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Title: Andersonville — Volume 2
Author: McElroy, John, 1846-1929
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                          SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY

                        BLACKSHEAR AND FLORENCE

                            BY JOHN McELROY
                      Late of Co. L. 16th Ill Cav.




So far only old prisoners--those taken at Gettysburg, Chicamauga and Mine
Run--had been brought in.  The armies had been very quiet during the
Winter, preparing for the death grapple in the Spring.  There had been
nothing done, save a few cavalry raids, such as our own, and Averill's
attempt to gain and break up the Rebel salt works at Wytheville, and
Saltville.  Consequently none but a few cavalry prisoners were added to
the number already in the hands of the Rebels.

The first lot of new ones came in about the middle of March.  There were
about seven hundred of them, who had been captured at the battle of
Oolustee, Fla., on the 20th of February.  About five hundred of them were
white, and belonged to the Seventh Connecticut, the Seventh New
Hampshire, Forty Seventh, Forty-Eighth and One Hundred and Fifteenth New
York, and Sherman's regular battery.  The rest were colored, and belonged
to the Eighth United States, and Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts.  The story
they told of the battle was one which had many shameful reiterations
during the war.  It was the story told whenever Banks, Sturgis, Butler,
or one of a host of similar smaller failures were trusted with commands.
It was a senseless waste of the lives of private soldiers, and the
property of the United States by pretentious blunderers, who, in some
inscrutable manner, had attained to responsible commands.  In this
instance, a bungling Brigadier named Seymore had marched his forces
across the State of Florida, to do he hardly knew what, and in the
neighborhood of an enemy of whose numbers, disposition, location, and
intentions he was profoundly ignorant.  The Rebels, under General
Finnegan, waited till he had strung his command along through swamps
and cane brakes, scores of miles from his supports, and then fell
unexpectedly upon his advance.  The regiment was overpowered, and another
regiment that hurried up to its support, suffered the same fate.  The
balance of the regiments were sent in in the same manner--each arriving
on the field just after its predecessor had been thoroughly whipped by
the concentrated force of the Rebels.  The men fought gallantly, but the
stupidity of a Commanding General is a thing that the gods themselves
strive against in vain.  We suffered a humiliating defeat, with a loss of
two thousand men and a fine rifled battery, which was brought to
Andersonville and placed in position to command the prison.

The majority of the Seventh New Hampshire were an unwelcome addition to
our numbers.  They were N'Yaarkers--old time colleagues of those already
in with us--veteran bounty jumpers, that had been drawn to New Hampshire
by the size of the bounty offered there, and had been assigned to fill up
the wasted ranks of the veteran Seventh regiment.  They had tried to
desert as soon as they received their bounty, but the Government clung to
them literally with hooks of steel, sending many of them to the regiment
in irons.  Thus foiled, they deserted to the Rebels during the retreat
from the battlefield.  They were quite an accession to the force of our
N'Yaarkers, and helped much to establish the hoodlum reign which was
shortly inaugurated over the whole prison.

The Forty-Eighth New Yorkers who came in were a set of chaps so odd in
every way as to be a source of never-failing interest.  The name of their
regiment was 'L'Enfants Perdu' (the Lost Children), which we anglicized
into "The Lost Ducks."  It was believed that every nation in Europe was
represented in their ranks, and it used to be said jocularly, that no two
of them spoke the same language.  As near as I could find out they were
all or nearly all South Europeans, Italians, Spaniards; Portuguese,
Levantines, with a predominance of the French element.  They wore a
little cap with an upturned brim, and a strap resting on the chin, a coat
with funny little tales about two inches long, and a brass chain across
the breast; and for pantaloons they had a sort of a petticoat reaching to
the knees, and sewed together down the middle.  They were just as
singular otherwise as in their looks, speech and uniform.  On one
occasion the whole mob of us went over in a mass to their squad to see
them cook and eat a large water snake, which two of them had succeeded in
capturing in the swamps, and carried off to their mess, jabbering in high
glee over their treasure trove.  Any of us were ready to eat a piece of
dog, cat, horse or mule, if we could get it, but, it was generally
agreed, as Dawson, of my company expressed it, that "Nobody but one of
them darned queer Lost Ducks would eat a varmint like a water snake."

Major Albert Bogle, of the Eighth United States, (colored) had fallen
into the hands of the rebels by reason of a severe wound in the leg,
which left him helpless upon the field at Oolustee.  The Rebels treated
him with studied indignity.  They utterly refused to recognize him as an
officer, or even as a man.  Instead of being sent to Macon or Columbia,
where the other officers were, he was sent to Andersonville, the same as
an enlisted man.  No care was given his wound, no surgeon would examine
it or dress it.  He was thrown into a stock car, without a bed or
blanket, and hauled over the rough, jolting road to Andersonville.
Once a Rebel officer rode up and fired several shots at him, as he lay
helpless on the car floor.  Fortunately the Rebel's marksmanship was as
bad as his intentions, and none of the shots took effect.  He was placed
in a squad near me, and compelled to get up and hobble into line when the
rest were mustered for roll-call.  No opportunity to insult, "the nigger
officer," was neglected, and the N'Yaarkers vied with the Rebels in
heaping abuse upon him.  He was a fine, intelligent young man, and bore
it all with dignified self-possession, until after a lapse of some weeks
the Rebels changed their policy and took him from the prison to send to
where the other officers were.

The negro soldiers were also treated as badly as possible.  The wounded
were turned into the Stockade without having their hurts attended to.
One stalwart, soldierly Sergeant had received a bullet which had forced
its way under the scalp for some distance, and partially imbedded itself
in the skull, where it still remained.  He suffered intense agony, and
would pass the whole night walking up and down the street in front of our
tent, moaning distressingly.  The bullet could be felt plainly with the
fingers, and we were sure that it would not be a minute's work, with a
sharp knife, to remove it and give the man relief.  But we could not
prevail upon the Rebel Surgeons even to see the man.  Finally
inflammation set in and he died.

The negros were made into a squad by themselves, and taken out every day
to work around the prison.  A white Sergeant was placed over them, who
was the object of the contumely of the guards and other Rebels.  One day
as he was standing near the gate, waiting his orders to come out, the
gate guard, without any provocation whatever, dropped his gun until the
muzzle rested against the Sergeant's stomach, and fired, killing him

The Sergeantcy was then offered to me, but as I had no accident policy, I
was constrained to decline the honor.



April brought sunny skies and balmy weather.   Existence became much more
tolerable.  With freedom it would have been enjoyable, even had we been
no better fed, clothed and sheltered.  But imprisonment had never seemed
so hard to bear--even in the first few weeks--as now.  It was easier to
submit to confinement to a limited area, when cold and rain were aiding
hunger to benumb the faculties and chill the energies than it was now,
when Nature was rousing her slumbering forces to activity, and earth,
and air and sky were filled with stimulus to man to imitate her example.
The yearning to be up and doing something-to turn these golden hours to
good account for self and country--pressed into heart and brain as the
vivifying sap pressed into tree-duct and plant cell, awaking all
vegetation to energetic life.

To be compelled, at such a time, to lie around in vacuous idleness
--to spend days that should be crowded full of action in a monotonous,
objectless routine of hunting lice, gathering at roll-call, and drawing
and cooking our scanty rations, was torturing.

But to many of our number the aspirations for freedom were not, as with
us, the desire for a wider, manlier field of action, so much as an
intense longing to get where care and comforts would arrest their swift
progress to the shadowy hereafter.  The cruel rains had sapped away their
stamina, and they could not recover it with the meager and innutritious
diet of coarse meal, and an occasional scrap of salt meat.  Quick
consumption, bronchitis, pneumonia, low fever and diarrhea seized upon
these ready victims for their ravages, and bore them off at the rate of
nearly a score a day.

It now became a part of, the day's regular routine to take a walk past
the gates in the morning, inspect and count the dead, and see if any
friends were among them.  Clothes having by this time become a very
important consideration with the prisoners, it was the custom of the mess
in which a man died to remove from his person all garments that were of
any account, and so many bodies were carried out nearly naked.  The hands
were crossed upon the breast, the big toes tied together with a bit of
string, and a slip of paper containing the man's name, rank, company and
regiment was pinned on the breast of his shirt.

The appearance of the dead was indescribably ghastly.  The unclosed eyes
shone with a stony glitter--

               An orphan's curse would drag to hell
               A spirit from on high:
               But, O, more terrible than that,
               Is the curse in a dead man's eye.

The lips and nostrils were distorted with pain and hunger, the sallow,
dirt-grimed skin drawn tensely over the facial bones, and the whole
framed with the long, lank, matted hair and beard.  Millions of lice
swarmed over the wasted limbs and ridged ribs.  These verminous pests had
become so numerous--owing to our lack of changes of clothing, and of
facilities for boiling what we had--that the most a healthy man could
do was to keep the number feeding upon his person down to a reasonable
limit--say a few tablespoonfuls.  When a man became so sick as to be
unable to help himself, the parasites speedily increased into millions,
or, to speak more comprehensively, into pints and quarts.  It did not
even seem exaggeration when some one declared that he had seen a dead
man with more than a gallon of lice on him.

There is no doubt that the irritation from the biting of these myriads
materially the days of those who died.

Where a sick man had friends or comrades, of course part of their duty,
in taking care of him, was to "louse" his clothing.  One of the most
effectual ways of doing this was to turn the garments wrong side out and
hold the seams as close to the fire as possible, without burning the
cloth.  In a short time the lice would swell up and burst open, like
pop-corn.  This method was a favorite one for another reason than its
efficacy: it gave one a keener sense of revenge upon his rascally little
tormentors than he could get in any other way.

As the weather grew warmer and the number in the prison increased, the
lice became more unendurable.  They even filled the hot sand under our
feet, and voracious troops would climb up on one like streams of ants
swarming up a tree.  We began to have a full comprehension of the third
plague with which the Lord visited the Egyptians:

     And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod,
     and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice through all
     the land of Egypt.

     And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and
     smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man and in beast;
     all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of

The total number of deaths in April, according to the official report,
was five hundred and seventy-six, or an average of over nineteen a day.
There was an average of five thousand prisoner's in the pen during all
but the last few days of the month, when the number was increased by the
arrival of the captured garrison of Plymouth.  This would make the loss
over eleven per cent., and so worse than decimation.  At that rate we
should all have died in about eight months.  We could have gone through a
sharp campaign lasting those thirty days and not lost so great a
proportion of our forces.  The British had about as many men as were in
the Stockade at the battle of New Orleans, yet their loss in killed fell
much short of the deaths in the pen in April.

A makeshift of a hospital was established in the northeastern corner of
the Stockade.  A portion of the ground was divided from the rest of the
prison by a railing, a few tent flies were stretched, and in these the
long leaves of the pine were made into apologies for beds of about the
goodness of the straw on which a Northern farmer beds his stock.  The
sick taken there were no better off than if they had staid with their

What they needed to bring about their recovery was clean clothing,
nutritious food, shelter and freedom from the tortures of the lice.
They obtained none of these.  Save a few decoctions of roots, there were
no medicines; the sick were fed the same coarse corn meal that brought
about the malignant dysentery from which they all suffered; they wore and
slept in the same vermin-infested clothes, and there could be but one
result: the official records show that seventy-six per cent. of those
taken to the hospitals died there.

The establishment of the hospital was specially unfortunate for my little
squad.  The ground required for it compelled a general reduction of the
space we all occupied.  We had to tear down our huts and move.  By this
time the materials had become so dry that we could not rebuild with them,
as the pine tufts fell to pieces.  This reduced the tent and bedding
material of our party--now numbering five--to a cavalry overcoat and a
blanket.  We scooped a hole a foot deep in the sand and stuck our
tent-poles around it.  By day we spread our blanket over the poles for a
tent. At night we lay down upon the overcoat and covered ourselves with
the blanket.  It required considerable stretching to make it go over
five; the two out side fellows used to get very chilly, and squeeze the
three inside ones until they felt no thicker than a wafer.  But it had
to do, and we took turns sleeping on the outside.  In the course of a
few weeks three of my chums died and left myself and B. B. Andrews (now
Dr. Andrews, of Astoria, Ill.) sole heirs to and occupants of, the
overcoat and blanket.



We awoke one morning, in the last part of April, to find about two
thousand freshly arrived prisoners lying asleep in the main streets
running from the gates.  They were attired in stylish new uniforms,
with fancy hats and shoes; the Sergeants and Corporals wore patent
leather or silk chevrons, and each man had a large, well-filled knapsack,
of the kind new recruits usually carried on coming first to the front,
and which the older soldiers spoke of humorously as "bureaus."  They were
the snuggest, nattiest lot of soldiers we had ever seen, outside of the
"paper collar" fellows forming the headquarter guard of some General in a
large City.  As one of my companions surveyed them, he said:

"Hulloa!  I'm blanked if the Johnnies haven't caught a regiment of
Brigadier Generals, somewhere."

By-and-by the "fresh fish," as all new arrivals were termed, began to
wake up, and then we learned that they belonged to a brigade consisting
of the Eighty-Fifth New York, One Hundred and First and One Hundred and
Third Pennsylvania, Sixteenth Connecticut, Twenty-Fourth New York
Battery, two companies of Massachusetts heavy artillery, and a company of
the Twelfth New York Cavalry.

They had been garrisoning Plymouth, N. C., an important seaport on the
Roanoke River.  Three small gunboats assisted them in their duty.  The
Rebels constructed a powerful iron clad called the "Albemarle," at a
point further up the Roanoke, and on the afternoon of the 17th, with her
and three brigades of infantry, made an attack upon the post.
The "Albemarle" ran past the forts unharmed, sank one of the gunboats,
and drove the others away.  She then turned her attention to the
garrison, which she took in the rear, while the infantry attacked in
front.  Our men held out until the 20th, when they capitulated.
They were allowed to retain their personal effects, of all kinds,
and, as is the case with all men in garrison, these were considerable.

The One Hundred and First and One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania and
Eighty-Fifth New York had just "veteranized," and received their first
instalment of veteran bounty.  Had they not been attacked they would have
sailed for home in a day or two, on their veteran furlough, and this
accounted for their fine raiment.  They were made up of boys from good
New York and Pennsylvania families, and were, as a rule, intelligent and
fairly educated.

