I recommend they should be confined at the Tortugas during the war. If exchanged, some of them were brutal overseers on the plantations in this vicinity before the war, and will be likely to come back and be troublesome again.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
N. B. BUFORD,
HEADQUARTERS POST, Salisbury, February 3, 1865.
To His Excellency Governor Z. B. VANCE:
SIR: Your communication of 1st instant in reference to the condition of the Federal prisoners at this post has been received. General Johnson has been absent for the week or so past, detained in Virginia by the illness of his wife, and I will endeavor to furnish Your Excellency a short statement. General Johnson will on his return, which is expected to- morrow, or at most the first of next week, answer at more length. The C. S. prison when established at this place was contemplated for Confederate prisoners only, buildings and sufficient ground being purchased for that purpose About the 5th of November, 1864, a large number of prisoners of war, some 8,000, were suddenly sent here, the Government having no other place to send them. The grounds were enlarged and such preparations as could be made were arranged for their reception. A short time after their arrival tents were issued, and now they are all under shelter of some sort. The number of prisoners confined here has reached as high a figure as 10,000. When sent here they were in extremely bad condition. Wood in sufficient quantity is issued them. Only two days have they been without, and then unavoidable circumstances prevented its issue. The issue of wood is regulated in a measure by the weather. In extreme days they received more than when the weather is mild. As evidence that they have plenty, they offer to sell, and do sell, to the sutler wood for his stove in exchange for tobacco. He informs me that more is offered him than he buys or has use for.
The matter of food receives the earnest attention of the commanding officers. They regularly receive one pound good bread, one pint soup, besides small issues of meat or sorghum. Sometimes small quantities of both Inclosed please find a memorandum account showing the number of prisoners and the articles given them for the past fifteen days. As to clothing, their condition is truly deplorable, most of them having been prisoners some six or nine months. The Confederate Government cannot issue clothing to them, and non e has been received at this post from the North. General Johnson, in a communication to Commissioner Ould in early part of January, called attention to their condition in this respect, which he set forth in the fullest terms, and requested his paper be forwarded tot he Federal authorities. Your generous proposition will no doubt be readily agreed to by the Federal Government. As soon as the general returns I will lay your communication before him and he will do all he can to effect its consummation. Ten wells are in the prison, which afford them water. In addition, they are permitted every day to bring water in barrels from a neighboring creek. No stream of water runs through the prison. This is unfortunate, but a removal of prisoners to Columbia is contemplated, and all improvements, buildings, &c., have been prohibited by General Winder. General York, who has visited most of the prisons South,