War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0674 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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inside of said penitentiary. Deponent had nothing to do with sweeping, cleaning, or inspecting the cells of the rebel prisoners in said penitentiary, or guarding the prisoners to and from their meals. Deponent considered the said rebel prisoners under the charge of the said Nathaniel Merion, the warden of said penitentiary, and that this deponent was as much under the orders of said Merion, warden as aforesaid, in regard to all control or guarding of said rebel prisoners, as he was under the orders of Major Skiles, if not more.

JOHN A. GONCE,

Sergeant, Company C, Ninth Michigan Volunteer Infantry.

Sworn to and subscribed before me at the city of Columbus, in said county and State this 7th day of December, 1863.

Witness my hand and seal of office.

FREDK. J. FAY,

Notary Public.

The following affidavits of Jesse E. Watson and Milo H. Scott, regular penitentiary guards, and of Julius J. Wood, director, and Nathaniel Merion, warden of the penitentiary, have been handed to me.

Affidavit of Jesse E. Watson follows.

STATE OF OHIO, County of Franklin, ss:

Jess E. Waston, of the city of Columbus, Franklin Country, State of Ohio, being duly sworn, deposes and says as follows: I am one of the guards of the Ohio penitentiary, situate at Columbus, and since about the 1st of October, 1863, have been assigned to duty as night watch. The duty of said night watch is as follows: He goes in about 5 o'clock p. m. after the prisoners are all locked in their cells, and passing around with a light inspects each cell through the grated door, seeing the occupant is within, and, counting the number, reports the same at the guard-room of the penitentiary. Shortly after 6 o'clock p. m. he passes round again and directs the filling of the water buckets of the prisoners through the bars of the cell door. At 9 o'clock he again passes round to direct that the prisoners' light in cells all to be extinguished. At 11 o'clock p. m., 2 o'clock a. m., and 4 o'clock a. m. he again passes round quietly with a light in his hand, which he holds close to the cell door, to see if the convict is within and quiet, and counting the number thus seen each time. The rest of the time during the night, until the hour of 6 o'clock a. m., is spent in the halls about the blocks of the cells, walking about and watching generally, the guard or watch being in said halls constantly. On the night of November 27, 1863, I went on duty as usual at 5 o'clock p. m. My place has been, since acting as night watch, the most easterly bock of cells, in the south side of which the rebel General John H. Morgan and the other rebel officers were confined. On the night aforesaid I discharged the usual routine of duties as above described. I counted the said rebel prisoners at the first round, reported the number, found it correct, gave them their water at the usual time, ordered lights out, seeing them each one in his cell at the time, made by usual round with the lamp at 11 o'clock, 2 o'clock, and 4 o'clock, found everything as usual in cell, counted, as I supposed, a man in each of said rebel cells, heard no noise or disturbance of any sort soever, and it was not until the day guards came in the morning of November 28 that I even imagined that the said rebel prisoners were not safety in their cells. I afterward saw in their beds, in said cells, stuffed images which had been placed therein to deceive me and which, in my rounds, I had mistaken for the men themselves wrapped up in their bedclothes. Everything was very quiet all the night of said November 27. Entire stillness almost prevails about said cells and halls during the night, and the least noise or jar is instinctly heard anywhere in the hall, and it would be impossible, I think, for any prisoners to cut, saw, dig, pound, scrape, or attempt anything of that kind without being immediately heard and discovered by the night watch, and that it was perfectly impossible for said rebel prisoners to have excavated the holes in their cells floors which they did dig, in any of them during the night season, when I was on duty as aforesaid, without being heard and discovered by me. And I further declare that, during all the time I so watched them at night, as aforesaid, I never heard any noise of such digging or discovered anything about them or their behavior in their cells at night to create suspicion or even to arouse extra attention. And further this affiant saith not.

JESSE E. WATSON.

Sworn to before me and subscribed in my presence this December 8, 1863. Witness my hand and seal of office.

J. WILLIAM BALDWIN,

Notary Public, Franklin County, Ohio.