Will you release our citizens whom you hold confined in your prisons against whom there are no charges? There is no disposition on the part of the U. S. authorities to harass or annoy citizens. In shall cases heretofore, so far as I know, whenever Southern citizens have been arrested, it has been for special reasons, marking the individuals as separated from the mass of a community. I know of no citizen of the South who is held by the U. S. authorities merely because he belongs to the South. If you know of any such, name them and they shall be sent home. Some time since the U. S. authorities arrested two citizens in Virginia for special cause. The Richmond authorities arrested two supposed Union men to answer for those mentioned above, without any charges against them. Why are not these men released? Within twenty-four ours after any given time the U. S. authorities can arrest double or treble the number of citizens of the South that you hold of citizens of the North; and though they have hitherto refrained from the arrest of citizens, as such, the detention of citizens in the Richmond prisons, or elsewhere in the South, as Union men, may necessitate of the United States.
Should the infliction of such misery on the citizens of the South be inaugurated, on their own authorities will rest the onus.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. MEREDITH,
Brigadier-General and Commissioner for Exchange.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., October 24, 1863.
Colonel C. V. DE LAND,
Commanding Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill.:
COLONEL: I have just received the report of Surg. A. M. Clark, a medical inspector of prisoner of war, to parts of which I must call your attention:
Police of camp very much neglected, except in barracks of Invalid Corps. Discipline in camp very bad; sinks badly constructed and in fitly condition; removal of offal not well attended to, no receptacles provided; no attention paid to cooking in prisoners' barracks by authorities; clothing in hospital for prisoners very deficient; hospital bedding is very deficient; police of prison hospital not as good as it should be; cooking arrangements not carefully inspected; discipline of hospital not good; all the prisoners' barracks are greatly in need of repairs. There is not a door and hardly a window among them. A large proportion of the bunks are so mutilated as to be useless. Much of the flooring and siding is removed and the open fireplaces are in a dilapidated condition. The roofs of all require repairs.
All these deficiencies must be remedied at once, and when it is attended with any expense it will be paid out of the prison fund. The cooking must hereafter be done in Farmer boilers, the forty-gallon size being the most convenient perhaps. These must be introduced at once and there must be more cooking in open fireplaces nor in camp-kettles. Put the ovens in good repair and bake the bread for the command. Baking by contract must be discontinued. Erect a suitable laundry and provide a sufficient number of boilers. Surgeons Clark reports that you do not issue the clothing furnished but the quartermaster's department because it will facilitate escapes. Cut the skirts of the coats short and cut off the trimmings and most of the buttons, which will sufficiently distinguished them from Federal soldiers. Erect two additional hospital buildings, each 100 feet long, with five windows and a door on each
27 R R - SERIES II, VOL II