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Question. Have you made many post-mortem mined) that the best of care and medical treatexaminations here?
ment, and all the sanitary and hygeian measures swer. We have made quite a number of that we can introduce appear to be useless. Their them. We make them whenever we have an whole assimilative functions appear to be imopportunity; whenever bodies are not called for paired. Medicines and food appear, in many or are not likely to be taken away.
cases, to have no effect upon them. We have Question. Are you enabled, from these post made post-mortem examinations repeatedly of mortem examinations, to determine whether or cases here, and on all occasions we find the sys. not these prisoners have had sufficient quantities tem very much reduced, and in many cases the of proper food ?
muscles almost entirely gone – reduced to nothAnswer. Not from that. Those examinations ing literally but skin and bone; the blood vitimerely indicate the condition in which the pris- ated and depraved, and an anemic condition oners are returned to us.
of the entire system apparent. The fact that Question. From all the indications given by the in many cases of post-mortems we had discov. appearance of these men, are you satisfied that ered no organic disease, justifies us in the contheir statements, that they have not had suffi- clusion that the fatal result is owing principally, cient food, both in quantity and quality, are if not entirely, to a deprivation of food and other true ?
articles necessary to support life, and to improAnswer. These statements have been repeated per exposure. On all occasions when arriving to me very often, and from their condition I be- here, these men have been found in the most lieve their statement to be true.
filthy condition, it being almost impossible, in Question. How many paroled prisoners were many cases, to clean them by repeated washings. brought here by the last boat ?
The functions of the skin are entirely impaired, Answer. Three hundred and sixty-five, I think. and in many cases they are incrusted with dirt,
Question. In your opinion, how many of these owing, as they say, to being compelled to lie on men will recover ?
the sand at Belle Island; and the normal funcAnswer. Judging from their present condition, tion of the skin has not been recovered until I think that at least one hundred of them will the cuticle has been entirely thrown off. Their die.
bodies are covered with vermin, so that it has Question. What, in your opinion, will be the been found necessary to throw away all the primary cause of the death of these men ? clothing which they had on when they arrived
Answer. Exposure and want of proper food here, and provide them entirely with new clothwhile prisoners.
ing. Their hair has been filled with vermin, so
that we have been obliged to cut their hair all Assistant Surgeon William S. Ely, sworn and off, and make applications to kill the vermin in examined.
their heads. Many of them state that they have By Mr. Harding :
had no opportunity to wash their bodies for six Question. What is your position in the serv- or eight months, and have not done so. ice?
Question. What have been their statements to Answer. Assistant Surgeon of the United you in their conversation with you ? States volunteers and executive officer of hos- Answer. Their reply almost invariably has pital Division Number One, or Naval Academy been, that their condition is the result solely of hospital.
ill-treatment and starvation; that their rations Question. Please state the sanitary condition have consisted of corn-bread and cobs ground and appearance, etc., of the paroled prisoners re- with corn, of a few beans at times, and now and ceived here, together with their declarations as then a little piece of poor meat. Occasionally to the cause of their sickness, and your opinion as one is heard to say, that in his opinion the rebels to the truth of their statements ?
are unable to treat them in any better manner; Answer. I have been on duty in this hospital that they have been treated as well as possible; since October third, 1863. Since that time I and I have found several who stated that their have been present on the arrival of the steamer physicians were kind to them and did all they New-York on five or six different occasions, when could, but complained of want of medicines. bringing altogether some three or four thousand Question. Is it your conclusion, as a physician, paroled prisoners. I have assisted in unloading that the statements of these paroled prisoners, in these prisoners from the boat, and assigning them regard to the treatment they have received, are to quarters in the hospital. I have found them correct, and that such treatment would produce generally very much reduced physically, and de- such conditions of health as you witness among pressed mentally, the direct result, as I think, them upon their arrival here? of the ill-treatment which they have received Answer. Yes, sir; and that in many cases from the hands of their enemies—whether inten- their statements fall short of the truth, as evinced tional or not I cannot say. I have frequently by the results shown in their physical appearseen on the boat bodies of those who have died ance; and these men are in such a condition that while being brought here, and I have frequently even if they recover, we consider them almost known them to die while being conveyed from entirely unfitted for further active field servicethe boat to the hospital ward. Their condition almost as much so, we frequently say, as if they is such (their whole constitution heing under-I had been shot on the field.
