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Henry Bellows to William Seward, Report on Condition of Confederate prisoners in New York City, October 31, 1861

Henry Whitney Bellows, detail
By September 1861, more than six hundred Confederate prisoners were being held in the New York City area, most of them at Castle William on Governors Island off the tip of Manhattan. Complaints began appearing in the city press about the conditions in these hastily organized prisons and became strong enough for Secretary of State William Seward to allow Henry W. Bellows, head of the United States Sanitary Commission, to make an inspection. His report described the conditions at Castle William and pronounced them satisfactory. (By John Osborne)