eager search for every sentence which could be garbled out of its connection to prove the charges made, with reckless disregard of the truth, against the "Rebel crew." It is fair to presume that those records contain no stronger proof of "Rebel cruelty to prisoners" than has already been brought to light, while some of us are fondly hoping that before the next Centennial the people of the South will have the vindication which the records of the Confederacy afford. The strongest proof of the charges made against the Confederate Government which has yet been produced from those records is the
REPORT OF COLONEL D. T. CHANDLER,
which was introduced at the Wirz trial, and upon which the Radical press has been ringing the charges ever since. It has been recently thus put in a malignant reply, in a partisan sheet, to Mr. Davis' letter to Mr. Lyons:
On the 5th day of August, 1864, Colonel Chandler, an officer of the Confederate army, made a report to the Rebel War Department regarding the condition of Andersonville prison. He had made one six month before, but no attention had been paid to it. In his last report he said:
"My duty requires me respectfully to recommend
a change in the officer in the command of the post, Brigadier-General J.
H. Winder, and the substitution in his place of some one who unites both
energy and good judgment with some feeling of humanity and consideration
for the welfare and comfort (so far as it is consistent with their safe-keeping)
of the vast number
"D. T. CHANDLER,
This report was forwarded to the Secretary of War with the following endorsement:
"ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
"Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War. The condition of the prison at Andersonville is a reproach to us as a nation. The Engineer and Ordnance Departments were applied to, and authorized their issue, and I so telegraphed General Winder. Colonel Chandler's recommendations are coincided in.
"By order of General Cooper.
"R. H. CHILTON,
Not content with this, Colonel Chandler testifies that he went to the War Office himself, and had an interview with the Assistant Secretary, J. A. Campbell, who then wrote below General Cooper's endorsement the following:
"These reports show a condition of things at Andersonville, which calls very loudly for the interposition of the Department, in order that a change may be made.
"J. A. CAMPBELL,
Thus was the horrible condition of things at Andersonville brought home to the Secretary of War, one of the confidential advisers of the President, who was daily in consultation with him. If all was being done for the prisoners that could be done, how came such reports to be made? But what was the result? A few days after this report was sent in, Winder, the beast, the cruel, heartless coward - the man of whom the Richmond Examiner said, when he was ordered from that city to ndersonville, "Thank God that Richmond is at last rid of old Winder; God have mercy upon those to whom he has been sent" - this man was promoted by Mr. Davis, and made Commissary-General of all the prisons and prisoners in the Confederacy. We come now to a question which were challenge Mr. Davis to answer. Did he know of, or has his attention been called to, Colonel Chandler's report when he promoted General Winder? Dare he deny having made this latter appointment as a reward to Winder for his faithful services at Andersonville?
A writer in the Sauk Rapids Sentinel adds the statement (Which is certainly
news in this latitude) that upon this report General Winder was "indignantly
removed by the Secretary of War," and that when he carried the order removing
him to the President he not only reinstates him, but "immediately added
to his power and opportunities for barbarity, by promoting him
We are fortunate in being able to give a clear statement of the history of Colonel Chandler's report, and to show that so far from being proof of any purposed cruelty to prisoners on the part of the Confederate Government, the circumstances afford the strongest proof of just the reverse.
We inclosed the slip from the Sauk Rapids Sentinel to Hon. R. G. H. Kean, who was chief clerk of the Confederate War Department.
We may say (for the benefit of readers in other sections; it is entirely unnecessary in this latitude), that Mr. Kean is now Rector of the University of Virginia, and is an accomplished scholar and a high-toned Christian gentleman, whose lightest word may be implicitly relied upon. Mr. Kean has sent us the following letter, which, though hastily written and not designed for publication, gives so clear a history of this report that we shall take the liberty of publishing it in full:
Letter of Hon. R. G. H. Kean, Chief Clerk of the Confederate War Department.
LYNCHBURG, VA., March 22, 1876.
My dear Sir- Yours of the 20th is received this A. M., and I snatch the time from the heart of a busy day to reply immediately, because I feel that there is no more imperious call on a Confederate than to do what he may to hurl back the vile official slanders of the Federal Government at Washington in 1865, when Holt, Conover & Co., with a pack of since convicted perjurers, were doing all in their power to blacken the fame of a people whose presence they have since found and acknowledged to be indispensable to any semblance of purity in their administration of affairs.
In September, 1865, I was required by the then commandant at Charlottesville
to report immediately to him. The summons was brought to me in the field,
where in my shirt sleeves I was assisting in the farming operations of
my father-in-law, Colonel T. J. Randolph, and his eldest son, Major T.
