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[Inclosure No. 1.)
Chicago, II., July 17, 1862. Col. JOSEPH H. TUCKER,
Commanding Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill. COLONEL: I will thank you to send to this office as soon as convenient a certified copy of the order of Colonel Hoffman for transportation of rebel officers from this city to Sandusky, Ohio. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. POTTER, Captain and Assistant Quartermaster, U. 8. Army.
HEADQUARTERS, Camp Douglas, July 19, 1862. Respectfully referred to Col. W. Hoffman, Third U.S. Infantry, commissary-general of prisoners, with the request that he will instruct me as to whether I shall furnish copies of his orders or correspondence with me.
JOSEPH H. TUCKER,
Colonel, Commanding. P. S.-I have not been to Chicago for some days and have not seen Captain Potter and know nothing of this request except what is contained in this communication.
(Inclosuro No. 2.]
CAMP DOUGLAS, July 15, 1862. Col. J. H. TUCKER, Commanding.
SIR: In obedience to your orders I submit a brief statement of the condition of the hospitals and the sanitary state of the camp generally. There are seventy-five prisoners in the camp [hospital] and fifty-seven C. S. soldiers. The diseases of the former are principally of the lungs and bowels, assuming a low form, and are complicated by a tendency to scurvy. The condition of the hospital generally is good, the patients cleanly and well cared for, ventilation good and the medical service intelligent and ably performed by the gentlemen with whom you have proposed to enter into contracts for that purpose. The frequent complaint that has reached your ears of neglect has arisen from the fact that four surgeons, the number you authorized, is not sufficient for the work. Five can by extraordinary exertion accomplish it, but without that number it cannot be done. The men sick among our troops are merely affected by slight colds and bowel disturbances, readily yielding to treatment. The service in barracks where attention to the slightly sick and the exercise of judicial supervision over the sanitary condition of the men is as important almost as the service at the hospital is performed by four assistant surgeons, aided occasionally by such additional services as we can secure from an occasional rebel surgeon who was taken prisoner in the ranks. In these quarters are between 200 and 300 men, and the number has been I find steadily increasing, who manifest a strong tendency to scurvy, which will eventually if not controlled give a fatal character to all forms of disease whatever their original character.
It may be proper to say here that, with a full sense of the importance of the subject and the responsibility devolving upon me I am instituting all proper measures to antagonize this great evil. The present
system of sinks, slop barrels and ditches through the camp is fraught with imminent danger to health. This system in my opinion admits of no discussion or suggestion of modification or improvement save the free introduction of water into the grounds and a perfect system of drainage. Very respectfully,
OFFICE OF PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL,
Wheeling, Va., July 21, 1862. Col. WILLIAM HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners.
Sir: As there is a probability of my removal against which Gov. error Peirpoint will strongly protest I take the liberty to mention the matter to you with the request that if you think proper to do so I should like to have you apply to the Secretary of War to assign me to special duty under you, with the control of prison posts in West Virginia. I have no personal feeling to gratify in the matter. Governor Peirpoint has himself applied directly to Secretary Stanton to appoint me as chief provost-marshal of West Virginia, and this in view of the changes constantly made in limits of departments and commanders thereof in this section of the country. The policy pursued by me seems to meet the general approval of loyalists here and they have voluntarily expressed the desire that I should be retained. Without wishing to press the matter too much upon your attention I should say that an early interference on your part if deemed advisable by you would be most likely effectual. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOSEPH DARR, JR., Major and Provost-Marshal-General.
