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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 686 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

are. If the places named have been garrisoned so as to make it improper for me to send flag of truce with provision trains I would be pleased to know it and will conform with any plan for the relief of such wounded as were necessarily left near the battle-field as may be agreed upon. My only desire is to know that there is no unnecessary suffering among the unfortunate wounded. This I will feel satisfied of the moment I know they are in the hands of a military commander or that I am free to look after them.

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,

Washington, D. C., May 21, 1863.

Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report in reply to the communication of Doctor Van Buren, of the U. S. Sanitary Commission, on the condition of the hospitals for rebel prisoners at Camp Douglas and Saint Louis:

In July last, "not more than a year ago," the hospital at Camp Douglas was in a very fair condition. Ample provisions had been made of bedding, including sheets and pillow cases and all other necessary articles, but the general sanitary condition of the camp was very bad in consequence of its unfavorable location, being on flat, low ground with very little drainage, and in part owing to the want of proper attention to the police by the garrison. I made a full report of the state of the camp at that time to the Quartermaster-General and recommended a system of sewerage which it was thought would remedy much of the evil complained of. With my report I sent a letter from Doctor Bellows written in July upon the necessity for improvements. At the same time I gave precise instructions as to what should be done by the troops and the prisoners to produce a more healthful state of things, but soon after it was decided to exchange the prisoners of war and as the guard was composed of three-months' men little or no attention was paid to my orders. When the prisoners left the camp in September my control over it ceased.

In the latter part of January between 3,000 and 4,000 prisoners of war arrived at the camp with some 800 under medical treatment. The smallpox prevailed at the camp and it soon spread among the prisoners. A medical board was appointed by the Board of Health of Chicago to inspect and recommend what course should be taken, and General Ammen, then in command, adopted measures to carry out their recommendations.

About the same time Captain Freedley, U. S. Army, who had been ordered by me to inspect Camp Douglas, reported in relation to the hospital as follows:

The medical department is under the charge of Dr. George H. Park, surgeon Sixty-fifth Illinois Infantry. I found the hospitals generally neat and clean and well supplied with cots and bedding. The sick prisoners were well cared for. The medical supplies were sufficient. Doctor Park is kind in his treatment of the sick prisoners and endeavors to perform his duties satisfactorily. He is zealous, energetic and attentive and will endeavor faithfully to carry our your instructions.

There are now but little over - prisoners at Chicago and there ought to be no want of anything for the few who are in hospital.

On the 20th of April I made a report to the Quartermaster-General urging that immediate steps should be taken to improve the sanitary


Page 686 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 5, Part 1 (Prisoners of War)
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