Miss Abbie J. Howe, sworn and examined. have told me that when one of them was sitting By Mr. Gooch:
down, and was told to get up, and was not movQuestion. From what State are you, and what ing quickly in consequence of his sickness, he position do you occupy in this hospital ?
was wounded by the rebels in charge. They Answer. I am from Massachusetts, and am have often told me that they have been kicked here acting as nurse.
and knocked about when unable to move quickQuestion. How long have you been here ? ly. I could give a great many instances of ill
Answer. Since the fifteenth of September, treatment and hardships which have been stated 1863.
to me, but it would take a great deal of time to Question. Have you had charge of the sick tell them. and paroled prisoners who have come here during that time?
Rev. H. C. Henries, sworn and examined. Answer. Yes, sir; some of them.
By Mr. Odell: Question. How many of them have you had Question. What is your position here? charge of, should you think?
Answer. Chaplain of the hospital. Answer. I should think I have had charge of Question. How long have you been here? at least two hundred and fifty who have come Answer. I have been on duty since December under my own charge.
seventh, 1861. Question. Can you describe to us the general Question. You are familiar with the facts con. condition of those men ?
nected with the condition of paroled prisoners Answer. Almost all of them have had this arriving here from the South ? dreadful cough. I do not think I ever heard the Answer. Yes, sir. like before; and they have had chronic diarrhea, Question. Will you state generally what was very persistent indeed. Many of them have a their condition ? great craving for things which they ought not to Answer. I think it would be impossible for me have. One patient who came in here had the to give any adequate description, for I think all scurvy, and he said, “I can eat any thing that a language fails to fully express their real condition dog can eat. Oh! do give me something to eat;" as they land here. Their appearance is haggard and in their delirium they are crying for “bread, in the extreme; ragged, destitute even of shoes, bread," and “mother, mother. One of them and very frequently without pants or blouses, or called out for more James River water to drink." any covering except their drawers and shirts, and
Question. What has been their general com- perhaps a half a blanket, or something like that; plaint in regard to their treatment while prison- sometimes without hats, and in the most filthy ers?
condition that it is possible to conceive of either Answer. Their chief complaint has been want beast or man being reduced to in any circumof food and great exposure. Many of them who stances; unable to give either their names, their had clothes sént them by friends or our Govern- residence, regiments, or any facts, in consequence ment, were obliged to sell every thing until they of their mental depression, so that I believe the were left as destitute as at first, in order to get surgeons have found it quite impossible somemore food. I have seen some of their rations, times to ascertain their relation to the army. and I would myself rather eat what I have seen Their statements agree almost universally in regiven to cattle, than to eat such food as their gard to their treatment at the hands of the rebels. specimens brought here. One man had the ty. There have been a very few exceptions, indeed, phoid fever, but was in such haste to get away of those who have stated that perhaps their fare from the hospital in Richmond in order to get was as good as, under the circumstances, the home, that he would not remain there. He had rebels were able to give them ; but the almost the ravenous appetite which men with typhus universal testimony of these men has been, that fever have; and other men told me that they they were purposely deprived of the comforts gave him their rations which they could not eat and medical care which could have been afforded themselves. This produced a terrible diarrhea, them, in order to render them useless to the army and he lived but a few days after he arrived in the future. That has been the impression here.
| which a great many of them have labored under. Question. What has been the physical condi- They have given their testimony in regard to tion of these, emaciated or otherwise ?
their condition on Belle Isle. There were three Answer. Just skin and bone. I have never in one room here not long since, who told me imagined any thing before like it.
that some eight of their comrades died during Question. Have their statements, in relation to one or two days, and their bodies were thrown their exposure and deprivation of food, corre- out on the banks that inclosed the ground and sponded entirely with each other?
