and have them forwarded to Lexington. They will be reported at these headquarters on their way through.
By order of Brigadier-General Sturgis:
HENRY R. MICHELS,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, April 17, 1863.
Colonel R. C. BUCHANAN, Commanding Fort Delaware, Del.
COLONEL: Please say to General Church that his letter of the 13th instant complaining of the treatment which he and his officers received on leaving Camp Chase at the hands of the guard is before me and in reply I can only repeat what I said to him personally that all such conduct on the part of any U. S. officer or soldier is wholly unauthorized. I need not say that the desire of the Government is that prisoners of war shall be treated with all the kindness which a proper humane feeling prompts and which is consistent with their position, for it is a well-known fact that clothing and blankets have been issued to the many destitute who have fallen into our hands. The sick and wounded have been as well and as promptly attended to as our own soldiers and all have been furnished with an abundant supply of rations, even including what may well be called luxuries.
But if I am rightly informed it has by no means been so with our troops when they have been captured as he may learn by inquiry on reaching Richmond. So far from receiving clothing it has frequently happened that they have been stripped of all their outer garments and then crowded into prisons inconceivably filthy, so much so that it would be shocking to humanity to confine in such a place even the most abandoned criminals. Here too were confined men of all ranks, from generals to privates, and all alike experienced the most insulting indignities and most unwarrantable harshness. So far as I have learned this has been the almost invariable treatment of our citizens and soldiers who have been held as prisoners of war at Richmond and there is scarcely room to doubt that it has been done by authority.
In this brief view of the case you will say then to General Churchill that though the indignities and outrages of which he and his officers complain are not only wholly unauthorized but are in violation of the instructions which have been give to govern in such cases yet the course pursued as it appears by his Government in similar cases takes from him all shadow of grounds for complaint. He has been made to suffer by an unauthorized retaliation for innumerable outrages which have been committed on our people if not by authority of his Government at least in its immediate presence and which have given rise to the bitter feelings he so much deprecates.
In conclusion say to the general that I trust the humane example which has been set by the Government of the United States in its care for the welfare of prisoners of war may be followed by the Government at Richmond, a course which cannot fail toe the hardships which must unavoidably be experienced by all who are so unfortunate as to be captured.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.