are men confined in this penitentiary, men who have been convicted of every crime known to our laws, and yet the basest and vilest among them the law of the hand exempts form such punishment as ours. Who are we, how different from ordinary men, or of what crime are we guilty, that we are put beyond the pale of civilized warfare, the utmost limit of law overleaped to unfenced upon us a punishment at variance with and abhorrent to the moral sense of mankind? To the cruelty of solitary confinement must be added excessive cold and every other discomfort. The surgeon will tell you that he cannot venture to give us such medicines as we frequently need. The ordinary privations and confinement to which prisoners of war are subjected we are willing to accept, and cheerfully submit to, as incident to the fortune of war. We protest only against unjust and unnecessary cruelty.
Since the beginning of the war more than 30,000 prisoners have been captured by this command. They have been treated always with kindness-never with inhumanity. They may sometimes have wanted for food and shelter, but not more so than ourselves. In a word, we have never failed to do by them as we have done by ourselves. It is the motive that gives to every act its quality or right or wrong. I have addressed this communication to you because we have informed that it lies within your province to correct the evil of which we complain, and I cannot refrain from expressing the hope that you will not definitely decide the question without that careful consideration which its importance to us demands, and that kindly feeling which, within my own observation, you have on more than one occasion shown to prisoners of war.
I have the honor to be, Your Excellency's very obedient servant,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General, Morgan's Division.
Respectfully forwarded to Colonel William Hoffman, commissary of prisoners, with the urgent request that he give the matter his immediate attention.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., December 18, 1863.
Respectfully referred to the Secretary or War.
It is thought advisable to remove these officers from the penitentiary. They can be placed in one of the small prisons at Camp Chase by transferring to another camp the prisoners which it now holds.
Colonel Third Infantry, Commissary-General of Prisoners.
WAR DEPARTMENT, December 20, 1863
Respectfully referred to Major-General Hitchcock, commissioner for exchange, for remark.
By order to the Secretary of War:
ED. R. S. CANBY,
Brigadier-General and Assistant Adjutant-General.