War of the Rebellion: Serial 121 Page 0343 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

doubtless true that, notwithstanding these facilities, many of the prisoners were lousy and filthy, but it was the result of their own habits and not of neglect in the discipline or arrangements of the prison. Many of the prisoners were captured and brought in while in this condition. The Federal General Neal Dow well expressed their character and habits. When he came to ditribute clothing among them he was met by profane abuse, and he said to the Confederate officer in charge, "You have here the scraping and rakings of Europe." That such men should be filthy in their habits might be expected.

CHARGE OF WITHHOLDING AND PILLAGING BOXES.

We noxt notice the charge that the boxes of provisions and clothing sent to the prisoners from the North were not delivered to them, and were habitually robbed and plundered by permission of the Confederate authorities. The evidence satisfies your committee that this charge is in all substantial points untrue. For a period of about one month there was a stoppage in the delivery of boxes, caused by a report that the Federal authorities were forbidding the delivery of similar supplies to our prisoners; but the boxes were put in a warehouse and were after-ward delivered. For some time no search was made of boxes from the Sanitary Committee intended for the prisoners' hospitals, but a letter was intercepted advising that money was to be used in bribing the guards and thus releasing the prisoners. After this it was deemed necessary to search every box, which necessarily produced some delay. Your committee are satisfied that if these boxes or their contents were robbed the prison officials are not responsible therefor. Beyond doubt robberies were often committed by prisoners themselves, to whom the contents were delivered for distribution to their owners. Notwithstanding all this alleged pillage, lthe supplies seem to have been sufficient to keep the quarters of the prisoners so well furnished that they frequently presented, in the language of a witness, "the appearance of a large grocery storce."

THE FEDERAL COLONEL SANDERSON'S TESTIMONY.

In connection with this point your committee refer to the testimony of a Federal officer, Colonel James M. Sanderson, whose letter is annexed to the deposition of Major Turner. He testifies to the full delivery of the clothing and supplies from the North, and to the humanity and kindness of the Confederate officers, especially mentioning Lieutenant Bossieux, commanding on Belle Isle. His letter was addressed to the president of the U. S. Sanitary Commission, and was beyond doubt received by them, having been forwarded by the regular flag of truce. Yet the scrupulous and honest gentlemen composing that commission have not found it convenient for their purposes to insert this letter in their publication. Had they been really searching for the truth this letter sould have aided them in finding it.

MINE UNDER THE LIBBY PRISON.

Your committee proceed next to notice the allegation that the Confederate authorities had prepared a mine under the Libby Prison, and placed in it a quantity of gunpowder for the purpose of blowing up the buildings, with their inmates, in case of an attempt to rescue them.