War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0636 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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to be erected and having attended to this I gave all necessary instruction in relating to the restrictions which should be put upon the prisoners in the receipt of clothing and other particulars. The sutler's store had been closed pursuant to your orders and remained closed.

The affairs of this depot under Lieutenant-Colonel Pierson have been very creditably managed; but one prisoner is know to have escaped, and it is believed he was enabled to do so by taking the place of an enlisted man who was of a party ordered from the island. There are now at the island 2,350 officers, 33 citizens, and 10 enlisted convicts.

After completing my duties at the depot, I left Sandusky that evening, in company with General Orme, for Columbus, Ohio, where we arrived the following morning. After breakfast we proceeded together to Camp Chase, where I inquired into the management of the affairs of the camp, the condition of the prisons, &c., and gave such instructions as seemed to be necessary.

The camp is commanded by Colonel William Wallace, Fifteenth Ohio, and the guard is composed of eleven companies of the Invalid Corps, giving and aggregate [of] 771 men, and for duty 562 enlisted men. There are three different prisons, all requiring guards, which make the guard duty more ardors than it would be for the same command if all the prisoners were within the same inclosure, but the duty can probably be performed by a small increase of the present guard without too much oppressing the men.

There are now in this prison upward of 2,500 men when 1,800 is calculated as its full capacity. To relieve it from this excess, and the Alton military prison from a like excess, I have applied for a guard to be sent to Camp Butler, near Springfield, Ill., where General Ammen, who commands the district, informs me 3,000 prisoners can be accommodated.

I did not visit the prisoners in the Ohio penitentiary, because I had recently received a very detailed report from General Mason showing that they were well and securely quartered and provided for, and the duties in my office requiring my return at the earliest day possible I was unwilling to make a delay which would cause my return to this city delayed beyond Sunday. I was anxious to have seen His Excellency Governor Tod, to have consulated with him in relation to the organization of the six are to be added to the battalion at Johnson's Island, making it up to regiment, but the Governor was absent from the city and I was unable to accomplish this part of the object of my visit to Columbus.

On that evening I left for Pittsburgh, where, on the following day, I had an interview with Major-General Brooks relative to the prisoners of war in the Allegheny Penitentiary. They are held there at an expense of 48 cents per man, and they are much better provided for and more comfortable, from the nature of the prison, than they deserve to be. I am informed that the political sentiments of the officials who have the management of the affairs of the prison, with one exception, incline them to have sympathy for the prisoners, and I would recommend that they be sent elsewhere for safe-keeping and to less the expense, but I can find no suitable place to which they can be ordered; none of our forts have sufficient room which can be made available for this purpose.

I returned to this city on Sunday, the 22d.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. HOFFMAN,

Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.