CAMP BUTLER, ILL., July 21, 1862. Col. WILLIAM HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General Prisoners of War, Detroit, Mich. COLONEL: I hereby inclose my general sanitary report for the month of June, 1862, of this camp for your information. After you have done with (it) please forward it to the Surgeon General U.S. Army, as it is an accompaniment of my monthly or quarterly report of sick and wounded. I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. COOPER MCKEE, Assistant Surgeon. U. S. Army.,
CAMP BUTLER, ILL., July 21, 1862. Col. WILLIAM HOFFMAN,
Commissary.General of Prisoners of War. COLONEL: Camp Butler, Ill., is situated on the Great Western Rail. road, six miles from the town of Springfield. The camp is established ou a rather bigh and rolling piece of ground, surrounded by a high board fence, inclosing some fifteen acres of land. It was originally intended as a camp of instruction for volunteers. The barracks were built for two regiments. They are mere shells, single boards forming
the sides and roofs; the sides very low, about eight feet in height; the roofs covered with tarred paper. Erected by contract they afford protection neither from storms nor heat. During this month the thermometer has been steady at 1020 for days in my own room. The effect of such intense and continued heat on the sick and well in these miserably constructed barracks has been prostrating in the extreme. The prisoners of war, over 2,000 in number, occupy the rows of barracks on the right; in front of these there are two rows of tents on a main street also occupied by them. Four of the barracks in this row are used as hospitals, part of another as a drug store. A line of sentinels surrounds all, leaving ample room for the prisoners to exercise, but they are generally indifferent to this and to their personal cleanliness. Two other hospitals outside of these lines are now allotted to convalescents on account of the shade. On my arrival here in May I found the hospitals, six in number, in a miserable sanitary condition. No one had taken the authority or trouble to better this. The floors were filthy; deodorizing agents were not thought of; slops and filth were thrown indiscriminately around. The sick were crowded in wooden bunks, some on the floor, many without blankets, and nearly all without straw, either new or old. No attention was paid to ventilation or drainage. The stench of the wards was horrid and sickening. Food was abundant but badly prepared; medicines were deficient. The stewards were ignorant and negligent of their business, the nurses and cooks insubordinate and inattentive to the wants of their sick companions. The condition of the prisoners, many of whom had been broken down in service prior to their capture, opened a favorable and unlimited field for the development of low types of disease, and accordingly typhus and typhoid fevers, pneumonia, erysipelas, &c., raged with violence and great fatality.
To carry out my plans of improvement required much explanation and persuasion. I was successful in what I undertook for the comfort of these unfortunate sick. Floors were scrubbed, lime applied freely on the walls and floors, ventilation and drainage attended to. A fever hospital (making seven) was established; another hospital was used for pneumonia, another for erysipelas. The surgeons (prisoners of war) were assigned to their own hospitals, stewards and nurses were encouraged to emulate each other in the cleanliness of their wards, all with the happiest effects. Cooks were supplied with necessary kitchen furniture, barrels were procured for slops, water was furnished in abundance for the sick, wards were limited to the number of thirty patients.The hospital fund procured many necessary articles, such as ice. The medical purveyor at Chicago sent me a full supply according to the standard supply table for six months. A drug store, under an excellent druggist, was established. A quantity sufficient for a change of shirts, drawers and sheets was obtained from the quartermaster, fresh straw and bed-sacks were also secured. Under these changes the difference in the mortality of my hospitals was remarkable and exceedingly gratifying. During the month of May 123 died, whilst in June only 30 died.
Of twenty-four cases of camp fevers (typhus) four died; of fourteen cases of typhoid, two died; of thirty-three cases of common, continued fever, two died. In two cases I was unable to diagnose whether they were typhus or typhoid until after a post-mortem examination. The former disease was sudden in its attacks, in two cases the patients died on the third day. Ammonia, tonics and stimulants had to be used in large quantities. One case (I thought of fatal relapse) was saved by blistering the whole length of the spine with ammonia and mustard.
Typhoid or enteric fever was treated much in the same way, with the addition of oil of turpentine, of which I cannot speak too highly. Quinia had to be employed freely among these men in nearly all diseases. They generally come from miasmatic districts. I can speak with the highest satisfaction of the use of muriated tincture of iron in the treatment of erysipelas, alternated with quinia it controlled the disease in all its forms. I found local applications, as of iodine and nitrate of silver, unsatisfactory in their results, not controlling the spread of the disease. I abandoned their use and applied emulsion of flaxseed, saving pain and trouble to my patients. The two fatal cases reported were complicated with other diseases. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. COOPER MCKEE, Assistant Surgeon, U. S. Army.
