to have the experiment made, if in your judgment you suppose anything can be done to accomplish so desirable an object.
I ought to suppose, perhaps, that you would order this without any suggestion from any one; but, as the effort would be experimental, I may be excuse for an apprehension that you might be partially restrained from making the trial out of some delicacy toward myself, since I am not aware of your having taken exceptions to any of my proceedings as commissioner of exchange, and it is for this reason that I venture to say that I would not upon any consideration in the world be supposed to stand in the ways of any arrangement which might promise relief to the suffered in Richmond prisons.
I am perfectly willing either to withdraw altogether or to be set aside temporarily for the trial of any experiment which meets your approval.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers, &c.
S. B. Fisher, surgeon and chairman of committee appointed at meeting of the retruded surgeon, submits to the Surgeon-General C. S. Army a statement relative to the condition of the various prisons in which they were confined and to the treatment of officers and men now held as captives. *
DECEMBER 3, 1863.
Respectfully referred to Brigadier General S. A. Meredith, agent of exchange, whose special attention is called to the contents.
Agent of Exchange.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., December 29, 1863.
Respectfully returned to Major General B. F. Bulter, commissioner for exchange of prisoners.
The report called for from Colonel Porter, commanding Fort McHenry, shows that prisoners had no sufficient cause of complaint. # The buildings in which they were quartered were such as it was convenient to assign to them. They were used by Federal soldiers as well as by prisoners of wa. The medical officers at first occupied the soldiers' barracks, and had the limits of all the grounds of the fort under an implicit understanding that they would not take advantage of this liberty to make their escape, but when ten of them, by the opportunity which this indulgence afforded them, did escape, they were placed in a room 120 by 35, which was certainly not crowding them. The provisions furnished them were the same as used your own troops and were good and well prepared. Until recently there was little restriction in friends visiting prisoners, and there was none at all in their receiving contributions from friends, but both of these indulgences were so much abused that it has been found necessary to curtail them very much.
* Statement is not found. This brief and the indorsements are taken from Mr. Ould's "Indorsement Book. "
# For Porter's report see December 19, p. 720.