W. Va., and has since been kept inclose confinement on charges of robbing the mail, treason, and murder. It is stated that a portion of the time he was kept in irons. At the time of this capture he was a captain in our service and held such a commission at the time of his alleged offenses. Captain George Dusky is now at Wheeling. If he is not treated as a prisoner of war an officer of like rank will be selected for similar treatment. I will thank you to inform me whether he is regarded as a prisoner of war.
HEADQUARTERS POST OF CHICAGO,
Chicago, Ill., January 20, 1864.
Colonel WILLIAM HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners, Washington City, D. C.:
COLONEL: In pursuance of the order of the Secretary of War communicated to me by your letter of January 2, 1864, I have the honor to report that I haven't investigated the circumstances
attending the escape of prisoners of war from Camp Douglas on the 2nd day of December, 1863. The escape was effected by means of a tunnel dug by the prisoners extending from the barracks in which they were quartered beyond the fence inclosing the camp. The construction of the barracks and the large number of prisoners necessarily quartered in each barrack make the efforts at tunneling very difficult to detect. In the case investigated the prisoners commenced operations by opening a place through a bunk on the lower tier of bunks, and then passed along under the floor of the barracks on a line running lengthwise with the barrack to a point in the end of the barrack distant from where they first entered through the bottom of the bunk. At this point they started a tunnel running at right angles with the barrack (the barrack being nearly parallel with the high fence inclosing the camp), the distance from the barrack to the fence being about forty free. The earth taken from the tunnel was pressed in under the floor of the barracks between the timbers on which the floor rested. The barracks are built close to the ground and there was no means of ascertaining what was going on under the floor of the barracks except by taking up some boards and sending men under the floors to grope and feel about. On the 2nd day of December, 1863, Hooker A. DeLand, captain Company F, First Michigan Sharpshooters, was officer of the day. Lieutenant Briggs, Company A, Eighth Regiment Invalid Corps, was officer of the division of the guard where the escape happened. On the outside of the fence (beyond which the tunnel reached) a patrol was placed. This patrol about 9 p. m. discovered the mouth of this tunnel and a prisoner of war in the act of coming out. He seized the escaping prisoner and then prior escape of a large number of other prisoners. The night is said to have been very dark and in every way favorable to the escaping prisoners. Pursuit was made and all diligence used to recapture the prisoners. A large number were retaken.
The non-commissioned officer on duty in the square whence the escape was made belonged to a detachment of the Ninth Vermont troops, which has since been sent forward to join the regiment, so that I have not been able to see and hear him concerning the matter. From my own experience and knowledge of the camp I do not feel that I can censure any