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[81] with the request of the Secretary of War on the first opportunity. The fifth of May was devoted by the Committee to concluding their labors upon the investigation of the Fort Pillow massacre. On the sixth of May, however, the Committee proceeded to Annapolis and Baltimore, and examined the condition of our returned soldiers, and took the testimony of several of them, together with the testimony of surgeons and other persons in attendance upon the hospitals. That testimony, with the communication of the Secretary of War, and the report of Colonel Hoffman, is herewith transmitted.

The evidence proves, beyond all manner of doubt, a determination on the part of the rebel authorities, deliberately and persistently practised for a long time past, to subject those of our soldiers who have been so unfortunate as to fall in their hands to a system of treatment which has resulted in reducing many of those who have survived and been permitted to return to us to a condition, both physically and mentally, which no language we can use can adequately describe. Though nearly all the patients now in the Naval Academy Hospital at Annapolis, and in the West Hospital in Baltimore, have been under the kindest and most intelligent treatment for about three weeks past, and many of them for a greater length of time, still they present literally the appearance of living skeletons, many of them being nothing but skin and bone; some of them are maimed for life, having been frozen while exposed to the inclemency of the winter season on Belle Isle, being compelled to lie on the bare ground, without tents or blankets, some of them without overcoats or even coats, with but little fire to mitigate the severity of the winds and storms to which they were exposed.

The testimony shows that the general practice of their captors was to rob them, as soon as they were taken prisoners, of all their money, valuables, blankets, and good clothing, for which they received nothing in exchange except, perhaps, some old worn-out rebel clothing hardly better than none at all. Upon their arrival at Richmond they have been confined, without blankets or other covering, in buildings without fire, or upon Belle Isle, with, in many cases, no shelter, and in others with nothing but old discarded army tents, so injured by rents and holes as to present but little barrier to the wind and storms. On several occasions, the witnesses say, they have arisen in the morning from their resting-places upon the bare earth, and found several of their comrades frozen to death during the night, and that many others would have met the same fate had they not walked rapidly back and forth, during the hours which should have been devoted to sleep, for the purpose of retaining sufficient warmth to preserve life.

In respect to the food furnished to our men by the rebel authorities, the testimony proves that the ration of each man was totally insufficient in quantity to preserve the health of a child, even had it been of proper quality, which it was not. It consisted usually, at the most, of two small pieces of corn-bread, made in many instances, as the witnesses state, of corn and cobs ground together, and badly prepared and cooked; of, at times, about two ounces of meat, usually of poor quality. and unfit to be eaten; and occasionally a few black, worm-eaten beans, or something of that kind. Many of our men were compelled to sell to their guards, and others, for what price they could get, such clothing and blankets as they were permitted to receive of that forwarded for their use by our Government, in order to obtain additional food sufficient to sustain life; thus, by endeavoring to avoid one privation, reducing themselves to the same destitute condition in respect to clothing and covering that they were in before they received any from our Government. When they became sick and diseased in consequence of this exposure and privation, and were admitted into the hospitals, their treatment was little, if any, improved as to food, though they doubtless suffered less from exposure to cold than before. Their food still remained insufficient in quantity and altogether unfit in quality. Their diseases and wounds did not receive the treatment which the commonest dictates of humanity would have prompted. One witness, whom your Committee examined, who had lost all the toes of one foot from being frozen while on Belle Isle, states that for days at a time his wounds were not dressed, and that they had not been dressed for four days when he was taken from the hospital and carried on the flag-of-truce boat for Fortress Monroe.

In reference to the condition to which our men were reduced by cold and hunger, your Committee would call the attention to the following extracts from the testimony.

One witness testifies:

I had no blankets until our Government sent us some.

Question. How did you sleep before you received those blankets?

Answer. We used to get together just as close as we could, and sleep spoon-fashion, so that when one turned over we all had to turn over.

Another witness testifies:

Question. Were you hungry all the time?

Answer. Hungry! I could eat any thing in the world that came before us; some of the boys would get boxes from the North with meat of different kinds in them; and, after they had picked the meat off, they would throw the bones away into the spit-boxes, and we would pick the bones out of the spit-boxes and gnaw them over again.

In addition to this insufficient supply of food, clothing, and shelter, our soldiers, while prisoners, have been subjected to the most cruel treatment from those placed over them. They have been abused and shamefully treated on almost every opportunity. Many have been mercilessly shot and killed when they failed to comply with all the demands of their jailers, sometimes for violating rules of which they had not been informed. Crowded in great numbers in buildings, they have been fired at and killed by the

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