WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, March 8, 1862.
Honorable C. A. WICKLIFFE, House of Representatives.
SIR: The Secretary of War directs me to state in reply to your letter of the 5th instant relative to the disposition of certain officers captured at Fort Donelson that numerous remonstrances have been made by citizens of Kentucky against the liberation of the Confederate prisoners captured in Kentucky and Tennessee, and that the matter is held under advisement.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. H. WATSON,
Assistant Secretary of War.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Springfield, Ill., March 8, 1862.
Colonel P. MORRISON,
Eighth U. S. Infantry, Camp Butler, Ill.
COLONEL: It is desired by the Government that the prisoners of war should be provided with all things necessary to save them from real suffering, and after examining into the condition of those at Camp Butler I wish to make some suggestions which I think will be conducive to this end.
The quarters they occupy afford ample room for them and it is only required that they should be kept in good police with frequent airing of bedding to insure health and comfort. The cooking arrangements are good, but they require a four-gallon camp kettle to each company.
The supply of water seems to be deficient and it would be well if by any means an abundant supply of this important element could always be at command.
The ration allowed is larger than is necessary and by withholding a part to be sold to the commissary a fundmay be created with which necessary articles may be bought for them and expense saved to the Government.
Any deficiency of clothing, blankets or shovels and brooms for police purposes absolutely necessary will be furnished on your requisition upon the quartermaster.
What is most wanted at your camp is attendance on and accommodation for the sick. The number of sick not attended to make it desirable to have for a day or two the aid of another physician, and I have requested one from town to give his assistance to Doctor Reece. When you have made the addition to your hospital and provided for their ventilation as we spoke of to-day I am in hopes there will be a rapid improvement in the condition of the sick. Nothing will conduce so much to this as requiring the strictest attention to cleanliness on the part of the sergeants detailed as ward masters. If you can spare an officer to take the permanent charge of the police of the prisoners' hospital and quarters I think it must be all attended with good results.
I have directed an estimate to be made on the quartermaster at Chicago for bed sacks and pillow sacks for the sick and for clothing and blankets for all who may absolutely require such articles.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant Colonel Eighth Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.