War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0588 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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of the difficulty in guarding them, and requisition has been made several days since for two other factories to be turned over as hospitals for Federal prisoners. The camp at Bell Isle is as well managed as possible under the circumstances, but I think here may be found most of the causes of the severity and frequency of the sickness. The men are too much crowded. They have not sufficient quantity of blankets nor sufficient fuel supplied. They sleep on the ground and are exposed to all the vicissitudes of temperature incident to our climate, increased by the position and the winds blowing over the water. An additional cause of disease is want of discipline and authority, no officer being with the men to enforce on the sick, who are despoiled of their rations by those stronger. Another class of causes is the depressing moral influence prisoners labor under, especially noticeable since they have been told that there is no hope of exchange. They die from slight diseases, having lost all hope. When removed to hospitals, where they are properly attended to, they generally react and become much better. Those who die are those who are too much depressed to react, and die within a short time after entering the hospital. I recommend that as many as possible of the men be removed from the island and placed in the factories in Richmond, Farmville, Lynchburg, and Danville, or that steps be taken to send them to a more southern climate. I call attention to the requisitions forwarded for increased hospital accommodation and the inclosed report* of the number os sick each day and the number of deaths, showing that with an average of 1,200 in hospitals, there has been a mortality of about ten per diem since November 1. I have placed in charge of these sick Surg. John Wilkins and twenty-two assistant surgeons, who are selected as the most competent of the medical staff in the department under your authority.

Very respectfully,


Medical Director.

COLUMBUS, OHIO, November 28, 1863.

(Received 2. 15 p. m.)

Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

I regret to announce the escape of John Morgan and five others from the penitentiary last night. They dug out under the walls. I cannot charge any one in the military service with negligence. The warden and his guards are alone to blame. Shall take all measures to recapture him. Have instructed the commander of this place to offer a reward of $1,000, which I hope you will approve.



Washington City, November 28, 1863-2. 25 p. m.

His Excellency DAVID TOD,

Governor of Ohio, Columbus, Ohio:

The offer of reward is approved, and you are authorized to take every measure that you deem likely to increase the chances of recapturing Morgan.


Acting Secretary of War.


*Not found.