Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/244

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

Judge Robert Ould, Confederate Exchange agent, and who knew more about the treatment of our prisoners than any other man, was subpoenaed, but not allowed to testify in Wirz's behalf.

In the trial of Wirz, certain Federal prisoners swore that he killed certain prisoners, August, 1864, when he was actually absent on sick leave in Augusta, Ga., at the time.

When Captain Wirz was offered pardon if he would implicate President Davis "with the atrocities at Andersonville," he replied: "I know nothing about Jefferson Davis. He had no connection with me as to what was done at Andersonville."

In his confession to Father Schadewell the night before he was hung, he said: "I have spurned an offer of full pardon if I would say President Jefferson Davis instigated the cruelties claimed to have been perpetrated at Andersonville."

My dear Corporal can you give us from your ranks a nobler and more heroic spirit than this? Only a little aid to the willing and waiting perjurers to libel Jefferson Davis and you can go free. Why, my dear sir, were your people so anxious to convict Mr. Davis of cruelty to prisoners? First, it was to draw the attention of the country from your own outrageous treatment of Confederate prisoners, and other crimes, and, secondly, to show that Mr. Davis had committed heinous and inhuman crimes, would blacken the cause and degrade the people he represented.

If Wirz had shot down 7,000 Federal prisoners, still the records of treatment of prisoners would have been favorable to the South.

Surgeon-General Barnes, of the United States, reported that there were in Northern prisons during the war 220,000 Confederates, and of this number 26,246 died, or 12 per cent, and that there were 270,000 Federals in Southern prisons, and 22,576 died, or 9 per cent. Now, my comrade, where does the cruelty come in? You admit in your statement the above facts, but say "the explanation of this is extremely simple. The Southern prisoners came North worn and emaciated—half starved. They had reached this condition because of their scant rations. They came from a mild climate to the rigorous Northern climate, and although we gave them shelter and plenty to eat, they could not stand the change."