War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0679 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

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the discharged of an obligation which, between belligerent nations, is only to be enforced by a sense of honor. No further comment is needed on this subject, but it may be permitted to direct your special attention to the close of the correspondence submitted to you, from which you will perceived that the final proposal made by the enemy, in settlement of all disputes under the cartel, is that we shall liberate all prisoners held by us without the officer to release from captivity any of those held by them. In the meantime a systematic and concerted effort has been made to quiet the complaints in the United States of those relatives and friends of the prisoners in our bands who are unable to understand why the cartel is not executed in their favor by the groundless assertion that we are the parties who refuse compliance. Attempts are also made to shield themselves from the execration excited by their own odious treatment of our sliders, now captive in their hands, by misstatements, such as that the prisoners held by us are deprived of food. To this late accusation the conclusive answer has been made that in accordance with our law and the general orders of the Department the rations of the prisoners are precisely the same, in quantity and quality, as those served out to our own gallant sliders in the field, and which has been found sufficient to support them in their arduous campaigns, while it is not pretended by the enemy they treat prisoners by the same generous rule. By an indulgence, perhaps unprecedented, we have even allowed the prisoners in our hands to be supplied by their friends at home with comforts not enjoyed by the men who captured them in battle. In contrast to this treatment the most revolting inhumanity has characterized the conduct of the United States toward prisoners held by them. One prominent fact, with admits no denial nor palliation, must suffice as a test. The officers of our army, natives of Southern and semi-tropical climates, and unprepared for the cold of a Northern winter, have been conveyed for imprisonment during the rigors of the present to the most northern and exposed situation that could be selected by the enemy. There, beyond the reach of comforts, and often of even news from home and family, exposed to the piercing cold of the Northern Lakes, they are held by men who cannot be ignorant of, even if they do not design, the probable result. How many of our unfortunate friends and comrades, who have passed unscathed through numerous battles, will perish on Johnson's Island, under the cruel trial of which they are subjected, none but he Omniscient can foretell. That they will endure this barbarous treatment with the same stern fortitude that they have ever evinced in their country's service we cannot doubt. But who can be found to believe the assertion that it is our refusal to execute the cartel, and not the malignity to the foe, which has caused the infliction of such intolerable cruelty on our own loved and honored defenders?

* * * *

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

ENTERPRISE, December 7, 1863.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond:

I have written you on the subject of the construction of the language of the parole give by our prisoners. It is desirable the Government should decide how far they are subject to military duty and of what kind. This is necessary to discipline and should be done at once.