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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 6, Part 1 (Prisoners of War)
Page 848 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

DAVENPORT, January 18, 1864.

Colonel R. C. WOOD, Assistant Surgeon- General, U. S. Army:

DEAR SIR: After several delays and small railroad disaster I arrived at Rock Island yesterday and immediately set about finding out the truth of the reports of suffering among the prisoners. To- day I have visited all the barracks, &c., and hospitals on the island and conversed with most of the officers. The conclusion of my investigations thus far is that the statements of the papers were for the most part untrue or greatly exaggerated. Almost all the suffering that has actually occurred has been in consequence of the transportation of prisoners during the extreme cold weather and from the breaking out of the smallpox among them. There is yet no hospital building large enough to accommodate the sick, but several buildings intended as barracks for prisoners have been used for hospitals and are well adapted to the purpose. The sick all have straw beds and sufficient blankets to keep warm. The stoves and fuel have been obtained from Davenport by purchase out of the prison fund. The vaccine virus sent by Doctor Magruder has been received and was being used with promptitude. It is perhaps desirable that additional medical help be obtained, especially as some of the contract physicians desire to leave at the expiration of the month. Doctor Moxley, surgeon in charge, has or will write you on that subject. it will not, I think, be necessary for me to employ other contract physicians than those already on duty. Medicines are supposed to be on the way from Saint Louis and also hospital supplies. I hope these will arrive as expected and that requisitions made on the purveyor at Louisville will be filled promptly. When these arrive there will be no deficiency. Prisoners are coming in rapidly; about 60 yesterday, 500 to- day, and telegrams advising that 1,000 or more are on the way. others ought not to be sent until these are comfortably provided for. In short, I do not see how the suffering that actually occurred could have been prevented by any agency short of that which sent the unexpected and unprecedented cold weather.

Yours, truly,

N. S . TOWNSHEND,

Medical Inspector, U. S. Army.

P. S. - I omitted to say that two excellent buildings are just finished for smallpox cases away from the other buildings.

Report of inspection of Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill,. made by order of Colonel R. C. Wood, assistant surgeon- general, U. S . Army, by Edward D. Kittoe, surgeon, U. S. Volunteers, January 18, 1864.

R. C. WOOD, Assistant Surgeon- General, U. S. Army:

SIR: In obedience to your order bearing date January 16, 1864, I proceeded to examine Camp Douglas, at Chicago, Ill., and respectfully submit the following report of my inspection:

I visited Camp Douglas on the 18th of January, 1864. On presenting your order to Colonel De Land, commandant of the camp, he attended me overt he premises and afforded me all information required. The site of Camp Douglas is very objectionable as a depot for troops. The ground is low and flat, rendering drainage imperfect and difficult to be effected. Its proximity to Lake Michigan, and consequent exposure to the cold, damp winds from off this large body of water with the


Page 848 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 6, Part 1 (Prisoners of War)
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