HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF HENRICO, Numbers 12.
Richmond, Va., January 16, 1863.
I. It appearing from the report of the board of officers appointed to inquire into the cases of the escape of certain prisoners from the military prison in the western district in this city that it was caused by the negligence of the officer of the guard at that post, the general commanding the department takes this occasion to remind the officers in charge of the military prisons in this city of the great responsibility of their position and to warn them that too much vigilance on their part cannot be observed. They having complete control of the guards at their respective posts will be held responsible for their discipline, and for the further maintenance of the same the following order is issued:
At the respective military prisons in this city there will be detailed daily an officer of the guard who must be a commissioned officer. He will serve his regular tour of twenty-four hours and will not be allowed to absent himself from his post during that time under any consideration whatever except in case of sickness, and then only when regularly relieved by another officer.
II. The officers in charge of the military prisons in this city will furnish a morning report to these headquarters.
By order of Brigadier General John H. Winder, commanding department:
J. W. PEGRAM,
C. S. MILITARY PRISON HOSPITAL,
Richmond, January 18, 1863.
General JOHN H. WINDER.
DEAR SIR: Allow me to bring to your notice the fact that there is an assistant surgeon belonging to the U. S. Army here in prison, and I am informed that surgeons and assistant surgeons are not considered as prisoners of war by either party. I hope he may be allowed to accompany the wounded that go by the first flag of truce; in case there should be no further exchange of prisoners that he be sent across the lines according to his request as soon as possible. His name is George F. Mish, Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry. There are two wounded lieutenants here wounded in such a way that they will never be fit to enter service again, one having (as he says) been exchanged, taken prisoner on the 8th of June last; his thigh is amputated high up. The other has his right arm amputated at the shoulder joint.
There are other officers here who from the nature of their wounds may be able to enter service again, for which reason I did not think of asking for their exchange. I ask that these two lieutenants be exchanged for the reason that they have been treated in a ward in which the hospital gangrene has made its appearance. There are many reasons for asking particularly for their exchange and I address you this letter at your own suggestion. Judge Ould seems to have misunderstood me in speaking of them as officers though his clerk so understood me. Had the flag of truce gone this morning the ward in which the gangrene is would have been empty of wounded except one captain.
From the number here, if they are not exchanged, I cannot empty this ward. I therefore ask that there may be some place temporarily assigned in which these men may be placed until this ward is thoroughly cleaned and ventilated. This need not be for a longer time than a