WAR DEPARTMENT, June 8, 1866.
Referred to Adjutant-General's files.
E. M. S.,
Secretary of War.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.--From New York World, May 24, 1866.]
The torture of Jefferson Davis.
It is no longer a matter of newspaper rumor that the treatment which Jefferson Davis has received during his incarceration in Fortress Monroe has been such as to break down his constitution and to put him, after twelve months of protracted suffering, in imminent peril of death.
Upon the recommendation of the Secretary of the Treasury the President of the United States recently ordered the post surgeon at Fortress Monroe to make a careful and thorough report upon the condition of Mr. Davis' health. That report has been made and is now published. It cannot be read by any honorable and right-minded American, no matter what his sectional feelings or his political opinions may be without a sickening sensation of shame for his country and a burning flush of indignation against the persons who have prostituted their official position to inflict upon the American name an ineffaceable brand of disgrace by the wanton and wicked torture of an invalid lying a helpless prisoner in the strongest fortress of the Union. The report of Post Surgeon Cooper is all the more damning that it is perfectly calm and formal in tone, and that it deals only with the strictly medical aspect of the investigation which its author was ordered to make. We hear nothing, for example, from Surgeon Cooper of the stories which have been repeated over and over again, in all varieties of tone, but with a singular consistency in the main details, by correspondence of all shades of opinion in regard to the petty insults heaped upon Jefferson Davis in the routine of his daily life. The refusal, by express military orders, of the common courtesies and simplest decencies of life to a man who for four years wielded the resources of eleven belligerent States against the whole power of the Union, while it would be unspeakably disgraceful to the authorities perpetrating it, might be of very little consequence either to the health or the spirits of the captive at whom it was aimed. A man of strong and self-sustained character might be annoyed, indeed, at finding himself in the hands of persecutors so paltry, but they would scarcely be able to disturb his digestion or his sleep.
The American people, should these stories prove to be true, will have a serious account to settle with the functionaries who could thus misrepresent and belittle them in the eyes of Christendom and of history. But the crying result of Surgeon Cooper's report, the result which demands the most prompt and emphatic expression possible of the popular indignation, if we are not to be written down all of us as accomplices in the vile transactions which it reveals, is this, that the health of Jefferson Davis, which was notoriously poor at the time of his capture, has been systematically broken down by a cruel and deliberate perseverance in applying to him one of the worst tortures known to humanity. Here are the fatal words in which the truth is told. After describing the general prostration of the prisoner's physique Surgeon Cooper says:
Slight noises which are scarcely perceptible to a man in robust health cause him much pain, the description of the sensation being as of one flayed and having every sentient nerve exposed to the waves of sound. Want of sleep has been a great and