War of the Rebellion: Serial 119 Page 0849 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

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flat, marshy character of the soil, must of necessity create a tendency to disease of the respiratory organs, which fact, I think, is clearly demonstrated by reference to reports of disease prevalent during the month of December. At this time the ground is covered with snow and the frost is severe. When the frost gives way and fogs and usual dampness of spring succeed, in conjunction with the surroundings of large cattle yards, s laughter- houses, and other offensive matter usual to the suburbs of large cities, may it not be reasonably expected that disease will assume a low or typhoid type, and, per consequence, the rate of mortality be largely increased! The cases of disease denominated "epidemic catarrh" would, I think, be more appropriately named endemic.

In addition to these objectionable features, in a sanitary point of view, Camp Douglas, as a place of security for the confinement of prisoners, is otherwise illy adapted to the purpose. The nature of the soil is such as to render tunneling (the method of escape which has been most common and successful) easy of accomplishment. The extent of ground occupied renders the employment of a large force necessary to guard the inmates, and, being in the suburbs of the large and populous city of Chicago, notorious for containing numbers of persons in sympathy with the prisoners and with rebellious proclivities, almost certainly prevents the possibility of recapture after escape is once effected. The barracks occupied by the troops who garrison the camp are for the most part new, well built of lumber, raised sufficiently from the ground, well ventilated and warmed, with good and convenient mess halls and kitchens. The quarters of the men are well kept, clean, and comfortable. The men's persons are clean, as is also their clothing. The state of discipline appears to be good.

The quality and supply of rations is good, as is also the cooking; the guard- rooms are convenient and comfortable; the supply of water from hydrants is abundant and of good quality.

The sinks, or privies for the use of the troops, are clean and well kept. They are so arranged over the large sewers recently constructed that the 'soil box," which receives the ordure, is emptied and thoroughly washed out every twenty- four hours.

The prisoners are quartered in the barracks erected in the autumn of 1861 and winter following for the accommodation of the troops then organizing. These buildings are constructed of boards with the points battened. The floors were never sufficiently elevated to allow the passage of a free current of air beneath, and the ground outside being subsequently raised made the matter still worse. It has been found necessary, to prevent the practice of prisoners tunneling out (to screen which process these floors were admirably adapted) to remove these floors entirely. The consequence is that in the place of dirty boards [there] is a mass of mud and filth. These buildings are 100 feet by 30 feet, into which space is crowded from 125 to 150 men, who are mostly in a filthy and disgusting state and swarming with vermin. They are amply supplied with good and wholesome rations, but the arrangements for cooking are deficient or entirely wanting, and the food is improperly prepared, and much waste prevails. This, together with a great neglect of police duty, is very apparent by the condition of the ground immediately around their quarters.

The barracks and grounds in the northwest square, occupied by Morgan's men, were pre- eminently filthy. In the center square things are in no better condition. The old privies have been removed, and

54 R R- SERIES II, VOL VI