68 Southern Historical Society Papers.
ruled the medical expert, saying : "In seeing him every day I have been unable to discover the change."
After this Mr. Davis was permitted to have an interview with his counsel and was allowed some of the comforts given prisoners of a high rank, principal among which was the privilege of the grounds in the day time. General Miles, in his daily reports, ceased to call him "Jeff Davis," as had been his wont, and in all official commu- nications spoke of him as " State prisoner Jefferson Davis."
It is a matter of some interest to know what brought about these changes for the better. Any one noting the records will soon ascer- tain the cause. Great care was taken and the most rigid rules pre- scribed to prevent the outside world, and especially the representa- tives of the press, in any way learning anything about the " secrets of the prison house," and for a long time the efforts were successful. But the hardy veterans of the fort felt indignant that they should be constantly ordered to perform the duties of bailiffs in guarding a sick and feeble old man whom a youth of fifteen could have over- mastered. Their manly natures were shocked at what they saw, and no discipline could keep their tongues quiet; hence, grad- ually the public press, both North and South, commenced to make most significant inquiries, and then to charge wrong, injustice and wanton cruelty.
About the 2oth of May, 1866, one of Surgeon Cooper's reports as to Mr. Davis' health and the causes of its depression became public and created an outburst of indignation which found voice in the newspapers of both parties and all sections. From a long article in the New York World some extracts are worthy of note. The editor says, after referring to the surgeon's report:
" It cannot be read by any honorable and right-minded American, no matter what his sectional feelings or his political opinions may be, without a sickening sensation of shame for his country and a burning flush of indignation against the persons who have prostituted their official position to inflict upon the American name an inefface- able brand of disgrace by the wanton and wicked torture of an in- valid, lying a helpless prisoner in the strongest fortress of the Union. The report of Post-Surgeon Cooper is all the more damning that it is perfectly calm and formal in tone, and that it deals only with the strictly medical aspect of the investigation which its author was