THE FEDERAL PRISONERS.
Lincoln Responsible for their Sufferings and Death.
The Negro the only obstacle to Exchange.
The wrongs, indignities, and privations suffered by our (white) soldiers would move me to consent to anything to procure their exchange, except to barter away the honor and faith of the government of the United States, which has been solemnly pledged to the colored [nigger] soldiers in its employ.
Benj. F. Butler,
Maj. Gen. and Ag’t of Exchange.
All other questions between us may be postponed for future settlement, but the fair exchange of colored soldiers and of their white soldiers will be insisted on by the government before another rebel soldier or officer will be exchanged.
Solicitor of the War Department.
How the White Soldiers Suffer and Die.
From the memorial of the 35,000 perishing prisoners in the pen of pestilence and famine at Andersonville, Ga.:
The Situation of the Men.
To the President of the United States:
These 35,000 men are confined in a field of some thirty acres, enclosed by a board fence, heavily guarded. About one-third have various kinds of indiffierent shelter, or even shade of any kind, and are exposed to the storms and rains which are of almost daily occurrence; the cold dews of the night, and the more terrible effects of the sun striking with almost tropical fierceness upon their unprotected heads. This mass of men jostle and crowd each other up and down the limits of their enclosure, in storm or sun, and others lie down upon the pitiless earth at night with no other covering than the clothing upon their backs, few of them having even a blanket. * * Thousands are without pants or coat, and hundreds without even a pair of drawers to cover their nakedness.
The Scanty Ration.
To these men, as indeed to all prisoners, there is issued three-quarters of a pound of bread or meal, and one-eighth pound of meat per day. – This is the entire ration, and upon it the prisoner must live or die. The meal is often unsifted and sour, and the meat such as at the north is consigned to the soapmaker.
Sickness and Death.
But to starvation and exposure, to sun and storm, add the sickness which prevails to a most alarming and terrible extent. On an average one hundred die daily. * * It needs no comment, no effort at word painting, to make such a picture stand out boldly in most horrible colors.
Despair and Idiocy – Death Courted.
They are fast losing hope, and becoming utterly reckless of life. Numbers, crazed by their sufferings, wander about in a state of idiocy; others deliberately cross the “dead line,” and are remorselessly shot down.
The Character of Men Left to Such a Fate by Lincoln.
Few of them have been captured except in the front of battle, in the deadly encounter, and only when overpowered by numbers. They constitute as gallant a portion of our armies as carry our banners anywhere. If released, they would soon return to the army again to do vigorous battle for our cause.
Why They Suffer and Die – The men Understand the Reason – the Negro.
We are told that the only obstacle in the way of exchange is the status of enlisted negroes captured from our armies, the United States claiming that the cartel covers all who come under its flag, and the Confederate States refusing to consider the colored [nigger] soldiers, heretoore slaves, as prisoners of war.
The negro Prisoners of War for Whom our White Men are Sacrificed – How they Live and are Cared For.
The blacks on the contrary, are seldom imprisoned. They are distributed among the citizens, or employed on government works. Under these circumstances, they receive enough to eat and are worked no harder than they have been accustomed to be. They are neither starved, nor killed off by pestilence in the dungeons of Richmond and Charleston. It is true they are again made slaves; but their slavery is freedom and happiness compared with the cruel existence imposed upon our gallant men. They are not bereft of hope, as are the white soldiers, dying by piece-meal. Their chances of escape are tenfold greater than those of the white soldiers, and their condition, in all its lights, is tolerable in comparison with that of the prisoners of war now languishing in the dens and pens of secession.
Views and Conclusions of the Memorialists.
We are profoundly impressed with the conviction that the circumstances of the two classes of soldiers are so widely different that the government can honorably consent to an exchange, waiving for the time the established principle justly claimed in the case. – Let 35,000 suffering, starving and dying men aid this appeal. By prompt and decided action in their behalf, 35,000 heroes will be made happy. For the 800 commissioned officers now prisoners, we urge nothing. Although desirous of returning to our duty, we can hear imprisonment with more fortitude if the enlisted men, whose sufferings we know to be intolerable, were restored to liberty and life.
James C. Robinson to Speak in Macomb!
The State central committee, for some unimaginable cause, failed to make an appointment for Mr. Robinson at Macomb. But our citizens are determined that he shall not pass through our city without giving them a short call, at least. We therefore publish an appointment for the next Governor of Illinois, at
Macomb, Thursday Evening, October 6th, at 7 o’clock.
Let the people from the country adjacent to the city turn out and give our noble standard-bearer in the gubernatorial contest a rousing welcome.
Grand Mass Meeting
Democracy of McDonough County,
Macomb, Friday, October 14th.
