War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0379 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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lation. Therefore I have reason to believe the order has been widely circulated and generally read throughout the entire State.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient,


Colonel, U. S. Army, and Supt. Recruiting Service, Missouri Vols.


Washington, D. C., March 21, 1863.


Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the condition of the prisoners of war confined at Camp Butler, near Springfield, Ill.:

This camp is situated on the Great Western Railroad, about six miles east of Springfield, and is commanded by Colonel W. F. Lynch, Fifty-eighth Regiment Illinois Volunteers. There are at present confined in this camp 1,620 prisoners of war who were captured at Arkansas Post, and are principally from the States of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. These prisoners are quartered in twenty-one frame buildings, including hospitals, each one erected for the purpose of quartering 100 U. S. volunteers. These buildings are ample for their accommodation, are provided with comfortable bunks and in every way fitted up as quarters for our own troops.

The rations issued to the prisoners I find to be quite as large as they can consume. They are cheerful and contented, and all agree in saying that their provisions are now much better in quality and larger in amount than those issued to them when in the service of the Confederate States. The prisoners are divided into companies. The roll is called daily under the superintendence of the provost-marshal and all changes and alterations reported to the commanding officer. These reports are frequently verified by counting all the prisoners when on parade. Every precaution has been adopted to secure correctness and security. The guard is detailed from the Fifty-eighth Illinois Infantry and from a detachment of the Sixteenth Illinois Cavalry stationed at the post. The sentinels were quite sufficient in numbers and well posted. They appeared well instructed in their duties but perform them in a loose and indifferent manner. The prisoners are, however, held securely and but few escapes have been made. They appear to have become so indolent and so contented with their treatment that they do not desire to escape.

The discipline of the camp is not good. A loose manner of performing all the duties of a soldier seems to prevail. There is a decided want of force and of energy among the officers and there is not a sufficiently broad line of demarcation between them and the enlisted men under their command. Indolence and want of energy seem to prevail among the troops as well as among the prisoners. The police of the camp was very poor. No attention whatever had been paid do it. Large amounts of filth and offal had been permitted to accumulate in the vicinity of the prisoners' quarters until they were almost too filthy to visit. This was partly to be excused as it had rained almost daily for some weeks. The camp had never been dry since the prisoners arrived. This long-continued rainy weather had caused the roads to be almost impassable and it required all the transportation of the camp to supply it with wood. Such was the condition of the roads that