J. Randolph. I obeyed, and was sent by the next train to report to General
Terry, then in command in Richmond. He informed me that I was wanted, and
had long been sought for, to testify before the Commission engaged in trying
Wirz, and I was sent to Washington by the next train. I attended promptly,
but it was two or three days before I was examined as a witness. When I
was, a paper taken from the records of our War Office was shown me - the
report of Lieutenant-Colonel Chandler of his inspection of the post at
Andersonville. I remembered the paper well. This writer in the Sauk Rapids
Sentinel is in error when he says this report was "delivered in person
to the Confederate Assistant Secretary of War." It had been sent through
the usual channels, and reaching the hands of Colonel R. H. Chilton, Assistant
Inspector-General, in charge of the inspection branch of the Adjutant and
Inspector-General's bureau, was brought into the War Office by Colonel
Chilton and placed in my hands, with the endorsement quoted by this writer,
or something to that effect. Colonel Chilton explained to me that the report
disclosed such a state of things at Andersonville, that he had brought
it to me, in order that it might receive prompt attention, instead of sending
it through the usual routine channel. I read it immediately, and was shocked
at its contents. I do not remember the passage quoted by this writer, but
I do remember that it showed that the 32,000 men herded in the stockade
at Andersonville were dying of scurvy and other diseases engendered by
their crowded condition and insufficient supplies of medicines, suitable
food, and medical attendance, at the rate of ten per cent., or about 3,000
a month. Shocked at such a waste of human life, produced by the fraudulent
refusal to observe the cartel for exchange of prisoners, whom we had neither
the force to guard in a large enclosure, nor proper food for when sick,
nor medicines, save such as we could smuggle into our ports or manufacture
from the plants of Southern growth, I took the report to Judge Campbell,
Assistant Secretary of War, and told him of the horrors it disclosed. He
read it, and made on it an endorsement substantially the same quoted, and
carried it to Mr. Seddon, then secretary of War. My office was between
that of the Assistant Secretary and the Secretary of War, and told him
of the horrors it disclosed. he read it, and made on it an endorsement
substantially the same quoted, and carried it to Mr. Seddon, then Secretary
of War. My office was between that of the Assistant Secretary and the Secretary,
and the latter passed through mine with the paper in his hand. I testified
My deliberate conviction at the time, and ever since, has been that
the authorities at Washington considered thirty thousand men, just in the
rear of General Johnston's army in Georgia, drawing their rations from
the same stores from which his army had to be fed, would be better used
up there than in the Federal ranks, in view of the fact that they could
recruit their armies, while we had exhausted our material; that the refusal
to exchange prisoners, and the denial of our offers in regard to the sick
at Andersonville, was part of the plan of attrition. It will be remembered
that the friends of Federal soldiers in prison at the South had become
clamorous about the stoppage of exchanges. The Northern press had taken
the matter up, and the authorities had been arraigned as responsible. I
have never doubted that one collateral object of the Wirz trial was by
a perfectly unilateral trial(?), in which the prosecutor had everything
his own way to manufacture an answer to these just complaints. And I feel
a conviction that the truth will one day be vindicated; that, having reference
to relative resources, Federal prisoners were more humanely dealt with
in Confederate hands than Confederate prisoners were in Federal hands.
I never heard that there was any particular "suffering" at Libby or Belle Isle, and do not believe there was. Crowded prisons are not comfortable places, as our poor fellows found at Fort Delaware, Johnson's Island, &c.
I have at this late day no means of refreshing my memory in regard to the general orders on the subject of prison treatment, but this as a general fact I do know, that Mr. Davis' humanity was considered to be a stronger sentiment with him than public justice, and it was a common remark that no soldier capitally convicted was ever executed, if the President reviewed the record of his conviction. He was always slow to adopt the policy of retaliation for the barbarities inflicted by local commanders on the other side. The controversy between General Winder and Colonel Chandler was never brought to an investigation, for the reasons mentioned above. What the result of that investigation would have been no one can now tell; but I will say in reference to this true old patriot and soldier - a genial man, whose zeal was sometimes ahead of his discretion - that if he was, at Andersonville, the fiend pretended by the "Bloody Shirt" shriekers, he had in his old age changed his nature very suddenly. I never saw any reason to consider Colonel Chandler's report wilfully injurious to General Winder, and supposed that it was the result of those misunderstandings which not unfrequently spring up between an inspecting officer and a post commander, when the former begins to find fault.
I have written hastily. In minor details, the lapse of twelve years may render my memory inaccurate, but of the general accuracy of the narrative I have given, a lying in my own knowledge or reported to me by those whose names I have mentioned, I vouch without hesitation.
R. G. H. KEAN
LETTER FROM SECRETARY SEDDON