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HEADQUARTERS, Camp Douglas, Chicago, July 16, 1862. Col. WILLIAM HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners, Detroit, Mich.
COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge your letters of 14th and 15th. I forward herewith statement respecting five women who have been found among the prisoners. I shall be happy to receive any instructions regarding them which you may see occasion to give. Also a communication regarding John Hayes, a prisoner of war held here. Also copy of letter from Capt. J. Christopher dated June 14, giving statement of various fund's accrued in his hands belonging to this camp. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOSEPH H. TUCKER, Colonel Sixty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, Commanding.
[Inclosure No. 1.]
JULY 16, 1862.
Particulars respecting the five female prisoners in Camp Douglas: Rebecca Parish, born in Lee County, Ga.; about twenty-eight years of age; has always lived in Sumter County, Ga., till this last year; has been three years and a half married; her parents live in Barbour County, Ala.; removed with her husband, a soldier in the Confederate service, and two children to Island No. 10 about the 1st of March last. Her husband and two children had died by the middle of April, since which time she has lived under the protection of her brother, and on the 15th of April she was taken prisoner with her brother, a soldier in the Confederate service, at Island No. 10. Having no friends there and no money to take her home, she preferred remaining with her brother, although the medical men in charge at Madison, Wis., would have given her her liberty and sent her back as far as Cairo.
Harriet Redd, born in Wayne County, Miss.; about twenty-four years of age; has lived the greater part of her life in Pike County, Ala.; her parents live in Wayne County, Miss.; two years and a half since she removed with her husband to Pike County, Ala., where she remained till her husband joined the Confederate Army, last January, and was taken prisoner with him at Island No. 10, while an invalid and has so continued and lives with her husband in this camp.
Araminta Palmer, born in Pike County, Ky., is about twenty-two years of age; has mostly lived in Great Bend, [Meigs] County, Ohio; was married about two years since; went to Columbus, Ky., with her husband about a year and a half since, where her husband, an invalid, was sworn to support the Confederacy. Her husband has been dead ten months; was a cook in the Confederate hospital at Island No. 10 when taken prisoner on the 8th of last April. Has no relations within 800 miles of her and has been sickly in camp. Her parents are good Union people.
Amelia Davis, born in East Brandon, Vt.; is about thirty-three years of age; left Vermont at the age of 18; has lived in many parts of the Union; has been married twice. Her present husband is a seafaring man, whom she married in Baltimore two years since. Both husband and wife were respectively employed as cook and stewardess on board the steamer Red Rover when taken by General Buell at Island No. 10 and both sent prisoners to Camp Douglas together with a little boy eight years of age. Does not know that she has any relatives alive.
Bridget Higgins, born in Galway, Ireland; came to America in 1857; was married in Baltimore. Her husband was obliged to join the Con
federate Army about the 1st of October last and became a member of the Nelson Artillery. She has followed the fortunes of her husband since and they were taken prisoners at Island No. 10. Does not know that she has any relatives in this country. Is in delicate health.
[Inclosure No. 2.]
ROCKFORD, July 14, 1862.
Col. JOSEPH H. TUCKER, Commanding Camp Douglas.
DEAR SIR: The undersigned citizens of Rockford would respectfully represent that John Hayes, now a prisoner at Camp Douglas, was somewhat more than two years ago a worthy citizen of Rockford, Ill., where he had resided ten years and who was known and respected as an industrious man with a wife and large family of children. About that time he went to Tennessee with others in quest of work, and while employed in constructing the stone-work of a railroad in the vicinity of Memphis was coerced as he declares into the Confederate service on penalty of death. Mr. Hayes during his absence previous to the period of his constraint was mindful of the necessities of his family, and everything so far as we are able to learn justifies the conclusion that he is a loyal man, a good husband and a worthy citizen of the North. Many of us are well acquainted with him and his family, know him to be a good citizen and do not hesitate to unite in an urgent request that he be released and sent home to his family in Rockford, who require his efforts in their support in the absence of his oldest son who has been absent more than a year doing service as a soldier in the Union Army. If such action is consistent with your duties, by granting this request you will confer a favor on the undersigned and relieve the distress of a worthy family.