| left there for eight days unburied, and they were Answer. Yes, sir, entirely so, except those refused the privilege of burying their comrades, who were able, by work, to get extra rations; until the hogs and the dogs had well-nigh eaten and those extra rations were not any thing like up their bodies. Yesterday, one man told me what our men have here, but it gave them as that he was so starved, and his hunger had bemuch and as good as their guards had; and they come so intolerable, that his eyes appeared to have not only been treated in this way, but they swim in his head, and at times to be almost lost have been ill-used in almost every way. Theyl to all consciousness. Others have stated that
they have offered to buy dogs at any price for By Mr. Odell : food, of those who came in there; and one actu-l Question. You make these statements from the ally said that when a man came in there with a testimony of prisoners received here? dog, and went out without the dog noticing it, Answer. Yes, sir; from testimony that I have they caught him and dressed him and roasted the most perfect confidence in. Men have stated him over the fire, over a gas-light, as best they these things to me in the very last hours of their could, and then ate it; and, as he expressed it, “it lives. was a precious mite to them.” Their testimony By the Chairman: in regard to the cruelty of the guards and others Question. Were they conscious of their condiset over them is to the effect that in one instance tion at the time they made their statements ? two comrades in the army together, who were Answer. Yes, sir; I think they were perfectly taken prisoners together, and remained in the conscious; yet there is one thing which is very prison together, were separated when the prison- remarkable, that is, these men retain their hope ers were exchanged. One was returned here and of life up to the hour of dying. They do not give the other left. The one who was left went to up. There is another thing I would wish to the window and waved his hand in adieu to his state: all the men, without any exception, among comrade, and the guard deliberately shot him the thousands that have come to this hospital, through the temple, and he fell dead. I mention- have never, in a single instance, expressed a reed this fact to others of our prisoners here in the gret (notwithstanding the privations and sufferhospital, and they said that they knew it to ings that they have endured) that they entered be so. Some of them were there at the time the their country's service. They have been the man was shot.
most loyal, devoted, and carnest men. Even Question. Do you keep any record of the on the last days of their lives they have said that deaths here?
all they hoped for was just to live and enter the Answer. I have not kept a record. I have the ranks again and meet their foes. It is a most official notice of the deaths; but inasmuch as glorious record in reference to the devotion of the records are kept at the office, and we have our men to their country. I do not think their had so many other duties crowding upon us-so patriotism has ever been equalled in the history many deaths here—it has been almost impossible of the world. for us to keep any record. I think it is impossi- The Committee then proceeded, by steamer, ble for any description to exaggerate the condi- from Annapolis to Baltimore, and visited the tion of those men. The condition of those here West Hospital, and saw the patients there. Az now is not so bad, as a class, as some we have re- they presented the same reduced and debilitated ceived heretofore.
appearance as those they had already seen at AnBy the Chairman :
napolis, and in conversation gave the same acQuestion. Has the treatment of our prisoners count of their treatment at the hands of the latterly been worse than before, from their testi- rebels, the Committee concluded their examinamony ?
tion by taking merely the testimony of the surAnswer. I think there has been no very ma- geon and chaplain of the hospital. terial change of late. I think it has grown worse from the very first; but for a year past, I
WEST HOSPITAL, BALTIMORE, MD., May 6, 1864, should judge it could not be made any worse. Dr. William G. Knowles, sworn and examined. .
Question. Just the same thing we now see By the Chairman : here?
Question. Will you state whether you are in Answer. Yes, sir. I would give just another the employment of the Government, and if so, fact in regard to the statements made here by in what capacity ? large numbers of our returned prisoners. On Answer. I am, and have been for nearly three Belle Isle, their privies were down from the main years a contract physician in the West Hospital, camp. From six o'clock in the morning until six Baltimore. o'clock in the evening they were permitted to go Question. Have you received any of the reto these sinks or privies, but from six at night turned Union prisoners, from Richmond, in your until six in the morning they were refused the hospital? privilege of going there, and consequently, so Answer. We have received those we have here many suffering with diarrhea, their filth was de- now; no others. posited all through their camp. The wells from Question. How many have you received ? which they drew their water were sunk in the Answer. We have received one hundred and sand around through their camp, and you can five. judge what the effect of that has been. Some of Question. When did you receive them ? these prisoners, soon after they were put on Belle Answer. Two weeks ago last Tuesday. On Isle, not knowing the regulations there, and suf- the nineteenth of April. fering from chronic diarrhea, when making the Question. Will you state the condition those attempt to go down to these privies after six prisoners were in when they were received here? o'clock at night, were shot down in cold blood Answer. They were all very emaciated men, by the guards, without any warning whatever. as you have seen here to-day, only more so than Several such instances have been stated to me they appear to be now. They were very emaciby parties who have arrived here.
