OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., December 25, 1863.
Surg. A. M. CLARK,
Acting Medical Inspector of Prisoners of War, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: You will proceed at once to visit the several stations in the West where prisoners of war are held, with a view of ascertaining the present condition of the sick in hospital and in barracks, and putting in force such reforms in the various branches of the hospital service as may be found necessary. Give such directions to the surgeons in charge of hospitals in all minor matters as you may think necessary, and in those of more consequence you will consult the commanders and request the proper orders given. When larger hospital accommodations for the sick are necessary direct them to be built and conveniently fitted up, the expense to be paid out of the prisoners' fund, and with the same fund procure all necessary bedding and clothing for the sick and what table furniture and kitchen utensils may be required. Examine particularly into the management of the hospital fund and see that the savings are economically made and that the funds are judiciously expended. You will also examine into the general sanitary condition of the places you visit and make such suggestions of measures for improvements as you may think proper. Having visit the several stations in the most convenient order, and given the necessary instructions, you will, on your return, again visit them and see that the measures suggested have been properly carried out.
On completing this duty you will report in person at this office, giving a detailed report of the service performed.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Infantry and Commissary-General of Prisoners.
HDQRS. HOFFMAN'S BATT., DEPOT PRISONERS OF WAR,
Near Sandusky, Ohio, December 25, 1863.
Colonel WILLIAM HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 19th instant, inclosing an extract from a letter of Dr. Montrose A. Pallen, dated at Montreal on the 14th of December instant, to Honorable E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War, in which Doctor Pallen states that he has received communications which reveal the suffering condition of the prisoners of war confined at Johnson's Island, Point Lookout, Camp Chase, and Camp Douglas; that many of the men are without the necessary clothing even to hide their nakedness, and during the last cold weather several of them 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. You require me, in reply to the statements in the abstract from the letter of Doctor Pallen to the Secretary of War, to make a detailed report of the condition of the prisoners in my charge, their accommodations in barracks or tents, their subsistence, their clothing, and the provisions made for them in hospital.
I have the honor to report that the specific allegations appear by said extract to be confined to Point Lookout, leaving the general charge of the 'suffering condition of the prisoners of war" alone applicable to the depot for prisoners of war near Sandusky, which general