CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, ETC., RELATING TO PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE
FROM DECEMBER 1, 1862, TO JUNE 10, 1863.
Treatment of Prisoners in Castle Thunder,
Col. ROBERT MAYO, member of the Legislature from Henrico
Captain ALEXANDER. You have known me a long time, colonel; tell the
committee what you know of me.
Answer. My first acquaintance with Captain Alexander
was on an occasion of a visit to him in his official capacity in
relation to some abuse near my residence, which he speedily caused to be
corrected. I found him pleasant and kind. This was when he was at Castle
Godwin. When he moved down to Castle Thunder I saw him oftener. A great
many of my neighbors were in the guard and I was frequently called to
see prisoners. I often remarked that I never saw so many prisoners
together under the same circumstances kept so orderly. They were as
sprightly as any people I ever saw. It was wonderful to me.
Mr. WARD. Colonel, tell about the shooting you saw there.
Answer. One day I was about going into the Castle; a
sentinel was about shooting a prisoner at a window for a violation of
the rules when Captain Alexander interfered, ordered him to desist--not
to shoot; that he would order the prisoner to be put in irons instead. I
saw two prisoners shot at the Libby Prison, but Captain Alexander had
nothing to do with that.
Question (by the COMMITTEE). What other kinds of punishment did
you see there?
Answer. I saw prisoners wearing a barrel shirt, but
that inflicts no pain.
Question. Is it not degrading to the soldier?
Answer. The one I saw did not think so; he was jesting
Question (by Mr. WARD). From your knowledge of Captain Alexander
and his treatment of prisoners, do you think him a cruel man?
Answer. I do not consider him a cruel man, by no
means. If the prisoners conduct themselves well there is no trouble
Question. Do you know Mr. Childrey?
Answer. Yes, and a more honest and correct man cannot
be found in the city of Richmond. I also know Mr. Caphart and Mr.
Thomas, another officer at the prison and one of my neighbors. I have
seen them all in the discharge of their duties and found them very
attentive. I have called on Captain Alexander to send a squad of men to
my neighborhood when disturbed and peace has been restored.