of war of the officers and others attached to the U. S. steamer Mercedita at the time of the surrender of that vessel off Charleston, S. C., on the 31st of January last, and of reporting whether or not in its opinion the paroles stated to have given on that occasion are valid and subsisting, have the honor to report that it has given the subject its most careful study and reflection and is of the opinion the inasmuch as Lieutenant-Commander Abbot assumed the responsibility of giving the parole for the officers and others on board of the Mercedita, and inasmuch as his act was immediately sanctioned by his commanding officer, Commander Stellwagne, the validity of the parole should be admitted and the corresponding status or condition of the officers and men should be recognized.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. D. SHUBRICK,
Rear-Admiral and President.
C. H. DAVIS,
JOS. G. TOTTEN,
Brevet Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., March 12, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.
SIR: Pursuant to the instructions on the accompanying papers* I have the honor to submit the following report in relation to the management and condition of the troops at Camp Parole, and Annapolis:
Previous to the receipt of these papers I had directed Captain Lazelle, Eighth Infantry, who is on duty in my office, to make a minute inspection of the condition of Camp Parole in all its departments, and I have the honor to submit herewith his report+, which is very full and satisfactory. From this report it appears that though much has been done to secure good discipline in the camp, and that the troops should be well provided for in every way, much remains yet to be done before anything like perfection will be arrived at. The great obstacle in the way of a favorable state of things is the anxiety of the men to go to their homes and their unwillingness to do anything to better their condition, which would deprive them of any reasonable ground of complaint and the claims which they base upon it for furloughs. Few of the paroled officers care to exert themselves to correct this state of feeling. On the contrary they prefer to encourage it in the hopes that it will secure their being ordered away. Whenever there is any deficiency in the supplies it is only temporary and unavoidable or else it is mainly produced by the misconduct of the men themselves. By a comparison of the report of Captain Lazelle with the statements in the accompanying papers it will be perceived that the complaints are, except perhaps in some rare instances, wholly false or very much exaggerated the little occasion for them which really exists.
I have made repeated applications for a permanent guard for the camp but it has not been practicable to furnish it, nor has it been practicable to retain for duty there a sufficient number of reliable and efficient officers to insure a satisfactory state of discipline. The Commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Sangster, has very full instructions, and he has been very faithful in his efforts to carry them out, but the
* Not found; but see preceding correspondence.
+ See p. 328.