War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0572 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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lieu of wheat bread. Is this proper food for hospital patients prostrated with dysentery and fever, to say nothing of the balance? Startling instances of individual suffering and horrid pictures of death from protracted sickness semi-starvation I have had thrust upon my attention. The first demand of the poor creatures from the Island was always for something to eat; and I have seen them die, clutching the half-eaten crust, self-respect all gone, all hope and ambition gone; half clad, and covered with vermin and filth, many of them, too, often beyond all reach of medical skill.

In one instance the ambulances brought sixteen to the hospital, and during the night seven had died. Again, eighteen were brought, and eleven died within twenty-four hours. At another time fourteen were admitted, and during a single night ten of the number died; and not infrequently they die in the ambulance before reaching the hospital. Judging from what I have myself seen and do know, I do not hesitate to say that under a treatment of systematic abuse, neglect, and semistarvation the number who are becoming permanently broken down in constitution must be reckoned by thousands. The Confederate daily papers in general terms acknowledge the truth of all I have affirmed, but usually close their abusive editorials by declaring that even such treatment is better than the invading Yankees deserve. The Examiner in a recent article begrudged even the little food the prisoners did receive and the boxes sent to us from home, and closed by eulogizing on the system of semi-starvation and exposure as well calculated to dispose of us. All this is true, yet cold weather had hardly commenced, and I am horrified when I picture the wholesale misery and death that will come with the biting frosts of winter. Recently several hundred prisoners per diem are being removed to Danville. In two instances I was standing by as the ranks filed past. It was a sad sight to see the attenuated frames and sharpened features and pallid faces of men a few months previous in vigor of health. Numbers were without shoes, nearly all without blankets or overcoats; and not a man did I behold who was well or fully clad. But to the credit of the prisoners in Richmond, of all ranks, be it recorded, that all along they have shown heroic fortitude under suffering, spurning the idea that our Government had forgotten them.

They have held fast their confidence in the final and speedy success of our cause.


Assistant Surgeon, U. S. Navy.


STEAMER ADELAIDE, Chesapeake Bay, November 26, 1863.

At a meeting of the surgeons of the U. S. Army and Navy lately confined in prison in Richmond, Va., of which G. P. Ashmun, surgeon Ninety-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was president, and J. McCurdy, surgeon Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was secretary, it was.

Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed to prepare a report on the condition and treatment of the Federal prisoners in Richmond, also its prisons, the quality and quantity of the ration, and treatment of our sick and wounded.

The following committee was then appointed: Daniel Meeker, surgeon, U. S. Volunteers, president; O. Q. Herrick, surgeon Thirty-fourth Illinois Infantry; William M. Houston, surgeon One hundred and twenty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry; H. J. Herrick, surgeon Seven-