[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
STEAMER E. H. FAIRCHILD,
En route for Cairo, Ill., January 13, 1865.
Lieutenant JOHN S. LYTLE,
Eighth Iowa Infantry Volunteers,
In Charge of Rebel Prisoners of War on Board:
SIR: At the request of Captain Samuel Wilson, provost - marshal, post Memphis, Tenn., communicated to me by yourself, I have to make the following statement touching the prisoners of war now in your custody and whose names are set forth on the roll to which this paper is attached: These men were captured by the First Brigade of Brigadier - General Grierson's troops, under command of Colonel Karge, Second New Jersey Cavalry, at Egypt Station (Mobile and Ohio Railroad), on the morning of the 28th of December, 1864, with several hundred more prisoners belonging to the rebel army, under the command of Lieutenant - Colonel Burke, of the rebel service, and have, as they claim, been formerly in the service of the United States in the various regiments designated opposite their names on the roll. On the evening previous to the engagement at Egypt several of these men designated on the rolls deserted the rebels and, coming into our lines, gave information of the force opposed to us and reported that many of these men would not resists us in battle. In the engagement which ensued in the morning this proved true in many instances, although the fight was a severe one and required great valor on the part on Colonel Karge's cavalry to gain the victory. The general report of these men to me during the time they were under my charge from Vicksburg to Memphis agrees in the following particulars: That they were prisoners of war at Andersonville, Ga., when they enlisted in the Confederate service; that at the time they were in great want of food, fuel, and clothing, which, with exposure to weather, rendered disease and death imminent to them all and that many dead were carried from among the prisoners daily, that they were told there would be no exchange of prisoners, and if they would enlist in the Confederate service they would be received, taken from prison and treated like other Confederate troops; that these (on the rolls) were enlisted by Lieutenant - Colonel Burke, now a prisoner on board, and have been under his command since; that they were enlisted under an oath they do not remember and many of them claim with the design and determination on their part to rejoin our ranks at the first opportunity, and that they did avail themselves of the only opportunity that and had presented itself; that they were never fully trusted by the Confederates, being deprived of many privileges extended to other troops, kept under strict camp guard and unarmed; that they were given muskets in the day before the affair in which they were captured, and ammunition; but on the night before that foreigners were first solicited, but many others finally taken, and that they now wish to be sent to their old regiments to fight for the Union. These statements will not apply universally but generally to this class of prisoners.
My regiment was not in the engagement when these men were captured, nor do I know of my own knowledge their acts before and in the fight, but state that in this particular - which was communicated to me be officers on the march, this communication being given on the request before mentioned and to form the foundation for further inquiry by the authorities of the Government if deemed important - from my intercourse with these me, I believe that most of them are worthy of clemency, a few of special favor, but many at the same time are not to be trusted. As to the more general effect of the treatment of these men upon other prisoners in the rebel prisons, and again upon the rebel