MILITARY PRISON HOSPITAL, Alton, Ill., April 9, 1863.
Major T. HENDRICKSON, Prison Commandant.
MAJOR: In answer to your query respecting the precautions that were taken to prevent the smallpox being carried from this prison by those who were sent on exchange I would say that every means were adopted that were possible under the circumstances when I learned of the intended movement. I issued of the whole body, and that all of their underclothing and as much of their outer as could be should be thoroughly washed, and that no prisoners, particularly those from the hospital, should be permitted to go out of the prison on the exchange unless his garments were as clean as was possible for him to get them. I feel confident that the disease would not be carried from here on the person or clothing of any of the prisoners, but it is possible that some of them might have received the infection into their system prior to their leaving and the disease develop itself on the way.
This could not be obviated, though it was my opinion that all those who were sent were protected by vaccination or by their previously having had smallpox. We had on hand at that time six cases of this disease and varioloid, but they were completely isolated from the rest of the sick and the well prisoners.
I made a personal inspection of all those connected with the hospital and all others complaining of indisposition the day previous to their start.
Surgeon in charge of Prison Hospital.
[Inclosure Numbers 2.]
CAMP DOUGLAS, Chicago, Ill., April 9, 1863.
Colonel W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners.
SIR: Your of April 8 stating that "the Secretary of War directs that you report immediately what inspection was made of the prisoners at Camp Douglas before their departure for Baltimore," &c., received.
Soon after the arrival of the prisoners at Camp Douglas cases of smallpox were discovered. The prisoners were vaccinated as speedily as possible. They were examined daily and those taking the disease were removed to the hospital and allowed no intercourse with the others. The number of new cases daily diminished, and when any recovered their clothing was burned; they were cleansed and supplied with new clothing.
When orders were received to send the prisoners to City Point, Va., those occupying certain barracks were designated to move the next day. These prisoners were then examined by the principal surgeon aided by one or more of his assistance and all such as showed any symptoms of the disease were detained.
The surgeon assures me they were strictly examined and that none were sent who showed any sign of the disease at the time of leaving.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.