WAR DEPARTMENT, February 17, 1864.
Approved and respectfully returned to the Commissary-General of Prisoners for the action recommended by him.
By order of the Secretary of War:
ED. R. S. CANBY,
[Inclosure to first indorsement.]
FEBRUARY 13, 1864.
Colonel HOFFMAN, commissary-General of Prisoners:
SIR: In pursuance of the privilege which you have granted us we would state that upon our obtaining from the Government the contract to subsist the prisoners and soldiers at Camp Douglas, we sublet the furnishing of fresh beef to Messrs. Curtis & Co., butchers of Chicago, they contracting and agreeing to fill all requisitions made upon us for fresh beef and to furnish a good article and of just weights; that accordingly, upon issuing days, days, when a requisition was made upon us, we gave the commissary-sergeants beef orders upon Messrs. Curtis & Co., specifying the exact amount of the requisition; that the commissary-sergeants took these beef orders themselves directly to Messrs. Curtis & Co., by whom the beef was weighed, issued, and delivered over to called for in the requisitions, paying them for as many pounds of beef as these called for, and consequently we not only had no interest in or benefit of any kind from the alleged short weights of Messrs. Curtis & Co., but we were entirely ignorant that the proper quantity and quality of beef were not at all times issued; that no complaints were ever made to us by soldiers or officers about the beef issued by Messrs. Curtis & Co., either as to quantity or quality. On the contrary, we were given to understand by Colonel DeLand, commandant of the post, and, by the terms of the contract, inspector of the contracting commissary of the Government that they were satisfied entirely, and that there were no complaints made in reference to the beef, as will appear from their certificates made to General Orme, copies of which are herewith presented. To the same effect are the reports of Captain Barringer, U. S. inspector, sent directly to Camp Douglas by the Commissary-General's Department. His reports are on file in General Taylor's office. Under these circumstances m we think it unjust for the Government, after the contracts have ben completed and no complaints having been made, to come upon us for reclamations for no fault or dereliction of our own. Had we at the time been advised by those receiving the bee for by those whose duty it was to inspect it that it was not of good quality or just weight, we would at once have applied the proper remedy, but we could not mend a wrong which we did not know to exist and from which no benefit of any kind ever accrued to us. We make this statement injustice to ourselves and in the hope that the Government will not hold us accountable for wrongs not committed by us.
E. S. FOWLER & CO.
P. S. -We would further add that Colonel De Land, commandant of the post, Mr. Horsford, Government agent in supervision of the camp, and the officers in charge of troops and prisoners were again and