WASHINGTON CITY, D. C., November 9, 1863.
Honorable EDWINM. STANTON, Secretary of War.
SIR: In obedience to your orders of this date, just received, I have the honor to report that on the 5th instant I directed General Meredith to "represent to Mr. Ould the suffering condition of our people in Richmond prisons, according to universal testimony, as beyond all parallel in the history of war," and I added:
It moves the indignation of our people against the authorities in Richmond who countenance or permit it.
Two days afterward, the 7th instant, I addressed a letter to General Meredith in the following words:
You will please call upon Mr. Ould for a statement of the ration issued to Federal prisoners of war in the South, and inform him that his report or statement on the subject will be considered and respected when the question of retaliation shall be forced upon the notice of the Federal authorities; and inform him if he omits to furnish the statement requested, we shall feel obliged to use the best information on the subject within our reach, and fully justified in so doing.
With respect to that part of your instructions requiring me to subject rebel prisoners in our hands to treatment similar to that which our men receive in rebel prisons, I would respectfully represent that if the treatment of our people in Richmond prisons is such as rumor represents, it would result in an uprising of the prisoners against their guards at Camps Morton and Chase, and most likely at other places where the means of security are very slender. Human nature would not endure such treatment under an ordinary system of guards, and the prisoners ought either to be put under lock and key (as in penitentiaries) or on islands under the control of fortified batteries.
When I hear from General Meredith, in answer to my instructions as stated above, I shall report the result, and will them beg leave to request your further orders on the subject.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major General of Vols. and Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., November 9, 1863.
Brigadier General S. A. MEREDITH,
Commissioner for Exchange of Prisoners, Fort Monroe, Va.:
GENERAL: In reply to the several letters of Mr. Ould, referred by you on the 3rd instant, I have the honor to give you the following information:
My reply to Mr. Ould's inquiry relative to Major-General Trimble was intended to be very explicit and full, and to conceal nothing. I stated he was in U. S. hospital, Newton University, Baltimore, and that covered the whole case. I expected it to be understood that his treatment was the same as that of any other patient in the hospital, giving due consideration to his rank, and I did not think it necessary to say how he was not treated; but that Mr. Ould may have no doubt on the subject, I beg you will inform him that General Trimble has been at all times treated with all the consideration due to his rank and his position as a prisoner of war. He is now at Johnson's Island, where he receives the same treatment as other general officers in confinement at that place. If General Trimble had received but a small part of the