it cannot be denied that the three men who committed this murder had been housed, protected, secreted, clothed, and fed during the night preceding and the day of the murder; that they had received information from the people living on the line of march of the approach and passage of our troops, and, knowing that the way was clear, they stealthily appeared in arms upon the approach of a single unarmed officer. It ought to be said to these people and to all people, whether in arms or not, that if they protect, secrete, encourage, assist, feed, and clothe men who abandon the army on its march for the assassination of stragglers who may fall behind the columns, that they must suffer the consequences of such acts. This is in accordance with the principles of justice and of war, and I need not say to you, general, that I will enforce them so far as I am connected with this service, both against the people who assume to be friends as against those who oppose the Government I serve; satisfied that this, if it can be effectually done, will put an end to one of the most infamous and barbarous practices of uncivilized war. I repeat, I appreciate the importance and justice of the sentiments embodied in your letter, but respectfully submit that they do not apply to the case in question.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
Fort McHenry, September 3, 1863.
Bvt. Brigadier General W. W. MORRIS, U. S. Army,
Fort McHenry, Md.:
GENERAL: In accordance with an order from headquarters Second Separate Brigade, I have the honor to report that until I received the report of Medical Inspector George Suckley, U. S. Volunteers,* I was wholly ignorant of any inspection having been made of the building used as a prison house at this post, as were all connected with this department. Could I have had the honor of explaining to Surgeon Suckley, I could undoubtedly have convinced him that, under the circumstances, it was an utter impossibility to keep the prison in a state of cleanliness.
I would most respectfully call your attention to the fact that the building referred to was formerly used as a stable; that the only alterations made since its use as a prison have been in throwing up some board partitions; that even the old stalls still remain, and that at the outside it ought not to receive more than 300 prisoners. I would also respectfully state that during my term of service I have had almost constantly on hand over 600 prisoners, over 500 of whom I have had to confine in this stable and the small inclosure around it, making it an impossibility, where men of all classes are thus huddled together, to keep it in a proper condition.
I would also call your attention to the repairs and alterations now being made in this building through your influence, of the new barracks now being erected by order of the Commissary-General of Prisoners, showing his opinion of the necessity of better accommodation for the number of prisoners confined here.
I would most respectfully call your attention to the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Murray, commanding post, in his monthly inspection, accompanied by the post adjutant, former provost-marshal.
*See p. 240.