War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0342 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

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have been committed on the battle-field after the excitement of combat your committee cannot know. But they feel well assured that such pillage was never encouraged by the Confederate generals, and bore no comparison to the wholesale robbery and destitution to which the Federal armies have abandoned themselves in possessing parts of our territory. It is certain that after the prisoners were brought to the Libby and other prisons in Richmond no such pillage was permitted. Only articles which came properly under the head of munitions of war were taken from them.


The next charge noticed is that the gurads around the Libby Prison were in the habit of reckessly and inhumanly shooting at the prisoners upon the most frivolous pretexts, and that the Confederate officers, so far from forbidding this rather encouraged it, and made it a subject of sportive remark. this charge is wholly false and baseless. The rules and regulations appended to the depostition of Major Thomas P. Turner expressly provide, "Nor shall any prisoner be fired upon by a sentinel or other person, except in case of revolt or attempted escape." Five or six cases have occured in which prisoners have been fired on and killed or hurt; but every case has been made the subject of careful investigation and report, as will appear by the evidence. As a proper comment on this charge, your committee report that the practice of firing on our prisoners by the guards in the Northern prisons appears to have been indulged in to a most brutal and atrocious extent. See the depostions of C. C. Herrington, William F. Gordon, jr., J. B. McCreary, Dr. Thomas P. Holloway, and John P. Fennell. At Fort Delaware a cruel regulation as to the use of the 'sinks" was made the pretext for firing on and murdering several of our men and officers, among them Lieutenant-Colonel Jones, who was lame, and was shot down by the sentinel while helpless and feeble and while seeking to explain his condition. Yet this sentinel was not only not punished, but was promoted for his act. At Camp Douglas as many as eighteen of our men are reported to have been shot in a single month. These facts may well produce a conviction in the candid observer that it is the North and not the South that is open to the charge of deliberately and willfully destroving the lives of the prisoners held by her.


The next charge is that the Libby and Belle Isle prisoners were habitually kept in a filthy contition, and that the officers and men confined there were prevented from keeping themselves sufficiently clean to avoid vermin and similar discomforts. the evidence clearly contradicts this charge. It is proved by the depositions of Major Turner, Lieutenant Bossieux, Reverend Doctor McCabe, and others, that the prisons were kept constantly and systematically policed and cleansed; that in the Libby there was an ample supply of water conducted to each floor by the city pipes, and that the prisoners were not only not restricted in its use, but urged to keep themselves clean. At Belle Isle, for a brief season (about three weeks), in consequence of a sudden increase in the number of prisoners, the police was interrupted, but it was soon restored, and ample means for washing both themselves and their clothes were at all times furnished to the prisoners. It is