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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 5, Part 1 (Prisoners of War)
Page 345 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

instructions from you. Besides the diseases usually found in camps smallpox is prevailing to some extent. There are now 125 cases under treatment. A smallpox hospital has been erected separate from the camp and outside of the inclosure. Every endeavor has been made to prevent the disease spreading and every precaution is adopted that is general under similar circumstances. The mortality of the prisoners is quite large, but this is to be attributed to their wretchedly broken-down condition. Their general health has greatly improved since their arrival at the camp. Three hundred and eighty-seven prisoners have died in the month of February; 262 are now sick in hospitals, while a number are being prescribed for and receiving medical treatment in their quarters. This is exclusive of the 125 cases of smallpox. Large contributions have been made to the hospitals of medicines, clothing and delicacies for the sick by charitable persons and friends of the prisoners residing in the loyal States.

Quite a number of prisoners express a desire to take the oath of allegiance and a number have been permitted to do so. Before a prisoners is permitted to take the oath he is carefully examined and if there is no reason to doubt his sincerity the oath is administered. On the contrary, if there is cause to doubt or to suppose that the oath will not be sacredly kept this privilege is not granted. The oath was administered to fifty-one prisoners during the month of February. This was but a small fraction of the number of applications. The guards are vigilant and attentive to their duties. They are well instructed and the discipline is more rigid than in any camp I have yet visited. But six prisoners have escaped since their arrival.

The prisoners' fund at this camp amounts to $1,473. 38, of which $1,115. 34 accrued during the month of February. I found that the prisoners upon their ration returns were drawing salt meat almost exclusively and I recommended that fresh beef be issued five days in the week. This will not only increase the fund and lessen the cost to Government of their maintenance, but will be conducive to the health of the camp. I have examined the money accounts of the prisoners and find them all correct and property kept. All the books and records of the adjutant' office regarding prisoners are kept as directed in your circular of instructions. There has been but little clothing furnished by Government, only in extreme cases, but there have been large contributions by their friends. The following articles were contributed during the month of February: 620 pairs of shoes, 597 overshirts, 303 flannel shirts, 12 cotton shirts, 312 woolen blouses, 1,980 knit socks, 1,846 pairs cotton drawers, 60 flannel drawers, 148 hats, 101 pairs pants, 3 gray undercoats and a large number of articles of lesser value. These articles have been received, examined and distributed as required by your circular.

The total number of prisoners at present confined in this camp is 3,520. They are principally from the States of Texas and Arkansas. They appear cheerful and contended. Their treatment is much better than they had been to expect and many say better than they received in the Southern Army. A number who have taken the oath have enlisted in the U. S. volunteers. The general condition of the camp is good but the quarters occupied by the prisoners are in need of some repairs. I do respectfully recommend that they all be raised a current of air to pass under then. I recommend this as an important sanitary measure for the camp is quite low and damp. There is a bakehouse at the camp which has not been completed. I recommend its completion and that the prisoners bake their own bread. The


Page 345 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 5, Part 1 (Prisoners of War)
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