War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0095 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

From the papers appended, embracing the correspondence referred to, it will be seen that the mission failed from the refusal of the enemy to receive or entertain it, holding the proposition for such a conference "inadmissible. " The influences and views that led to this determination after so long a consideration of the subject must be left to conjecture. The reason assigned for the refusal by the United States Secretary of War, to wit, that "the customary agents and channels are considered adequate for all needful military communications and conferences," to one acquainted with the facts seems not only unsatisfactory, but very singular and unaccountable, for it is certainly known to him that the very agents to whom he evidently alludes heretofore agreed upon in former conference in reference to the exchange of prisoners (one of the subjects embraced in your letter to me), are now and have been for some time distinctly at issue on several important points. The existing cartel owing to these disagreements is virtually suspended so far as the exchange of officers on either side is concerned. Notices of retaliation have been given on both sides. The effort, therefore, for the very many and cogent reasons set forth in your letter of instructions to me to see if these differences could not be removed and if a clearer understanding between the parties as to the general conduct of the war could not be arrived at before this extreme measure should be resorted to by either party, was no less in accordance with the dictates of humanity than in strict conformity with the usages of belligerents in modern times. Deeply impressed as I was with these views and feedings in undertaking the mission and asking the conference, I can but express my profound regret at the result of the effort made to obtain it, and I can but entertain the belief that if the conference sought had been granted mutual good could have been effected by it, and if this war, so unnatural, so unjust, so unchristian, ent with every fundamental principle of American constitutional liberty "must needs" continue to be waged against us, that at least some of its severer horrors, which now so eminently threaten, might have been avoided.

Very respectfully,



HEADQUARTERS, Numbers 128.

Jackson, Miss., July 8, 1863.

* * * * *

XIII. The general commanding has just learned that a detachment of exchanged prisoners sent to this department by Captain Grant have been induced by the misrepresentations of some designing person or persons to doubt the validity of their exchange. There is no reason whatever for doing this, and the detachment is hereby directed to remain here until they can be sent in safety to the departments to which they belong. The presence and aid of such a body of men is very welcome at such a juncture. Captain Grant will report with his command to Major-General Breckinridge for temporary duty with his division.

By command of General Johnston:


Assistant Adjutant-General.


Washington, D. C., July 9, 1863 - 9. 30 a. m.

Major-General MEADE, Army of the Potomac:

If no arrangement was made between you and General Lee for the exchange and parole of prisoners of war by designating places of