amount thus furnished, but I think it is fully equal to that furnished by Government. A considerable amount of clothing must still be distributed among those prisoners from the more southern States.
2. The bedding consists of prairie hay, of which I have ordered each month but this from twelve to fourteen pounds for two men. The bunks are intended to accommodate two men each, and the amount furnished I regard as sufficient. In the early part of this month I received orders from Colonel De Land, "not to order any more straw until a new contractor could be procured. " The prisoners have received no new straw this month; more ought to be furnished at once.
3. The fuel furnished to prisoners consists of both wood and coal; of wood, orders are issued each month for 1,412 cart-loads, or 350 cords, as near as I can estimate it. Of coal 294 cart-loads, or 196 tons. If the proper means of heating the barracks and of cooking the food could be procured and used an immense saving would be effected with the stoves now in use. I do not deem the amount furnished any too much, and in extreme cold weather it will be necessary to increase it.
4. The requisition for rations is drawn every tenth day. The utmost care is taken on my part to furnish an order for rations for every man, but the morning reports constitute my guide, and I do not allow the requisition to exceed the number reported "for duty" and 'sick in quarters" inclosed herewith. I transmit certain questions to sergeants of squads, and their answers, to which I would respectfully beg leave to refer as best calculated to show the opinions and feelings of the prisoners in regard to the treatment they have received and are now receiving.
In conclusion I would respectfully call your attention to the answers of the sergeants in reference to food, and would say that I most fully believe the prisoners have been shamefully treated by the contractor for fresh beef.
I am, sir, truly your obedient servant,
LEVANT C. RHINES,
Captain Company A, First M. S. S., and Commissary of Prisoners.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN TENNESSEE,
In the field, December 30, 1863.
Major General S. A. HURLBUT,
Commanding U. S. Forces, Memphis:
GENERAL: I have in my hands forty-five of fifty Federal prisoners, among them two captains and three lieutenants.
I suppose that I have lost some men also, and, owing to the fatigue and exposure necessary to send you men to Richmond, I write to propose exchanges. The desire, also, to get my own men prompts me to make the proposition to exchange with you for them or for any Confederate soldiers you may have in your hands.
I have asked permission to make the exchanges, provided you consent to do so. I should be pleased to make such an arrangement, with the understanding that I exchange, first, for my own troops, afterward for any other belonging regularly to the C. S. Army. Should you consent to do so, you will please forward by the flag a list of men now in your hands, and I will exchange for them as far as I have men, and at any point you may designate on the railroad between La Grange and Memphis.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. B. FORREST,