I desire all the sick and disabled, up to 600, to be got ready at once, so as not to detain his boat. Please inform Colonel Mulford, at Annapolis, at what point he will get them. I further desire that the sick and wounded of the Confederate prisoners this side of the mountains be gathered at once at Baltimore, Fort Delaware, and Point Lookout, so that they may be taken to Savannah and exchanged for our men. Please notify me at what time they will be ready and I will provide transportation. The special exchanges, so far as possible, have been effected.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
Major-General and Commissioner of Exchange.
HEADQUARTERS POST, Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill., October 8, 1864.
Colonel WILLIAM HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to respectfully represent that since the 1st of August there has been a constant and rapid increase of disease and deaths among the prisoners of war at this camp, the number who have died and been sick in hospital being as follows:
Month. Number died. Number sick
June 34 167
July 49 237
August 93 273
September 123 373
The whole number sick in barracks is about 984.
The whole number of prisoners of war now in this camp, as shown by morning report of this morning, is 7,402. An examination of these figures cannot fail to impress you, showing, as they do, and alarming increase of sickness and mortality. In my opinion this increase springs from three causes, as follows, two of which may perhaps be removed:
First. A large proportion of these prisoners have been confined for more than one year, and, although they have the range of the prison square, which is kept in excellent sanitary condition, so long as period of restraint doubtless contributes largely to depression and disease.
Second. The want of a thoroughly efficient and competent medical officer at the head of the medical department of this post. Asst. Surg. A. M. Sigmund, U. S. Volunteers, is post surgeon, having relieved Surg. J. H. Grove, ordered away on the 22nd day of June, 1864, since when there has been a lack of efficiency in the management of medical affairs of the post, which has been specially observable in the prison hospital and prison square, springing probably more from a deficiency in experience, capacity, and general ability necessary to control the medical department of so large a spot than from any intentional negligence.
Third. The want of vegetables and antiscorbutics. Since your printed circular of August 10, 1864, the second paragraph of which prohibits the sutler from selling vegetables and other articles of food, this want has been distinctly visible as a cause of disease. Under the provision of your letter of August 1, 1864, upon surgeon's certificate potatoes have been issued from time to time, not, however, in sufficient quantities to stop the tendency to and increase of scurvy, which would require a large expenditure.