War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0612 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

small party of paroled prisoners received at the parole camp at Annapolis directly from Richmond.

The report is as follows: *

The following is an extract from a statement made by the Rev. John Hussey, delegate U. S. Christian Commission, bearing date N the Rev. John Jussey having been recently returned from the Richmond prisons:

I wish to add for myself-for I spent three days this week in one of the tobacco factories ("Scott's") with about 160 privates who were wounded at Chickamauga mostly, and now nearly recovered, the others having been sent to Belle Island-I wish to state how they fare. The rations are, for each man, twelve, ounces of bread and two to three ounces of beef or mutton in twenty-four hours, given about 1 o'clock each day, and nothing else; no stoves, no fuel, no light a night, no soap. They have no straw or bunks and very insufficient clothing and blankets; not one in four has a blanket. They have very generally bad colds and caught incessantly. The are not allowed to purchase anything. What they get is got by stealth from the guard, who charge them two or three prices for everything they buy for them. I paid $1 for a small six-ounce loaf, but they usually get such a loaf for 50 cents, which is double the price out in city for bread a little smaller. But the most of the privates were robbed of their money and have to live on their rations. So much for the private soldier.

The following is the substance of what (the names referred to by the Rev. Mr. Hussey are omitted, because the officers are still prisoners in Richmond, and it could do them no good should a publication of them by any chance reach Richmond) generally desired me to communicate to you in relation to be comparative treatment they and the rebel in the North receive. From notes of his conversation:

"We receive 12 ounces of bread daily, half a gill of rice, 4 ounces of meat, vinegar and salt, 1 tallow candle to each room containing form 175 to 200 officers. They furnish stoves only for cooking purpose, and scarcely sufficient. We have to furnish our own cooking and table utensils; have to do our own cooking, and rise very early, and then have not means of cooking more than two meals a day. We sleep on the floor without blankets (except as our Government furnishes them to us); are kept in close confinement in closely packed rooms, dark, and insufficiently ventilated, though our windows have no glass in them. Now, we protest against the treatment their officers receive from our Government, and we ask that they be placed in similar position until we and our men are better treated. "

They would have sent a petition signed by every officer, but I though it not safe to undertake to bring it through. They do not ask our Government to relative on the private soldier in captivity, but upon the officers.

Let me add, the officers who return South, whether they escape or are released, as the chaplains recently, almost uniform misrepresent the treatment they receive, and from it justify the treatment our officers receive. #


Delegate U. S. Christian Commission.

Rumors of this inhuman treatment had reached here in one form or another, but for a length one or authentic information could be obtained.

When it was stated that the provisions furnished to the prisoners were both insufficient in quantity and bad in quality, it was usually asserted that it was as good as the rebel soldiers themselves received; and when it came to be tolerably certain that it was unendurable, that it was the best within the power of the rebel Government to furnish.

As soon, however, as the information became at all definite and reliable the Secretary of War at first ordered a quantity of blankets to be sent for distribution to the prisoners, assurances having been obtained from the rebel agent that they would be delivered. But the reports grew worse, and that very suddenly, taking both the Government and the country by surprise, until the truth was unveiled that our men in


* See Radcliffe to Vanderkieft, November 2, p. 475.


# For full text of this communication see p. 482.