Letter from John Brusnan to his sister in Baltimore, MD and a letter from Lieut. P.E. O'Connor withdrawing his request for the release of John Brusnan.
HDQRS. TENTH REGIMENT VETERAN RESERVE CORPS,
Camp Fry, Washington, D. C., January 10, 1865.
MAJOR: I have the honor to inclose herewith an extract from a letter written by John Brusnan, a rebel prisoner at Elmira, N. Y., to a sister of his residing near Baltimore, Md. Some time ago his friends represented to me that he (Brusnan) was loyal to the Union; that it was want of forethought placed him in the rebel ranks, and after being some time in the rebel service he repented his rashness, and on two occasions attempted to desert to the Union side. On this representation (which I have no doubt his friends believed to be true), and he being also a relative of mine, I wrote twice to the Commissary-General of Prisoners to effect his release, if possible, by the first of the new year, providing he would take the oath of allegiance. At present I am glad that he is not released; and further, I most respectfully request that no action will be taken on the letters which I have written in his behalf. Whether he has or has not taken the oath of allegiance it does not make much difference, as it is evident from the inclosed extract he is an incorrigible and an ungrateful rebel. In my humble opinion he deserves (instead of the rations he now complains of) to be kept on bread and water during his remaining term of confinement.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P.S.-I call your attention to the fact that letters pass from the prison to outsiders without going through the proper channel.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF PRISONERS,
Washington, D. C., January 11, 1865.
Respectfully referred to Col. B. F. Tracy, commanding Depot Prisoners of War, Elmira, N. Y., for his information. These papers to be returned. By order of Brig. Gen. H. W. Wessells, Inspector and Commissary-General of Prisoners:
W. T. HARTZ,
PRISONERS CAMP, Elmira, N. Y., December 30, 1864.
MY DEAR SISTER: I take this opportunity of writing you a letter (which the Yankees will not see). I wrote you a few days ago acknowledging the receipt of the money. I will give you some idea of my situation. I would never have written to you for money, but I am almost starved to death. I only get two meals a day, breakfast and supper. For breakfast I get one-third of a pound of bread and a small piece of meat; for supper the same quantity of bread aud not any meat, but a small plate of warm water called soup. I would never take that oath if I was not starved to do it. You know that without my telling you. When I came here this prison contained 10,000 prisoners, and they have all died except about 5,000. They are now dying at the rate of twenty-five a day. You know this is no place for me.
Your affectionate brother,
SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 8 pgs. 52-53.
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