Their horror at the appearance of their place of incarceration was beyond
expression.  At one moment they could not comprehend that we dirty and
haggard tatterdemalions had once been clean, self-respecting, well-fed
soldiers like themselves; at the next they would affirm that they knew
they could not stand it a month, in here we had then endured it from four
to nine months.  They took it, in every way, the hardest of any prisoners
that came in, except some of the 'Hundred-Days' men, who were brought in
in August, from the Valley of Virginia.  They had served nearly all their
time in various garrisons along the seacoast--from Fortress Monroe to
Beaufort--where they had had comparatively little of the actual hardships
of soldiering in the field.  They had nearly always had comfortable
quarters, an abundance of food, few hard marches or other severe service.
Consequently they were not so well hardened for Andersonville as the
majority who came in.  In other respects they were better prepared,
as they had an abundance of clothing, blankets and cooking utensils,
and each man had some of his veteran bounty still in possession.

It was painful to see how rapidly many of them sank under the miseries of
the situation.  They gave up the moment the gates were closed upon them,
and began pining away.  We older prisoners buoyed ourselves up
continually with hopes of escape or exchange.  We dug tunnels with the
persistence of beavers, and we watched every possible opportunity to get
outside the accursed walls of the pen.  But we could not enlist the
interest of these discouraged ones in any of our schemes, or talk.
They resigned themselves to Death, and waited despondingly till he came.

A middle-aged One Hundred and First Pennsylvanian, who had taken up his
quarters near me, was an object of peculiar interest.  Reasonably
intelligent and fairly read, I presume that he was a respectable mechanic
before entering the Army.  He was evidently a very domestic man, whose
whole happiness centered in his family.

When he first came in he was thoroughly dazed by the greatness of his
misfortune.  He would sit for hours with his face in his hands and his
elbows on his knees, gazing out upon the mass of men and huts, with
vacant, lack-luster eyes.  We could not interest him in anything.
We tried to show him how to fix his blanket up to give him some shelter,
but he went at the work in a disheartened way, and finally smiled feebly
and stopped.  He had some letters from his family and a melaineotype of a
plain-faced woman--his wife--and her children, and spent much time in
looking at them.  At first he ate his rations when he drew them, but
finally began to reject, them.  In a few days he was delirious with
hunger and homesick ness.  He would sit on the sand for hours imagining
that he was at his family table, dispensing his frugal hospitalities to
his wife and children.

Making a motion, as if presenting a dish, he would say:

"Janie, have another biscuit, do!"


"Eddie, son, won't you have another piece of this nice steak?"


"Maggie, have some more potatos," and so on, through a whole family of
six, or more.  It was a relief to us when he died in about a month after
he came in.

As stated above, the Plymouth men brought in a large amount of money
--variously estimated at from ten thousand to one hundred thousand dollars.
The presence of this quantity of circulating medium immediately started a
lively commerce.  All sorts of devices were resorted to by the other
prisoners to get a little of this wealth.  Rude chuck-a-luck boards were
constructed out of such material as was attainable, and put in operation.
Dice and cards were brought out by those skilled in such matters.
As those of us already in the Stockade occupied all the ground, there was
no disposition on the part of many to surrender a portion of their space
without exacting a pecuniary compensation.  Messes having ground in a
good location would frequently demand and get ten dollars for permission
for two or three to quarter with them.  Then there was a great demand for
poles to stretch blankets over to make tents; the Rebels, with their
usual stupid cruelty, would not supply these, nor allow the prisoners to
go out and get them themselves.  Many of the older prisoners had poles to
spare which they were saying up for fuel.  They sold these to the
Plymouth folks at the rate of ten dollars for three--enough to put up a

The most considerable trading was done through the gates.  The Rebel
guards were found quite as keen to barter as they had been in Richmond.
Though the laws against their dealing in the money of the enemy were
still as stringent as ever, their thirst for greenbacks was not abated
one whit, and they were ready to sell anything they had for the coveted
currency.  The rate of exchange was seven or eight dollars in Confederate
money for one dollar in greenbacks.  Wood, tobacco, meat, flour, beans,
molasses, onions and a villainous kind of whisky made from sorghum, were
the staple articles of trade.  A whole race of little traffickers in
these articles sprang up, and finally Selden, the Rebel Quartermaster,
established a sutler shop in the center of the North Side, which he put
in charge of Ira Beverly, of the One Hundredth Ohio, and Charlie
Huckleby, of the Eighth Tennessee.  It was a fine illustration of the
development of the commercial instinct in some men.  No more unlikely
place for making money could be imagined, yet starting in without a cent,
they contrived to turn and twist and trade, until they had transferred to
their pockets a portion of the funds which were in some one else's.
The Rebels, of course, got nine out of every ten dollars there was in the
prison, but these middle men contrived to have a little of it stick to
their fingers.

It was only the very few who were able to do this.  Nine hundred and
ninety-nine out of every thousand were, like myself, either wholly
destitute of money and unable to get it from anybody else, or they paid
out what money they had to the middlemen, in exorbitant prices for
articles of food.

The N'Yaarkers had still another method for getting food, money, blankets
and clothing.  They formed little bands called "Raiders," under the
leadership of a chief villain.  One of these bands would select as their
victim a man who had good blankets, clothes, a watch, or greenbacks.
Frequently he would be one of the little traders, with a sack of beans,
a piece of meat, or something of that kind.  Pouncing upon him at night
they would snatch away his possessions, knock down his friends who came
to his assistance, and scurry away into the darkness.



To our minds the world now contained but two grand divisions, as widely
different from each other as happiness and misery.  The first--that
portion over which our flag floated was usually spoken of as "God's
Country;" the other--that under the baneful shadow of the banner of
rebellion--was designated by the most opprobrious epithets at the
speaker's command.

To get from the latter to the former was to attain, at one bound, the
highest good.  Better to be a doorkeeper in the House of the Lord, under
the Stars and Stripes, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness, under
the hateful Southern Cross.

To take even the humblest and hardest of service in the field now would
be a delightsome change.  We did not ask to go home--we would be content
with anything, so long as it was in that blest place "within our lines."
Only let us get back once, and there would be no more grumbling at
rations or guard duty--we would willingly endure all the hardships and
privations that soldier flesh is heir to.

There were two ways of getting back--escape and exchange.  Exchange was
like the ever receding mirage of the desert, that lures the thirsty
traveler on over the parched sands, with illusions of refreshing springs,
only to leave his bones at last to whiten by the side of those of his
unremembered predecessors.  Every day there came something to build up
the hopes that exchange was near at hand--every day brought something to
extinguish the hopes of the preceding one.  We took these varying phases
according to our several temperaments.  The sanguine built themselves up
on the encouraging reports; the desponding sank down and died under the
discouraging ones.

Escape was a perpetual allurement.  To the actively inclined among us it
seemed always possible, and daring, busy brains were indefatigable in
concocting schemes for it.  The only bit of Rebel brain work that I ever
saw for which I did not feel contempt was the perfect precautions taken
to prevent our escape.  This is shown by the fact that, although, from
first to last, there were nearly fifty thousand prisoners in
Andersonville, and three out of every five of these were ever on the
alert to take French leave of their captors, only three hundred and
twenty-eight succeeded in getting so far away from Andersonville as to
leave it to be presumed that they had reached our lines.

The first, and almost superhuman difficulty was to get outside the
Stockade.  It was simply impossible to scale it.  The guards were too
close together to allow an instant's hope to the most sanguine, that he
could even pass the Dead Line without being shot by some one of them.
This same closeness prevented any hope of bribing them.  To be successful
half those on post would have to be bribed, as every part of the Stockade
was clearly visible from every other part, and there was no night so dark
as not to allow a plain view to a number of guards of the dark figure
outlined against the light colored logs of any Yankee who should essay to
clamber towards the top of the palisades.

The gates were so carefully guarded every time they were opened as to
preclude hope of slipping out through theme.  They were only unclosed
twice or thrice a day--once to admit, the men to call the roll, once to
let them out again, once to let the wagons come in with rations, and
once, perhaps, to admit, new prisoners.  At all these times every
precaution was taken to prevent any one getting out surreptitiously.

This narrowed down the possibilities of passing the limits of the pen
alive, to tunneling.  This was also surrounded by almost insuperable
difficulties.  First, it required not less than fifty feet of
subterranean excavation to get out, which was an enormous work with our
limited means.  Then the logs forming the Stockade were set in the ground
to a depth of five feet, and the tunnel had to go down beneath them.
They had an unpleasant habit of dropping down into the burrow under them.
It added much to the discouragements of tunneling to think of one of
these massive timbers dropping upon a fellow as he worked his mole-like
way under it, and either crushing him to death outright, or pinning him
there to die of suffocation or hunger.

In one instance, in a tunnel near me, but in which I was not interested,
the log slipped down after the digger had got out beyond it.
He immediately began digging for the surface, for life, and was
fortunately able to break through before he suffocated.  He got his head
above the ground, and then fainted.  The guard outside saw him, pulled
him out of the hole, and when he recovered sensibility hurried him back
into the Stockade.

In another tunnel, also near us, a broad-shouldered German, of the Second
Minnesota, went in to take his turn at digging.  He was so much larger
than any of his predecessors that he stuck fast in a narrow part, and
despite all the efforts of himself and comrades, it was found impossible
to move him one way or the other.  The comrades were at last reduced to
the humiliation of informing the Officer of the Guard of their tunnel and
the condition of their friend, and of asking assistance to release him,
which was given.

The great tunneling tool was the indispensable half-canteen.  The
inventive genius of our people, stimulated by the war, produced nothing
for the comfort and effectiveness of the soldier equal in usefulness to
this humble and unrecognized utensil.  It will be remembered that a
canteen was composed of two pieces of tin struck up into the shape of
saucers, and soldered together at the edges.  After a soldier had been in
the field a little while, and thrown away or lost the curious and
complicated kitchen furniture he started out with, he found that by
melting the halves of his canteen apart, he had a vessel much handier in
every way than any he had parted with.  It could be used for anything
--to make soup or coffee in, bake bread, brown coffee, stew vegetables,
etc., etc.  A sufficient handle was made with a split stick.  When the
cooking was done, the handle was thrown away, and the half canteen
slipped out of the road into the haversack.  There seemed to be no end of
the uses to which this ever-ready disk of blackened sheet iron could be
turned.  Several instances are on record where infantry regiments, with
no other tools than this, covered themselves on the field with quite
respectable rifle pits.

The starting point of a tunnel was always some tent close to the Dead
Line, and sufficiently well closed to screen the operations from the
sight of the guards near by.  The party engaged in the work organized by
giving every man a number to secure the proper apportionment of the
labor.  Number One began digging with his half canteen.  After he had
worked until tired, he came out, and Number Two took his place, and so
on.  The tunnel was simply a round, rat-like burrow, a little larger than
a man's body.  The digger lay on his stomach, dug ahead of him, threw the
dirt under him, and worked it back with his feet till the man behind him,
also lying on his stomach, could catch it and work it back to the next.
As the tunnel lengthened the number of men behind each other in this way
had to be increased, so that in a tunnel seventy-five feet long there
would be from eight to ten men lying one behind the other.  When the dirt
was pushed back to the mouth of the tunnel it was taken up in improvised
bags, made by tying up the bottoms of pantaloon legs, carried to the
Swamp, and emptied.  The work in the tunnel was very exhausting, and the
digger had to be relieved every half-hour.

The greatest trouble was to carry the tunnel forward in a straight line.
As nearly everybody dug most of the time with the right hand, there was
an almost irresistible tendency to make the course veer to the left.  The
first tunnel I was connected with was a ludicrous illustration of this.
About twenty of us had devoted our nights for over a week to the
prolongation of a burrow.  We had not yet reached the Stockade, which
astonished us, as measurement with a string showed that we had gone
nearly twice the distance necessary for the purpose.  The thing was
inexplicable, and we ceased operations to consider the matter.  The next
day a man walking by a tent some little distance from the one in which
the hole began, was badly startled by the ground giving way under his
feet, and his sinking nearly to his waist in a hole.  It was very
singular, but after wondering over the matter for some hours, there came
a glimmer of suspicion that it might be, in some way, connected with the
missing end of our tunnel.  One of us started through on an exploring
expedition, and confirmed the suspicions by coming out where the man had
broken through.  Our tunnel was shaped like a horse shoe, and the
beginning and end were not fifteen feet apart.  After that we practised
digging with our left hand, and made certain compensations for the
tendency to the sinister side.

Another trouble connected with tunneling was the number of traitors and
spies among us.  There were many--principally among the N'Yaarker crowd
who were always zealous to betray a tunnel, in order to curry favor with
the Rebel officers.  Then, again, the Rebels had numbers of their own men
in the pen at night, as spies.  It was hardly even necessary to dress
these in our uniform, because a great many of our own men came into the
prison in Rebel clothes, having been compelled to trade garments with
their captors.

One day in May, quite an excitement was raised by the detection of one of
these "tunnel traitors" in such a way as left no doubt of his guilt.
At first everybody was in favor of killing him, and they actually started
to beat him to death.  This was arrested by a proposition to "have
Captain Jack tattoo him," and the suggestion was immediately acted upon.

"Captain Jack" was a sailor who had been with us in the Pemberton
building at Richmond.  He was a very skilful tattoo artist, but, I am
sure, could make the process nastier than any other that I ever saw
attempt it.  He chewed tobacco enormously.  After pricking away for a few
minutes at the design on the arm or some portion of the body, he would
deluge it with a flood of tobacco spit, which, he claimed, acted as a
kind of mordant.  Piping this off with a filthy rag, he would study the
effect for an instant, and then go ahead with another series of prickings
and tobacco juice drenchings.

The tunnel-traitor was taken to Captain Jack.  That worthy decided to
brand him with a great "T," the top part to extend across his forehead
and the stem to run down his nose.  Captain Jack got his tattooing kit
ready, and the fellow was thrown upon the ground and held there.  The
Captain took his head between his legs, and began operations.  After an
instant's work with the needles, he opened his mouth, and filled the
wretch's face and eyes full of the disgusting saliva.  The crowd round
about yelled with delight at this new process.  For an hour, that was
doubtless an eternity to the rascal undergoing branding, Captain Jack
continued his alternate pickings and drenchings.  At the end of that time
the traitor's face was disfigured with a hideous mark that he would bear
to his grave.  We learned afterwards that he was not one of our men, but
a Rebel spy.  This added much to our satisfaction with the manner of his
treatment.  He disappeared shortly after the operation was finished,
being, I suppose, taken outside.  I hardly think Captain Jack would be
pleased to meet him again.



