OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS, Washington, D. C., December 17, 1863.
Colonel A. A. STEVENS,
Commanding Camp Morton, Indianapolis, Ind.:
COLONEL: I have just received a telegram from Captain Ekin, informing me that the prisoners in hospital at Camp Morton are in want of drawers, socks, and shirts. This state of things should not exist, nor is it proper that the information should come to me through Captain Ekin. The circular of regulations issued from this office amply provide, in paragraphs 3,4, and 5, for all such wants, and there is no good [reason] why at any time there should be any deficiency of necessary articles. It is the duty of the commanding officer to take timely measures to provide whatever may be required and that the regulations may not be lost sight of I inclose herewith several copies. * which I request may be preserved.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.
HEADQUARTERS NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS, New Iberia, La., December 17, 1863.
Commanding Cavalry Division, C. S. Army:
GENERAL: By direction of Major General W. B. Franklin, commanding U. S. forces, I have the honor herewith to inclose a certified copy of the report of Colonel Lucas, commanding the reconnaissance of last Sunday, together with one from Captain Baker, aide-de-camp to the general. These reports were made in consequence of investigations respecting the matter which you brought to Major-General Franklin's notice in your communication of the 16th instant.
Our forces have made sundry visits to Saint Martinsville, and always have been troops of your forces in or near the town. As a general thing the pickets fall back through the town, and, of course, the citizens are in danger from shots fired at these men.
On the occasion referred to in your letter several of your men were in the town, were driven from it by your people, and found on the prairie in rear. It was unfortunate and greatly to be deplored that many peaceable people were in the streets at the time, but it is still more unfortunate that the inhabitants encourage a small force to remain in or about their town if they expect to undergo none of the horrors accompanying a state of war.
The general most sincerely regrets that the unfortunate citizen was wounded, but is inclined to attribute his misfortunes more to the fact of the presence of your troops than to any barbarity on our part.
As to firing at or upon defenseless citizens and upon helpless women and children, you must yourself, general, be aware that such could not have been the case.
Hearing that several of your men were concealed in the houses with their friends, search was made for them, and the capture of Captain Belden and Sergeant Delahoussave will be sufficient proof that there was good reasons for searching. The reports will show that all the houses were entered by parties under charge of a commissioned officer.
*See Vol. VI, this series, p. 152.