Washington, MArch 21, 1862.
Captain J. A. POTTER,
Assistant Quartermaster, U. S. Army, Chicago.
CAPTAIN: The following is an extract from a letter received at this office from Colonel Hoffman, commissary-general of prisoners, suggesting certain improvements at Camp Butler, near Springfield, Ill., now occupied by prisoners of war, viz:
The camp is not inclosed and the detention of the prisoners there depends more on their willingness to remain than upon any restraint upon them by the guard. The command is made up of new recruits who cannot be expected to be very vigilant, and there will be little difficulty in a prisoner escaping on a dark, stormy night. It would cost $1,500 to inclose the barracks they occupy, but anticipating the necessity of taking care of more prisoners the inclosure had better be made if made at all large enough to contain barracks for double the number of prisoners.
You will please take measures to have the quarters of the prisoners at Camp Butler inclosed by the erection of a fence in conformity with these suggestions of Colonel Hoffman.
M. C. MEIGS,
Washington, March 21, 1862.
Lieutenant Colonel W. HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners, Sandusky, Ohio.
COLONEL: I have directed Captain J. A. Potter, assistant quartermaster, U. S. Army, Chicago, Ill., to erect a fence to inclose the quarters occupied by the prisoners at Camp Butler, near Springfield, Ill., in accordance with the suggestion contained in your letter of the 10th instant.
M. C. MEIGS,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE SOUTHWEST,
Camp at Cross Timber, March 21, 1862.
Captain D. H. MAURY,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Confederate Army.
CAPTAIN: I am in receipt of yours of the 14th instant* expressing the reasonable regret of your commanding general for the barbarities committed by Indians at the recent battle of Pea Ridge. The fact of many bodies having been scalped and mutilated was patent, and the general commanding this army wishes for the sake of humanity that the testimony was not incontestable.
In reply to your information that men who surrendered themselves prisoners of war were reported to the general as having been murdered in cold blood by their captors who were alleged to be Germans, I may say the Germans charge the same against your soldiers. I inclose a copy of a letter# from General Sigel addressed to me before the receipt of yours in which this subject is referred to. As dead men tell no tales it is not easy to see how these charges may be proven, and the general hopes they are mere camp stories having little or no foun-
*Omitted here; Maury to Curtis, Series I, Vol. VIII, p. 195.