inclined to take with them all whom they were not forced to reject.
This fact goes to corroborate the report that nine slight cases were permitted to pass by the rebel surgeon who examined them.
Whatever injury may have the forwarding of prisoners of war from Camp Douglas to City Point by the spread of this dangerous disease General Ammen and his principal surgeon must be responsible for.
From the general's own report it does not appear that he gave any very explicit order in the matter to guard against contagion or took any personal interest in it.
The surgeon makes no report, and the immediate result-the development of several aggravated cases before reaching Baltimore-shows there was great carelessness in the examination or willful neglect.
Two cases of varioloid from the Saint Louis Prison have been reported to me, but these were scarcely to be guarded against, for the prevalence of the disease in Saint Louis and the frequent interchange of prisoners between Saint Louis and Alton give rise to cases when not at all looked for.
I do not think it at all necessary to offer any excuse for the manner and the time of issuing the order for the delivery of the prisoners of war at City Point, but that the case may be fully understood I will respectfully offer the following explanations:
This movement had been in contemplation for several weeks and had been determined upon nearly in February, but in consequence of the great expense attending the transfer and in the hope that the way to Vicksburg would soon be opened the rider was postponed from time to time. At length, in order to relieve the Government from the cost of holding, including the employment of a large force as guards, and to open the way by exchange for sending to the field a large force of our own troops now on parole, it was determined by the General-in-Chief on my representation to order all the prisoners in our hands to City Point, and by his direction I communicated the order to the generals commanding the Department of the Ohio and the Missouri.
My report of the 8th instant will show how careful I was to guard against the omission of any essential point in the instructions. In addition I wrote to the several commanders directing what rolls should be prepared and if not otherwise ordered by the general commanding the department what guards should be detailed, what rations should be furnished, what instructions, should be given to the guards to prevent all intercourse with any one at stopping places, &c.
To have delayed with any one of the possibility of there being a case of smallpox developed on the route would have compelled us to retain in our hands for an indefinite period several thousand prisoners of war, while for the same reason three regiments of infantry and a battery of artillery should now be detained from the field at Camp Douglas.
Cases of smallpox have been taken out of the street cars in this city and they have been picked up in the streets. There are cases among our soldiers at Camp Parole, there are cases at Fort Delaware, and the disease probably exists at other camps, and if the transfer of troops or prisoners of war can only be made from camps or places free of this disease a moment's reflection will show how much expense and how much embarrassment to the service must grow out of such a rule.
If this rule had governed 3,000 to 4,000 prisoners could not have been sent to Camp Douglas for safe-keeping, and there was no other place to which they might have been sent.