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Official Reports-- Ship Island --Page 1

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 8, Part 1 (Prisoners of War) Page 323 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION AND CONFEDERATE

Ship Island, Miss., March 1, 1865.

Brigadier General W. HOFFMAN, Commissary-General of Prisoners:

SIR: 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 the month of February, 1865:

Conduct - good. Cleanliness - good. Clothing - good, considering the cold weather abated. Bedding - straw. State of quarters - tents rotten. State of mess - houses - none. State of kitchen - good. Food, quality of - good. Food, quantity of - plenty. Water - good. Sinks - good. Police of grounds - good. Drainage - good. Police of hospital - good. Attendance of sick - good. Hospital diet - good. General health of prisoners - good. Vigilance of guard - excelent.

The tents now occupied by the prisoners are so rotten that a norther tears them down by the dozen. Can the prison fund be used for ordering lumber, &c., to build barracks?

Respectfully referred to the Commissary-General of Prisoners.


Colonel Seventy-fourth U. S. Colored Troops,

Commanding Ship Island, Miss.

[First indersement.]



Washington, D. C., March 28, 1865.

Respectfully returned to Colonel E. W. Holmstedt, commanding Ship Island, whose attention is called to paragragh IX of the circular from this office of 20th of April, 1864, and to the "directions" printed on this formf, and he will furnish without delay the plans and estimates for the barracks which he reports as necessary. Much time would have been saved if he had been governed by these orders before asking authority to build barracks.

By order of Brigadier General W. Hoffman, Commissary-General of Prisoners:


Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Second indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS, Ship Island, April 18, 1865.

Respectfully returned, explaining why the question wihtin was asked.

Captain M. R. Marston, First U. S. Infantry, commissary of prisoners at New Orleans, arrived at this post November 24, 1864, with a plan for the construction of prisoners' barracks as proposed by General W. Hoffman, Commissary-General of Prisoners. I was requested to submit a plan of my own, which done, was told to await further orders.

Colonel, Commanding Post.

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 4, Part 1 (Prisoners of War) Page 105 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION.

New Orleans, June 30, 1862.

Mrs. Phillips, wife of Philip Phillips, having been once imprisoned for her traitorous proclivities and acts at Washington and released by the clemency of the Government, and having been found training her children to spit upon officers of the United States, for which act of one of those children both her husband and herself apologized and were again forgiven, is now found on the balcony of her house during the passage of the funeral procession of Lieutenant De Kay laughing and mocking at this remains, and on being inquired of by the commanding general if this fact were so, contemptuously replied, "I was in good spirits that day. "

It is therefore ordered that she be not "regarded and treated as a common woman" of whom no officer or soldier is bound to take notice, but as an uncommon, bad and dangerous woman, stirring up strife and inciting to riot, and that therefore she be confined at Ship Island, in the State of Mississippi, within proper limits there until further orders, and that she be allowed one female servant and no more if she so choose; that one of the houses for hospital purposes be assigned her as quarters and soldier's ration each day served out to her with the means of cooking the same, and that no verbal or written communication be allowed with her except through this office, and that she be kept in close confinement until removed to Ship Island.

By command of Major-General Butler:


New Orleans, June 30, 1862.

Fidel Keller has been found exhibiting a human skeleton in his book-store window in a public place in this city, labeled "Chickahominy" in large letters, meaning and intending that the bones should be taken by the populace to be the bones of a Union solider slain in that battle in order to bring the authority of the United States and our armies into contempt, and for that purpose had stated to the passers-by that the bones were those of a "Yankee soldier," whereas in truth and fact they were the bones purchased some weeks before of a Mexican consul to whom they were pledged by a medical student.

It is therefore ordered that for this desecration of the dead he be confined at Ship Island for two years at hard labor, and that he be allowed to communicate with no other person on the island except Mrs. Phillips, who has been sent there for a like offense. Any written messages may be sent to him through these headquarters.

Upon the order being read the said Keller requested that so much of it as associated him with "that woman"might be recalled, which request was therefore reduced to writing by him as follows:

NEW ORLEANS, June 30, 1862.

Mr. Keller desires that that part of the sentence which refers to the communication with Mrs. Phillips be stricken out, as he does not wish to have communication with the said Mrs. Phillips.




OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 4, Part 1 (Prisoners of War) Page 106 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

New Orleans, June 30, 1862.

John W. Andrews exhibited a cross, the emblem of the suffering of our blessed Savior, fashioned for a personal ornament which he said was made from the bones of a "Yankee soldier," and having shown this too without rebuke in the Louisiana Club which claims to e composed of chivalric gentlemen, it is therefore ordered that for this desecration of the dead he be confined at hard labor for two years on the fortifications at Ship Island, and that he be allowed no verbal or written communication to or with any one except through these headquarters.