SPRINGFIELD, ILL., July 21, 1862. Col. WILLIAM HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners, Detroit, Mich. COLONEL: Your communication of the 19th instant, with monthly returns for June returned, was received to-day. I hasten to reply. I had already explained to the commanding officer the manner this return should be made out and the explanations you required. I have again repeated those instructions, shown him your letter and caused lists of those who have died and who have escaped to be made out. These lists I believe to be correct. An accurate account of the deaths has been kept by the surgeon in charge of the hospitals. The list of prisoners who escaped may not be so correct, for during the month of June no roll-call was made and the reports of the prisoners in charge of squads was not always to be relied upon. This is the first return made out. I therefore in the alterations since last return have only included the number of those who have died and those who have been known to have escaped during the month. You must remember that during the greater part of this month the present commanding officer was not in charge and no reliable data have been obtained of deaths, escapes, &c., previous to his taking command. Undoubtedly unknown prisoners have escaped from here. No roll came with them. A correct roll has never been obtained. Much time and labor has been expended in endeavoring to make out one, but the proper measures have never been resorted to in order to insure its correctness. I believe that prisoners have been aided in escaping from here by disloyal persons living in the vicinity, rebel sympathizers who only act covertly. I believe that previous to your instructions regarding visitors being enforced that prisoners were aided to escape by persons from Tennessee and Kentucky visiting their friends and relatives confined in the camp. I have no reliable testimony of these facts, but such is the opinion of Col. P. Morrison, Major Fonda and others connected with the camp. During the month of June affairs here were in a state of complicated confusion and it has required much time and unremitted exertion on my part to unravel them. I have used every endeavor to have your instructions carried out and with as much success as the material at hand would admit of. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. FREEDLEY,
Captain, Third Infantry.
WASHINGTON, July 22, 1862. Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
SIR: By the inclosed letters it appears some of the Iowa troops taken prisoners at Shiloh are at Benton Barracks. It is stated in one of the letters they are unpaid and without clothes. I hope this matter has been attended to ere this, but if it has not I earnestly ask that arrangeinents may be made at once for their relief. It appears from the letter of McMaken that the officers in command and the paroled prisoners do not understand alike the duties of the prisoners in their present situation, and that this misunderstanding has led and is likely to lead to very unpleasant results. I do not know which is right, but it is very desirable that a conflict such as is shown to exist should be avoided. Will you be kind enough to make some order in the matter and send me a copy? If the boys are in the wrong I will use my best exertions to set them right. I am well satisfied the best way is to exchange them, and as there are a large number of rebel prisoners at Chicago and elsewhere I do not see why it cannot be done. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAMUEL J. KIRKWOOD.
(Inclosure No. 1.) COLUMBUS CITY, LOUISA COUNTY, IOWA, July 16, 1862. Hon. Mr. KIRKWOOD.
DEAR SIR: Please pardon the liberty I now take in addressing you with reference to a matter in which no one can feel a deeper interest than yourself. But to the point. I have been in regular correspondence with a member of Company C, Eighth Regiment Iowa Volunteers, ever since the mustering of that company into the service. Many of that regiment you are aware were taken prisoners at Shiloh with no other clothing than their fatigue suit. You no doubt are as well aware of their suffering ever since that period as any one. They are now at Benton Barracks in a destitute condition, without a change of clothing, being compelled to wash and dry one piece at a time, and exposed to all the privations, inconvenience, &c., incident to disorganized regi. ments or companies.
Now, dear Governor, is there no way by which these boys of the noble Eighth Iowa, who stood so nobly on that ever memorable and dreadful Sabbath at Pittsburg Landing from 9 a. m. until past 5 p. m., and though charged upon five times never faltered, standing nobly in the name of Iowa by the flag of this country, while death and disorder reigned and reveled all around, yet still standing like the noble Romans ready to die, but never for a moment thinking of turning their backs upon a foe (I am proud to kuow that Iowans never do turn their backs to a foe), while other regiments were being disorganized and fleeing in confusion and insubordination, yet still like the everlasting rocks they stood firm, the noble boys of Iowa, until both right and left flanks gave way and let the enemy around them in overwhelming numbers, yielding only when they could resist no longer.
Now in the name of that incomparable conduct, the suffering of that raining and hailing night-wet, cold and hungry, and their future suffering as prisoners among barbarians—can we do anything for them? Can you by any effort secure their immediate back pay? The boys are penniless. If they cannot be paid off or in part immediately can you secure permission for them to return for the time being to their friends?
17 R R-SERIES II, VOL IV