Yours, very truly,
DEAR SIR: I have no personal knowledge of the matters set forth in the foregoing papers, but on inquiry am fully satisfied that Mr. Hayes would not voluntarily of his free choice join the enemies of the country and that he ought to be discharged from imprisonment. If you can aid in procuring his discharge it will be an act of humanity and aid his suffering family.
Very truly, your friend,
HEADQUARTERS, Camp Douglas, July 16, 1862. Respectfully referred to Col. W. Hoffman, Third Infantry, commissary-general of prisoners, with the additional remark that from personal examination of the prisoner I am disposed to credit the statements herein made. He also seems an orderly, quiet, well-disposed
JOSEPH H. TUCKER, Colonel Sixty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, Commanding.
Col. JOSEPH H. TUCKER,
[Inclosure No. 3.]
CHICAGO, July 14, 1862.
Sixty-ninth Regt. Illinois Vols., Commanding Camp Douglas. COLONEL: In reply to your communication of the 11th instant I have the honor to inform you that the following funds accrued at Camp Douglas to be applied to the benefit of prisoners of war and U. S. troops: Post funds of prisoners from June 1 to July 1, $369.48; hospital fund of prisoners of war to 1st day of June, $209.95; hospital fund of U. S. troops to 1st of June, $100. Dr. W. W. Winn, late post surgeon, having neglected to sign the hospital returns from 1st to 13th June under which there has accrued about $150 it cannot therefore be used until he makes his return. The returns from 13th to 30th June inclusive have not been received from hospital. I respectfully request that I may be advised of any change made in the rations since entering upon your duties.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Capt., 16th Inft., Act. Asst. Commissary of Subsistence, U. S. Army.
CAMP NEAR CORINTH, MISS., July 16, 1862.
Brig. Gen. P. A. HACKLEMAN.
GENERAL: I have already in the Missouri Republican of 18th June ultimo published an account of the condition and treatment of the Union soldiers captured at Shiloh by the rebels into whose hands they fell. But as Brigadier-General Oglesby, commanding this (Second) division, Army of the Mississippi, requested a written statement through you of the facts connected with the murder of Lieut. W. S. Bliss, of the Second Michigan Battery, and the treatment of the Federal soldiers taken with him, I comply with his request and send you the following, which came under my own personal observation, or as attested by my late fellow-prisoners.
Lieutenant Bliss was murdered on the 1st or 2d day of May. He and other officers and others who had the means had been in the habit of buying cakes and milk at a house near a well whence we brought water and had on the morning of that day left his canteen at this house to be filled in the evening. At about 5 p. m. Lieutenant Bliss and Lieutenant Winslow of the Fifty-eighth Illinois, went to the well for water, under guard of course. Arrived at the well Lieutenant Bliss stepped to the back window of the house in question, distant about ten or twelve paces, to get his milk. Ordered by the guard to come away he replied that he merely wanted to get his milk, at the same moment receiving it from the woman of the house and in return handing her a shinplaster in payment. The guard, standing about six paces from him, repeated the order. Lieutenant Bliss said, "In a minute," and receiving his change stepped back some three feet. At this moment the guard raised his piece and Bliss perceiving the movement exclaimed, "Good God! you will not shoot me, will you?" Saying he "must do his duty" the guard fired, shooting Bliss through the heart, who fell dead without a groan or motion.
The guard although standing almost within reach of Lieutenant Bliss had made no effort to prevent him from going to the window nor could he have supposed he would escape, since all parties were in a yard, nor did
he inform him that he was violating orders, nor had the prisoners been informed that the purchase of milk was prohibited.
That this atrocious and most inhuman murder is not to be charged to the brutality of the individual soldier, although by no means innocent, is proved by the assertion of Capt. D. S. Troy, the highest Confederate officer in Montgomery, made to me that the shooting was "according to orders."
At Tuscaloosa two enlisted men were killed by the guard for looking out of the window of their prison, one of them being shot before any notice was given them prohibiting them the poor privilege of looking at their mother earth. After the first killing a written notice was posted up that the guard were to discharge their pieces at any prisoner seen looking out of a window. Several were shot at but none wounded. At Tuscaloosa the prisoners were confined in close rooms; only a few were allowed to go out for water and to the sinks at a time, and although the diarrhea was prevailing in the prisons to a terrible extent the unhappy victims were obliged to use tubs during the night, which were often not removed until 9 a. m. Alive with vermin such prisons must rapidly develop every form of disease and death claim many a noble mark.
