of Lieutenant Snead, and to prefer charges against him if the facts bear out the complaints alleged against him.
Loud complaint has been made in Greensborough, N. C., by the officers of the post and prominent citizens of the inefficiency of the officers and the looseness of discipline exercised over the prisoners marched from Salisbury, N. C. Prisoners were allowed to straggle over the country and town, to purchase liquor, and to annoy the citizens. Colonel John F. Hoke, commanding Fourth Regiment North Carolina State Reserves, was in command of the guard forces, and, in view of his responsibility, I have preferred charges against him, which I inclose with this report for such action as the Department may deem best.
The inclosed reports of Colonel H. Forno, commanding military prisons in South Carolina, and specially charged with the removal of prisoners from South Carolina, and of Major E. Griswold, assistant adjutant-general, commanding military prison, Columbia, are herewith filed. These reports show what difficults were encountered in the removal of prisoners by the inefficiency of guards, imperfect transportation, and the confusion attending the proximity of the enemy.
From all the evidence I can gather, whilst making due allowance for the difficulties above alluded to, it is apparent that Major Griswold is chargeable with inefficiency as an officer. The loss of some prisoners during the delay and darkness of the night at the depot at Columbia on the 14th of February was unavoidable, but no such excuse is admissible for the loss of thirty-eight officers by concealment in the prison roof. The fact that a detachment of 500 officers had already been sent off made the care and accountability for the reduced number so much less onerous. Again, and Charlotte a number made their escape-thirty going off in one body with two of the guard. I am officially informed by Colonel Forno that a this point he was compelled to order Major Girswold three times out to his camp, the third time under threat of arrest. At Goldsborough, almost at the point of delivery, eleven more made their escape.
Lieutenant Colonel John F. Iverson, Fourth Georgia, commanded the prison at Florence, and superintended the removal of prisoners from that point. An order from Lieutenant-General Hardee, received a few days before the removal of prisoners, to this officer to rejoin his command, has, I presume, prevented this officer from sending in a report. My fiquires have therefore been taken from the prison report of the 31st of January, modified by the report of Colonel Forno and the statements of other officers. Possibly the loss from this prison would therefore be suspectable of a reduction of 100 or 200. I was officially informed by Colonel Forno that a large loss of these prisoners to drive out before the troops numbers of these men, enfeebled by long imprisonment and cripped by scurvy and other diseases. This loss of prisoners is greatly to be deplored in view of the present exchange of man for man. My observation leads me to state that confusion and want of management have charactized the removal of prisoners on this occasion, but also the management of prisons during the war. The fact that 14,000 prisoners of war died at Andersonville alone, startling and shocking as it is, leads one to hope that, as a mere matter of policy, the Government will hereafter insist upon and enforce more system in the management of prisons, a better care of the prisoners, and a stricter accountability from those in charge of them.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. LOUIS SMITH,
Captain an Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General.