Scripto | Transcribe Page

Log in to Scripto | Recent changes | View item | View file

Letter May 4, 1919 to Senator Robert M. La Follette

http://cosandgreatwar.swarthmore.edu/plugins/Dropbox/files/LetterToSenatorRobertFolettoPage2.jpg

« previous page | next page » |

Current Page Transcription [edit] [history]

[page 2]

authors failed to insure their execution. And there have [sic] been no one to stop benighted officers from trying to make soldiers of these enlightened men.

I will let one of my informants speak:

“There are 34 men in each of the big cage cells, down stairs in the Guard House. There is one toilet reserved for them. They have to get permission from the Corporal of the Keys to go to this one at a time. Likewise, during washing, they are led out one at a time. It is the old Riley conditions over again.

“Allowing a 4 min. toilet for each prisoner would require over four hours for the 68 men, and bearing in mind that most men require more than one visit, the resultant discomfort may be vaguely imagined.

“At Ft. Riley,” my informant adds, “we were often compelled to use the floor and live in the stench until removed. There are other stools, wash basins and also shower baths, but they are denied their use.”

“The food is brought to them and they are compelled to eat in their cells. These cage cells, about 20 by 25 feet, are down stairs, with light at a premium, air heavy and stifling, is no place for men from Solitary or Hospital, or whose resistence [sic] is lowered through previous suffering; and as they are not permitted to exercise either in corridors or outside, their health is in danger of being permanently undermined.”

“The guards are a bunch of rookies, “all orders and no brains”, with the result that petty tyranny is the order of the day. It seems a shame, after the wonderful fight these men have made, through the Reign of Terror at Funston and elsewhere, and the bread-and water shackles at the D. B. that they should be subjected to further torture. Even a day in that Guard House for these men is an outrage to America, and whoever ordered these men into such a hell-hole should be properly punished. The torture is not so obvious or so spectacular as the shackles, but nevertheless insidious and most cruel. The mental torture in itself is sufficient to make a man loose [sic] all balance and make him embittered for life.

“With the light, airy cantonment, capable of housing over 150 men comfortably, practically vacant except for the 31 left, it seems criminal to subject these C O’s who have broken no more prison rules than we have, to the intolerable Guard House conditions.

“Furthermore, the past few months have shown the authorities that the C O’s can look after themselves, without interference from the military. Colonel Willis[?] himself, commented on the order and cleanliness of their cantonment.

“If these men are to be sent to, Alcatras [sic], to be broken by the Iron Rule of that mediaeval Spanish prison, or any other prison for close confinement, vigorous protest should be made to head off any such move. God knows these men have suffered enough for conscience sake, and should be spared further torture.

This brings us to April 23d – Commandant Rice was in Washington and reported dismissed.

Col. H O Williams, from the Inspector General’s office, had been inspecting for several days, reputedly with a view of taking command, on the stipulation that he be permitted to run the institution unhampered, and it was presumably in

Current Page Discussion [edit] [history]