War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0690 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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small openings through the arches overhead. They are all entered through one door opening into halls which lead to them, and of course are dark and the air is very foul. There are seventy-five prisoners belonging to our Army in one, fifty-eight political prisoners arrested for resisting the draft and ordered there from Harrisburg by General Sigel in another, and eighty-two rebel prisoners in the third. They sleep on straw laid on the stone floor on each side of the room or vault, the arch springing from near the floor. There is a fireplace in each room at the end opposite the door, which enables them to have a fire that gives them light and heat and assists greatly in purifying the air. These bomb-proofs are unwholesome places for prisoners, and it is impossible to keep them in a proper state of police, but from necessity they may be used during the winter. Of the three classes of prisoners confined there the rebel prisoners are the only ones which properly come under my supervision, and they are of that doubtful class, probably deserters who have or wish to take the oath of allegiance, whose discharge cannot be safety recommended.

There is a gun-shed within the fort, now occupied in part as quarters for laborers and in part as a store-house for materials, which could be fitted up for prisoners and would accommodate about 200. It would be necessary to erect a shed kitchen, but the whole work would not cost over $500. The bomb-proofs need then be used only for the worst class of prisoners.

Should it be though advisable to occupy the forts as prison, there could be received at those which I have mentioned as follows:

Fort Warren. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 450

Fort Schuyler, Long Island Sound. . . . . . . 500

Fort Adams, Newport. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500

Castle Williams, Governor's Island, N. Y. . . . . . . . 500

Fort Lafayette, N. Y. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50


Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,000

Except at Forts Schuyler and Adams little is to be done to prepare them for the reception of prisoners, and at the two named the expense in money of fitting them up would not be very heavy, but the unavoidable injury to the works, the possibly of serious damage by fire, the additional coast of transportation to Fort Adams, and the consideration that while so occupied the power of the forts for the defensive purposes is greatly impaired. It would seem that the best policy and best economy would be recommend the construction of a suitable prison on Riker's Island for the reception of at lest 1,000 prisoners with barracks for a suitable guard.

While in Boston I called to see His Excellency Governor Andrew, to consult him as to the prisoners in Massachusetts which might be used for the confinement of prisoners, but he was absent from the city. I found, however, Mr. Keyser, the marshal of the State, who has full information of the State and county prisons. From him I learned that the jail at Concord is the only one which can be made available. It is a substantial stone building having twenty rooms, which can accommodate form 100 to 150 prisoners. It is surrounded by a stone wall and would require a guard of one officers and thirty men. There is a provost-marshal in the town who could be placed in charge.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.