O.R.--SERIES II--VOLUME VI [S# 119]
UNION AND CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, ETC., RELATING TO PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE FROM JUNE 11, 1863, TO MARCH 31, 1864.--#24
WASHINGTON, November 27, 1863.
Col. E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General, U.S. Army:
SIR: I arrived in this city yesterday after an imprisonment of nearly five months as a prisoner of war in Libby Prison, Richmond, Va., and <ar119_587> take this early opportunity of preferring charges against the within-named men now acting as attendants in the prison. They have taken the oath of allegiance to the so-called Southern Confederacy, thinking they would be permitted to remain South, which they will not be allowed to do, as they will be sent within our lines as soon as exchanges are resumed. As attendants in the prison they have considerable authority over the prisoners, which they exercise in the most shameful manner, beating them over the head with clubs, stealing from them their money, clothing, &c. These facts I can prove as soon as an exchange takes place by officers now confined in Richmond. I would respectfully request that these men may be arrested the moment they arrive within our lines. Their names are -- Keller, Seventy-fourth New York Volunteers; -- Grube, -- Grube (brothers), Seventy-fourth New York Volunteers; G. B. Ganett, Battery B, First New York Artillery; Everard (a Frenchman, tall, handsome man), Company B, Fifty-second New York Volunteers; -- Blass (a Spaniard), Second New York Fire Zouaves; -- Castagno (a Spaniard), deserter from the Fourth New York Cavalry, now in the One hundred and fourth New York Volunteers.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALLSTON W. WHITNEY,
Surgeon Thirteenth Massachusetts Volunteers.
ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, December 26, 1863.
Respectfully referred to Colonel Hoffman, who will probably know when these men are released, and that he may take measures to have them brought to trial.
E. D. TOWNSEND,
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, D.C., November 27, 1863.
Major-General THOMAS, Chattanooga:
Vicksburg prisoners recaptured will not be exchanged without further orders. They will be sent to depots the same as other prisoners.
H. W. HALLECK,
(Copy to Colonel Hoffman, Commissary-General of Prisoners.)
MEDICAL DIRECTOR'S OFFICE,
Richmond, November 27, 1863.
General J. H. WINDER, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: In reply to your inquiry as to causes of the mortality among the Federal prisoners, I have the honor to state that I have inspected the prison hospital and the camp at Belle Isle. In regard to the first, I find that the patients have only half of the room allowed to Confederate soldiers in hospital. Otherwise they are on the same footing, the medicines, medical attendance, and provisions being the same as in C. S. hospitals and as good as can be procured. I have offered the use of Confederate hospitals which have been pronounced unfit on account <ar119_588> of the difficulty in guarding them, and requisition has been made several days since for two other factories to be turned over as hospitals for Federal prisoners. The camp at Belle Isle is as well managed as possible under the circumstances, but I think that here may be found most of the causes of the severity and frequency of the sickness. The men are too much crowded. They have not sufficient quantity of blankets nor sufficient fuel supplied. They sleep on the ground and are exposed to all the vicissitudes of temperature incident to our climate, increased by the position and the winds blowing over the water. An additional cause of disease is want of discipline and authority, no officer being with the men to enforce attendance off the sick, who are despoiled of their rations by those stronger. Another class of causes is the depressing moral influence prisoners labor under, especially noticeable since they have been told that there is no hope of exchange. They die from slight diseases, having lost all hope. When removed to hospitals, where they are properly attended to, they generally react and become much better. Those who die are those who are too much depressed to react, and die within a short time after entering the hospital. I recommend that as many as possible of the men be removed from the island and placed in the factories in Richmond, Farmville, Lynchburg, and Danville, or that steps be taken to send them to a more southern climate. I call attention to the requisitions forwarded for increased hospital accommodation and the inclosed report [not found] of the number of sick each day and the number of deaths, showing that with an average of 1,200 in hospitals, there has been a mortality of about ten per diem since November 1. I have placed in charge of these sick Surg. John Wilkins and twenty-two assistant surgeons, who are selected as the most competent of the medical staff in the department under your authority.
WM. A. CARRINGTON,