Those who succeeded, one way or another, in passing the Stockade limits,
found still more difficulties lying between them and freedom than would
discourage ordinarily resolute men.  The first was to get away from the
immediate vicinity of the prison.  All around were Rebel patrols, pickets
and guards, watching every avenue of egress.  Several packs of hounds
formed efficient coadjutors of these, and were more dreaded by possible
"escapes," than any other means at the command of our jailors.  Guards
and patrols could be evaded, or circumvented, but the hounds could not.
Nearly every man brought back from a futile attempt at escape told the
same story: he had been able to escape the human Rebels, but not their
canine colleagues.  Three of our detachment--members of the Twentieth
Indiana--had an experience of this kind that will serve to illustrate
hundreds of others.  They had been taken outside to do some work upon the
cook-house that was being built.  A guard was sent with the three a
little distance into the woods to get a piece of timber.  The boys
sauntered, along carelessly with the guard, and managed to get pretty
near him.  As soon as they were fairly out of sight of the rest, the
strongest of them--Tom Williams--snatched the Rebel's gun away from him,
and the other two springing upon him as swift as wild cats, throttled
him, so that he could not give the alarm.  Still keeping a hand on his
throat, they led him off some distance, and tied him to a sapling with
strings made by tearing up one of their blouses.  He was also securely
gagged, and the boys, bidding him a hasty, but not specially tender,
farewell, struck out, as they fondly hoped, for freedom.  It was not long
until they were missed, and the parties sent in search found and released
the guard, who gave all the information he possessed as to what had
become of his charges.  All the packs of hounds, the squads of cavalry,
and the foot patrols were sent out to scour the adjacent country.
The Yankees kept in the swamps and creeks, and no trace of them was found
that afternoon or evening.  By this time they were ten or fifteen miles
away, and thought that they could safely leave the creeks for better
walking on the solid ground.  They had gone but a few miles, when the
pack of hounds Captain Wirz was with took their trail, and came after
them in full cry.  The boys tried to ran, but, exhausted as they were,
they could make no headway.  Two of them were soon caught, but Tom
Williams, who was so desperate that he preferred death to recapture,
jumped into a mill-pond near by.  When he came up, it was in a lot of
saw logs and drift wood that hid him from being seen from the shore.
The dogs stopped at the shore, and bayed after the disappearing prey.
The Rebels with them, who had seen Tom spring in, came up and made a
pretty thorough search for him.  As they did not think to probe around
the drift wood this was unsuccessful, and they came to the conclusion
that Tom had been drowned.  Wirz marched the other two back and, for a
wonder, did not punish them, probably because he was so rejoiced at his
success in capturing them.  He was beaming with delight when he returned
them to our squad, and said, with a chuckle:

"Brisoners, I pring you pack two of dem tam Yankees wat got away
yesterday, unt I run de oder raskal into a mill-pont and trowntet him."

What was our astonishment, about three weeks later, to see Tom, fat and
healthy, and dressed in a full suit of butternut, come stalking into the
pen.  He had nearly reached the mountains, when a pack of hounds,
patrolling for deserters or negros, took his trail, where he had crossed
the road from one field to another, and speedily ran him down.  He had
been put in a little country jail, and well fed till an opportunity
occurred to send him back.  This patrolling for negros and deserters was
another of the great obstacles to a successful passage through the
country.  The rebels had put, every able-bodied white man in the ranks,
and were bending every energy to keep him there.  The whole country was
carefully policed by Provost Marshals to bring out those who were
shirking military duty, or had deserted their colors, and to check any
movement by the negros.  One could not go anywhere without a pass, as
every road was continually watched by men and hounds.  It was the policy
of our men, when escaping, to avoid roads as much as possible by
traveling through the woods and fields.

From what I saw of the hounds, and what I could learn from others,
I believe that each pack was made up of two bloodhounds and from
twenty-five to fifty other dogs.  The bloodhounds were debased
descendants of the strong and fierce hounds imported from Cuba--many of
them by the United States Government--for hunting Indians, during the
Seminole war.  The other dogs were the mongrels that are found in such
plentifulness about every Southern house--increasing, as a rule, in
numbers as the inhabitant of the house is lower down and poorer.  They
are like wolves, sneaking and cowardly when alone, fierce and bold when
in packs.  Each pack was managed by a well-armed man, who rode a mule;
and carried, slung over his shoulders by a cord, a cow horn, scraped
very thin, with which he controlled the band by signals.

What always puzzled me much was why the hounds took only Yankee trails,
in the vicinity of the prison.  There was about the Stockade from six
thousand to ten thousand Rebels and negros, including guards, officers,
servants, workmen, etc.  These were, of course, continually in motion and
must have daily made trails leading in every direction.  It was the
custom of the Rebels to send a pack of hounds around the prison every
morning, to examine if any Yankees had escaped during the night.  It was
believed that they rarely failed to find a prisoner's tracks, and still
more rarely ran off upon a Rebel's.  If those outside the Stockade had
been confined to certain path and roads we could have understood this,
but, as I understand, they were not.  It was part of the interest of the
day, for us, to watch the packs go yelping around the pen searching for
tracks.  We got information in this way whether any tunnel had been
successfully opened during the night.

The use of hounds furnished us a crushing reply to the ever recurring
Rebel question:

"Why are you-uns puttin' niggers in the field to fight we-uns for?"

The questioner was always silenced by the return interrogatory:

"Is that as bad as running white men down with blood hounds?"



In May the long gathering storm of war burst with angry violence all
along the line held by the contending armies.  The campaign began which
was to terminate eleven months later in the obliteration of the Southern
Confederacy.  May 1, Sigel moved up the Shenandoah Valley with thirty
thousand men; May 3, Butler began his blundering movement against
Petersburg; May 3, the Army of the Potomac left Culpeper, and on the 5th
began its deadly grapple with Lee, in the Wilderness; May 6, Sherman
moved from Chattanooga, and engaged Joe Johnston at Rocky Face Ridge and
Tunnel Hill.

Each of these columns lost heavily in prisoners.  It could not be
otherwise; it was a consequence of the aggressive movements.  An army
acting offensively usually suffers more from capture than one on the
defensive.  Our armies were penetrating the enemy's country in close
proximity to a determined and vigilant foe.  Every scout, every skirmish
line, every picket, every foraging party ran the risk of falling into a
Rebel trap.  This was in addition to the risk of capture in action.

The bulk of the prisoners were taken from the Army of the Potomac.  For
this there were two reasons: First, that there were many more men in that
Army than in any other; and second, that the entanglement in the dense
thickets and shrubbery of the Wilderness enabled both sides to capture
great numbers of the other's men.  Grant lost in prisoners from May 5 to
May 31, seven thousand four hundred and fifty; he probably captured
two-thirds of that number from the Johnnies.

Wirz's headquarters were established in a large log house which had been
built in the fort a little distant from the southeast corner of the
prison.  Every day--and sometimes twice or thrice a day--we would see
great squads of prisoners marched up to these headquarters, where they
would be searched, their names entered upon the prison records, by clerks
(detailed prisoners; few Rebels had the requisite clerical skill) and
then be marched into the prison.  As they entered, the Rebel guards would
stand to arms.  The infantry would be in line of battle, the cavalry
mounted, and the artillerymen standing by their guns, ready to open at
the instant with grape and canister.

The disparity between the number coming in from the Army of the Potomac
and Western armies was so great, that we Westerners began to take some
advantage of it.  If we saw a squad of one hundred and fifty or
thereabouts at the headquarters, we felt pretty certain they were from
Sherman, and gathered to meet them, and learn the news from our friends.
If there were from five hundred to two thousand we knew they were from
the Army of the Potomac, and there were none of our comrades among them.
There were three exceptions to this rule while we were in Andersonville.
The first was in June, when the drunken and incompetent Sturgis (now
Colonel of the Seventh United States Cavalry) shamefully sacrificed a
superb division at Guntown, Miss.  The next was after Hood made his
desperate attack on Sherman, on the 22d of July, and the third was when
Stoneman was captured at Macon.  At each of these times about two
thousand prisoners were brought in.

By the end of May there were eighteen thousand four hundred and
fifty-four prisoners in the Stockade.  Before the reader dismisses this
statement from his mind let him reflect how great a number this is.
It is more active, able-bodied young men than there are in any of our
leading Cities, save New York and Philadelphia.  It is more than the
average population of an Ohio County.  It is four times as many troops as
Taylor won the victory of Buena Vista with, and about twice as many as
Scott went into battle with at any time in his march to the City of

These eighteen thousand four hundred and fifty-four men were cooped up on
less than thirteen acres of ground, making about fifteen hundred to the
acre.  No room could be given up for streets, or for the usual
arrangements of a camp, and most kinds of exercise were wholly precluded.
The men crowded together like pigs nesting in the woods on cold nights.
The ground, despite all our efforts, became indescribably filthy, and
this condition grew rapidly worse as the season advanced and the sun's
rays gained fervency.  As it is impossible to describe this adequately,
I must again ask the reader to assist with a few comparisons.  He has an
idea of how much filth is produced, on an ordinary City lot, in a week,
by its occupation by a family say of six persons.  Now let him imagine
what would be the result if that lot, instead of having upon it six
persons, with every appliance for keeping themselves clean, and for
removing and concealing filth, was the home of one hundred and eight men,
with none of these appliances.

That he may figure out these proportions for himself, I will repeat some
of the elements of the problem: We will say that an average City lot is
thirty feet front by one hundred deep.  This is more front than most of
them have, but we will be liberal.  This gives us a surface of three
thousand square feet.  An acre contains forty-three thousand five hundred
and sixty square feet.  Upon thirteen of these acres, we had eighteen
thousand four hundred and fifty-four men.  After he has found the number
of square feet that each man had for sleeping apartment, dining room,
kitchen, exercise grounds and outhouses, and decided that nobody could
live for any length of time in such contracted space, I will tell him
that a few weeks later double that many men were crowded upon that space
that over thirty-five thousand were packed upon those twelve and a-half
or thirteen acres.

But I will not anticipate.  With the warm weather the condition of the
swamp in the center of the prison became simply horrible.  We hear so
much now-a-days of blood poisoning from the effluvia of sinks and sewers,
that reading it, I wonder how a man inside the Stockade, and into whose
nostrils came a breath of that noisomeness, escaped being carried off by
a malignant typhus.  In the slimy ooze were billions of white maggots.
They would crawl out by thousands on the warm sand, and, lying there a
few minutes, sprout a wing or a pair of them.  With these they would
essay a clumsy flight, ending by dropping down upon some exposed portion
of a man's body, and stinging him like a gad-fly.  Still worse, they
would drop into what he was cooking, and the utmost care could not
prevent a mess of food from being contaminated with them.

All the water that we had to use was that in the creek which flowed
through this seething mass of corruption, and received its sewerage.
How pure the water was when it came into the Stockade was a question.
We always believed that it received the drainage from the camps of the
guards, a half-a-mile away.

A road was made across the swamp, along the Dead Line at the west side,
where the creek entered the pen.  Those getting water would go to this
spot, and reach as far up the stream as possible, to get the water that
was least filthy.  As they could reach nearly to the Dead Line this
furnished an excuse to such of the guards as were murderously inclined to
fire upon them.  I think I hazard nothing in saying that for weeks at
least one man a day was killed at this place.  The murders became
monotonous; there was a dreadful sameness to them.  A gun would crack;
looking up we would see, still smoking, the muzzle of the musket of one
of the guards on either side of the creek.  At the same instant would
rise a piercing shriek from the man struck, now floundering in the creek
in his death agony.  Then thousands of throats would yell out curses and
denunciations, and--

"O, give the Rebel ---- ---- ---- ---- a furlough!"

It was our belief that every guard who killed a Yankee was rewarded with
a thirty-day furlough.  Mr. Frederick Holliger, now of Toledo, formerly a
member of the Seventy-Second Ohio, and captured at Guntown, tells me, as
his introduction to Andersonville life, that a few hours after his entry
he went to the brook to get a drink, reached out too far, and was fired
upon by the guard, who missed him, but killed another man and wounded a
second.  The other prisoners standing near then attacked him, and beat
him nearly to death, for having drawn the fire of the guard.

Nothing could be more inexcusable than these murders.  Whatever defense
there might be for firing on men who touched the Dead Line in other parts
of the prison, there could be none here.  The men had no intention of
escaping; they had no designs upon the Stockade; they were not leading
any party to assail it.  They were in every instance killed in the act of
reaching out with their cups to dip up a little water.



Let the reader understand that in any strictures I make I do not complain
of the necessary hardships of war.  I understood fully and accepted the
conditions of a soldier's career.  My going into the field uniformed and
armed implied an intention, at least, of killing, wounding, or capturing,
some of the enemy.  There was consequently no ground of complaint if I
was, myself killed, wounded, or captured.  If I did not want to take
these chances I ought to stay at home.  In the same way, I recognized the
right of our captors or guards to take proper precautions to prevent our
escape.  I never questioned for an instant the right of a guard to fire
upon those attempting to escape, and to kill them.  Had I been posted
over prisoners I should have had no compunction about shooting at those
trying to get away, and consequently I could not blame the Rebels for
doing the same thing.  It was a matter of soldierly duty.

But not one of the men assassinated by the guards at Andersonville were
trying to escape, nor could they have got away if not arrested by a
bullet.  In a majority of instances there was not even a transgression of
a prison rule, and when there was such a transgression it was a mere
harmless inadvertence.  The slaying of every man there was a foul crime.

The most of this was done by very young boys; some of it by old men.
The Twenty-Sixth Alabama and Fifty-Fifth Georgia, had guarded us since
the opening of the prison, but now they were ordered to the field, and
their places filled by the Georgia "Reserves," an organization of boys
under, and men over the military age.  As General Grant aptly-phrased it,
"They had robbed the cradle and the grave," in forming these regiments.
The boys, who had grown up from children since the war began, could not
comprehend that a Yankee was a human being, or that it was any more
wrongful to shoot one than to kill a mad dog.  Their young imaginations
had been inflamed with stories of the total depravity of the Unionists
until they believed it was a meritorious thing to seize every opportunity
to exterminate them.

Early one morning I overheard a conversation between two of these
youthful guards:

"Say, Bill, I heerd that you shot a Yank last night?"

"Now, you just bet I did.  God! you jest ought to've heerd him holler."

Evidently the juvenile murderer had no more conception that he had
committed crime than if he had killed a rattlesnake.

