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Elmira Prison Camp OnLine Library -
Government Documents: February, 1865

Elmira, N. Y., February 5, 1865.

Brigadier General WILLIAM HOFFMAN,

Commissary- General of Prisoners, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: Your telegram of the 4th instant, directing the preparation of rolls of 3,000 prisoners of war, was duly received and preparations commenced at once. Permit me to call your attention thus early to the route by which these men are to be forwarded. The northern Central Railroad to Baltimore is,a s I am informed, so pressed with the transportation of recruits and substitutes between Harrisburg and Baltimore that it is with great difficulty that we can get transportation for the few recruits we are now forwarding by this line. The detachment of prisoners that was sent from here last fall were forty hours in reaching Baltimore, a run which should have been made in fifteen hours. To keep sick men upon the road at this season of the year in cars without seats and without water- closets or any of the conveniences usually provided fort he transportation of passengers will result in much suffering. It will cost no more to transport these men to new York than to Baltimore, while the Erie Railroad has a large number of second- class passenger cars and can move a detachment of 500 men on a few hours' notice and land them in New york within twelve to fifteen hours from starting. Besides, much weaker men can be transported via New York than by the Northern Central Railroad. Unless facilities for water transportation from Baltimore are greatly superior to those from New York it is very desirable that they be forwarded via New York City.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel 127th U. S. Colored Troops, Commanding Depot.


Elmira, N. Y., February 12, 1865.

Colonel B. F. TRACY, Commanding Post:

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following inspection report of the condition of the prisoners of war at this station for the week ending February 11, 1865:

Conduct-good. Discipline-excellent. Cleanliness-remarkably clean as regards quarters, considering the low temperature of the past week; as regards the men they look very neat and clean, each man being punished who presents himself at inspection with untidy face or hair. Clothing-decidedly deficient, but is now being corrected by the distribution of clothing from the Confederate authorities. Bedding-prisoners have no bedding except the boards and their blankets. State of quarters-in good condition, tight and warm. State of mess-houses-clean and warned comfortably. State of kitchen-clean, and every-thing systematized. Food, quality of-good. Food, quantity of-prisoner's ration. Water-plenty and good. Police of grounds-moderately good, but not enough carts furnished. Drainage-good. Police of hospital-excellent. Attendance of sick-all that can be desired up to date, but the exchange of the prisoners interferes with the arrangements of the surgeon in charge, as some had been physicians in civil life, and we used as much to attend the prisoners. Hospital-the quarters devoted to hospital purposes are decidedly insufficient; from twelve to twenty sick men are compelled to remain in their usual quarters for want of accommodation in the hospital. Hospital diet-all that is required, as far as I can judge. General health of prisoners-very bad; increase of sickness principally caused by the arrival of the Fort Fisher prisoners, of whom more than half are sick. Vigilance of guard-the guard are very vigilant indeed.

Remarks and suggestions.-I would respectfully recommend that a greater number of police carts be supplied and that more room for hospital purposes be furnished.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lieutenant, Tenth U. S. Infantry, Inspecting Officer.