blankets are distributed among them. Soft bread has been allowed to several who needed it. Some few have bedding. Eight prisoners who attempted to escape occupy a smaller room, but are not in irons.
Offenders against the law of nations (twenty-six). - These, accused of being spies, pirates, recruiting within our lines, under sentence of death, &c., occupy two rooms in the interior of the fort. Only a portion are in irons. The doors are open all day to admit air and light, and exercise in the interior parade is allowed for half an hour each day. Some have received U. S. blankets. Most of them have received food and clothes from friends.
Hospital. - I can imagine, as a layman, no hospital in better condition. The prisoners of war are admitted as freely (as patients) as our own soldiers. A case of smallpox occurring some two weeks ago, all prisoners were vaccinated.
In reply to the allegations concerning a remark of Lieutenant Webster, the commissary of prisoners, to one of the surgeons, I would state that the officer was busy in attending to his onerous duties when he made the reply in question. This was about the time when reports were prevalent of the extraordinary treatment of our prisoners at Richmond. By the side of what he said should be placed the record of what he did. He inquired into the matter when his duties permitted, and could find no prisoner without breeches. The provost-marshal says that no prisoner to his knowledge left in that condition. The commissary of prisoners has nothing to do with their clothing, and no official character can be attached to his remark, which was accompanied by the observation that-
Considering how our prisoners fared at Richmond the demand was rather extraordinary, but that he had nothing to do with the clothing.
I have replied, I believe, fully to the communication referred to me; not by mere answer to special allegations, but by the fullest information concerning the treatment of prisoners here. I do not claim that the prison arrangements are perfect, but I do claim that humanity has something to do with all the regulations of this post, and that I shall be thankful if the chance of war shall never subject me to greater hardships than are felt in prison life at Fort McHenry.
I remain, colonel, very respectfully, yours,
P. A. PORTER,
Colonel Eighth New York Heavy Artillery, Commanding Post.
WASHINGTON, D. C., December 19, 1863.
Brigadier General L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
In compliance with the instructions contained in a letter addressed to me from your office on the 2nd instant, a copy of which is herewith appended, marked A, I proceeded to Columbus, Ohio, and investigated the circumstances connected with the imprisonment and escape of John H. Morgan and other rebel prisoners of war recently confined in the Ohio penitentiary. I have now the honor to submit a report of my investigations.
On the 5th instant I presented in person my instructions to His Excellency Governor Tod. He expressed himself as pleased with my mission and as desirous to have the Government fully informed of the particulars of Morgan's escape. He then gave me a succinct history