By order of Major-General Butler:

Captain and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 8, Part 1 (Prisoners of War) Page 201 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION AND CONFEDERATE.


Washington, D. C., February 9, 1865.

Colonel ERNEST W. HOLMSTEDT, Commanding Ship Island, Miss.:

COLONEL: I have the honor, by direction of the Commissary-General of Prisoners, to acknowledge the receipt of the weekly inspection report at Ship Island for the weeks ending December 31 and January 7. The clothing received from the military authorities at New Orleans should not be issued to prisoners, as arrangements have been made between the United States Government and the rebel authorities by which each is to furnish its own prisoners with necessary supplies. Brigadier General H. E. Paine, U. S. Volunteers, who has the matter in charge, has been notified that clothing and blankets are required for the use of the prisoners at Ship Island. Inclosed is a copy of General Orders, Numbers 3, from this office for your information.*

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


Major, Second Mass. Cav., Asst. to Com. General of Prisoners.

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 7, Part 1 (Prisoners of War) Page 1258 -1259 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

HEADQUARTERS, Ship Island, Miss., December 22, 1864.

Captain W. T. HARTZ, Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: Your communication dated Washington, D. C., November 21, 1864, inclosing an extract from inspection report of the condition of prisoners of war at Ship Island, made by Surg. T. M. Getty, medical inspector prisoners of war, was duly received, and in reply I have the honor to state that at the inspection of Surg. T. M. Getty there were no proper means at hand to provide for the prisoners. They arrived here destitute of tents and none could be furnished on the island. The cooking of the rations were, even until shortly, prepared in the open air, as not a board of lumber, not even for coffins, could for a time be procured at this place. The prisoners must bring their firewood, stick for stick, on their shoulders about three miles and a half, and on pleasant days it is rather beneficial for them, but it is sometimes difficult to get 10 per cent. of them able to perform this necessary labor. Some provision ought to be made to supply the prison camp with fuel. For my own command, I have a detail of soldiers chopping fire-wood on Cat Island, fifteen miles from here, and by the occasional use of a light-draft steamer I am enabled to keep enough wood on hand for immediate use. One of my officers, Lieutenant John Ahlefeldt, Company K, Seventy-fourth U. S. Colored Troops, was detached from the regiment by Special Orders, Numbers 149, current series, headquarters Military Division of West Mississippi, as assistant commissary of prisoners without consulting me, and, although this officer is otherwise good and faithful, he has proven unfit for the position he has been ordered to hold, and in consequence discipline and policing suffered. I would recommend that he be ordered for duty in his company, to enable me to appoint a suitable officer as assistant commissary of prisoners. The sick of the prisoners of war are as well cared for as my own, and at present time they have no reason to complain.

Inclose I have the honor to forward a report made to me by my post surgeon, Dr. John H. Gihou.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding Post.

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 7, Part 1 (Prisoners of War) Page 1259 - 1260

POST HOSPITAL, Ship Island, Miss., December 22, 1864.

Colonel E. W. HOLMSTEDT,

Seventy-fourth U. S. Colored Infantry, Commanding Post:

SIR: In reply to your reference to me of a letter from the office of the Commissary-General of Prisoners at Washington City, D. C., dated November 21, 1864, I have the honor that Surg. T. M. Getty arrived at this post on his tour of inspection a very short time after the arrival here of a large number of prisoners of war, who came unannounced, and for whose reception and proper care no previous provision had been made. We were without houses, tents, blankets, bedding, or any of the necessary means for furnishing a hospital. The men themselves were in a most filthy condition - all regard to cleanliness, either of clothing or person, having been for a long time entirely neglected. Out of nearly 1,500 there were not 300 who did not report themselves to the surgeon in charge here as being afflicted with disease. The prevailing complaints were measles, scurvy, smallpox, diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid and intermittent fevers, rheumatism, and almost every variety of contagious, cutaneous disease that results from the neglect of personal cleanliness. Many of these men were the refuse of rebel hospitals, taken from sick beds to garrison forts. Others were lads from eleven to fifteen years of age, and old men of from fifty to seventy-five, who represented themselves, almost without exception, as having been forced into the rebel service. Many of them were so feeble and emancipated that it was necessary to carry them from the boats to the encampment, and it did not require the judgment of a medical officer to foresee a large amount of mortality. As soon after their arrival as possible active exertions were made in their behalf, and through the aid of the heads of the various departments at New Orleans they were quite as well provided for as are our own sick troops. The condition of these prisoners might now be vastly improved if they manifested a proper disposition to take care of each other or even of themselves. As a general thing they are filthy in their habits and about their persons. Unless forced to do so they will not use exercise enough to keep themselves in a healthy condition. Although their camp is located with a few feet of the beach (one of the finest bathing places in the world), to which they have free access, some of them have not washed their hands and faces since their arrival here, now nearly three months. They have not animation or decency enough to employ the means suggested to cleanse themselves of the vermin which infest their persons and clothing. Some of them die from absolute indolence and filthiness. Their cooks and nurses are selected from among their own body and furnished with everything that is afforded our own troops, and if there is any neglect of proper attention to the diet, cooking, and care of the sick the fault rests with themselves. At the time of Surgeon Getty's inspection the prisoners were without clothing to wash, and on that account no provision was made for washing. Since then the sick have been provided with beds, blankets, &c., and women have been employed to keep them clean. These, it is presumed, will receive their pay from the prisoners' fund. Scurvy, with which very many of the prisoners were afflicted when they came here, has ad, from the use of acids and vegetable diet, an abundance of which has been procured. No new cases have occurred. Most of the deaths that have taken place were cases of chronic diarrhea and dysentery, pneumonia, consumption, typhoid and other fevers. All of these were sick, and most of them helpless at the time of the Surgeon Getty's inspection for want of the necessary means. As soon as reliable virus could be obtained it received the proper share of the surgeon's attention. The cases of smallpox were brought, not acquired, here.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Asst. Surg., 74th U. S. Colored Infty., and Acting Post Surgeon.