Among those who came in about the last of the month were two thousand men
from Butler's command, lost in the disastrous action of May 15, by which
Butler was "bottled up" at Bermuda Hundreds.  At that time the Rebel
hatred for Butler verged on insanity, and they vented this upon these men
who were so luckless--in every sense--as to be in his command.  Every
pains was taken to mistreat them.  Stripped of every article of clothing,
equipment, and cooking utensils--everything, except a shirt and a pair of
pantaloons, they were turned bareheaded and barefooted into the prison,
and the worst possible place in the pen hunted out to locate them upon.
This was under the bank, at the edge of the Swamp and at the eastern side
of the prison, where the sinks were, and all filth from the upper part of
the camp flowed down to them.  The sand upon which they lay was dry and
burning as that of a tropical desert; they were without the slightest
shelter of any kind, the maggot flies swarmed over them, and the stench
was frightful.  If one of them survived the germ theory of disease is a

The increasing number of prisoners made it necessary for the Rebels to
improve their means of guarding and holding us in check.  They threw up a
line of rifle pits around the Stockade for the infantry guards.
At intervals along this were piles of hand grenades, which could be used
with fearful effect in case of an outbreak.  A strong star fort was
thrown up at a little distance from the southwest corner.  Eleven field
pieces were mounted in this in such a way as to rake the Stockade
diagonally.  A smaller fort, mounting five guns, was built at the
northwest corner, and at the northeast and southeast corners were small
lunettes, with a couple of howitzers each.  Packed as we were we had
reason to dread a single round from any of these works, which could not
fail to produce fearful havoc.

Still a plot was concocted for a break, and it seemed to the sanguine
portions of us that it must prove successful.  First a secret society was
organized, bound by the most stringent oaths that could be devised.
The members of this were divided into companies of fifty men each; under
officers regularly elected.  The secrecy was assumed in order to shut out
Rebel spies and the traitors from a knowledge of the contemplated
outbreak.  A man named Baker--belonging, I think, to some New York
regiment--was the grand organizer of the scheme.  We were careful in each
of our companies to admit none to membership except such as long
acquaintance gave us entire confidence in.

The plan was to dig large tunnels to the Stockade at various places, and
then hollow out the ground at the foot of the timbers, so that a half
dozen or so could be pushed over with a little effort, and make a gap ten
or twelve feet wide.  All these were to be thrown down at a preconcerted
signal, the companies were to rush out and seize the eleven guns of the
headquarters fort.  The Plymouth Brigade was then to man these and turn
them on the camp of the Reserves who, it was imagined, would drop their
arms and take to their heels after receiving a round or so of shell.
We would gather what arms we could, and place them in the hands of the
most active and determined.  This would give us frown eight to ten
thousand fairly armed, resolute men, with which we thought we could march
to Appalachicola Bay, or to Sherman.

We worked energetically at our tunnels, which soon began to assume such
shape as to give assurance that they would answer our expectations in
opening the prison walls.

Then came the usual blight to all such enterprises: a spy or a traitor
revealed everything to Wirz.  One day a guard came in, seized Baker and
took him out.  What was done with him I know not; we never heard of him
after he passed the inner gate.

Immediately afterward all the Sergeants of detachments were summoned
outside.  There they met Wirz, who made a speech informing them that he
knew all the details of the plot, and had made sufficient preparations to
defeat it.  The guard had been strongly reinforced, and disposed in such
a manner as to protect the guns from capture.  The Stockade had been
secured to prevent its falling, even if undermined.  He said, in
addition, that Sherman had been badly defeated by Johnston, and driven
back across the river, so that any hopes of co-operation by him would be

When the Sergeants returned, he caused the following notice to be posted
on the gates:


     Not wishing to shed the blood of hundreds, not connected with those
     who concocted a mad plan to force the Stockade, and make in this way
     their escape, I hereby warn the leaders and those who formed
     themselves into a band to carry out this, that I am in possession of
     all the facts, and have made my dispositions accordingly, so as to
     frustrate it.  No choice would be left me but to open with grape and
     canister on the Stockade, and what effect this would have, in this
     densely crowded place, need not be told.

     May 25,1864.
                                             H. Wirz.

The next day a line of tall poles, bearing white flags, were put up at
some little distance from the Dead Line, and a notice was read to us at
roll call that if, except at roll call, any gathering exceeding one
hundred was observed, closer the Stockade than these poles, the guns
would open with grape and canister without warning.

The number of deaths in the Stockade in May was seven hundred and eight,
about as many as had been killed in Sherman's army during the same time.



After Wirz's threat of grape and canister upon the slightest provocation,
we lived in daily apprehension of some pretext being found for opening
the guns upon us for a general massacre.  Bitter experience had long
since taught us that the Rebels rarely threatened in vain.  Wirz,
especially, was much more likely to kill without warning, than to warn
without killing.  This was because of the essential weakness of his
nature.  He knew no art of government, no method of discipline save "kill
them!"  His petty little mind's scope reached no further.  He could
conceive of no other way of managing men than the punishment of every
offense, or seeming offense, with death.  Men who have any talent for
governing find little occasion for the death penalty.  The stronger they
are in themselves--the more fitted for controlling others--the less their
need of enforcing their authority by harsh measures.

There was a general expression of determination among the prisoners to
answer any cannonade with a desperate attempt to force the Stockade.
It was agreed that anything was better than dying like rats in a pit or
wild animals in a battue.  It was believed that if anything would occur
which would rouse half those in the pen to make a headlong effort in
concert, the palisade could be scaled, and the gates carried, and, though
it would be at a fearful loss of life, the majority of those making
the attempt would get out.  If the Rebels would discharge grape and
canister, or throw a shell into the prison, it would lash everybody to
such a pitch that they would see that the sole forlorn hope of safety lay
in wresting the arms away from our tormentors.  The great element in our
favor was the shortness of the distance between us and the cannon.
We could hope to traverse this before the guns could be reloaded more
than once.

Whether it would have been possible to succeed I am unable to say.
It would have depended wholly upon the spirit and unanimity with which
the effort was made.  Had ten thousand rushed forward at once, each with
a determination to do or die, I think it would have been successful
without a loss of a tenth of the number.  But the insuperable trouble--in
our disorganized state--was want of concert of action.  I am quite sure,
however, that the attempt would have been made had the guns opened.

One day, while the agitation of this matter was feverish, I was cooking
my dinner--that is, boiling my pitiful little ration of unsalted meal, in
my fruit can, with the aid of a handful of splinters that I had been able
to pick up by a half day's diligent search.  Suddenly the long rifle in
the headquarters fort rang out angrily.  A fuse shell shrieked across the
prison--close to the tops of the logs, and burst in the woods beyond.
It was answered with a yell of defiance from ten thousand throats.

I sprang up-my heart in my mouth.  The long dreaded time had arrived; the
Rebels had opened the massacre in which they must exterminate us, or we

I looked across to the opposite bank, on which were standing twelve
thousand men--erect, excited, defiant.  I was sure that at the next shot
they would surge straight against the Stockade like a mighty human
billow, and then a carnage would begin the like of which modern times had
never seen.

The excitement and suspense were terrible.  We waited for what seemed
ages for the next gun.  It was not fired.  Old Winder was merely showing
the prisoners how he could rally the guards to oppose an outbreak.
Though the gun had a shell in it, it was merely a signal, and the guards
came double-quicking up by regiments, going into position in the rifle
pits and the hand-grenade piles.

As we realized what the whole affair meant, we relieved our surcharged
feelings with a few general yells of execration upon Rebels generally,
and upon those around us particularly, and resumed our occupation of
cooking rations, killing lice, and discussing the prospects of exchange
and escape.

The rations, like everything else about us, had steadily grown worse.
A bakery was built outside of the Stockade in May and our meal was baked
there into loaves about the size of brick.  Each of us got a half of one
of these for a day's ration.  This, and occasionally a small slice of
salt pork, was call that I received.  I wish the reader would prepare
himself an object lesson as to how little life can be supported on for
any length of time, by procuring a piece of corn bread the size of an
ordinary brickbat, and a thin slice of pork, and then imagine how he
would fare, with that as his sole daily ration, for long hungry weeks and
months.  Dio Lewis satisfied himself that he could sustain life on sixty
cents, a week.  I am sure that the food furnished us by the Rebels would
not, at present prices cost one-third that.  They pretended to give us
one-third of pound of bacon and one and one-fourth pounds of corn meal.
A week's rations then would be two and one-third pounds of bacon--worth
ten cents, and eight and three-fourths pounds of meal, worth, say, ten
cents more.  As a matter of fact, I do not presume that at any time we
got this full ration.  It would surprise me to learn that we averaged
two-thirds of it.

The meal was ground very coarse and produced great irrition in the
bowels.  We used to have the most frightful cramps that men ever suffered
from.  Those who were predisposed intestinal affections were speedily
carried off by incurable diarrhea and dysentery.  Of the twelve thousand
and twelve men who died, four thousand died of chronic diarrhea; eight
hundred and seventeen died of acute diarrhea, and one thousand three
hundred and eighty-four died of dysenteria, making total of six thousand
two hundred and one victims to enteric disorders.

Let the reader reflect a moment upon this number, till comprehends fully
how many six thousand two hundred and men are, and how much force,
energy, training, and rich possibilities for the good of the community
and country died with those six thousand two hundred and one young,
active men.  It may help his perception of the magnitude of this number
to remember that the total loss of the British, during the Crimean war,
by death in all shapes, was four thousand five hundred and ninety-five,
or one thousand seven hundred and six less than the deaths in
Andersonville from dysenteric diseases alone.

The loathsome maggot flies swarmed about the bakery, and dropped into the
trough where the dough was being mixed, so that it was rare to get a
ration of bread not contaminated with a few of them.

It was not long until the bakery became inadequate to supply bread for
all the prisoners.  Then great iron kettles were set, and mush was issued
to a number of detachments, instead of bread.  There was not so much
cleanliness and care in preparing this as a farmer shows in cooking food
for stock.  A deep wagon-bed would be shoveled full of the smoking paste,
which was then hailed inside and issued out to the detachments, the
latter receiving it on blankets, pieces of shelter tents, or, lacking
even these, upon the bare sand.

As still more prisoners came in, neither bread nor mush could be
furnished them, and a part of the detachments received their rations in
meal.  Earnest solicitation at length resulted in having occasional
scanty issues of wood to cook this with.  My detachment was allowed to
choose which it would take--bread, mush or meal.  It took the latter.

Cooking the meal was the topic of daily interest.  There were three ways
of doing it: Bread, mush and "dumplings."  In the latter the meal was
dampened until it would hold together, and was rolled into little balls,
the size of marbles, which were then boiled.  The bread was the most
satisfactory and nourishing; the mush the bulkiest--it made a bigger
show, but did not stay with one so long.  The dumplings held an
intermediate position--the water in which they were boiled becoming a
sort of a broth that helped to stay the stomach.  We received no salt,
as a rule.  No one knows the intense longing for this, when one goes
without it for a while.  When, after a privation of weeks we would get a
teaspoonful of salt apiece, it seemed as if every muscle in our bodies
was invigorated.  We traded buttons to the guards for red peppers, and
made our mush, or bread, or dumplings, hot with the fiery-pods, in hopes
that this would make up for the lack of salt, but it was a failure.
One pinch of salt was worth all the pepper pods in the Southern
Confederacy.  My little squad--now diminished by death from five to
three--cooked our rations together to economize wood and waste of meal,
and quarreled among ourselves daily as to whether the joint stock should
be converted into bread, mush or dumplings.  The decision depended upon
the state of the stomach.  If very hungry, we made mush; if less
famished, dumplings; if disposed to weigh matters, bread.

This may seem a trifling matter, but it was far from it.  We all remember
the man who was very fond of white beans, but after having fifty or sixty
meals of them in succession, began to find a suspicion of monotony in the
provender.  We had now six months of unvarying diet of corn meal and
water, and even so slight a change as a variation in the way of combining
the two was an agreeable novelty.

At the end of June there were twenty-six thousand three hundred and
sixty-seven prisoners in the Stockade, and one thousand two hundred--just
forty per day--had died during the month.



May and June made sad havoc in the already thin ranks of our battalion.
Nearly a score died in my company--L--and the other companies suffered
proportionately.  Among the first to die of my company comrades, was a
genial little Corporal, "Billy" Phillips--who was a favorite with us all.
Everything was done for him that kindness could suggest, but it was of
little avail.  Then "Bruno" Weeks--a young boy, the son of a preacher,
who had run away from his home in Fulton County, Ohio, to join us,
succumbed to hardship and privation.

The next to go was good-natured, harmless Victor Seitz, a Detroit cigar
maker, a German, and one of the slowest of created mortals.  How he ever
came to go into the cavalry was beyond the wildest surmises of his
comrades.  Why his supernatural slowness and clumsiness did not result in
his being killed at least once a day, while in the service, was even
still farther beyond the power of conjecture.  No accident ever happened
in the company that Seitz did not have some share in.  Did a horse fall
on a slippery road, it was almost sure to be Seitz's, and that imported
son of the Fatherland was equally sure to be caught under him.  Did
somebody tumble over a bank of a dark night, it was Seitz that we soon
heard making his way back, swearing in deep German gutterals, with
frequent allusion to 'tausend teuflin.'  Did a shanty blow down, we ran
over and pulled Seitz out of the debris, when he would exclaim:

"Zo!  dot vos pretty vunny now, ain't it?"

And as he surveyed the scene of his trouble with true German phlegm, he
would fish a brier-wood pipe from the recesses of his pockets, fill it
with tobacco, and go plodding off in a cloud of smoke in search of some
fresh way to narrowly escape destruction.  He did not know enough about
horses to put a snaffle-bit in one's mouth, and yet he would draw the
friskiest, most mettlesome animal in the corral, upon whose back he was
scarcely more at home than he would be upon a slack rope.  It was no
uncommon thing to see a horse break out of ranks, and go past the
battalion like the wind, with poor Seitz clinging to his mane like the
traditional grim Death to a deceased African.  We then knew that Seitz
had thoughtlessly sunk the keen spurs he would persist in wearing; deep
into the flanks of his high-mettled animal.

These accidents became so much a matter-of-course that when anything
unusual occurred in the company our first impulse was to go and help
Seitz out.

When the bugle sounded "boots and saddles," the rest of us would pack up,
mount, "count off by fours from the right," and be ready to move out
before the last notes of the call had fairly died away.  Just then we
would notice an unsaddled horse still tied to the hitching place.  It was
Seitz's, and that worthy would be seen approaching, pipe in mouth, and
bridle in hand, with calm, equable steps, as if any time before the
expiration of his enlistment would be soon enough to accomplish the
saddling of his steed.  A chorus of impatient and derisive remarks would
go up from his impatient comrades:

"For heaven's sake, Seitz, hurry up!"

"Seitz!  you are like a cow's tail--always behind!"

"Seitz, you are slower than the second coming of the Savior!"

