27,000 men who might, for a few days, be considered on parole not to take arms unless duly exchanged; and then what would Mr. Ould do with those men?
Judging by what he has actually recently done, he would undoubtedly assume to discharge those men from all obligations under their
parole and put them into the field to fight against national troops standing under an unstained national flag-the very troops who gallantly captured those men upon bloody battle-fields within the past few months.
To show the extreme probability of this it is only necessary to refer to a few facts, beginning with the statement of Mr. Ould to General Meredith, officially communicated to me, that he (Mr. Ould) would "proceed to make declarations of exchanges whenever he conscientiously felt the right to do so, for the purpose of putting men into the field," thus openly setting aside the cartel and the laws and usages of war in favor of his individual sense of right, which sense of right in Mr. Ould is so obtuse and wild as to justify him in making of a "tabular statement" of alleged captures, principally in the Western States, amounting to over 18,000 men, a considerable portion of whom were undoubtedly captured by guerrilla parties and were not soldiers, but for the most part peaceable citizens of the country, probably known as friends to the Union, who for that reason were seized and compelled to make an oath not to take arms against the Southern Confederacy. And this class of persons Mr. Ould expects us to accept in exchange for rebel troops, captured mostly at Vicksburg, who, having been paroled in the South, were "declared" exchanged by Mr. Ould without any confederacy or understanding with our agent, in violation of the provisions of the cartel and in violation of the usages of war.
It must be borne in mind that the cartel was virtually abrogated by the message of Mr. Davis; not, indeed, as to its binding character upon the South, for Mr. Davis had no power under the laws of war to abrogate the provisions of that instrument, but his declared purposes, in violation of the cartel, would have fully justified the United States Government in declaring its provisions null and void, while at the same time the Government has been at liberty to require its observance on the part of the South.
I do not mean to deny in the reference just made to the tabular statement prepared by Mr. Ould but that there were some men included in that statement who had been legitimately made p though not delivered according to the cartel; but for the most part the prisoners included in that tabular statement were not set down as having been captured upon any known battle-field or as having been taken from or with any known Federal commander, nor are they reported as having been delivered to any Federal commander, but they are set down as having been captured at large in the State of Kentucky, nobody knows where, or in the State of Tennessee, or in other State of the West and South, whilst in no less than four instances they are reported as having been captured in "Kentucky and Tennessee"-the two States being thus coupled together-making it impossible, from the tabular statement itself, to determine where they were captured, or whether, indeed, any military captures whatever were made, except a few at Chickamauga and possibly a few at one or two other places.
Mr. Ould is a mere agent under the cartel and has no powers beyond those recognized in the cartel for the execution of its provisions, yet he has recently assumed to decide an important question by which he