CHARLESTON, S. C., January 15, 1864.
General THOMAS JORDAN, Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: While obeying your instructions "to examine ad report the condition of the Yankee negro prisoners," I had a conversation with H. P. Estelle, an inmate of the institution, and one apparently well versed in its operations. He stated that the prisoners' rations a day consisted of one pound of rice flour or corn- meal, half an ounce of salt, half an ounce of soap, one pound of beef. on an average of two weeks, the prisoners lose about there rations of their meat in some way; many get only three- quarters of a point of beef. This is practiced on those who submit, or are afraid to assert their rights. He has seen the commissary send pieces of meat away from the prison by his servant; has bought rice and salt from Colquit, a prisoner. Colquit and one other prisoner weigh rations and act the part of stewards. Estelle said the jailer an turnkey sell things to the prisoners in copartnership. Three small loaves of bread for $1; a plug of common tobacco for $3; and other things at exorbitant prices. He says tow- thirds of the men are without blankets; half without a change of clothing; consequently the prison is full of vermin.
I went among the Federal prisoners; they had no blankets; they get one meal in twenty- four hours. In the negro department I saw a few blankets. The jailer said the negroes received the same rations the white prisoners did; that the rations were cooked for the most of them some few cooked for themselves. The negroes look as if they were poorly fed. I asked one if he got enough to eat; he said he did by working about the office, but the others did not.
A lot of condemned blankets had been sent to prison for the negroes. The floors looked clean; the rooms have an unpleasant smell, especially where the negroes sleep. As a prison the arrangements are shocking. In our present condition, I suppose we cannot do much better, but I do respectfully suggest that the prisoners should have at least straw for beds, and that their rations be cooked and given to them at regular hours. The Yankee prisoners told me that they did not get their food some days until 3 o'clock. it should be the duty of the provost- marshal to make frequent and through inspections of the prisons, I respectfully submit.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. PLINY BRYAN,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
MEDICAL DIRECTOR'S OFFICE,
Richmond, Va., January 15, 1864.
Honorable J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, C. S. A., Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I respectfully report that many prisoners are men worn down by disease, fatigue, and hardship, and these conditions being aggravated by confinement and the hardships inseparable from prison life, cause the death of many, and others to be totally unfit for the duties of a soldier. I respectfully suggest that all such Federal prisoners as a competent board of examining surgeons report as totally unfit for any military duty and proper cases for discharge from service be paroled and offered to the Federal agent of exchange for return to the North,