|But the following extract from the
TESTIMONY OF GENERAL GRANT before
the Committee on the Conduct of the War, given February 11th, 1865, may
be added as an end of controversy on this point:
It has been said that we refused to exchange
prisoners because we found ours starved, diseased, unserviceable when we
received them, and did not to exchange sound men for such men?
There never has been any such reason as that. That has been a reason
for making exchanges.
I will confess that if our men who are prisoners in the South were
really well taken care of, suffering nothing except a little privation
of liberty, then, in a military point of view, it would not be good policy
for us to exchange, because every man they get back is forced right into
the army at once, while that is not the case with our prisoners when we
receive them. In fact, the half of our returned prisoners will never go
into the army again, and none of them will until after they have had a
furlough of thirty or sixty days. Still, the fact of their suffering as
do is a reason for making this exchange as rapidly as possible.
Question. And never has been a reason for not
making the exchange?
It never has. Exchanges having been suspended by reason of disagreement
on the part of agents of exchange on both sides before I came in command
of the armies of the United States, and it then being near the opening
of the spring campaign, I did not deem it advisable or just to the men
who had to fight our battles to re-enforce the enemy with thirty or forty
thousand disciplined troops at that time. An immediate resumption of exchanges
would have had that effect without giving us corresponding benefits. The
suffering said to exist among our prisoners South was a powerful argument
against the course pursued, and I so felt it.