Evidence relating to United States stations for rebel prisoners                    

Letter from Quartermaster-General M. C. Meigs, United States Army.


WASHINGTON, D. C., July 6th, 1864

Dr. ELLESLIE WALLACE, Philadelphia.

            SIR,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 20th ult., in which, in behalf of a Committee of the United States Sanitary Commission, you make inquiry in relation to the condition and treatment of rebel prisoners of war in our hands.

            In reply, you are respectfully informed that such prisoners are treated with all the consideration and kindness that might be expected of a humane and Christian people. The rations allowed to them are ample and of good quality. The reduction recently made in the prisoner's ration was for the purpose of bringing it nearer to what the rebel authorities profess to allow their soldiers, and no complaint has been heard of its insufficiency.

            Suitable provision has been made by the Government for supplying the prisoners with all necessary clothing and blankets; and at each depot there is a sutler, authorized to sell to them, at reasonable rates, certain prescribed articles of comfort and convenience, such as our soldiers desire to purchase.

            Fuel is provided by the army regulations, and is liberally furnished.

            Shelter is not denied to any "during the inclement and cold season," and for those who require them, comfortable hospital accommodations, and skilful medical and surgical attention are provided.

            The Commissary-General of Prisoners in-forms me that he has heard of no order to shoot prisoners for being at the windows or near them, and he does not believe that orders of that character have any where been given. He has heard of no prisoners being shot under such circumstances.

            General Butler did, in the early part of this year, offer to exchange prisoners, grade for grade, and man for man, of those at Point Lookout, and two other places, but the proposition was not acceded to by the rebel authorities.

            Your inquiries are thus substantially answered.

            I enclose copies of the orders of the Commissary-General of Prisoners, regulating the conduct and treatment of prisoners of war, and the rations they now receive.

I am, very respectfully,

    Your obedient servant,

M. C. MEIGS,