War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0687 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

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If is further reported that at all these places inspected [there are] defective arrangements for cooking; large quantities of food and fuel are wasted.

The Secretary of War directs me to communicate these facts to you and to call upon you for such explanation thereof as you may have to offer.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. A. HARDIE,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

ENTERPRISE, MISS., December 11, 1863.

Commissioner OULD, Richmond, Va.:

You say we have declared exchanged those Vicksburg prisoners who have reported at Enterprise. May I ask whether these men were actually exchanged by the two Government consenting or only declared exchanged by the Confederate Government on some construction of its rights in the existing condition of the question of exchanges? If the latter, what is that construction?

L. POLK.

DECEMBER 12, 1863.

Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of an inspection which I have just made, pursuant to your instructions, of forts on the eastern seaboard, with a view to selecting such ones as may be suitable for the confinement of prisoners of war.

I reached New York on Friday morning, and, after reporting at headquarters of the department and district, proceeded at once to Fort Schuyler, about twelve miles from the city, on Long Island Sound, which is under the command of Brevet Brigadier-General Brown, U. S. Army. The quarters for the garrison are fully occupied by officers and men, leaving none which could possibly be appropriated to prisoners. Four of the five fronts of the work have a double tier of case mats which are fully armed, and though they might be fitted up so as to be used for the reception of prisoners there are serious objections to this course. There are two guns mounted in each casements which cannot be removed, and their carriages would be exposed to malicious injury by the prisoners even with every precaution to guard against it. The floors being of wood and very dry the prisoners would have it in their power to set fire to them and destroy the fort in spite of any vigilance on the part of the guards. A more weighty objection perhaps is the fact that it would be to a certain extent disarming the fort and thereby very much weakening the defense of the city of New York. If these objections to the use of the fort as a prison are not considered sufficiently serious to prevent a part of it being appropriated to this purpose, which, however, I am not prepared to say, two of its fronts may be fitted up at no great expense to receive 500 prisoners. The casemates would require to be furnished with bunks, each no having room enough between the guns and in the arches to accommodate thirty-six men; the front of the casemates would have to be closed in, windows being inserted, and it would be necessary to grate and glaze the embrasures. There is no hospital room, kitchens, or sinks inside the fort which could be used by prisoners, and these could only be provided by erecting suitable buildings