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[452] At least one third of them had been compelled to trade their pants and blouses for mere rags that would scarcely hide their nakedness. Very many of them were entirely bareheaded, and not a few, as late as the middle of December, were brought in who had nothing on but a pair of old ragged pants and a shirt, being bareheaded, barefooted, and without a blouse, overcoat, or blanket.

I have seen hundreds of our men taken to the hospitals thus clad, and in a dying condition. I have frequently visited the hospital, and have conversed with large numbers of dying men, brought there from the Island, who assured me that they had been compelled to lie out in the open air, without any medical attendance, though for several days they had been unable to walk. Though destitute of any thing like quarters, and nearly naked during the cold, stormy, and chilly fall season, the first and chief complaint of all I saw and talked with was on account of an insufficiency of food. I will here remark that in no instance have the rebel authorities furnished clothing or blankets to our men. During the winter large numbers of our men were frozen. I heard one of the rebel surgeons in charge say that there were over twenty of our men who would have to suffer amputation from the effects of the frost. This was before the coldest weather had commenced.

Some time in the fore part of December a portion of our men were removed from the Island to some large buildings, where they were more comfortably quartered, but there has been no time since May last but what more or less men have been kept on the Island, in the open air, and without blankets or overcoats. It is a common thing for the rebels to keep our men for several days without food. This was particularly the case with a portion of the Gettysburgh prioners. Some went as long as six days without food, and were compelled to march during the time. The officers captured at Chickamauga assure me that they and their men were robbed of every thing. Many of them lost their coats, hats, and boots as soon as captured, and then were nearly starved and frozen.

I trust you will pardon me for the tedious length of this communication. If you will bear with me, I will only call your attention to a few of the outrages practised on our officers and men in the prison discipline. Under the building known as Libby Prison is a large cellar, in which they have several cells partitioned off. Several of them are without any light, but some have windows below the pavement. These cells are used for the purpose of confining securely such of the prisoners as the authorities may fear will attempt to escape, as well as such who may chance to offend some one of the many petty officials and prison attaches.

Some of our unfortunate men are continually confined in these filthy holes on one pretext or another. It is the uniform practice to feed any and all persons sent to these cells on bread and water only. Lieutenant Reed, of the Third Ohio volunteers, was thrown into one of these cells and kept there for forty-eight hours, without any thing to eat or drink during the time. He was not allowed any blankets nor his overcoat. The weather was very damp and cold, and he, at that time, was suffering from a most severe wound in the hip.

On the night of the nineteenth of December I received a communication, purporting to come from one in authority, stating that for one hundred dollars in greenbacks, and two silver watches, myself and friend would be permitted to pass the guard. Some days previous to this, one of my officers succeeded in making his escape in this way, and although I was not without apprehension that it was a trap, nevertheless I resolved to try the experiment. Accordingly, Captain B. C. G. Reed, of the Third Ohio, and myself, went to the designated place at the appointed hour, where we were assured it was all right. We complied with the terms and passed out, but no sooner were we outside the guard lines, than Lieutenant La Touche, the Adjutant of the prison, and seven men, sprang out from a concealed place and commenced firing upon us before halting us.

We were unarmed, and could do nothing but surrender. We were taken back to the prison, put in irons, and thrown into one of these filthy holes called cells, where we were kept for three weeks on bread and water. The weather was very cold during the time, and we nearly perished. There was a large amount of filth in the cell which I could not induce them to remove, nor could I get them to permit me to remove it. I asked for paper, pen, and ink, to write to the rebel authorities. I also asked for a box to sit on, of which there was a large number in the cells. But every thing was denied me. At the time I was taken to the cell, there were six of our men confined in one of these cells for attempting to escape. They had been there for six days without blankets, and two of them were very sick. They were released at the end of seven days of their confinement.

I might continue to enumerate instances of a similar character, but these will answer to give you an idea of what is daily taking place. I cannot describe to you the loathsome filthiness of these cells. They are infested with an innumerable number of rats and mice, and they have no mark of having been cleaned since they were built. It is needless for me to say that no man can survive a long confinement in a place of this kind; and although I am acquainted with several persons who have been confined there, I do not know one who can now be called a well man.

As I have before remarked, it is impossible for me to enumerate in this communication but a few of the many acts of barbarity which have come under my notice, though I have endeavored to give you a sample of such as will enable you to form a correct conclusion relative to the treatment our unfortunate men are receiving at the hands of the inhuman people with whom we are now at war. They seem lost to every principle

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