[MARCH 3, 1865. - For Special Orders, Numbers 52, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, relieving Brigadier General W. M. Gardner from duty as Commissary-General of Prisoners, see Series I, Vol. XLVI, Part II, p. 1279.]
MARCH 3, 1865.
Report of the joint select committee appointed to investigate the condition and treatment of prisoners of war.
[By Mr. Watson in Senate and Mr. Perkins in House.]
The duties assigned to the committee under the several resolutions of Congress designating them are -
to investigate and report upon the condition and treatment of the prisoners of war respectfully held by the Confederate and United States Governments; upon the causes of their detention and the refusal to exchange, and also upon the violations by the enemy of the rules of civilized warfare in the conduct of the war.
These subjects are broad in extent and importance, and in order fully to investigate and present them the committee propose to continue their labors inm obtaining evidence and deducing from it a truthful report of facts illustrative of the spirit in which the war has been conducted.
But we deem it proper at this time to make a preliminary report, founded upon evidence recently taken, relating to the treatment of prisoners of war by both belligerents. This report is rendered specially important by reason of persistant efforts lately made by the Government of the United States, and by associations and individuals connected or co-operating with it, to asperse the honor of the Confederate authorities and to charge them with deliberate and willful cruelty to prisoners of war. Two publications have been issued at the North within the past year, and have been circulated not only in the United States but in some parts of the South, and in Europe. One of these is the report of the joint select committee of the Northern Congress on the conduct of the war, known as Report Numbers 67.* The other purports to be a "Narrative of the privations and sufferings of United States officers and soldiers while prisoners of war," and is issued as a report of a commission of inquiry appointed by "the U. S. Sanitary Commission."+
This body is alleged to consist of Valentine Mott, M. D., Edward Delafield, M. D., Gouverneur Morris Wilkins, esq., Ellerslie Wallace, M. D., Honorable J. J. Clarke Hare, and Rev. Treadwell Walden. Although these persons are not of sufficient public importance and weight to give authority to their publication, yet your committee have deemed it proper to notice it in connection with the Report Numbers 67 before mentioned, because the Sanitary Commission has been understood to have acted to a great extent under the control and by the authority of the United States Government, and because their report claims to be founded on evidence taken in solemn form.
*Report Numbers 67, House of Representatives, Thirty-eighth Congress, first sessioin.
+Printed for the U. S. Sanitary Commission by King & Baird, 607 Sansom street, Philadelphia, Pa., 1864.
22 R R - SERIES II, VOL VIII