WASHINGTON CITY, D. C., December 19, 1863.
Colonel HOFFMAN, &c.:
SIR: I will thank you to require a report from the commanding officers of the places named in the accompanying copies of a letter from Dr. Montrose A. Pallen, dated at Montreal, in reference to the statement made by Doctor P. with regard to the treatment of rebel prisoners.
Require the officers to forward as conclusive evidence of the facts they may state as may be within their control, and when obtained please furnish me with the papers.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. A. HITCHCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers.
Extract sent to General Marston, Colonel De Land, Colonel Wallace, and Lieutenant-Colonel Pierson, and report called from each.
MONTREAL CANADA EAST, December 14, 1863.
Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to apply for permission to go to and return from Richmond via City Point, per flag-of-truce boat, upon an errand of mercy, dictated by humanity and charity.
I have this day received communications which reveal the suffering condition of the prisoners of war confined at Johnson's Island Point Lookout, Camp Chase, and Camp Douglas. Many of these men are without the necessary clothing even to hide their nakedness, and during the late could weather several absolutely froze to death at Point Lookout, where they are living in tents, and more than half of the 9,000 and more there confined have not even a single blanket for covering or bedding and sleep on the bare ground, which you well know is certainly productive of an immense amount of disease and suffering.
My object in visiting Richmond will be to obtain from the authorities there the necessary amount of funds to supply those men with at least enough of clothing to prevent their freezing.
As the prisoners now confined at Richmond have been permitted by the Confederate Government to receive the supplies forwarded by the United States Government, and also from their friends per express, it is hoped that you will great this favor as a reciprocal kindness.
I will of course give all necessary guarantees not to divulge anything prejudicial to the United States, or in any wise to communicate aught concerning the war.
I am satisfied that I could obtain from the authorities at Richmond all requisite funds for this specific purpose, to be devoted to that end, and to be distributed as you might deem best.
I would respectfully refer you to the Hon. B. Gratz Brown, Senator from Missouri, to Major General F. P. Blair, Representatives from Saint Louis, to Major-General Grant, and to Major General W. T. Sherman, as to who I am.
I would also most respectfully ask permission to forward from this point such supplies of clothing as are here and such as may hereafter be prepared for the prisoners of war now confined in the various places within the jurisdiction of the United States.
The favor of a speedy reply is most respectfully solicited.
With much respect, your obedient servant,
MONTROSE A. PALLEN.