"Christmas is a railroad train alongside of you, Seitz!"

"If you ain't on that horse in half a second, Seitz, we'll go off and
leave you, and the Johnnies will skin you alive!" etc., etc.

Not a ripple of emotion would roll over Seitz's placid features under the
sharpest of these objurgations.  At last, losing all patience, two or
three boys would dismount, run to Seitz's horse, pack, saddle and bridle
him, as if he were struck with a whirlwind.  Then Seitz would mount, and
we would move 'off.

For all this, we liked him.  His good nature was boundless, and his
disposition to oblige equal to the severest test.  He did not lack a
grain of his full share of the calm, steadfast courage of his race, and
would stay where he was put, though Erebus yawned and bade him fly.
He was very useful, despite his unfitness for many of the duties of a
cavalryman.  He was a good guard, and always ready to take charge of
prisoners, or be sentry around wagons or a forage pile-duties that most
of the boys cordially hated.

But he came into the last trouble at Andersonville.  He stood up pretty
well under the hardships of Belle Isle, but lost his cheerfulness--his
unrepining calmness--after a few weeks in the Stockade.  One day we
remembered that none of us had seen him for several days, and we started
in search of him.  We found him in a distant part of the camp, lying near
the Dead Line.  His long fair hair was matted together, his blue eyes had
the flush of fever.  Every part of his clothing was gray with the lice
that were hastening his death with their torments.  He uttered the first
complaint I ever heard him make, as I came up to him:

"My Gott, M ----, dis is worse dun a dog's det!"

In a few days we gave him all the funeral in our power; tied his big toes
together, folded his hands across his breast, pinned to his shirt a slip
of paper, upon which was written:

               VICTOR E. SEITZ,
          Co. L, Sixteenth Illinois Cavalry.

And laid his body at the South Gate, beside some scores of others that
were awaiting the arrival of the six-mule wagon that hauled them to the
Potter's Field, which was to be their last resting-place.

John Emerson and John Stiggall, of my company, were two Norwegian boys,
and fine specimens of their race--intelligent, faithful, and always ready
for duty.  They had an affection for each other that reminded one of the
stories told of the sworn attachment and the unfailing devotion that were
common between two Gothic warrior youths.  Coming into Andersonville some
little time after the rest of us, they found all the desirable ground
taken up, and they established their quarters at the base of the hill,
near the Swamp.  There they dug a little hole to lie in, and put in a
layer of pine leaves.  Between them they had an overcoat and a blanket.
At night they lay upon the coat and covered themselves with the blanket.
By day the blanket served as a tent.  The hardships and annoyances that
we endured made everybody else cross and irritable.  At times it seemed
impossible to say or listen to pleasant words, and nobody was ever
allowed to go any length of time spoiling for a fight.  He could usually
be accommodated upon the spot to any extent he desired, by simply making
his wishes known.  Even the best of chums would have sharp quarrels and
brisk fights, and this disposition increased as disease made greater
inroads upon them.  I saw in one instance two brothers-both of whom died
the next day of scurvy--and who were so helpless as to be unable to rise,
pull themselves up on their knees by clenching the poles of their tents
--in order to strike each other with clubs, and they kept striking until
the bystanders interfered and took their weapons away from them.

But Stiggall and Emerson never quarreled with each other.  Their
tenderness and affection were remarkable to witness.  They began to go
the way that so many were going; diarrhea and scurvy set in; they wasted
away till their muscles and tissues almost disappeared, leaving the skin
lying fiat upon the bones; but their principal solicitude was for each
other, and each seemed actually jealous of any person else doing anything
for the other.  I met Emerson one day, with one leg drawn clear out of
shape, and rendered almost useless by the scurvy.  He was very weak, but
was hobbling down towards the Creek with a bucket made from a boot leg.
I said:

"Johnny, just give me your bucket.  I'll fill it for you, and bring it up
to your tent."

"No; much obliged, M ----" he wheezed out; "my pardner wants a cool
drink, and I guess I'd better get it for him."

Stiggall died in June.  He was one of the first victims of scurvy, which,
in the succeeding few weeks, carried off so many.  All of us who had read
sea-stories had read much of this disease and its horrors, but we had
little conception of the dreadful reality.  It usually manifested itself
first in the mouth. The breath became unbearably fetid; the gums swelled
until they protruded, livid and disgusting, beyond the lips.  The teeth
became so loose that they frequently fell out, and the sufferer would
pick them up and set them back in their sockets.  In attempting to bite
the hard corn bread furnished by the bakery the teeth often stuck fast
and were pulled out.  The gums had a fashion of breaking away, in large
chunks, which would be swallowed or spit out.  All the time one was
eating his mouth would be filled with blood, fragments of gums and
loosened teeth.

Frightful, malignant ulcers appeared in other parts of the body; the
ever-present maggot flies laid eggs in these, and soon worms swarmed
therein.  The sufferer looked and felt as if, though he yet lived and
moved, his body was anticipating the rotting it would undergo a little
later in the grave.

The last change was ushered in by the lower parts of the legs swelling.
When this appeared, we considered the man doomed.  We all had scurvy,
more or less, but as long as it kept out of our legs we were hopeful.
First, the ankle joints swelled, then the foot became useless.  The
swelling increased until the knees became stiff, and the skin from these
down was distended until it looked pale, colorless and transparent as a
tightly blown bladder.  The leg was so much larger at the bottom than at
the thigh, that the sufferers used to make grim jokes about being modeled
like a churn, "with the biggest end down."  The man then became utterly
helpless and usually died in a short time.

The official report puts down the number of deaths from scurvy at three
thousand five hundred and seventy-four, but Dr. Jones, the Rebel surgeon,
reported to the Rebel Government his belief that nine-tenths of the great
mortality of the prison was due, either directly or indirectly, to this

The only effort made by the Rebel doctors to check its ravages was
occasionally to give a handful of sumach berries to some particularly bad

When Stiggall died we thought Emerson would certainly follow him in a day
or two, but, to our surprise, he lingered along until August before



The gradually lengthening Summer days were insufferably long and
wearisome.  Each was hotter, longer and more tedious than its
predecessors.  In my company was a none-too-bright fellow, named Dawson.
During the chilly rains or the nipping, winds of our first days in
prison, Dawson would, as he rose in, the morning, survey the forbidding
skies with lack-luster eyes and remark, oracularly:

"Well, Ole Boo gits us agin, to-day."

He was so unvarying in this salutation to the morn that his designation
of disagreeable weather as "Ole Boo" became generally adopted by us.
When the hot weather came on, Dawson's remark, upon rising and seeing
excellent prospects for a scorcher, changed to: "Well, Ole Sol, the
Haymaker, is going to git in his work on us agin to-day."

As long as he lived and was able to talk, this was Dawson's invariable
observation at the break of day.

He was quite right.  The Ole Haymaker would do some famous work before he
descended in the West, sending his level rays through the wide
interstices between the somber pines.

By nine o'clock in the morning his beams would begin to fairly singe
everything in the crowded pen.  The hot sand would glow as one sees it in
the center of the unshaded highway some scorching noon in August.  The
high walls of the prison prevented the circulation inside of any breeze
that might be in motion, while the foul stench rising from the putrid
Swamp and the rotting ground seemed to reach the skies.

One can readily comprehend the horrors of death on the burning sands of
a desert.  But the desert sand is at least clean; there is nothing worse
about it than heat and intense dryness.  It is not, as that was at
Andersonville, poisoned with the excretions of thousands of sick and
dying men, filled with disgusting vermin, and loading the air with the
germs of death.  The difference is as that between a brick-kiln and a
sewer.  Should the fates ever decide that I shall be flung out upon sands
to perish, I beg that the hottest place in the Sahara may be selected,
rather than such a spot as the interior of the Andersonville Stockade.

It may be said that we had an abundance of water, which made a decided
improvement on a desert.  Doubtless--had that water been pure.  But every
mouthful of it was a blood poison, and helped promote disease and death.
Even before reaching the Stockade it was so polluted by the drainage of
the Rebel camps as to be utterly unfit for human use.  In our part of the
prison we sank several wells--some as deep as forty feet--to procure
water.  We had no other tools for this than our ever-faithful half
canteens, and nothing wherewith to wall the wells.  But a firm clay was
reached a few feet below the surface, which afforded tolerable strong
sides for the lower part, ana furnished material to make adobe bricks for
curbs to keep out the sand of the upper part.  The sides were continually
giving away, however, and fellows were perpetually falling down the
holes, to the great damage of their legs and arms.  The water, which was
drawn up in little cans, or boot leg buckets, by strings made of strips
of cloth, was much better than that of the creek, but was still far from
pure, as it contained the seepage from the filthy ground.

The intense heat led men to drink great quantities of water, and this
superinduced malignant dropsical complaints, which, next to diarrhea,
scurvy and gangrene, were the ailments most active in carrying men off.
Those affected in this way swelled up frightfully from day to day.  Their
clothes speedily became too small for them, and were ripped off, leaving
them entirely naked, and they suffered intensely until death at last came
to their relief.  Among those of my squad who died in this way, was a
young man named Baxter, of the Fifth Indiana Cavalry, taken at
Chicamauga.  He was very fine looking--tall, slender, with regular
features and intensely black hair and eyes; he sang nicely, and was
generally liked.  A more pitiable object than he, when last I saw him,
just before his death, can not be imagined.  His body had swollen until
it seemed marvelous that the human skin could bear so much distention
without disruption, All the old look of bright intelligence had been.
driven from his face by the distortion of his features.  His swarthy hair
and beard, grown long and ragged, had that peculiar repulsive look which
the black hair of the sick is prone to assume.

I attributed much of my freedom from the diseases to which others
succumbed to abstention from water drinking.  Long before I entered the
army, I had constructed a theory--on premises that were doubtless as
insufficient as those that boyish theories are usually based upon--that
drinking water was a habit, and a pernicious one, which sapped away the
energy.  I took some trouble to curb my appetite for water, and soon
found that I got along very comfortably without drinking anything beyond
that which was contained in my food.  I followed this up after entering
the army, drinking nothing at any time but a little coffee, and finding
no need, even on the dustiest marches, for anything more.  I do not
presume that in a year I drank a quart of cold water.  Experience seemed
to confirm my views, for I noticed that the first to sink under a
fatigue, or to yield to sickness, were those who were always on the
lookout for drinking water, springing from their horses and struggling
around every well or spring on the line of march for an opportunity to
fill their canteens.

I made liberal use of the Creek for bathing purposes, however, visiting
it four or five times a day during the hot days, to wash myself all
over.  This did not cool one off much, for the shallow stream was nearly
as hot as the sand, but it seemed to do some good, and it helped pass
away the tedious hours.  The stream was nearly all the time filled as
full of bathers as they could stand, and the water could do little
towards cleansing so many.  The occasional rain storms that swept across
the prison were welcomed, not only because they cooled the air
temporarily, but because they gave us a shower-bath.  As they came up,
nearly every one stripped naked and got out where he could enjoy the full
benefit of the falling water.  Fancy, if possible, the spectacle of
twenty-five thousand or thirty thousand men without a stitch of clothing
upon them.  The like has not been seen, I imagine, since the naked
followers of Boadicea gathered in force to do battle to the Roman

It was impossible to get really clean.  Our bodies seemed covered with a
varnish-like, gummy matter that defied removal by water alone.
I imagined that it came from the rosin or turpentine, arising from the
little pitch pine fires over which we hovered when cooking our rations.
It would yield to nothing except strong soap-and soap, as I have before
stated--was nearly as scarce in the Southern Confederacy as salt.  We in
prison saw even less of it, or rather, none at all.  The scarcity of it,
and our desire for it, recalls a bit of personal experience.

I had steadfastly refused all offers of positions outside the prison on
parole, as, like the great majority of the prisoners, my hatred of the
Rebels grew more bitter, day by day; I felt as if I would rather die than
accept the smallest favor at their hands, and I shared the common
contempt for those who did.  But, when the movement for a grand attack on
the Stockade--mentioned in a previous chapter--was apparently rapidly
coming to a head, I was offered a temporary detail outside to, assist in
making up some rolls.  I resolved to accept; first because I thought I
might get some information that would be of use in our enterprise; and,
next, because I foresaw that the rush through the gaps in the Stockade
would be bloody business, and by going out in advance I would avoid that
much of the danger, and still be able to give effective assistance.

I was taken up to Wirz's office.  He was writing at a desk at one end of
a large room when the Sergeant brought me in.  He turned around, told the
Sergeant to leave me, and ordered me to sit down upon a box at the other
end of the room.

Turning his back and resuming his writing, in a few minutes he had
forgotten me.  I sat quietly, taking in the details for a half-hour, and
then, having exhausted everything else in the room, I began wondering
what was in the box I was sitting upon.  The lid was loose; I hitched it
forward a little without attracting Wirz's attention, and slipped my left
hand down of a voyage of discovery.  It seemed very likely that there was
something there that a loyal Yankee deserved better than a Rebel.
I found that it was a fine article of soft soap.  A handful was scooped
up and speedily shoved into my left pantaloon pocket.  Expecting every
instant that Wirz would turn around and order me to come to the desk to
show my handwriting, hastily and furtively wiped my hand on the back of
my shirt and watched Wirz with as innocent an expression as a school boy
assumes when he has just flipped a chewed paper wad across the room.
Wirz was still engrossed in his writing, and did not look around.  I was
emboldened to reach down for another handful.  This was also successfully
transferred, the hand wiped off on the back of the shirt, and the face
wore its expression of infantile ingenuousness.  Still Wirz did not look
up.  I kept dipping up handful after handful, until I had gotten about a
quart in the left hand pocket.  After each handful I rubbed my hand off
on the back of my shirt and waited an instant for a summons to the desk.
Then the process was repeated with the other hand, and a quart of the
saponaceous mush was packed in the right hand pocket.

Shortly after Wirz rose and ordered a guard to take me away and keep me,
until he decided what to do with me.  The day was intensely hot, and soon
the soap in my pockets and on the back of my shirt began burning like
double strength Spanish fly blisters.  There was nothing to do but grin
and bear it.  I set my teeth, squatted down under the shade of the
parapet of the fort, and stood it silently and sullenly.  For the first
time in my life I thoroughly appreciated the story of the Spartan boy,
who stole the fox and suffered the animal to tear his bowels out rather
than give a sign which would lead to the exposure of his theft.

