War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0248 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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prison yard are used as hospitals. The number sick in hospital February 15 was 546. There was an entire absence of hospital comforts-bedding, necessary utensils, &c. The reason assigned on the occasion of my first visit (February 1) was, that it was useless to supply these articles as no guard was kept inside of the prison yard and they would be inevitably stolen. Surg. John Wilson, jr., the medical officer at present in charge, is endeavoring to supply these deficiencies, and in the short interval of two weeks between my first and second visits had succeeded in effecting several improvements. Still much remains to be done. There are bunks for not more than one-half of the sick, the rest lie upon the floor or ground, with nothing under them but a little straw, which on February 16 had not been changed for four weeks. For a period of nearly one month in December and January the hospitals, I was told, were without straw. For this there is no excuse. I am satisfied that straw could have been obtained in abundance at any time, the country (Rowan) being one of the largest wheat-growing counties in the State, and I am assured by Captain Crockford, inspector of field transportation in this department, that the field transportation at this post has been in excess heretofore of the requirements of the post; that in January, when no straw was furnished, he found thirty animals standing idle in Captain Goodman's stable, and consequently ordered them to be turned over. The excessive rate of mortality among the prisoners, as shown by the prison returns herewith forwarded, merits attention. Out of 10,321 prisoners of war received since October, 5, 1864, according to the surgeon's report, 2,918 have died. According to the burial report, since the 21st of October, 1864, a less period by sixteen days, 3,479 have been buried. The discrepancy is explained by the fact than in addition to the deaths in hospital, six or eight die daily in the quarters without the knowledge of the surgeons, and of course without receiving attention from them. This discrepancy, which in December amounted to 223, and in January to 192, in the first two weeks of February had diminished to 21. The actual number of deaths, however, outside of hospital during that period would show probably little falling off, if any, from the number in previous months. Pneumonia and diseases of the bowels are the prevalent diseases. The prisoners appear to die, however, more from exposure and exhaustion than from actual disease.

VI. Prison discipline.-Inside of the prison there appears to be no proper system of discipline or police. The prisoners are divided into the divisions, each division into as many squads, the divisions in charge of a sergeant-major of their own number, the squads under a sergeant. Two roll-calls are nominally observed, the one in the morning being usually neglected. In the afternoon the prisoners are mustered by squads and counted by the prison clerk and his assistants. No details are made for the purpose of policing the grounds, except one of a sergeant and twelve men, who report to the surgeon. All sorts of filth are allowed to be deposited and to remain anywhere and every-where around the quarters, unsightly to the eye and generating offensive odors and in time, doubtless, disease. Since the outbreak of November 25 no guard is kept inside the inclosure, except at the gates. Robberies and murders even are said to be of not unfrequent occurrence among the prisoners, usually charged to an association of the worst characters among them, known as "Muggers." But a few days before my first visit a negro prisoner in one of the hospital wards was murdered by one of these ruffians, and such is the state of terrorism inspired that none of the patients or attendants in the ward who saw the deed would lodge information against the murderer, who was at last only discovered and arrested through the agency of a detective.