The county central committee have the pleasure of announcing a grand mass meeting at Macomb, and that the following distinguished speakers have been invited and are confidently expected to attend:
Hon. D. W. VORHEES of Ind.,
A. C. DODGE, of Iowa,
R. T. MERRICK, JAS. ALLEN,
N. S. DAVIS, C. L. HIGBEE,
Men of McDonough! Need we urge upon you the importance of making one grand demonstration in harmony with the efforts of the friends of constitutional Liberty in other counties and States? – Everywhere the masses of our countrymen are moving as “with the sound of many waters,” to the rescue of our distracted and perishing nation. Are we less concerned than others in the things that pertain to our country’s salvation and peace? The foes of your liberty and of the Union of our Fathers are defiantly working for the overthrow of our Government and the enslavement of our people under the black yoke of a hateful abolition despotism. – Then turn out in your pride and strength – with wagons and horsemen – with your wives and little ones – with music and the old colors flying – “terrible as an army with banners!”
A Soldier’s Opinion.
We are permitted to take the following extract from the letter of a soldier in the 103rd Illinois regiment, and addressed to his mother, a resident of Fulton county. Although written more than a year ago, yet time has justified the conclusions of the writer:
LaGrange, Tenn., Apr. 14, 1863.
You spoke about there being a great diversity of opinion among the people about the war. I hope the excitement in the North will soon be over. It is hard to look at the way the abolitionists are trying to do. I am confident the Democratic party will have the present difficulty to settle. I do not think it right to acknowledge the independence of the South, but if the abolitionists still persist in their course I am afraid we shall have it to do. – Fighting will not restore the Union as long as there remains such a diversity of opinion. I have sometimes thought that the Democrats were a little too hasty; but when I would settle down on a conclusion it was that they were doing nothing but what was right. I think if a convention could have been called and reasonable terms offered to the South, upon which to settle the present troubles, they would have accepted them; but if in such a case they would not consent to peace, and were determined to try to gain their independence in spite of us, we would then have found a united North and been able to give them a flaxing. But no, the African is not yet free, we have not yet accomplished our design; we have not made quite money enough; we must get our pockets full; the negro free, and put on an equality with the white man, and then we will say to one and all, just let the Union slide. Thus argue the abolitionists. Such purposes are enough, it would seem, to start the spirit of our father Washington from the grave, to condemn them.
A Voice from the Libby Prison.
We call attention to the article in another column showing, from official documents, why our prisoners are not exchanged, and why 35,000 brave men are left to suffer and perish in the pestilence pens at Andersonville, Ga. Read it, Americans, and if you have a friend in that prison, or who being in the army is like to become a prisoner, whether the man is responsible for this terrible sacrifice of brave soldiers at the shrine of abolitionism and negro equality – this enormous wickedness crying to Heaven for vengeance – is fit to be reinstated in the presidential chair and entrusted with the lives and property and destiny of thirty millions of people? And then ask yourselves whether these thirty-five thousand soldiers confined in the rebel house of death are now praying for the reelection of Abraham Lincoln? As friends of these soldiers, and as your hearts bleed at the story of their terrible sufferings, will you doom them to further misery and horrible death, by voting for Lincoln?
It is not difficult to believe that the votes of these 35,000 soldiers, could they be registered in November next, would show a unanimity like that prevailing among the three hundred and seventy soldiers still confined in the Libby prison. On hearing of the nomination of McClellan these brave and suffering men expressed their preference for President as follows:
Remember these men at the polls!
P. S. After the above was put in type, we see a dispatch from Washington, stating that “Mr. Lincoln has refused to see Mr. Tracy, the commissioner from the federal prisoners at Andersonville, Ga.” No more brutal or fiendish act was ever deliberately committed by any despot on the earth. Language is tame to express the utter detestation and scorn which Americans should feel toward the fanatical president who sacrifices these brave men by the hundred every day, and refuses even to hear the recital of their sufferings. This cruelty to white soldiers is permitted to go on in order to enforce the abolition dogma of negro equality. – Again we say, remember these soldiers at the polls!
Mr. Peffer in McDonough.
Hon. H. K. Peffer, the Democratic candidate for senator, has been spending the present week in this county, addressing the people on the political questions of the day. He began at Blandinville on Monday afternoon, where he addressed a large and attentive audience for nearly two hours. – His speech there, as well as at other points, was a masterly and eloquent effort. He quotes from the record and proves that the leading republicans have for years been sowing the seeds of disunion and revolution, and that the present terrible harvest of suffering and death is but the natural and inevitable result of their teachings – that Lincoln is incapable of wisely or even impartially administering the affairs of the Government – that he is surrounded and controlled by men who are demagogues in policy and fanatics in principle, and to be delivered from them and their misrule is the great duty of the hour. Mr. Peffer is doing a good work; he is making an impression that will redound to the advantage of himself and the cause of the country which he so earnestly advocates. Candid, logical, dignified, and earnestly persuasive, no man can take offense at his remarks, or fail to be convinced if he at all open to be convinced. Democrats who fail to hear Mr. Peffer lose a rare treat, and others who stay away from his appointments know not what they do
The Abolition Meeting.