Between four and five o'clock-after I had endured the thing for five or
six hours, a guard came with orders from Wirz that I should be returned
to the Stockade.  Upon hastily removing my clothes, after coming inside,
I found I had a blister on each thigh, and one down my back, that would
have delighted an old practitioner of the heroic school.  But I also had
a half gallon of excellent soft soap.  My chums and I took a magnificent
wash, and gave our clothes the same, and we still had soap enough left to
barter for some onions that we had long coveted, and which tasted as
sweet to us as manna to the Israelites.



The time moved with leaden feet.  Do the best we could, there were very
many tiresome hours for which no occupation whatever could be found.
All that was necessary to be done during the day--attending roll call,
drawing and cooking rations, killing lice and washing--could be disposed
of in an hour's time, and we were left with fifteen or sixteen waking
hours, for which there was absolutely no employment.  Very many tried to
escape both the heat and ennui by sleeping as much as possible through
the day, but I noticed that those who did this soon died, and
consequently I did not do it.  Card playing had sufficed to pass away the
hours at first, but our cards soon wore out, and deprived us of this
resource.  My chum, Andrews, and I constructed a set of chessmen with an
infinite deal of trouble.  We found a soft, white root in the swamp which
answered our purpose.  A boy near us had a tolerably sharp pocket-knife,
for the use of which a couple of hours each day, we gave a few spoonfuls
of meal.  The knife was the only one among a large number of prisoners,
as the Rebel guards had an affection for that style of cutlery, which led
them to search incoming prisoners, very closely.  The fortunate owner of
this derived quite a little income of meal by shrewdly loaning it to his
knifeless comrades.  The shapes that we made for pieces and pawns were
necessarily very rude, but they were sufficiently distinct for
identification.  We blackened one set with pitch pine soot, found a piece
of plank that would answer for a board and purchased it from its
possessor for part of a ration of meal, and so were fitted out with what
served until our release to distract our attention from much of the
surrounding misery.

Every one else procured such amusement as they could.  Newcomers, who
still had money and cards, gambled as long as their means lasted.  Those
who had books read them until the leaves fell apart.  Those who had paper
and pen and ink tried to write descriptions and keep journals, but this
was usually given up after being in prison a few weeks.  I was fortunate
enough to know a boy who had brought a copy of "Gray's Anatomy" into
prison with him.  I was not specially interested in the subject, but it
was Hobson's choice; I could read anatomy or nothing, and so I tackled it
with such good will that before my friend became sick and was taken
outside, and his book with him, I had obtained a very fair knowledge of
the rudiments of physiology.

There was a little band of devoted Christian workers, among whom were
Orderly Sergeant Thomas J. Sheppard, Ninety-Seventh O. Y. L, now a
leading Baptist minister in Eastern Ohio; Boston Corbett, who afterward
slew John Wilkes Booth, and Frank Smith, now at the head of the Railroad
Bethel work at Toledo.  They were indefatigable in trying to evangelize
the prison.  A few of them would take their station in some part of the
Stockade (a different one every time), and begin singing some old
familiar hymn like:

               "Come, Thou fount of every blessing,"

and in a few minutes they would have an attentive audience of as many
thousand as could get within hearing.  The singing would be followed by
regular services, during which Sheppard, Smith, Corbett, and some others
would make short, spirited, practical addresses, which no doubt did much
good to all who heard them, though the grains of leaven were entirely too
small to leaven such an immense measure of meal.  They conducted several
funerals, as nearly like the way it was done at home as possible.  Their
ministrations were not confined to mere lip service, but they labored
assiduously in caring for the sick, and made many a poor fellow's way to
the grave much smoother for him.

This was about all the religious services that we were favored with.
The Rebel preachers did not make that effort to save our misguided souls
which one would have imagined they would having us where we could not
choose but hear they might have taken advantage of our situation to rake
us fore and aft with their theological artillery.  They only attempted it
in one instance.  While in Richmond a preacher came into our room and
announced in an authoritative way that he would address us on religious
subjects.  We uncovered respectfully, and gathered around him.  He was a
loud-tongued, brawling Boanerges, who addressed the Lord as if drilling a

He spoke but a few moments before making apparent his belief that the
worst of crimes was that of being a Yankee, and that a man must not only
be saved through Christ's blood, but also serve in the Rebel army before
he could attain to heaven.

Of course we raised such a yell of derision that the sermon was brought
to an abrupt conclusion.

The only minister who came into the Stockade was a Catholic priest,
middle-aged, tall, slender, and unmistakably devout.  He was unwearied in
his attention to the sick, and the whole day could be seen moving around
through the prison, attending to those who needed spiritual consolation.
It was interesting to see him administer the extreme unction to a dying
man.  Placing a long purple scarf about his own neck and a small brazen
crucifix in the hands of the dying one, he would kneel by the latter's
side and anoint him upon the eyes, ears, nostrils; lips, hands, feet and
breast, with sacred oil; from a little brass vessel, repeating the while,
in an impressive voice, the solemn offices of the Church.

His unwearying devotion gained the admiration of all, no matter how
little inclined one might be to view priestliness generally with favor.
He was evidently of such stuff as Christian heros have ever been made of,
and would have faced stake and fagot, at the call of duty, with
unquailing eye.  His name was Father Hamilton, and he was stationed at
Macon.  The world should know more of a man whose services were so
creditable to humanity and his Church:

The good father had the wisdom of the serpent, with the harmlessness of
the dove.  Though full of commiseration for the unhappy lot of the
prisoners, nothing could betray him into the slightest expression of
opinion regarding the war or those who were the authors of all this
misery.  In our impatience at our treatment, and hunger for news, we
forgot his sacerdotal character, and importuned him for tidings of the
exchange.  His invariable reply was that he lived apart from these things
and kept himself ignorant of them.

"But, father," said I one day, with an impatience that I could not wholly
repress, "you must certainly hear or read something of this, while you
are outside among the Rebel officers."  Like many other people, I
supposed that the whole world was excited over that in which I felt a
deep interest.

"No, my son," replied he, in his usual calm, measured tones.  "I go not
among them, nor do I hear anything from them.  When I leave the prison in
the evening, full of sorrow at what I have seen here, I find that the
best use I can make of my time is in studying the Word of God, and
especially the Psalms of David."

We were not any longer good company for each other.  We had heard over
and over again all each other's stories and jokes, and each knew as much
about the other's previous history as we chose to communicate.  The story
of every individual's past life, relations, friends, regiment, and
soldier experience had been told again and again, until the repetition
was wearisome.  The cool nights following the hot days were favorable to
little gossiping seances like the yarn-spinning watches of sailors on
pleasant nights.  Our squad, though its stock of stories was worn
threadbare, was fortunate enough to have a sweet singer in Israel "Nosey"
Payne--of whose tunefulness we never tired.  He had a large repertoire of
patriotic songs, which he sang with feeling and correctness, and which
helped much to make the calm Summer nights pass agreeably.  Among the
best of these was "Brave Boys are They," which I always thought was the
finest ballad, both in poetry and music, produced by the War.



With each long, hot Summer hour the lice, the maggot-flies and the
N'Yaarkers increased in numbers and venomous activity.  They were
ever-present annoyances and troubles; no time was free from them.
The lice worried us by day and tormented us by night; the maggot-flies
fouled our food, and laid in sores and wounds larvae that speedily
became masses of wriggling worms.  The N'Yaarkers were human vermin
that preyed upon and harried us unceasingly.

They formed themselves into bands numbering from five to twenty-five,
each led by a bold, unscrupulous, energetic scoundrel.  We now called
them "Raiders," and the most prominent and best known of the bands were
called by the names of their ruffian leaders, as "Mosby's Raiders,"
"Curtis's Raiders," "Delaney's Raiders," "Sarsfield's Raiders,"
"Collins's Raiders," etc.

As long as we old prisoners formed the bulk of those inside the Stockade,
the Raiders had slender picking.  They would occasionally snatch a
blanket from the tent poles, or knock a boy down at the Creek and take
his silver watch from him; but this was all.  Abundant opportunities for
securing richer swag came to them with the advent of the Plymouth
Pilgrims.  As had been before stated, these boys brought in with them a
large portion of their first instalment of veteran bounty--aggregating in
amount, according to varying estimates, between twenty-five thousand and
one hundred thousand dollars.  The Pilgrims were likewise well clothed,
had an abundance of blankets and camp equipage, and a plentiful supply of
personal trinkets, that could be readily traded off to the Rebels.  An
average one of them--even if his money were all gone--was a bonanza to
any band which could succeed in plundering him.  His watch and chain,
shoes, knife, ring, handkerchief, combs and similar trifles, would net
several hundred dollars in Confederate money.  The blockade, which cut
off the Rebel communication with the outer world, made these in great
demand.  Many of the prisoners that came in from the Army of the Potomac
repaid robbing equally well.  As a rule those from that Army were not
searched so closely as those from the West, and not unfrequently they
came in with all their belongings untouched, where Sherman's men,
arriving the same day, would be stripped nearly to the buff.

The methods of the Raiders were various, ranging all the way from sneak
thievery to highway robbery.  All the arts learned in the prisons and
purlieus of New York were put into exercise.  Decoys, "bunko-steerers" at
home, would be on the look-out for promising subjects as each crowd of
fresh prisoners entered the gate, and by kindly offers to find them a
sleeping place, lure them to where they could be easily despoiled during
the night.  If the victim resisted there was always sufficient force at
hand to conquer him, and not seldom his life paid the penalty of his
contumacy.  I have known as many as three of these to be killed in a
night, and their bodies--with throats cut, or skulls crushed in--be found
in the morning among the dead at the gates.

All men having money or valuables were under continual espionage, and
when found in places convenient for attack, a rush was made for them.
They were knocked down and their persons rifled with such swift dexterity
that it was done before they realized what had happened.

At first these depredations were only perpetrated at night.  The quarry
was selected during the day, and arrangements made for a descent.  After
the victim was asleep the band dashed down upon him, and sheared him of
his goods with incredible swiftness.  Those near would raise the cry of
"Raiders!" and attack the robbers.  If the latter had secured their booty
they retreated with all possible speed, and were soon lost in the crowd.
If not, they would offer battle, and signal for assistance from the other
bands.  Severe engagements of this kind were of continual occurrence, in
which men were so badly beaten as to die from the effects.  The weapons
used were fists, clubs, axes, tent-poles, etc.  The Raiders were
plentifully provided with the usual weapons of their class--slung-shots
and brass-knuckles.  Several of them had succeeded in smuggling
bowie-knives into prison.

They had the great advantage in these rows of being well acquainted with
each other, while, except the Plymouth Pilgrims, the rest of the
prisoners were made up of small squads of men from each regiment in the
service, and total strangers to all outside of their own little band.
The Raiders could concentrate, if necessary, four hundred or five hundred
men upon any point of attack, and each member of the gangs had become so
familiarized with all the rest by long association in New York, and
elsewhere, that he never dealt a blow amiss, while their opponents were
nearly as likely to attack friends as enemies.

By the middle of June the continual success of the Raiders emboldened
them so that they no longer confined their depredations to the night,
but made their forays in broad daylight, and there was hardly an hour in
the twenty-four that the cry of "Raiders!  Raiders!" did, not go up from
some part of the pen, and on looking in the direction of the cry, one
would see a surging commotion, men struggling, and clubs being plied
vigorously.  This was even more common than the guards shooting men at
the Creek crossing.

One day I saw "Dick Allen's Raiders," eleven in number, attack a man
wearing the uniform of Ellett's Marine Brigade.  He was a recent comer,
and alone, but he was brave.  He had come into possession of a spade, by
some means or another, and he used this with delightful vigor and effect.
Two or three times he struck one of his assailants so fairly on the head
and with such good will that I congratulated myself that he had killed
him.  Finally, Dick Allen managed to slip around behind him unnoticed,
and striking him on the head with a slung-shot, knocked him down, when
the whole crowd pounced upon him to kill him, but were driven off by
others rallying to his assistance.

The proceeds of these forays enabled the Raiders to wax fat and lusty,
while others were dying from starvation.  They all had good tents,
constructed of stolen blankets, and their headquarters was a large, roomy
tent, with a circular top, situated on the street leading to the South
Gate, and capable of accommodating from seventy-five to one hundred men.
All the material for this had been wrested away from others.  While
hundreds were dying of scurvy and diarrhea, from the miserable,
insufficient food, and lack of vegetables, these fellows had flour, fresh
meat, onions, potatoes, green beans, and other things, the very looks of
which were a torture to hungry, scorbutic, dysenteric men.  They were on
the best possible terms with the Rebels, whom they fawned upon and
groveled before, and were in return allowed many favors, in the way of
trading, going out upon detail, and making purchases.

Among their special objects of attack were the small traders in the
prison.  We had quite a number of these whose genius for barter was so
strong that it took root and flourished even in that unpropitious soil,
and during the time when new prisoners were constantly coming in with
money, they managed to accumulate small sums--from ten dollars upward, by
trading between the guards and the prisoners.  In the period immediately
following a prisoner's entrance he was likely to spend all his money and
trade off all his possessions for food, trusting to fortune to get him
out of there when these were gone.  Then was when he was profitable to
these go-betweens, who managed to make him pay handsomely for what he
got.  The Raiders kept watch of these traders, and plundered them
whenever occasion served.  It reminded one of the habits of the fishing
eagle, which hovers around until some other bird catches a fish, and then
takes it away.



To fully appreciate the condition of affairs let it be remembered that we
were a community of twenty-five thousand boys and young men--none too
regardful of control at best--and now wholly destitute of government.
The Rebels never made the slightest attempt to maintain order in the
prison.  Their whole energies were concentrated in preventing our escape.
So long as we staid inside the Stockade, they cared as little what we did
there as for the performances of savages in the interior of Africa.
I doubt if they would have interfered had one-half of us killed and eaten
the other half.  They rather took a delight in such atrocities as came to
their notice.  It was an ocular demonstration of the total depravity of
the Yankees.

