advantage of procuring subsistence in favor of the Quartermaster's Department, thus furnishing better subsistence to the prisoners of war than to our own soldiers in the field.
In pursuance of the arrangement already adverted to uniform prices for subsistence furnished alike to prisoners of war and our soldiers in the field were established, and the advantage of better and fuller rations for prisoners than were furnished our soldiers in the field was obviated.
Entire harmony between Captain Warner, as commissary of prisons, and the Subsistence Department was not, however, established, inasmuch as the Commissary-General demanded that requisitions for the subsistence of the prisoners should be made by him in accordance with form Numbers 2, the vouchers adopted by the Subsistence Department. With this requirement Captain Warner made objections.
An order, however, from the Quartermaster-General, in the month of September last, required him to conform to the regulations of the Subsistence Department in his requisitions for rations.
For a more perfect understanding of the subject it is perhaps necessary to state that all requisitions for subsistence drawn from the Subsistence Department were directed by the Commissary-General to Captain Forbes, the issuing commissary.
In carrying out the orders of the Quartermaster's Department for subsistence to be furnished prisoners it was understood between Captain Warner and Captain Forbes that the rations of meat should be of fresh beef, when Captain Forbes could supply it, and when beef was not to be had the requisitions for meat rations should be filled by supplies of bacon, bulk pork, or salt beef. The butcher for the Subsistence Department in Richmond was a certain George R. Wilson, upon whom orders were given by Captain Forbes to supply rations of beef, under the requisitions made by Captain Warner.
It appears from the statement of Wilson, herewith submitted, that orders were drawn upon him for fresh beef, in favor of Captain Warner, on the 1st, 6th, 8th, 9th, 13th, 20th, 21st, 22d, and 23rd days of November, which were not filled because the supply of beef on hand was not more than sufficient to meet the requisitions for the hospitals; and by an order from the Commissary-General he was directed, in the event of the scarcity of beef, first to fill the requisitions for the hospitals containing the sick and wounded, to the exclusion of prisoners of war and our own soldiers on duty at this post.
It further appears that when the prisoners of war in the city of Richmond were either upon short rations of meat or deprived of the meat ration altogether our own soldiers shared the same privation. And it further appears from the evidence that when the meat rations were short or altogether withdrawn double rations of bread and vegetables were furnished to the prisoners.
Your committee, therefore, feel authorized to state that the complaint that the prisoners suffered from being deprived of a sufficiency of food is entirely without foundation.
Your committee feel fully warranted in making the statement that if the meat ration for prisoners of war was at any time short, or wholly unsupplied, the fact is attributable rather to the relentless and unchristian mode of warfare adopted by our enemies in the wholesale pillage of private property, and the reckless and indiscriminate destruction of all supplies wherever found by them in the hands of loyal citizens of these Confederate States, than to any culpable neglect upon part of those charged with the duty of subsisting them.