Iated and feeble, suffering chiefly from diarrhoea,
many of them having, in connection with that, Question. Will the constitutions of those who bronchial and similar affections. From the testi- survive be permanently injured, or will they enmony given to me by these men I have no doubt tirely recover ? their condition was the result of exposure and Answer. I think the constitutions of the greatI was about to say starvation ; but it was, per- er part of them will be seriously impaired; that haps, hardly starvation, for they had something they will never become strong and healthy again. to eat; but I will say, a deficient supply of food Question. What account have these men given and of a proper kind of food ; and when I say you as to the comparative condition of those
exposure," perhaps that would not be sufficient- left behind ? Did the rebels send the best or the ly definite. All with whom I have conversed poorest of our prisoners ? have stated that those who were on Belle Isle Answer. I could not tell that; I have never inwere kept there even as late as December with quired. But I should presume they must have nothing to protect them but such little clothing sent the worst they had. as was left them by their captors; with no | Question. You have had charge of confederate blankets, no overcoats, no tents, nothing to cover sick and wounded, have you not? them, nothing to protect them; and that their Answer. Yes, sir; a large number of them. sleeping-place was the ground—the sand.
This was the receiving hospital for those from Question. What would you, as a physician of Gettysburgh. experience, aside from the statements of these Question. What was the treatment they rereturned prisoners, say was the cause of their ceived from us? condition ?
Answer. We consider that we treated thein Answer. I should judge it was as they have with the greatest kindness and humanity; prestated. Diarrhea is a very common form of dis- cisely as we treated our own men. That has ease among them, and from all the circumstances, been our rule of conduct. We gave them the I have every reason to believe that it is owing to very best the hospital would afford; and not only exposure and the want of proper nourishment. what properly belonged to the hospital, but deliSome of them tell me that they received nothing cacies and luxuries of every kind were furnished but two small pieces of corn-bread a day. Some them by the hospital, and by outside sympaof them suppose (how true that may be I do not thizers, who were permitted to send delicacies to know) that that bread was made of corn ground them. with the cobs. I have not seen any of it to ex- Question. It has been stated in many of the amine it.
rebel newspapers that our prisoners are treated Question. How many have died of the number the same and fed with the same rations as their you have received here?
soldiers in the field. In your judgment as a phy. Answer. Already twenty-nine have died, and sician, would it be possible for their soldiers to you have seen one who is now dying; and five retain their health and energy if fed as our priswere received here dead, who died on their way oners have been ? from Fortress Monroe to Baltimore.
Answer. No, sir ; it would be impossible ; mulQuestion. How many of them were capable of titudes of them would have died under such treatwalking into the hospital?
ment. Answer. Only one; the others were brought Question. I do not know as I desire to queshere from the boat on stretchers, put on the tion you further. Is there any thing more you dumb-waiter, and lifted right up to their rooms, desire to state ? and put on their beds. And I would state Answer. I do not know that there is; it is all another thing in regard to these men ; when they in a nut-shell. were received here they were filthy, dirty, and By Mr. Odell : lousy in the extreme, and we had considerable Question. Is not the disease as evinced among trouble to get them clean. Every man who could those men clearly defined as resulting from expossibly stand it we took and placed in a warm posure and privations, and want of proper food bath and held him up while he was washed, and and nourishment ? we threw away all their dirty clothing, providing Answer. That is our decided opinion as medithem with that which was clean.
cal men; the opinion of all of us who have had Question. What was the condition of their any thing to do with these men. clothing?
By Mr. Gooch: Answer. Very poor, indeed. I should say the Question. The condition of all these men apclothing was very much worn, although I did not pears to be about the same. Is there really examine it closely, as that was not so much a any difference in their condition except in dematter of investigation with us as was their phy- gree? sical condition. Their heads were filled with Answer. I think that is all. Some men have vermin, so much so that we had to cut off their naturally stronger constitutions than others, and hair and make applications to destroy the vermin. can bear more than others. That is the way I
Question. What portion of those you have re- account for the difference. ceived here do you suppose are finally curable? | By Mr. Odell :
Answer. We shall certainly lose one third of Question. Are the minds of any of them afthem; and we have been inclined to think that, fected permanently? sooner or later, we should lose one half of them. I Answer. We have had two or three whose intellect is very feeble; some of them are almost them was to the effect, that when captured, and like children in that respect.
before they got to Richmond, they would genQuestion. Do you think that grows out of the erally be robbed of their clothing, their good treatment they have received ?
