War of the Rebellion: Serial 116 Page 0152 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

that the only knowledge or information I have of him is that he is from Georgia and that he declined to accompany the steamer Star of the West when she was dispatched to provision Fort Sumter last spring when it became known that that was her destination.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. W. FOX,

Assistant Secretary.

RICHMOND, VA., December 4, 1861.

Honorable B. F. GRANGER,

[Representative in Congress, First District of Michigan].

DEAR SIR: I take the liberty of addressing you, the Representative of the First Congressional district, in behalf of 72 sons of Michigan, 40 of whom are from your immediate district, 14 hailing from your own county of Washtenaw. They are widely dispersed, a portion being in Charleston and others in Richmond, Columbia, New Orleans and Tuscaloosa and some will in a few days be sent to Salisbury, N. C. They are a portion of 3,000 loyal citizens of the United States now held as prisoners of war. Most of them have been in close confinement under very unfavorable circumstances over four months.

I might picture to you their present condition but deem it unnecessary. You can readily conceive how men taken (generally without money) with clothing originally of poor quality, having already had three months' service in the field, will naturally appear after four months more have passed, in most cases without a change of any garment. Can you believe they are in a condition to stand the changes of even a Southern climate? We know they are not and unless something is done for their relief their decimated ranks next spring will tell a fearful tale.

I have just read a note from and educated young man of a Northern city who left a situation as bank clerk and enlisted as a private to serve his county. He was wounded and taken prisoner at Manassas. He says: "I have no shirt or socks and suffer much from cold and damp and at every breath it seems as if a knife were plu cannot stand it much longer. " This is but one case of many that I might cite had I time. I have seen sights that made my heart bleed. I am convinced that many are now sustained only by the hope that it will not much longer continue thuas and that a speedy exchange will restore them to their families and friends, from whence after a restoration to health they may return to the service of their country. It is said "hope deferred maketh the soul sick. " Let it be understood there is to be no exchange and many would welcome death.

Now let me ask, is all this necessary? The question naturally arises with us has not as much been conceded already as would be in a full exchange of prisoners? Flags of truce are of almost daily occurrence; prisoners have been taken in arms against the Government with stipulations, since honestly carried out, that they would be received and treated as prisoners of war; paroles have been recongnized at our capital and fifty-seven of our prisoners returned to their homes and friends by order of General McClellan; prisoners have been exchanged with all the unsual formalities on the Mississippi on the Mississippi, and naval officers are even now on their way home in exchange for an equal number sent here by our Government or its agents.

Of course in our isolated position we cannot know all the different aspects in which the question will present itself; we can only judge of