War of the Rebellion: Serial 118 Page 0492 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records


Washington, D. C., April 18, 1863.

Brigadier General M. C. MEIGS,

Quartermaster-General, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

I beg leave respectfully to call your attention to Camp Douglas in its military aspect. In July, 1862, I had the honor to submit a plan for a system of sewerage for the camp by introducing a supply of water by pipes connecting with the city water works to flow through the sewers, and by that means carry off all offensive deposits from kitchens, sinks and other sources. The ground was surveyed by an engineer of Chicago and a detailed plan prepared showing that a large sewer might be constructed to pass around three sides of the camp, terminating at the lake with sufficient descent to give a flow to the water that would carry with it all offal thrown into it. The plan can be readily carried out, and for all seasons except the coldest period in winter would I have no doubt answer well; but while the sewers would be closed by since the police of the camp would have to depend on the ordinary means. The cost is estimated at about $5,000, but in this calculation it was expected that the labor of prisoners of war then at the camp might be used in constructing the part of the sewer within the camp. Though I was satisfied of the utility and practicability of the plan I did not at that time urge it strongly because of the expense and the prospect of an immediate exchange of the prisoners, but the camp is again occupied by prisoners and as it is probable that it will at all times be used as a depot for assembling new troops, for our own troops on parole and for rebel prisoners of war I would now respectfully recommend that the system of sewerage to which I refer, the plan of which Captain Potterm assistant quartermaster, can obtain, be immediately constructed. It is the more necessary now than a year ago, since in that time the space which could be conveniently set aside for sinks has probably been entirely appropriated. I make this recommendation on what I saw of the camp last summer and on a careful examination which I made of the place to which I refer, but I advise done till the plan is carefully considered and the expense accurately estimated. There is a balance of the prisoners' fund amounting to $2,000 on hand at Camp Douglas which might be applied for this purpose.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.


Washington, D. C., April 18, 1863.

Colonel G. H. CROSMAN,

Assistant Quartermaster-General, U. S. Army, Philadelphia, Pa.

COLONEL: I have laid the matter of changes in the character of the barracks to be erected at Fort Delaware, mainly in the roofing, before the Quartermaster-General but he has not yet given a decision. It is proposed to substitute shingles for felt roofing, probably to secure more durability and better security against leakage, but principally with a view to collect in wooden tanks all the rainwater that fall on them. Large quantities of water will be required for the prisoners if the barracks are ever fully occupied, and the Quartermaster-General is