The use of detective and a counter association among the prisoners are the only dependence of the commandant for enforcing any kind of order, discipline, or police in the prison. The excuse given by Major Gee for not having the prison grounds properly policed was the want of tools and the danger of trusting picks, &c., in the hands of the prisoners. The excuse cannot be considered sufficient; wooden scrapers and hickory brooms, with wheelbarrows or boxes with rope handles, all of which can readily be furnished by the prison quarter, would answer every purpose. I subsequently brought the matter to the attention of General Johnson, who promised to issue the necessary orders upon the subject and see that they are enforced. Major Gee, the prison commandant, as an officer, is deficient in administrative ability, but in point of vigilance, fidelity, and in everything that concerns the security of the prison and the safe keeping of the prisoners, leaves nothing to be desired. As respects the general question of the condition of the prisoners I am of the opinion that so far as their sufferings have resulted from causes within the control of the Government or its officers they are chargeable (1) to the unfortunate location of the prison, which is wholly unsuitable for the purpose; (2) to the want of administrative capacity, proper energy and effort on the part of the officers of the Quartermaster's Department charged with the duty of supplying the prison.
To attempt an exact apportionment of the blame in this respect between Major Mason Morfit, the prison quartermaster, and Captain James M. Goodman, the post quartermaster, would probably be irrelevant to the purpose of the present report. Having had occasion in a general inspection of the post of Salisbury to examine the affairs of both of these officers, I cannot say that I consider either of them as efficient in his present position.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. W. HALL,
Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General.
ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE,
February 23, 1865.
Respectfully submitted to Honorable Secretary of War.
This is a "report of inspection of prison at Salisbury, N. C.," made in compliance with instructions from the office and based on complaints made by Government Vance, of North Carolina. His Excellency the Governor only mentions in general terms that complaints of a distressing character had reached him of the destitute and suffering condition of the prisoners. The inspector reports that he made three visits to the prison; that on the first two visits the weather was pleasant, and that he saw the prison then in its most favorable aspect, but on the last the weather was, bad, and that he saw it then in its worst aspect. He endeavors to distinguish between unavoidable causes of suffering and those justly chargeable to the neglect or inefficiency of the prison management, and furnishes a diagram of the plan and location of the prison, and reports that there can be no reasonable grounds of complaint for want of room, as the area is eleven acres, but that the water, supplied by wells and brought in buckets, &c., from a steam only half a mile from the prison, is only sufficient for drinking and cooking purposes, and that the want of running stream within the prison is a serious objection; that the proximity of the prison to the railroad affords every facility for obtaining an adequate supply of fuel, and incloses a statement