Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/372

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

recognition of the independence of the Confederacy. Your mission is simply one of humanity, and has no political aspect.

If objection is made to receiving your letter on the ground that it is not addressed to Abraham Lincoln as President, instead of Commander in Chief, etc., then you will present the duplicate letter which is addressed to him as President and signed by me as President. To this letter objection may be made on the ground that I am not recognized to be President of the Confederacy. In this event you will decline any further attempt to confer on the subject of your mission, as such conference is admissible only on the footing of perfect equality.

My recent interviews with you have put you so fully in possession of my views that it is scarcely necessary to give you any detailed instructions, even were I at this moment well enough to attempt it. My whole purpose is in one word to place this war on the footing of such as are waged by civilized people in modern times, and to divest it of the savage character which has been impressed on it by our enemies, in spite of all our efforts and protests. War is full enough of unavoidable horrors under all its aspects to justify and even to demand of any Christian rulers who may be unhappily engaged in carrying it on to seek to restrict its calamities and to divest it of all unnecessary severities. You will endeavor to establish the cartel for the exchange of prisoners on such a basis as to avoid the constant difficulties and complaints which arise, and to prevent for the future what we deem the unfair conduct of our enemies in evading the delivery of the prisoners who fall into their hands; in retarding it by sending them on circuitous routes, and by detaining them sometimes for months in camps and prisons; and in persisting in taking captive noncombatants.

Your attention is called also to the unheard-of conduct of Federal officers in driving from their homes entire communities of women and children, as well as of men, whom they find in districts occupied by their troops, for no other reason than because these unfortunates are faithful to the allegiance due to their States, and refuse to take an oath of fidelity to their enemies.

The putting to death of unarmed prisoners has been a ground of just complaint in more than one instance; and the recent execution of officers of our army in Kentucky, for the sole cause that