that by reason thereof the shelter furnished said prisoners was entirely insufficient to protect them from the inclemency of the weather, a great number of whom, therefore - as well as on account of the insufficiency of clothing and wood, as aforesaid - were obliged to burrow in the ground of said prison as the only means of protection; also, that by reason thereof the hospital accommodations and medical attendance furnished said prisoners when sick were so slight and inadequate that when once sent to the hospital of said prison the sick rarely returned alive therefrom; and that by reason, further, of such failure a very great number of said prisoners, to wit, the number of about 500 per months, whose names are unknown, died from disease, starvation, and exposure. This, at Salisbury, N. C., in or about the months of November and December, 1864."
And the commission, attaching no responsibility to the said John H. Gee other than for weakness in retaining position when unable to carry out the dictates of humanity, and believing that higher authorities of the rebel Government were fully responsible for all the alleged violations of the laws and customs of war, finds of the specification, not guilty.
Of the second specification to the first charge, not guilty.
Of the first charge, not guilty.
Of the first specification, not guilty.
Of the second specification, not guilty.
Of the third specification, not guilty.
Of the fourth specification, not guilty.
Of the fifth specification, not guilty.
Of the sixth specification, not guilty.
Of the seventh specification, not guilty.
Of the charge, not guilty.
And the commission does therefore acquit the said John H. Gee.
II. * * * In approving the proceedings and findings in this case the commanding general cannot agree with the commission that the only responsibility of the accused was "weakness in retaining position" as commandant of the prison. While the evidence clearly establishes the fact that higher authorities of the rebel Government were fully responsible for these violations of the laws and customs of war, and that the accused was constantly calling their attention to the condition of the prison and asking for supplies, it is believed that he had it in his power to relieve much of the suffering of the prisoners under his charge. There was an abundant supply of running water and wood enough for fuel and shelter within a quarter of a mile of the prison pern. Men who had served in the field would soon have built huts for themselves if permitted to do so. Not only were prisoners starved, but suffered for want of water and fuel - which they might have procured themselves - because it was feared they might effect their escape. Prisoners were shot down in cold blood and the perpetrators of these murders were allowed to go unpunished. There seems to have bene more anxiety to prevent the escape of prisoners of war than to preserve their lives.
III. * * * The military commission of which Colonel W. W. Wheeler, Twenty-eighth Michigan Infantry, is president is hereby dissolved.
By command of Brevet Major-General Robinson:
J. A. CAMPBELL,
RICHMOND, August 31, 1866.
Honorable E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War United States:
SIR: You will recollect my calling on you some months since when you, at my request, released R. R. Turner from confinement in the Libby Prison here on parole to answer, &c. General A. H. Terry, just before he left this Department, informed me he had reported to the