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
E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.
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, General-in-Chief.
(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