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[451] to the treatment of our officers and men by the rebel authorities.

It is impossible for me to give you an account of all the acts of barbarity, inhumanity, and bad faith I have witnessed during my captivity, but I will endeavor to mention such instances as will give you as correct an idea of the true condition of our men as possible.

On the third day of May last, near Rome, Georgia, my command having become so reduced by hard fighting and marching, during the seven days previous, that it was evident to me that we (about one thousand five hundred officers and men) would fall into the hands of the enemy, and, after holding a council of war with my regimental commanders, it was decided to capitulate, and thus secure the best terms possible for the command as a condition of surrender. In accordance with this decision I met the rebel commander, General Forrest, under a flag of truce, when a stipulation was entered into between him and myself, whereby it was agreed that my command should surrender as prisoners of war, on the following conditions, to wit:

1. Each regiment should be permitted to retain its colors.

2. The officers were to retain their side-arms.

3. Both officers and men were to retain their haversacks, knapsacks, and blankets; and all private property of every description was to be respected and retained by the owner.

The above terms were in a measure respected while we remained with General Forrest; but no sooner were we turned over to the rebel authorities than a system of robbing commenced, which soon relieved us of every thing valuable in our possession. The blankets, haversacks, and knapsacks were taken from my men at Atlanta. They were also robbed of nearly all their money, and most of them lost their overcoats at the above-named place. Here, too, the colors and side-arms were taken from us. My men were turned into an inclosure without shelter of any kind, destitute of blankets and overcoats, as I have before stated, and kept under guard for four days, during which time a most disagreeable cold storm prevailed; after which they were sent forward to Richmond and soon exchanged.

My officers were sent to Richmond after a stay of about ten days in Atlanta. On our arrival at the rebel capital, we were all searched separately, and all moneys found in our possession were taken from us. For a few days thereafter we were allowed to draw small sums of our money for the purpose of purchasing food. But this privilege was soon denied us.

I then asked and obtained permission from the rebel authorities for the officers to send home for money, clothing, and provisions. The clothing and provisions were generally delivered to the parties ordering them, providing the package or box containing them was not broken open and rifled of its contents before it reached its destination, which was frequently the case; but in no case within my knowledge has the money been delivered to the owner. The retention of this money, after expressly agreeing to deliver it, is an act of perfidy that beggars description.

I have repeatedly called the attention of the rebel authorities to the terms of my surrender, and demanded that its provisions be complied with; but General Winder, commandant of the prisoners, took from me the stipulations signed by General Forrest, which he still retains, and refuses to be governed by its provisions. My officers, together with something near one thousand other United States officers, are confined in a large warehouse building, with an average space of about twenty-five square feet to each man. This includes all room for washing, cooking, eating, sleeping, and exercising. They have no bunks, chairs, or seats of any kind furnished them, consequently they both sit and sleep on the floor. The windows of the building were entirely open until about the middle of December last, when pieces of canvas were furnished for the purpose of closing them to keep the cold out; but, as this would leave us in the dark, we were compelled to leave a portion of them open and endure the cold.

Many of the officers were entirely destitute of blankets until our Government sent a quantity to us in the fore part of the winter. The supply of blankets is now exhausted, and officers who have been captured during the last six weeks have none furnished them.

The rations furnished both officers and men by the rebels consist of about one pound of corn bread, made from unbolted meal, and one fourth of a pound of poor fresh meat per day. The meat has been issued to the prisoners but about half the time since the first of December last. In addition to the rations of bread and meat, as above stated, the prisoners draw about two quarts of rice to one hundred men. There is a sufficient quantity of salt furnished, and a very small quantity of vinegar. I will here remark that in a few instances, say six or eight times at most, a small quantity of sweet potatoes has been issued instead of the rations of meat.

The above is the sum total of the rations issued to our officers and men now prisoners of war.

The condition of our unfortunate enlisted men, now in the hands of the enemy, is much worse than that of the officers. From early in May last, when I arrived in Richmond, to about the first of December, all the enlisted men were taken to what is called Belle Island, and turned into an inclosure, like so many cattle in a slaughter-pen. Very few of them had tents, or shelter of any kind, and the few tents furnished were so poor and leaky as to render them but little better than none.

All the prisoners are taken to Libby when they first arrive in Richmond, for the purpose of counting them and enrolling their names; consequently I had a fair chance to see their condition when they arrived. Fully one half of the prisoners taken since May last were robbed by their captors of their shoes, and nearly all were robbed of their overcoats, blankets, and haversacks.

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