The meeting of the abolitionists of this county on Friday last was a miserable failure. They made great efforts to get up a crowd – their appeals to the people were almost frantic. But it was of no avail, the crowd did not accumulate, the people staid at home. It was a complete fizzle, viewed in the light of a demonstration. Not more than two or three hundred were present, of whom a goodly portion were stanch old Democrats, who are bomb-proof against any abuse from the vocabulary of abolitionism.
The speakers were sufficient in number, but terribly deficient in ability. “Major Hugh Fullerton: led off. His speech was a compound of panegyric upon his own virtues and abuse of some persons whom he styled “the damned copperheads.” Fool erton is the way his name should be spelled, as this orthography would furnish a key to the man and his consequences.
Richard Jerusalem Oglesby was the next speaker. He, too, labored under the weight of copperhead on the brain. He strutted and swelled and inflated his red nose like a turkey gobbler’s snout, and after roaring his brief hour subsided, to the relief of the crowd, many of whom had already left the ground.
Master Benny Prentis and Jacky Grimshaw were on hand, but they did not hurt nor frighten anybody. The latter was very savage toward the rebels, and if he only had courage enough to shoulder a musket and go where the rebels are, he no doubt would make an end of them immediately, if not sooner.
The efforts of all the speakers were notoriously void of argument to show that Lincoln was worthy of the confidence of the people – that he had preserved the public tranquility – that he had promoted the general welfare – that he had insured the happiness and prosperity of the nation. They forgot to justify his administration, or to predicate an argument for the future, founded on the past. They forgot all this, and in its stead consumed the time in abusing Democrats. A gives B an ugly name, and then abuses him for being called so. So these abolition speakers called the Democrats copperheads, and then fell to abusing them because they were called copperheads. This is very handy, and we suppose Oglesby pursued this course because he was mentally incapable of pursuing any other. Viewed in this light we do not feel like scoring him much. – Men of small calibre, like him, can be tickled with a straw, and when they set up a “man of straw and knock it down,” they imagine they have done a wonderful feat. Let us not disturb Oglesby while he indulges in such childish recreations as are suited to his boyish mind.
→ The fact has become known that as fast as the western regiments return home, as the term of their enlistment expires, their arms are distributed to secret abolition organizations. When these lilly-livered “wide awakes” attempt to use these arms they will meet their quietus suddenly and so thoroughly that Satan himself will be astonished at the suddenness with which they are thrown upon his hands.
→ Rev. Dr. Warren, who holds some sort of a commission in the army, and who has been living for some time where she-niggers are plenty, made a speech on Friday night, in behalf of the republican cause. We didn’t hear it, but we are told by some who did that we could not state the speaker’s points without offending against that standard of decency which should obtain in every respectable newspaper. We therefore pass it.
→ When Oglesby arrived in town Thursday night, he said to a dozen or more men and boys who had assembled to get a look at the roaring bull of Bashan, that wait till tomorrow and he would “give the traitors hell.” Owing to the amount of water that fell the next day we think his fire didn’t burn any body “muchly.”
→ We do not know whether the rain of last Friday should be taken as an evidence of the displeasure of Heaven at the attempts of the loyal leaguers to abolitionize the people of McDonough county – but it does seem as if Providence was throwing cold water on their wicked efforts.
→ The corn crop in this county is now beyond danger from frost. It is probably the largest crop ever raised in the county. The number of acres in cultivation is larger than any previous year, and the average yield per acre is equal to any heretofore known.
→ The day of the republican meeting at Macomb was ushered in with a fine shower of rain, which was of incalculably more advantages to the country than all the meetings which that party can hold from now till the day of its doom.
→ Gov. Yates did not attend the abolition meeting in Macomb last week. The reason is supposed to be, that he heard Macomb was a temperance town – no whisky sold here – and he concluded that he had business elsewhere.
→ As a shower of rain is the only good thing that ever results from the holding of an abolition meeting in this town, it is a pity one was not held several weeks ago – say in time for the rain to have been a benefit to the potato crop.
→ We are indebted to S. H. Murfin, Esq., for a gallon of sorghum, of the new crop. – Squire M. makes a most excellent article and while we get “sweetening” of that [?] we shall not desire to look farther.