of which each prisoner can avail himself at will. The prison is thoroughly policed daily and is in a cleanly condition. The officers are allowed to purchase such articles as they wish, not prohibited by the rules of the prison, and a competent person is employed whose sole business it is to make these purchases.
The other buildings, used as prisons for the privates, are comfortable, are policed thoroughly each day, and are in a cleanly condition. Scott's Prison and Pemberton's Prison are at present crowded somewhat beyond their capacity for health and comfort, if the number now confined in them were kept any considerable length of time. This evil is temporary, arrangements having been made to remove a portion of these prisoners to quarters now in course of preparation. The men are generally comfortably clad. I observed some few of the privates who were suffering for clothing. The supply of clothing and blankets sent for them from the United States is now being distributed by officers of the U. S. Army selected from the prisoners. The encampment at Belle Isle contains 6,300 prisoners, all privates and non-commissioned officers, who are quartered in tents. The tents are pitched on an island, upon a dry knoll, from which the surface water is thoroughly drained. The contiguity of the river renders the police of the camp easy. There is an abundance of excellent water, afforded by eight wells within the encampment. The camp is thoroughly policed daily. I observed that some of the tents were dilapidated by weather and some injured by carelessness in building fires. A supply of tents has been sent to the island to supply these deficiencies.
I return a report made by Surgeon Wilkins on the condition of the hospitals occupied by the prisoners. The buildings occupied are comfortable and well furnished, the supplies are ample, the attendance fully equal to the wants of the patients, and my inspection fully confirms the report of Surgeon Wilkins.
I file a copy of abstract of provisions furnished prisoners of war in this city for the quarter ending September 30, 1863. The average number of prisoners during this quarter was 4,933. The abstract shows the actual amount of provisions issued. In addition to this an additional amount was issued as "extra provision" to the hospitals, an abstract of which is also filed. It will be seen from thee abstracts that the prisoners received during this quarter within a small fraction of the army ration. If the extra issue be included, the amount is fully made up. Upon full inquiry and examination not only of the officers in charge, but of the subordinates, I learn that during the present quarter there have been issued full rations of all the articles mentioned in the abstract, excepting meat. Owing to the large number of prisoners suddenly consigned meat. Owing to the large number of prisoners suddenly consigned to their care without notice, the offices have not always been able to provide a full ration of meat. The deficiency has never existed but fora short time, and whenever it did exist it was remedied as far as possible by extra issue of other articles.
The ration consists of one pound of bread, half pound of meat, half pound of potatoes, rice or beans, vinegar, soap, and salt, according to the regulations. The bread is baked at bakeries and weighed to the commissaries of each prison. I inspected the bakeries and found them well conducted. The meats and other articles are cooked at the prisons. The provisions are weighed and measured to messes of 100 men each, and are delivered to one of their own number selected to receive and distribute it.
I inspected the kitchens and found the arrangements for cooking good and in good order; care is taken to lose nothing from the rations,
35 R R-SERIES II, VOL VI