War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0449 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

confidence that they could not effect their escape. The commander of the Michigan does not feel safe to lie where he does this season of the year, and will have to run over to the other side of the bay in case of a northeast, and after the ice begins to make it will be impossible to lie here at all. If he lies on the Sandusky side, by a system of signals (if the weather, from fogs, &c., did not prevent seeing them), he could be here to render essential service in case of attack, as he could come to our assistance, and in case of success, before the prisoners could leave the island; but the moral influence (so to speak) which the Michigan now exercised in preventing revolt would be wanting. There will be from two to four months when the Michigan cannot come out at all, and then of course could be of no use, and this at the time when the ice on the back of the island will admit crossing and we are deprived of the advantages of the water for protection, either actual or moral. Last winter we had great difficulty in taking care of prisoners on Sandusky and exposed the line of guards, to say nothing of the prisoners, in crossing when the bay was insecure. It will be more difficult this winter, as it will be impossible to obtain the room in Sandusky we did last winter in which to guard the prisoners. The Michigan will be of great service there to keep the prisoners until they could be crossed, after coming at night, when it is impossible to cross them till next day, even when the ice is comparatively good, and besides will be here to render aid as late this fall and as early next spring as possible, and the navigation of the bay, from its being the most southern portion of the lake and fed by streams from the south, is always a month and usually much less impeded by ice than at the eastern end of the lake. At the same time there will be from two to four months when the guard on the island will be the only security to prevent the escape of prisoners into a country thinly papillitis' march to the Detroit River and Canada. I therefore repeat my former recommendation that the force here should be increased at least two companies, and then the time in which the Michigan can be of service should be employed in preparing for and securing the companies.

I wish to say a word with regard to my command. In addition to the guard duty, which is constant in all weather, they have the supply of wood, commissary stores, &c., to deliver to all prisoners, making much labor; also to guard detachments a long distance. Many times our force is in this way seriously weakened. Nothing but the presence of the Michigan would have allowed the guard to leave here sent under Captain Bradley to Fort Delaware. Besides, no command is so confined as mine, either men or effacers. Volunteers from the neighborhood of Sandusky in the field have been home four times the length of time the men of my command have been away from this post, and I have no doubt it is true of the service generally. My command feel they are not fairly used in that respect. At the same time they wet cheerfully where it was conceded they were not obliged to go, when the Governor requested them to go, to repel the enemy in Western Virginia. I do not consider that the command should be so large as not to even invite a revolt, but it should be so large that with that degree of discipline it is reasonable to expect that if attempted there should be no danger of success, and that as the duty of both officers and men is constant, it should not be too onerous and willing, but such that they can stand it from week to week and month to month. This depot of officers, reduced to privates by the cartel, will amount to an army of some 15,000 men, and no calamity would be so great to our captured officers as their

29 R R - SERIES II, VOL IV