War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0492 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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herewith submitted of the address of Colonel N. P. Chipman, judge-advocate, which, while containing a lucid discussion of the questions of law involved, exhibits also a most faithful summary of the testimony, much of which, indeed, is set forth in the very language of the witnesses. A copy of the formal review of the proceedings, addressed by this Bureau to the President on the 31st ultimo, is also annexed.* It is submitted whether a publication of the record of this case (similar to that undertaken by private enterprise in the instance of the trial of the assassins), or of an abridgment of the same, prepared by some proper person, may not well be authorized by Congress, not only that a permanent memorial of the testimony and proceedings may be preserved, but also that the facts of such testimony may be made accessible to every student of the rebellion.#

A peculiar characteristic of these state trials, and that which must invest them with a deep historical importance, is the fact that, while the accused were in each case adjudged to have been guilty of the crimes with which they were charged, the complicity in those crimes of chiefs of the rebellion was declared by the court in their findings, and upon testimony which is deemed to have fully warranted the conclusions reached. In each case the proof justified the conviction that the prisoners before the court were not merely personally criminals, but conspirators; that they were the hirelings and accomplices of the cabal of traitors of whom Davis was the acknowledged chief, and that these traitors were in fact, as well as in law, equally with the accused, responsible for the detestable deeds which were adduced in evidence. The assassination of the President was portrayed by the testimony as an inspiration of the rebellion, authorized from the seat of government, and executed through its paid agents, whose plan of action was first matured within the territory of a neighboring friendly power.

It is proper to remark that events and testimony disclosed subsequent to this trial have added a powerful support to the cot in reference to the complicity of rebel leaders in the assassination of the President.

The barbarities of Wirz, which resulted in the sacrifice of the lives of at least 10,000 of our helpless prisoners in his hands, were also clearly shown to have been but the revolting features of a system, doubtless devised at Richmond, for the destruction by starvation and fatal cruelties of all the Federal prisoners of war who should come into the enemy's hands. As there is no baseness too infamous to be incompatible with treason, so, for the execution of the details of this inhuman scheme, fit agents were readily found wearing the rebel uniform, and to these were committed the care and custody of Union prisoners. The administration of Wirz, however, though atrocious in the extreme, was but a striking example of the general system of treatment by the enemy of prisoners of war. Of the enforcement of this system throughout the South, at Richmond, Belle Isle, Salisbury, N. C.; Florence, S. C.; Macon and Millen, Ga.; Tuscaloosa, Ala., and at many other localities, the cruelties of Andersonville, as is made to appear by testimony on file in this Bureau, were but a forcible illustration. For the result-for the almost countless deaths and lasting injuries by wounds, by starvation, by inhuman punishments, by the

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*See Series II, Vol. VIII, p. 775.

#See Executive Document Numbers 23, House of Representatives, Fortieth Congress, second session.

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