War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0653 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

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post as our own sick in the various hospitals provided for our army, and that the accommodations for and general treatment of the rebel prisoners will compare favorably with the accommodations provided for and the treatment of our soldiers at recruiting depots and camps of instruction. In my description of the buildings for prisoners, I omitted to mention the prisoners made for water, which is supplied form Brandy-wine Creek every day or once in two days; it is kept in large iron tanks convenient to and sufficient for all the uses of the post, the garrison included. These tanks are of the capacity of sixty barrels or more, and are tapped with facets at the base all around the tanks, as near together as practicable, so that a dozen or more person can draw water at the same time. They are coated with a white paint and in warm weather keep the water as cool as any hydrant water. I tasted the water and found it as sweet as Potomac Creek or James River water. In regard to clothing supplied to prisoners, I ascertained from the post quartermaster that about 6,000 overcoats had been issued to them since the 1st of September last and a corresponding amount of their clothing. Every man in furnished with whatever clothing he needs, to include for each man an overcoat and one good blanket.

I asked for and obtained duplicate clothing and provision returns from September 1 to November 5, inclusive; also hospital mess bills for each day in the week, the diet being varied somewhat, and duplicate sick reports for two periods, which were estimated to be a fair average in their showing. On my return to Fort Monroe, I reported in writing to Brigadier-General Meredith the result of my inspection, and appended to my report the duplicate vouchers above mentioned, which report was immediately dispatched to Honorable Robert Ould, Confederate agent of exchange, in Richmond. At a subsequent day and on or about the 23rd ultimo, I met Mr. Ould under a flag of truce at City Point, and in a conversation with him in reference to treatment of prisoners he remarked in substance, "that the concurrent testimony they had respecting the treatment of Confederate prisoners by the U. S. authorities went to show that they were well treated at all points excepting at Fort Delaware and Point Lookout". To which I answered that I had no personal knowledge about the treatment of prisoners at Point Lookout, but at Fort Delaware I had carefully examined into their treatment there and knew it was without and just cause of complaint, and called his attention to my report, which he had before then received. He said he had looked over the report, but that he had formed the opinion that their prisoners were badly treated there upon what he supposed to be reliable information, and it was hard for him to overcome that conviction. He then referred me to his dispatches which Captain Hatch, his assistant, would during the day deliver to me for General Meredith, and requested me to read a report of an inspection of their prisons and prisons hospitals in Richmond.

On receiving the dispatches, I read the report to which he had invited my attention, and I confess I was not a little surprised to find by the certificates of at least two Confederate officers that my observation during a period of over four months which I spent in Libbly Prison and its hospital was all a delusion. The unanimous testimony of our ninety-three surgeons who have since been released from Richmond and the condition of 350 of our sick sent away from the hospitals of Richmond while that report was being prepared, are stronger evidences than the report furnished by Mr. Ould.

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

WM. IRVINE,

Lieutenant-Colonel Tenth New York Cavalry.