Among ourselves there was no one in position to lay down law and enforce
it.  Being all enlisted men we were on a dead level as far as rank was
concerned--the highest being only Sergeants, whose stripes carried no
weight of authority.  The time of our stay was--it was hoped--too
transient to make it worth while bothering about organizing any form of
government.  The great bulk of the boys were recent comers, who hoped
that in another week or so they would be out again.  There were no fat
salaries to tempt any one to take upon himself the duty of ruling the
masses, and all were left to their own devices, to do good or evil,
according to their several bents, and as fear of consequences swayed
them.  Each little squad of men was a law unto themselves, and made and
enforced their own regulations on their own territory. The administration
of justice was reduced to its simplest terms.  If a fellow did wrong he
was pounded--if there was anybody capable of doing it.  If not he went

The almost unvarying success of the Raiders in--their forays gave the
general impression that they were invincible--that is, that not enough
men could be concentrated against them to whip them.  Our ill-success in
the attack we made on them in April helped us to the same belief.  If we
could not beat them then, we could not now, after we had been enfeebled
by months of starvation and disease.  It seemed to us that the Plymouth
Pilgrims, whose organization was yet very strong, should undertake the
task; but, as is usually the case in this world, where we think somebody
else ought to undertake the performance of a disagreeable public duty,
they did not see it in the light that we wished them to.  They
established guards around their squads, and helped beat off the Raiders
when their own territory was invaded, but this was all they would do.
The rest of us formed similar guards.  In the southwest corner of the
Stockade--where I was--we formed ourselves into a company of fifty active
boys--mostly belonging to my own battalion and to other Illinois
regiments--of which I was elected Captain.  My First Lieutenant was a
tall, taciturn, long-armed member of the One Hundred and Eleventh
Illinois, whom we called "Egypt," as he came from that section of the
State.  He was wonderfully handy with his fists.  I think he could knock
a fellow down so that he would fall-harder, and lie longer than any
person I ever saw.  We made a tacit division of duties: I did the
talking, and "Egypt" went through the manual labor of knocking our
opponents down.  In the numerous little encounters in which our company
was engaged, "Egypt" would stand by my side, silent, grim and patient,
while I pursued the dialogue with the leader of the other crowd.  As soon
as he thought the conversation had reached the proper point, his long
left arm stretched out like a flash, and the other fellow dropped as if
he had suddenly come in range of a mule that was feeling well.  That
unexpected left-hander never failed.  It would have made Charles Reade's
heart leap for joy to see it.

In spite of our company and our watchfulness, the Raiders beat us badly
on one occasion.  Marion Friend, of Company I of our battalion, was one
of the small traders, and had accumulated forty dollars by his bartering.
One evening at dusk Delaney's Raiders, about twenty-five strong, took
advantage of the absence of most of us drawing rations, to make a rush
for Marion.  They knocked him down, cut him across the wrist and neck
with a razor, and robbed him of his forty dollars.  By the time we could
rally Delaney and his attendant scoundrels were safe from pursuit in the
midst of their friends.

This state of things had become unendurable.  Sergeant Leroy L. Key,
of Company M, our battalion, resolved to make an effort to crush the
Raiders.  He was a printer, from Bloomington, Illinois, tall, dark,
intelligent and strong-willed, and one of the bravest men I ever knew.
He was ably seconded by "Limber Jim," of the Sixty-Seventh Illinois,
whose lithe, sinewy form, and striking features reminded one of a young
Sioux brave.  He had all of Key's desperate courage, but not his brains
or his talent for leadership.  Though fearfully reduced in numbers, our
battalion had still about one hundred well men in it, and these formed
the nucleus for Key's band of "Regulators," as they were styled.  Among
them were several who had no equals in physical strength and courage in
any of the Raider chiefs.  Our best man was Ned Carrigan, Corporal of
Company I, from Chicago--who was so confessedly the best man in the whole
prison that he was never called upon to demonstrate it.  He was a
big-hearted, genial Irish boy, who was never known to get into trouble
on his own account, but only used his fists when some of his comrades
were imposed upon.  He had fought in the ring, and on one occasion had
killed a man with a single blow of his fist, in a prize fight near St.
Louis. We were all very proud of him, and it was as good as an
entertainment to us to see the noisiest roughs subside into deferential
silence as Ned would come among them, like some grand mastiff in the
midst of a pack of yelping curs.  Ned entered into the regulating scheme
heartily.  Other stalwart specimens of physical manhood in our battalion
were Sergeant Goody, Ned Johnson, Tom Larkin, and others, who, while not
approaching Carrigan's perfect manhood, were still more than a match for
the best of the Raiders.

Key proceeded with the greatest secrecy in the organization of his
forces.  He accepted none but Western men, and preferred Illinoisans,
Iowans, Kansans, Indianians and Ohioans.  The boys from those States
seemed to naturally go together, and be moved by the same motives.
He informed Wirz what he proposed doing, so that any unusual commotion
within the prison might not be mistaken for an attempt upon the Stockade,
and made the excuse for opening with the artillery.  Wirz, who happened
to be in a complaisant humor, approved of the design, and allowed him the
use of the enclosure of the North Gate to confine his prisoners in.

In spite of Key's efforts at secrecy, information as to his scheme
reached the Raiders.  It was debated at their headquarters, and decided
there that Key must be killed.  Three men were selected to do this work.
They called on Key, a dusk, on the evening of the 2d of July.  In
response to their inquiries, he came out of the blanket-covered hole on
the hillside that he called his tent.  They told him what they had heard,
and asked if it was true.  He said it was.  One of them then drew a
knife, and the other two, "billies" to attack him.  But, anticipating
trouble, Key had procured a revolver which one of the Pilgrims had
brought in in his knapsack and drawing this he drove them off, but
without firing a shot.

The occurrence caused the greatest excitement.  To us of the Regulators
it showed that the Raiders had penetrated our designs, and were prepared
for them.  To the great majority of the prisoners it was the first
intimation that such a thing was contemplated; the news spread from squad
to squad with the greatest rapidity, and soon everybody was discussing
the chances of the movement.  For awhile men ceased their interminable
discussion of escape and exchange--let those over worked words and themes
have a rare spell of repose--and debated whether the Raiders would whip
the regulators, or the Regulators conquer the Raiders.  The reasons which
I have previously enumerated, induced a general disbelief in the
probability of our success.  The Raiders were in good health well fed,
used to operating together, and had the confidence begotten by a long
series of successes.  The Regulators lacked in all these respects.

Whether Key had originally fixed on the next day for making the attack,
or whether this affair precipitated the crisis, I know not, but later in
the evening he sent us all order: to be on our guard all night, and ready
for action the next morning.

There was very little sleep anywhere that night.  The Rebels learned
through their spies that something unusual was going on inside, and as
their only interpretation of anything unusual there was a design upon the
Stockade, they strengthened the guards, took additional precautions in
every way, and spent the hours in anxious anticipation.

We, fearing that the Raiders might attempt to frustrate the scheme by an
attack in overpowering force on Key's squad, which would be accompanied
by the assassination of him and Limber Jim, held ourselves in readiness
to offer any assistance that might be needed.

The Raiders, though confident of success, were no less exercised.  They
threw out pickets to all the approaches to their headquarters, and
provided otherwise against surprise.  They had smuggled in some canteens
of a cheap, vile whisky made from sorghum--and they grew quite hilarious
in their Big Tent over their potations.  Two songs had long ago been
accepted by us as peculiarly the Raiders' own--as some one in their crowd
sang them nearly every evening, and we never heard them anywhere else.
The first began:

               In Athol lived a man named Jerry Lanagan;
               He battered away till he hadn't a pound.
               His father he died, and he made him a man agin;
               Left him a farm of ten acres of ground.

The other related the exploits of an Irish highwayman named Brennan,
whose chief virtue was that

               What he rob-bed from the rich he gave unto the poor.

And this was the villainous chorus in which they all joined, and sang in
such a way as suggested highway robbery, murder, mayhem and arson:

               Brennan on the moor!
               Brennan on the moor!
               Proud and undaunted stood
               John Brennan on the moor.

They howled these two yearly the live-long night.  They became eventually
quite monotonous to us, who were waiting and watching.  It would have
been quite a relief if they had thrown in a new one every hour or so,
by way of variety.

Morning at last came.  Our companies mustered on their grounds, and then
marched to the space on the South Side where the rations were issued.
Each man was armed with a small club, secured to his wrist by a string.

The Rebels--with their chronic fear of an outbreak animating them--had
all the infantry in line of battle with loaded guns.  The cannon in the
works were shotted, the fuses thrust into the touch-holes and the men
stood with lanyards in hand ready to mow down everybody, at any instant.

The sun rose rapidly through the clear sky, which soon glowed down on us
like a brazen oven.  The whole camp gathered where it could best view the
encounter.  This was upon the North Side.  As I have before explained the
two sides sloped toward each other like those of a great trough.  The
Raiders' headquarters stood upon the center of the southern slope, and
consequently those standing on the northern slope saw everything as if
upon the stage of a theater.

While standing in ranks waiting the orders to move, one of my comrades
touched me on the arm, and said:

"My God!  just look over there!"

I turned from watching the Rebel artillerists, whose intentions gave me
more uneasiness than anything else, and looked in the direction indicated
by the speaker.  The sight was the strangest one my eyes ever
encountered.  There were at least fifteen thousand perhaps twenty
thousand--men packed together on the bank, and every eye was turned on
us.  The slope was such that each man's face showed over the shoulders of
the one in front of him, making acres on acres of faces.  It was as if
the whole broad hillside was paved or thatched with human countenances.

When all was ready we moved down upon the Big Tent, in as good order as
we could preserve while passing through the narrow tortuous paths between
the tents.  Key, Limber Jim, Ned Carigan, Goody, Tom Larkin, and Ned
Johnson led the advance with their companies.  The prison was as silent
as a graveyard.  As we approached, the Raiders massed themselves in a
strong, heavy line, with the center, against which our advance was
moving, held by the most redoubtable of their leaders.  How many there
were of them could not be told, as it was impossible to say where their
line ended and the mass of spectators began.  They could not themselves
tell, as the attitude of a large portion of the spectators would be
determined by which way the battle went.

Not a blow was struck until the lines came close together.  Then the
Raider center launched itself forward against ours, and grappled savagely
with the leading Regulators.  For an instant--it seemed an hour--the
struggle was desperate.

Strong, fierce men clenched and strove to throttle each other; great
muscles strained almost to bursting, and blows with fist and club-dealt
with all the energy of mortal hate--fell like hail.  One-perhaps
two-endless minutes the lines surged--throbbed--backward and forward a
step or two, and then, as if by a concentration of mighty effort, our
men flung the Raider line back from it--broken--shattered.  The next
instant our leaders were striding through the mass like raging lions.
Carrigan, Limber Jim, Larkin, Johnson and Goody each smote down a swath
of men before them, as they moved resistlessly forward.

We light weights had been sent around on the flanks to separate the
spectators from the combatants, strike the Raiders 'en revers,' and,
as far as possible, keep the crowd from reinforcing them.

In five minutes after the first blow--was struck the overthrow of the
Raiders was complete.  Resistance ceased, and they sought safety in

As the result became apparent to the--watchers on the opposite hillside,
they vented their pent-up excitement in a yell that made the very ground
tremble, and we answered them with a shout that expressed not only our
exultation over our victory, but our great relief from the intense strain
we had long borne.

We picked up a few prisoners on the battle field, and retired without
making any special effort to get any more then, as we knew, that they
could not escape us.

We were very tired, and very hungry.  The time for drawing rations had
arrived.  Wagons containing bread and mush had driven to the gates, but
Wirz would not allow these to be opened, lest in the excited condition of
the men an attempt might be made to carry them.  Key ordered operations
to cease, that Wirz might be re-assured and let the rations enter.
It was in vain.  Wirz was thoroughly scared.  The wagons stood out in the
hot sun until the mush fermented and soured, and had to be thrown away,
while we event rationless to bed, and rose the next day with more than
usually empty stomachs to goad us on to our work.



I may not have made it wholly clear to the reader why we did not have the
active assistance of the whole prison in the struggle with the Raiders.
There were many reasons for this.  First, the great bulk of the prisoners
were new comers, having been, at the farthest, but three or four weeks in
the Stockade. They did not comprehend the situation of affairs as we
older prisoners did.  They did not understand that all the outrages--or
very nearly all--were the work of--a relatively small crowd of graduates
from the metropolitan school of vice.  The activity and audacity of the
Raiders gave them the impression that at least half the able-bodied men
in the Stockade were engaged in these depredations.  This is always the
case.  A half dozen burglars or other active criminals in a town will
produce the impression that a large portion of the population are law
breakers.  We never estimated that the raiding N'Yaarkers, with their
spies and other accomplices, exceeded five hundred, but it would have
been difficult to convince a new prisoner that there were not thousands
of them.  Secondly, the prisoners were made up of small squads from every
regiment at the front along the whole line from the Mississippi to the
Atlantic.  These were strangers to and distrustful of all out side their
own little circles.  The Eastern men were especially so.  The
Pennsylvanians and New Yorkers each formed groups, and did not fraternize
readily with those outside their State lines.  The New Jerseyans held
aloof from all the rest, while the Massachusetts soldiers had very little
in Common with anybody--even their fellow New Englanders.  The Michigan
men were modified New Englanders.  They had the same tricks of speech;
they said "I be" for "I am," and "haag" for "hog;" "Let me look at your
knife half a second," or "Give me just a sup of that water," where we
said simply "Lend me your knife," or "hand me a drink."  They were less
reserved than the true Yankees, more disposed to be social, and, with all
their eccentricities, were as manly, honorable a set of fellows as it was
my fortune to meet with in the army.  I could ask no better comrades than
the boys of the Third Michigan Infantry, who belonged to the same
"Ninety" with me.  The boys from Minnesota and Wisconsin were very much
like those from Michigan.  Those from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and
Kansas all seemed cut off the same piece.  To all intents and purposes
they might have come from the same County.  They spoke the same dialect,
read the same newspapers, had studied McGuffey's Readers, Mitchell's
Geography, and Ray's Arithmetics at school, admired the same great men,
and held generally the same opinions on any given subject.  It was never
difficult to get them to act in unison--they did it spontaneously; while
it required an effort to bring about harmony of action with those from
other sections.  Had the Western boys in prison been thoroughly advised
of the nature of our enterprise, we could, doubtless, have commanded
their cordial assistance, but they were not, and there was no way in
which it could be done readily, until after the decisive blow was struck.

The work of arresting the leading Raiders went on actively all day on the
Fourth of July.  They made occasional shows of fierce resistance, but the
events of the day before had destroyed their prestige, broken their
confidence, and driven away from their support very many who followed
their lead when they were considered all-powerful.  They scattered from
their former haunts, and mingled with the crowds in other parts of the
prison, but were recognized, and reported to Key, who sent parties to
arrest them.  Several times they managed to collect enough adherents to
drive off the squads sent after them, but this only gave them a short
respite, for the squad would return reinforced, and make short work of
them.  Besides, the prisoners generally were beginning to understand and
approve of the Regulators' movement, and were disposed to give all the
assistance needed.

