I would respectfully beg leave to report that by direction of the Commissary-General of Prisoners I have commenced a thorough cleansing of the prison barracks and grounds, replacing and repairing the bunks and quarters, the erection of a bath house, laundry, cook houses, &c. Your orders in regard to a more rigid discipline with both guards and prisoners will be obeyed.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. A. STEVENS,
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., March 14, 1864.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: I have the honor very respectfully to submit the following matter for your consideration: Under the authority placed in my hands by General Orders, Numbers 67, of June, 1862, I have created at the several prison stations, by the savings of rations, large prison funds, amounting, after paying many necessary expenses connected with the welfare of prisoners, to not less than $135,262. 35 on hand at the present time. In the latter part of December I ordered Surg. A. M. Clark, who is acting as medical inspector of prisoners, to visit the prison camps in the West, and gave him authority, where he found it necessary, to order additional hospital accommodations and to have them paid for out of the prison fund, giving him at the same time particular instructions to order nothing that was to absolutely necessary, or that would lead to much expense. These instructions were given verbally and in writing. On reaching Rock Island, about the 1st of February, Surgeon Clark found the smallpox prevailing to a very serious extent, and immediately ordered a large hospital to be built, which he reported to me, but not in a way to give me a clear idea of its character. The buildings, as he suggested, were to be paid for in part by the quartermaster's department, and in part by the prison fund, to cost, as I understood, $1,800, which, considering the emergency of the case, I did not think excessive, though it was much more than his instructions contemplated. About the same time a communication from the quartermaster at the depot was presented to the Quartermaster-General, recommending an increase of the hospitals for the guard and the prisoners, which paper passed through my hands and the Surgeon-General's, approved, and I was of the impression that all had been ordered by the Quartermaster-General. A few days since I learned that the hospital ordered by Surgeon Clark was to cost $18,000 instead of $1,800. I was very greatly surprised at this discovery, for I had looked upon the last sum named as quite sufficient for the purpose, and I took immediate measures to put a stop to an outlay which I deemed in great part unnecessary. On further inquiry at the Quartermaster-General's Office, I learned that the hospital for the prisoners had not been ordered, as I had previously understood, and I have given the commanding officer orders to stop the work as far as practicable until he receives further orders. The prison fund at the depot increases rapidly and can bear the expense, but it has been my desire as well as my duty to authorize no disbursement from it that was not indispensable. I deem it my duty to invite attention to this expensive measure, which is against my judgment and without my approbation. This much may be said in its favor: The buildings are on public ground, where they may be appropriated to public purposes. They will be useful during the war for