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[82] sentinels outside when they appeared at the windows for the purpose of obtaining a little fresh air. One man, whose comrade in the service, in battle and in captivity, had been so fortunate as to be among those released from further torments, was shot dead as he was waving with his hand a last adieu to his friend; and other instances of equally unprovoked murder are disclosed by the testimony.

The condition of our returned soldiers as regards personal cleanliness, has been filthy almost beyond description. Their clothes have been so dirty and so covered with vermin, that those who received them have been compelled to destroy their clothing and re-clothe them with new and clean raiment. Their bodies and heads have been so infested with vermin that, in some instances, repeated washings have failed to remove them; and those who have received them in charge have been compelled to cut all the hair from their heads, and make applications to destroy the vermin. Some have been received with no clothing but shirts and drawers and a piece of blanket or other outside covering, entirely destitute of coats, hats, shoes or stockings; and the bodies of those better supplied with clothing have been equally dirty and filthy with the others, many who have been sick and in the hospital having had no opportunity to wash their bodies for weeks and months before they were released from captivity.

Your Committee are unable to convey any adequate idea of the sad and deplorable condition of the men they saw in the hospitals they visited; and the testimony they have taken cannot convey to the reader the impressions which your Committee there received. The persons we saw, as we were assured by those in charge of them, have greatly improved since they have been received in the hospitals. Yet they are now dying daily, one of them being in the very throes of death as your Committee stood by his bedside and witnessed the sad spectacle there presented. All those whom your Committee examined stated that they have been thus reduced and emaciated entirely in consequence of the merciless treatment they received while prisoners from their enemies; and the physicians in charge of them, the men best fitted by their profession and experience to express an opinion upon the subject, all say that they have no doubt that the statements of their patients are entirely correct.

It will be observed from the testimony, that all.the witnesses who testify upon that point state that the treatment they received while confined at Columbia, South-Carolina, Dalton, Georgia, and other places, was far more humane than that they received at Richmond, where the authorities of the so-called Confederacy were congregated, and where the power existed, had the inclination not been wanting, to reform those abuses and secure to the prisoners they held some treatment that would bear a public comparison to that accorded by our authorities to the prisoners in our custody. Your Committee, therefore, are constrained to say that they can hardly avoid the conclusion, expressed by so many of our released soldiers, that the inhuman practices herein referred to are the result of a determination on the part of the rebel authorities to reduce our soldiers in their power, by privation of food and clothing, and by exposure, to such a condition that those who may survive shall never recover so as to be able to render any effective service in the field. And your Committee accordingly ask that this report, with the accompanying testimony, be printed with the report and testimony in relation to the massacre of Fort Pillow, the one being, in their opinion, no less than the other, the result of a predetermined policy. As regards the assertions of some of the rebel newspapers, that our prisoners have received at their hands the same treatment that their own soldiers in the field have received, they are evidently but the most glaring and unblushing falsehoods. No one can for a moment be deceived by such statements, who will reflect that our soldiers, who, when taken prisoners, have been stout, healthy men, in the prime and vigor of life, yet have died by hundreds under the treatment they have received, although required to perform no duties of the camp or the march; while the rebel soldiers are able to make long and rapid marches, and to offer a stubborn resistance in the field.

There is one feature connected with this investigation, to which your Committee can refer with pride and satisfaction; and that is the uncomplaining fortitude, the undiminished patriotism exhibited by our brave men under all their privations, even in the hour of death.

Your Committee will close their report by quoting the tribute paid these men by the chaplain of the hospital at Annapolis, who has ministered to so many of them in their last moments, whe has smoothed their passage to the grave by his kindness and attention, and who has performed the last sad offices over their lifeless remains. He says:

There is another thing I would wish to state. All the men, without any exception among the thousands that have come to this hospital, have never in a single instance expressed a regret (notwithstanding the privations and sufferings they have endured) that they entered their country's service. They have been the most loyal, devoted, and earnest men. Even on the last days of their lives they have said that all they hoped for was just to live and enter the ranks again and meet their foes. It is a most glorious record in reference to the devotion of our men to their country. I do not think their patriotism has ever been equalled in the history of the world.

All of which is respectfully submitted.


war Department, Washington City, May 4, 1864.
sir: I have the honor to submit to you a report made to this department by Colonel Hoffman, Commissary General of prisoners, in regard to the condition of Union soldiers who have, until within a few days, been prisoners of war at


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