War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0713 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -CONFEDERATE.

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States. Let such notice be accompanied by an assurance that any provisions, &c., furnished by the United States shall be applied to their comfort and support, and also a request that they be furnished. Should the United States recognize their obligation to do so or accede to our request the details can then be arranged. Should they refuse then let them starve. "We have delivered our own country demands it. I conceive that this or some similar policy is most important in its effect upon the future action of the Northern States. Treated as our prisoners now are captivity has neither sacrifice nor suffering to a large proportion of them. They are as well or better fed and cared for generally than if they were in their own ranks or even in their own homes. I am prepared to believe that the greater potion of the Army of our enemy are men who fare better as soldiers than as citizens and who enter the ranks for that reason. If so the increasing distress and starvation of the lower classes of the Northern population will continue to swell their ranks for that reason. If so the increasing distress and starvation of the lower classes of the Northern population will continue to swell their ranks unless some counter policy on our part can evade its influence. Under our present policy such men have everything to gain and nothing to lose. If they enlist against us and defeat us it is well. It taken captive by us well also. In either event they escape privation and want and obtain comfort and abundance either in our parlors or our prisons.

Our present policy is a temptation to invade us. But let this be changed. Adopt the plocy suggested and the invasion of our soil becomes a very serious matter. The line of argument will be this: If taken prisoner will my Government exchange for me? Numbers If it is proposed to discharge me on parole will my Government consent to it? Numbers Will the Confederate States fed and clothe me? Numbers Will my own Government do so if consented to be States? Never. Then of course if captured I must starve? Certainly. That such a state of affairs would tend to cripple if not crush all attempts at recruiting I cannot doubt. Men would not serve a Government that would wantonly let them starve in a prisons with the power and permission to save them. But I have said enough to explain my idea.

With respect, your friend,

JAMES PHELAN.

[Indorsement.]

Secretary of War, in connection with prisoners of war.

J. D.

RICHMOND, August 29, 1861.

The Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:

DEAR SIR: Happening a few days since to mention the matter of the scarcity of shoes to J. Randolph tucker, esq. (our State attorney), and asking him of the chances o probability of being able through the authorities to obtain the services of such of the prisoners now confined here, he referred me to the quartermaster, Confederate forces. On seeing him he referred me to General Winder. he, acknowledging his willingness to the plan I proposed, referred me to Your Excellency before deciding for your opinion on the matter. The plan I propose or the terms on which I apply for their services is to ascertain how many of them would voluntarily agree to work in prison at such prices as would enable me to reserve to the Confederacy such sum as would feed them during their confinement or give them the full benefit of their labor, as the decision of officials might be. This would I have no doubt