At Montgomery upward of 500 privates and 100 commissioned officers were confined in a cotton shed. Within it were their sinks, many as in the field, open trenches. They were almost wholly without blankets, hundreds without coats, while many had sold their clothing, even to their pants, for food. No clothing of any description was forwarded to them, and their only beds were the hard earth and harder planks, mitigated for a short time by a small supply of damaged hay, soon exhausted and never replenished.
The sick were sent to hospitals in the cities where they had such care as surgeons of our own number could give them, with entirely inadequate supplies of medicines and hospital necessaries. The diarrhea, ague and milder forms of disease at Montgomery were treated by Dr. W. A. Morse, a lieutenant of Twelfth Iowa, who never had less than 150 cases, and was many times for several successive days entirely without medicines. The deaths of prisoners were announced as follows: "Died, a Yankee prisoner," among the deaths of slaves-no name or rank being given. Such were the obituaries of many well-educated officers and privates.
The rations issued at Tuscaloosa and Montgomery, where I was confined, were of the most execrable description. Corn bread made of unsifted, coarsely ground meal, a small slice of wheat bread, and two or three small pieces of meat, often spoiled, and fetid salt beef constituted the ration for a day. Occasionally small allowances of sugar, rice, stock pease and molasses were made, the whole not exceeding half rations. Miserable as was this allowance it was in a few weeks reduced one-half, until no more than a quarter ration was issued. I have often seen men consume at one meal the amount received for three.
It is no wonder that upon such subsistence men became reduced in health and strength until death from starvation stared them in the face. These officers and men who had manfully held their ground at Shiloh until 5 o'clock p. m., and until ordered back, and who had repulsed every attack of the enemy, were obliged to drag out a miserable existence in prisons overrun with vermin under circumstances at which humanity revolts and to which felons are not condemned by civilized nations. But I have given the main facts in the case and have no desire to deepen the picture. They speak their own language; further details are unnecessary.
Of the 2,300 to 2,400 captured on the 6th, 1,600 have either been released by death from the barbarism of traitors, have been paroled or have made their escape.
God grant that the remainder may soon be restored to their friends and homes.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. DORR,
Lieutenant and Quartermaster, Twelfth Iowa Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION,
Camp near Corinth, July 19, 1862.
I inclose for the notice of the commanding generals of the post, district and department the official statement of Lieut. J. B. Dorr, Twelfth Iowa Infantry, in regard to the treatment and punishment of Union soldiers, prisoners of war at Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, by the rebel authorities. I have asked for the communication that it may be officially known, as far as it is possible to make it official, the barbarous and inhuman treatment our soldiers receive as prisoners of war from the rebel army.
Most respectfully forwarded.
R. J. OGLESBY, Brigadier-General, Commanding.
PROVOST-MARSHAL'S OFFICE, Palmyra, July 16, 1862.
General J. M. SCHOFIELD,
Commanding District of Missouri.
SIR: In consequence of Colonel McNeil being in the field and his headquarters in transitu as per movements of a certain outlaw, Jo. C. Porter, it may be some little time before he can communicate to you the facts causing the issue of Orders, No. 34, Division of Northeast Missouri. I will endeavor to give you some of the facts that within my knowledge led to the issue of said order.
Inclosed please find a letter from the Widow Owen, published in the Herald; also the Jesuitical comments of the editor. This letter has caused the murder of at least one Union man, a very estimable citizen named Pratt, of Lewis County, and the letter has been seized as a holy thing by all the traitors in our section. Its appeal for assassinations has done irreparable mischief already-it has continually aided and comforted the opponents of the Government.
The facts in the case of John L. Owen you will perceive by the letter published in the Quincy Whig, also inclosed. Please find inclosed a copy of petition or something of that kind as a mere sample of the feelings of the loyal men of this section (composed of all parties) on the subject. The same feeling pervades Illinois, efforts having been made there to obtain an order from the honorable Secretary of War for its absolute suppression as an establishment. The complaints of its pernicious influence were universal from all directions prior to the issue of Orders, No. 34, and since a general feeling of satisfaction has been expressed.
Trusting that this may answer for the nonce until such time as Colonel McNeil may be able to reply giving all the facts in the case, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WILLIAM R. STRACHAN,