War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0870 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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stopped? There is none whatever. The prisoner is better off for working than rotting in idleness, and if he be put to dangerous or unhealthy work, which, nevertheless, must be done, will anyone say that the captor is obliged to expose his own men to the danger, rather than the enemy. I have, of course, nothing to do with the question of expediency. Expediency must be judged of in each single case on its own peculiar grounds. As a general thing, I say, as every one else will say, that it is very expedient indeed to make prisoners work and not to waste the capital that is embodied in thousands of lusty hands. I do not know whether our 50,000 prisoners are very lusty hands. The mass of southern common people are, physically, worth very little, but work and strong food would greatly improve them.

Permit me, general, to add here that so far from my having indulged in harsh rules in the code, I have received numerous letters expressing great satisfaction at my having taken an elevated point of honor and morality. Mr. Mittermaier, one of the first jurists and publicists of the age, thanked me in very warm and flattering terms, that I had succeeded in circumscribing the military lawlessness of generals "of which we have known and suffered so much. " Mittermaier is near eighty years and lives in Baden; believed therefore on the very ground over which the over whelming tides of the Napoleonic era flowed to and for. I speak frankly to you, general, if I confess that I have written this whole letter in the consciousness that were an old European warrior looking over my shoulder he would smile at the idea that any one can have doubted the right and bounded duty of the captor to make use of prisoners of war. If the enemy has complained of your using prisoners to repair railways at Chattanooga, it produces on my mind an effect somewhat similar to that produced by the complaint of Soubise Aftessbach, that Frederick had attacked him at an hour so early that no French soldier could possibly have finished his hair-powder toilette. The rebel complaint, however, would be more arrogant or insolent. The French complaint was simply entertaining--a good subject for Punch. If I have left out anything which I ought to have touched upon let me know it and I will reply to the best of my ability. I have no secretary. May I beg you to keep this letter, so that, should occasion arise, I might refer to it. Or can some young epaulette make a copy of it?

I am, with great regard, your obedient servant,


I must state to you as an inquiring officer a fact with which my correspondence arising out of code has made me acquainted, although wholly unconnected with the topic of the letter. In the wars between France and Prussia preceding that of 1813-1815 a treaty was made between the belligerents during the war that each power should pay half pay to the captured officers on its hands, the sums thus spent to be balanced in the treaty of peace whenever it should be concluded.


The only canal which Bonaparte finished is that of Saint Quentin, which contains the largest known tunnel. He prosecuted other canals, commenced by his predecessors, but did not finish any of them. As to the labor of prisoners of war applied to these works my memory leaves me in doubt on the subject. After the Italian campaign in 1859 the