United States uniforms, even to their shoes and Answer. I think the same cause produced that hats taken from them, and if any thing was as the other.
given to them in place of them, they would reBy the Chairman :
ceive only old worn-out confederate clothing, Question. Is not that one of the symptoms at- Sometimes they were sent to Belle Isle with nothtendant upon starvation, that men are likely to ing on but old pants and shirts. They generally become deranged or idiotic ?
had their money taken from them, often with the Answer. Yes, sir; more like derangement than promise of its return, but that promise was never what we call idiocy.
fulfilled. They were placed on Belle Isle, as I By Mr. Gooch:
have said, some with nothing on but pants and Question. Can those men whose arms you shirts, some with blouses, but they were seldom bared and held up to us mere skeletons, noth- allowed to have an overcoat or a blanket. There ing but skin and bone-can those men recover? | they remained for weeks, some of them for six
Answer. They may; we think that some of or eight weeks, without any tents or any kind of them are in an improving condition. But we covering. have to be extremely cautious how we feed them. Question. What time of the year was this? If we give them a little excess of food under these Answer. All along from September down to circumstances, they would be almost certain to December, as a general thing, through the latter be seriously and injuriously affected by it. part of the fall. There they remained for weeks
Question. It is your opinion, you have stated, without any tents, without blankets, and in many that these men have been reduced to this condi- instances without coats, exposed to the rain and tion by want of food ?
snow, and all kinds of inclement weather. And Answer. It is; want of food and exposure are where some of them had tents, they were old the original causes. That has produced diar- worn-out army tents, full of holes and rents, so rhea and other diseases as a natural consequence, that they are very poor shelters indeed from the and they have aided the original cause and re- storms. I have been told by several of them duced them to their present condition. I should that several times, upon getting up in the morn like the country and the Government to know ing, they would find six or eight of their number the facts about these men; I do not think they frozen to death. There are men here now who can realize it until the facts are made known to have had their toes frozen off there. They have them. I think the rebels have determined upon said that they have been compelled to get up the policy of starving their prisoners, just as during the night and walk rapidly back and forth much as the murders at Fort Pillow were a part to keep from dying from the cold. of thcir policy.
Question. What do they say in regard to the
food furnished them ? Rev. J. T. Van Burkalow, sworn and exam- Answer. They represent that as being very ined.
little in quantity, and of the very poorest qualBy the Chairman :
ity, being but a small piece of corn-bread, about Question. What is your connection with this three inches square, made of meal ground very hospital?
coarsely-some of them suppose made of corn and Answer. I am the chaplain of the hospital. cobs all ground up together-and that bread was
Question. How long have you been acting in baked and cut up and sent to them in such a that capacity ?
manner that a great deal of it would be crumbAnswer. I have been connected with the hos-led off and lost. Sometimes they would get a pital in that capacity ever since the twentieth of very small piece of meat, but that meat very October, 1862.
poor, and sometimes for days they would receive Question. What has been your opportunity of no meat at all. And sometimes they would reknowing the condition of our returned prisoners ? ceive a very small quantity of what they call
Answer. I have mingled with them and ad- rice-water - that is, water with a few grains of ministered unto them ever since they have been rice in it. here, night and day. I have written, I suppose, Question. You have heard their statements something like a hundred letters for them to their separately? relatives and friends since they arrived here. Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Have you attended them when they Question. Do they all agree in the same genewere dying?
ral statement as to their treatment ? Answer. Yes, sir.
Answer. Yes, sir; they do. Question. And conversed with them about their Question. How were they clothed when they condition, and the manner in which they have arrived here ? been brought to that condition !
Answer. They were clothed very poorly inAnswer. Yes, sir; I have.
deed, with old worn-out filthy garments, full of Question. Please tell us what you have ascer- vermin. tained from them?
| Question. What was their condition and apAnswer. The general story I have gotten from pearance as to health when they arrived here ?' VOL. VIII.-Doc. 7