surgeon at present attached to the boat is, though well skilled in his profession, unfitted by his want of experience in this kind of duty for this post. If it should meet with your approbation, I would volunteer to make a trip to City Point on the boat, to ascertain and report what changes or addition to the present arrangements are needed for the proper care of the prisoners on the passage.
Surgeon Vanderkief (in charge of Naval Academy Hospital)suggested the propriety of the officer in charge of the flag-of-truce boat telegraphing to him from Fortress Monroe of his expected time of arrival at Annapolis, and of the number of patients on board, that arrangements for their proper reception might be made previous to their arrival. At present they are obliged to wait for some time before coffee, soup, and other food can be prepared.
A correct list of names, &c., should also be furnished with the prisoners, as many are too far exhausted on their arrival at the hospital to give any account of themselves, and many die without the means of making it known who they are.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. M. CLARK,
Surgeon and Acting Medical Inspector of Prisoners of War.
Annapolis, Md., November 18, 1863.
Colonel C. A. WAITE,
First Infantry, U. S. Army, Commanding at Annapolis, Md.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that the flag-of-truce boat New York arrived to-day with some 300 released prisoners from Richmond, and as the duties of my office called me on board I had an opportunity of conversing with many of the men, who seemed to be very intelligent. They almost to a man tell the same story. When they arrived at Richmond and were ushered into the filthy prisons, the officers in charge stripped them of their money and all surplus clothing in their possession. They are then obliged today upon the floor, and get very scanty rations, hardly enough to keep body and should together. The sight upon the flag-of-truce boat to-day was heart-rending, to see men so reduced by starvation that they had not strength to raise upon their feet, and were obliged to be carried off on stretchers to the hospital.
The principal statements made in regard to the taking of their money are against Captain Turner, officer in charge of the Libby Prison. Upon the arrival of a squad of prisoners, Captain Turner has them drawn up in line and tells them to deliver up all their money, and it will be returned to them when they are exchanged; if not given up voluntarily, they are searched and their money confiscated. From statements of several intelligent men on board of the boat, I ascertained that out of a crowd of 400 Union prisoners who arrived at Richmond on the 26th of September last, Captain Turner received the sum of about $2,000, none of which has ever been returned. Parties giving me this information had all the money in their possession taken from them, some not having over $3, yet this small amount was taken.
I am, colonel, with great respect, your obedient servant,
FRANCIS J. KEFFER,
Captain, Seventy-first Pennsylvania Vols., Provost-Marshal.