OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., June 11, 1863.
Captain JOSEPH A. POTTER,
Assistant Quartermaster, Chicago, Ill.:
CAPTAIN: The Quartermaster-General has directed the system of sewerage recommended for Camp Douglas last year to be construct and you have probably already received his instructions. The plan referred to is one prepared by one of the city engineers and submitted to me. You no doubt remember the gentleman's name, but perhaps you have some record of his claim for making the plan which was not allowed. I recall these items to you mind to assist if possible in recovering the paper, as I have been urging for some time past that something should be done to improve the sanitary condition of the camp, and this system of sewerage is the only one that can be adopted with any hope of success.
I am, very truly,
Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, Washington, June 12, 1863.
Honorable ERASTUS CORNING, and others:
GENTLEMEN: Your letter of May 19,* inclosing the resolutions of a public meeting held at Albany, N. Y., on the 16th of the same month, was received several days ago.
The resolutions as I understand them are resolvable into two propositions-first, the expression of a purpose to sustain the cause of the Union, to secure peace through victory, and to support the Administration in every constitutional and lawful measure to suppress the rebellion; and secondly, a declaration of censure upon the Administration for supposed unconstitutional action, such as the making of military arrests. And from the two propositions a third is deduced, which is that the gentlemen composing the meeting are resolved on doing their part to maintain our common Government and country despite the folly or wickedness, as they may conceive, of any Administration. this position is eminently patriotic, and as such I thank the meeting and congratulate the nation for it. My own purpose is the same; so that the meeting and myself have a common object, and can have no difference except in the choice of means or measures for effecting that object.
And here I ought to close this paper and would close it if there was no apprehension that more injurious consequences than any merely personal to myself might follow the censures systematically cast upon me for doing what in my view of duty I could not forbear. The resolutions promise to support me in every constitutional and lawful measure to suppress the rebelling, and I have not knowingly employed nor shall I knowingly employ any other. But the meeting by their resolutions assert and argue that certain military arrests and proceedings following them for which I am ultimately responsible are unconstitutional. I think they are not. The resolutions quote from the Constitution the definition of treason, and also the limiting safeguards and guarantees therein provided for the citizen on trials of treason, and on his criminal prosecutions his right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury.
*See Vol. V, this series, p. 654.