In the official "Report on the Treatment of Prisoners of War" in the South, are printed several reports of Confederate surgeons and inspectors to the Richmond authorities, on the condition of Union prisoners at Andersonville. It is impossible, on account of the horrible nature of the details, to quote generally from them. The following, which is the report of J. Crews Pelot, Assistant Surgeon, C. S. A.. for Sept. 5, 1864, inasmuch as it does not refer to the appearance and sufferings of the prisoners and to the worst features of their surroundings, may properly be quoted without omissions. It gives an idea of the destitution in the hospital, where it would be supposed special efforts would have been made to alleviate hunger and distress:
SIR: As officer of the day, for the past twenty-four hours, I have inspected the hospital, and found it in as good condition as the nature of the circumstances will allow. A majority of the bunks are still unsupplied with bedding, while in a portion of the division the tents are entirely destitute of either bunks, bedding, or straw, the patients being compelled to lie upon the bare ground. I would earnestly call attention to the article of diet. The corn-bread received from the bakery, being made up with-out sifting, is wholly unfit for the use of the sick; and often (in the last twenty-four hours) upon examination, the inner portion is found to be perfectly raw. The meat (beef) received by the patients does not amount to over two ounces a day, and for the past three or four days no flour has been issued. The corn-bread cannot be eaten by many, for to do so would be to increase the diseases of the bowels, from which a large majority are suffering, and it is therefore thrown away. All their rations received byway of sustenance is two ounces of boiled beef and half pint of rice soup per day. Under these circumstances, all the skill that can be brought to bear upon their cases by the medical officer will avail nothing. Another point to which I feel it my duty to call your attention is the deficiency of medicines. We have but little more than indigenous barks and roots with which to treat the numerous forms of disease to which our attention is daily called. For the treatment of wounds, ulcers, etc., we have literally nothing except water. Our wardsósome of themówere filled with gangrene, and we are compelled to fold our arms and look quietly upon its ravages, not even having stimulants to support the system under its depressing influences, this article being so limited in supply that it can only be issued for cases under the knife. I would respectfully call your attention to the above facts, in the hope that something may be done to alleviate the sufferings of the sick.
In the above mentioned volume maybe found a "return" "for the month of August, 1864," signed Henry Wirz, which shows that on August 1 the prisoners numbered 31,678, of whom 1693 were in hospital. During the month 2993 died; 23 were sent to other places, 21 were exchanged; 30 escaped, 4 of whom were recaptured; but the depletion from death and other causes was more than made good by the receipt of 3078 new prisoners, so that on August 31 there were 31,693 in the prison, 2220 of whom were in hospital. Wirz says; "Perhaps 25 more (prisoners) escaped during the month, but were taken up by the dogs, before the daily return was made up, and for that reason they are not on the list of the escaped nor recaptured."
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