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 7, Part 1 (Prisoners of War) Page 1237 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION AND CONFEDERATE.


Mobile, December 17, 1864.


GENERAL: The Legislature of the State of Alabama has appropriated a sum of money with which to provide clothing, provisions, and necessary comforts to the soldiers of Alabama who may be prisoners of the United States at Ship Island.

I am directed by His Excellency Governor Thomas H. watts to proceed to Ship Island and learn by personal examination the wants and necessities of the Alabamians there confined, provided I can obtain the permission of the officer commanding the U. S. forces. I have therefore the honor to ask of you permission and further to ask that I may be permitted to ship into New Orleans and there sell 200 bales of cotton, the proceeds of which will be devoted exclusively to purchasing such clothing, provisions, and other supplies as I may find on examination the troops from Alabama may require. I further ask, as I am only a State and not a Confederate officer, that I may be permitted to go into New Orleans and make the purchase in person.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General and Quartermaster-General of Alabama.


OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 7, Part 1 (Prisoners of War) Page 1238

New Orleans, January 2, 1865.

Respectfully referred to Colonel C. C. Dwight, agent of exchange of prisoners of division.

The cotton may be permitted to come out and General Green allowed to visit the prisoners at Ship Island, and to proceed to New Orleans for the purpose of selling the cotton and appropriating the proceeds for the benefit of the prisoners (or one officer from among the prisoners at Ship Island may be selected for this purpose and permitted to go to New Orleans on parole). The detail of arrangement is left to the discretion of Colonel Dwight, and the commanding officers of the District of West Florida and South Alabama at Ship Island, Miss., and of the Defenses of New Orleans will furnish the necessary facilities.

By order of Major General E. R. S. Canby:


Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 2, vol 7, Part 1 (Prisoners of War) Page 1246 PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE, ETC.

HEADQUARTERS, Ship Island, December 19, 1864.

Brigadier General W. H. WESSELLS,
Commissary-General of Prisoners:

SIR: I have the honor to report the shooting of Private J. C. Dunclin, of Lockhart's battalion, prisoner of war at this post, by a sentinel, Private George Rice, Company K, Seventy-fourth U. S. Colored Troops, on the 15th of December, 1864. A thorough and immediate investigation was ordered as soon as the case was reported to these headquarters. The cooks for the prisoners of war have repeatedly complained about being unable to attend to their duties if not protected from the annoyances of other prisoners of war, who crowded around the cook-houses in violation of existing orders. On the 15th day of December, 1864, Private J. C. Dunclin aforesaid, being one of a party who persisted in cooking some victuals for himself at the cook's stove, in spite of repeated warnings from the sentinels whose duty it was to prevent it, the corporal of the guard, Robert Perkins, of Company K, Seventy-fourth U. S. Colored Troops, was called, and for the time caused the annoying parties to leave the stove; but they soon returned, and sentinel Private George Rice left his post and told them he would "waste no more time in telling them to leave," and returned to his post, from where he again ordered them to leave, but Private J. C. Dunclin, of Lockhart's battalion, obstinately persisted to disobey, when Private George Rice, of Company K, Raised his gun and shot him dead. As much as I regret the occurrence of this affair, I can attach no blame to Private George Rice, who only carried out the orders of his superiors in not allowing any resistance to the performance of his duties. George Rice, of Company K, seventy-fourth U. S. Colored Troops, is a trust-worthy soldier, and the shooting of Private J. C. Dunclin, prisoner of war, has had a good effect on the supervising, undisciplined crew.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Commanding Post.

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