Myself and "Egypt," my taciturn Lieutenant of the sinewy left arm, were
sent with our company to arrest Pete Donnelly, a notorious character, and
leader of, a bad crowd.  He was more "knocker" than Raider, however.
He was an old Pemberton building acquaintance, and as we marched up to
where he was standing at the head of his gathering clan, he recognized me
and said:

"Hello, Illinoy," (the name by which I was generally known in prison)
"what do you want here?"

I replied, "Pete, Key has sent me for you.  I want you to go to

"What the ---- does Key want with me?"

"I don't know, I'm sure; he only said to bring you."

"But I haven't had anything to do with them other snoozers you have been
a-having trouble with."

"I don't know anything about that; you can talk to Key as to that.
I only know that we are sent for you."

"Well, you don't think you can take me unless I choose to go?  You haint
got anybody in that crowd big enough to make it worth while for him to
waste his time trying it."

I replied diffidently that one never knew what--he could do till he
tried; that while none of us were very big, we were as willing a lot of
little fellows as he ever saw, and if it were all the same to him, we
would undertake to waste a little time getting him to headquarters.

The conversation seemed unnecessarily long to "Egypt," who stood by my
side; about a half step in advance.  Pete was becoming angrier and more
defiant every minute.  His followers were crowding up to us, club in
hand.  Finally Pete thrust his fist in my face, and roared out:

"By ---, I ain't a going with ye, and ye can't take me,
you ---- ---- ---- "

This was "Egypt's" cue.  His long left arm uncoupled like the loosening
of the weight of a pile-driver.  It caught Mr. Donnelly under the chin,
fairly lifted him from his feet, and dropped him on his back among his
followers.  It seemed to me that the predominating expression in his face
as he went, over was that of profound wonder as to where that blow could
have come from, and why he did not see it in time to dodge or ward it

As Pete dropped, the rest of us stepped forward with our clubs, to engage
his followers, while "Egypt" and one or two others tied his hands and
otherwise secured him.  But his henchmen made no effort to rescue him,
and we carried him over to headquarters without molestation.

The work of arresting increased in interest and excitement until it
developed into the furore of a hunt, with thousands eagerly engaged in
it.  The Raiders' tents were torn down and pillaged.  Blankets, tent
poles, and cooking utensils were carried off as spoils, and the ground
was dug over for secreted property.  A large quantity of watches, chains,
knives, rings, gold pens, etc., etc.--the booty of many a raid--was
found, and helped to give impetus to the hunt.  Even the Rebel
Quartermaster, with the characteristic keen scent of the Rebels for
spoils, smelled from the outside the opportunity for gaining plunder,
and came in with a squad of Rebels equipped with spades, to dig for
buried treasures.  How successful he was I know not, as I took no part
in any of the operations of that nature.

It was claimed that several skeletons of victims of the Raiders were
found buried beneath the tent.  I cannot speak with any certainty as to
this, though my impression is that at least one was found.

By evening Key had perhaps one hundred and twenty-five of the most noted
Raiders in his hands.  Wirz had allowed him the use of the small stockade
forming the entrance to the North Gate to confine them in.

The next thing was the judgment and punishment of the arrested ones.
For this purpose Key organized a court martial composed of thirteen
Sergeants, chosen from the latest arrivals of prisoners, that they might
have no prejudice against the Raiders.  I believe that a man named Dick
McCullough, belonging to the Third Missouri Cavalry, was the President of
the Court.  The trial was carefully conducted, with all the formality of
a legal procedure that the Court and those managing the matter could
remember as applicable to the crimes with which the accused were charged.
Each of these confronted by the witnesses who testified against him, and
allowed to cross-examine them to any extent he desired.
The defense was managed by one of their crowd, the foul-tongued Tombs
shyster, Pete Bradley, of whom I have before spoken.  Such was the fear
of the vengeance of the Raiders and their friends that many who had been
badly abused dared not testify against them, dreading midnight
assassination if they did.  Others would not go before the Court except
at night.  But for all this there was no lack of evidence; there were
thousands who had been robbed and maltreated, or who had seen these
outrages committed on others, and the boldness of the leaders in their
bight of power rendered their identification a matter of no difficulty

The trial lasted several days, and concluded with sentencing quite a
large number to run the gauntlet, a smaller number to wear balls and
chains, and the following six to be hanged:

John Sarsfield, One Hundred and Forty-Fourth New York.
William Collins, alias "Mosby," Company D, Eighty-Eighth Pennsylvania,
Charles Curtis, Company A, Fifth Rhode Island Artillery.
Patrick Delaney, Company E, Eighty-Third Pennsylvania.
A. Muir, United States Navy.
Terence Sullivan, Seventy-Second New York.

These names and regiments are of little consequence, however, as I
believe all the rascals were professional bounty-jumpers, and did not
belong to any regiment longer than they could find an opportunity to
desert and join another.

Those sentenced to ball-and-chain were brought in immediately, and had
the irons fitted to them that had been worn by some of our men as a
punishment for trying to escape.

It was not yet determined how punishment should be meted out to the
remainder, but circumstances themselves decided the matter.  Wirz became
tired of guarding so large a number as Key had arrested, and he informed
Key that he should turn them back into the Stockade immediately.  Key
begged for little farther time to consider the disposition of the cases,
but Wirz refused it, and ordered the Officer of the Guard to return all
arrested, save those sentenced to death, to the Stockade.  In the
meantime the news had spread through the prison that the Raiders were to
be sent in again unpunished, and an angry mob, numbering some thousands,
and mostly composed of men who had suffered injuries at the hands of the
marauders, gathered at the South Gate, clubs in hand, to get such
satisfaction as they could out of the rascals.  They formed in two long,
parallel lines, facing inward, and grimly awaited the incoming of the
objects of their vengeance.

The Officer of the Guard opened the wicket in the gate, and began forcing
the Raiders through it--one at a time--at the point of the bayonet, and
each as he entered was told what he already realized well--that he must
run for his life.  They did this with all the energy that they possessed,
and as they ran blows rained on their heads, arms and backs.  If they
could succeed in breaking through the line at any place they were
generally let go without any further punishment.  Three of the number
were beaten to death.  I saw one of these killed.  I had no liking for
the gauntlet performance, and refused to have anything to do with it,
as did most, if not all, of my crowd.  While the gauntlet was in
operation, I was standing by my tent at the head of a little street,
about two hundred feet from the line, watching what was being done.
A sailor was let in.  He had a large bowie knife concealed about his
person somewhere, which he drew, and struck savagely with at his
tormentors on either side.  They fell back from before him, but closed in
behind and pounded him terribly.  He broke through the line, and ran up
the street towards me.  About midway of the distance stood a boy who had
helped carry a dead man out during the day, and while out had secured a
large pine rail which he had brought in with him.  He was holding this
straight up in the air, as if at a "present arms."  He seemed to have
known from the first that the Raider would run that way.  Just as he came
squarely under it, the boy dropped the rail like the bar of a toll gate.
It struck the Raider across the head, felled him as if by a shot, and his
pursuers then beat him to death.



It began to be pretty generally understood through the prison that six
men had been sentenced to be hanged, though no authoritative announcement
of the fact had been made.  There was much canvassing as to where they
should be executed, and whether an attempt to hang them inside of the
Stockade would not rouse their friends to make a desperate effort to
rescue them, which would precipitate a general engagement of even larger
proportions than that of the 3d.  Despite the result of the affairs of
that and the succeeding days, the camp was not yet convinced that the
Raiders were really conquered, and the Regulators themselves were not
thoroughly at ease on that score.  Some five thousand or six thousand new
prisoners had come in since the first of the month, and it was claimed
that the Raiders had received large reinforcements from those,--a claim
rendered probable by most of the new-comers being from the Army of the

Key and those immediately about him kept their own counsel in the matter,
and suffered no secret of their intentions to leak out, until on the
morning of the 11th, when it became generally known that the sentences
were too be carried into effect that day, and inside the prison.

My first direct information as to this was by a messenger from Key with
an order to assemble my company and stand guard over the carpenters who
were to erect the scaffold.  He informed me that all the Regulators would
be held in readiness to come to our relief if we were attacked in force.
I had hoped that if the men were to be hanged I would be spared the
unpleasant duty of assisting, for, though I believed they richly deserved
that punishment, I had much rather some one else administered it upon
them.  There was no way out of it, however, that I could see, and so
"Egypt" and I got the boys together, and marched down to the designated
place, which was an open space near the end of the street running from
the South Gate, and kept vacant for the purpose of issuing rations.
It was quite near the spot where the Raiders' Big Tent had stood, and
afforded as good a view to the rest of the camp as could be found.

Key had secured the loan of a few beams and rough planks, sufficient to
build a rude scaffold with.  Our first duty was to care for these as they
came in, for such was the need of wood, and plank for tent purposes, that
they would scarcely have fallen to the ground before they were spirited
away, had we not stood over them all the time with clubs.

The carpenters sent by Key came over and set to work.  The N'Yaarkers
gathered around in considerable numbers, sullen and abusive.  They cursed
us with all their rich vocabulary of foul epithets, vowed that we should
never carry out the execution, and swore that they had marked each one
for vengeance.  We returned the compliments in kind, and occasionally it
seemed as if a general collision was imminent; but we succeeded in
avoiding this, and by noon the scaffold was finished.  It was a very
simple affair.  A stout beam was fastened on the top of two posts, about
fifteen feet high.  At about the height of a man's head a couple of
boards stretched across the space between the posts, and met in the
center.  The ends at the posts laid on cleats; the ends in the center
rested upon a couple of boards, standing upright, and each having a piece
of rope fastened through a hole in it in such a manner, that a man could
snatch it from under the planks serving as the floor of the scaffold, and
let the whole thing drop.  A rude ladder to ascend by completed the

As the arrangements neared completion the excitement in and around the
prison grew intense.  Key came over with the balance of the Regulators,
and we formed a hollow square around the scaffold, our company marking
the line on the East Side.  There were now thirty thousand in the prison.
Of these about one-third packed themselves as tightly about our square as
they could stand.  The remaining twenty thousand were wedged together in
a solid mass on the North Side.  Again I contemplated the wonderful,
startling, spectacle of a mosaic pavement of human faces covering the
whole broad hillside.

Outside, the Rebel, infantry was standing in the rifle pits, the
artillerymen were in place about their loaded and trained pieces, the No.
4 of each gun holding the lanyard cord in his hand, ready to fire the
piece at the instant of command.  The small squad of cavalry was drawn up
on the hill near the Star Fort, and near it were the masters of the
hounds, with their yelping packs.

All the hangers-on of the Rebel camp--clerks, teamsters, employer,
negros, hundreds of white and colored women, in all forming a motley
crowd of between one and two thousand, were gathered together in a group
between the end of the rifle pits and the Star Fort.  They had a good
view from there, but a still better one could be had, a little farther to
the right, and in front of the guns.  They kept edging up in that
direction, as crowds will, though they knew the danger they would incur
if the artillery opened.

The day was broiling hot.  The sun shot his perpendicular rays down with
blistering fierceness, and the densely packed, motionless crowds made the
heat almost insupportable.

Key took up his position inside the square to direct matters.  With him
were Limber Jim, Dick McCullough, and one or two others.  Also, Ned
Johnson, Tom Larkin, Sergeant Goody, and three others who were to act as
hangmen.  Each of these six was provided with a white sack, such as the
Rebels brought in meal in.  Two Corporals of my company--"Stag" Harris
and Wat Payne--were appointed to pull the stays from under the platform
at the signal.

A little after noon the South Gate opened, and Wirz rode in, dressed in a
suit of white duck, and mounted on his white horse--a conjunction which
had gained for him the appellation of "Death on a Pale Horse."  Behind
him walked the faithful old priest, wearing his Church's purple insignia
of the deepest sorrow, and reading the service for the condemned.  The
six doomed men followed, walking between double ranks of Rebel guards.

All came inside the hollow square and halted.  Wirz then said:

"Brizners, I return to you dose men so Boot as I got dem.  You haf tried
dem yourselves, and found dem guilty--I haf had notting to do wit it.
I vash my hands of eferyting connected wit dem.  Do wit dem as you like,
and may Gott haf mercy on you and on dem.  Garts, about face! Voryvarts,

With this he marched out and left us.

For a moment the condemned looked stunned.  They seemed to comprehend for
the first time that it was really the determination of the Regulators to
hang them.  Before that they had evidently thought that the talk of
hanging was merely bluff.  One of them gasped out:

"My God, men, you don't really mean to hang us up there!"

Key answered grimly and laconically:

"That seems to be about the size of it."

At this they burst out in a passionate storm of intercessions and
imprecations, which lasted for a minute or so, when it was stopped by one
of them saying imperatively:

"All of you stop now, and let the priest talk for us."

At this the priest closed the book upon which he had kept his eyes bent
since his entrance, and facing the multitude on the North Side began a
plea for mercy.

The condemned faced in the same direction to read their fate in the
countenances of those whom he was addressing.  This movement brought
Curtis--a low-statured, massively built man--on the right of their line,
and about ten or fifteen steps from my company.

The whole camp had been as still as death since Wirz's exit.  The silence
seemed to become even more profound as the priest began his appeal.
For a minute every ear was strained to catch what he said.  Then, as the
nearest of the thousands comprehended what he was saying they raised a
shout of "No! no!!  NO!!"  "Hang them! hang them!"  "Don't let them go!

"Hang the rascals! hang the villains!"

"Hang,'em!  hang 'em!  hang 'em!"

This was taken up all over the prison, and tens of thousands throats
yelled it in a fearful chorus.

Curtis turned from the crowd with desperation convulsing his features.
Tearing off the broad-brimmed hat which he wore, he flung it on the
ground with the exclamation!

"By God, I'll die this way first!" and, drawing his head down and folding
his arms about it, he dashed forward for the center of my company, like a
great stone hurled from a catapult.

"Egypt" and I saw where he was going to strike, and ran down the line to
help stop him.  As he came up we rained blows on his head with our clubs,
but so many of us struck at him at once that we broke each other's clubs
to pieces, and only knocked him on his knees.  He rose with an almost
superhuman effort, and plunged into the mass beyond.

The excitement almost became delirium.  For an instant I feared that
everything was gone to ruin.  "Egypt" and I strained every energy to
restore our lines, before the break could be taken advantage of by the
others.  Our boys behaved splendidly, standing firm, and in a few seconds
the line was restored.

As Curtis broke through, Delaney, a brawny Irishman standing next to him,
started to follow.  He took one step.  At the same instant Limber Jim's
long legs took three great strides, and placed him directly in front of
Delaney.  Jim's right hand held an enormous bowie-knife, and as he raised
it above Delaney he hissed out:

"If you dare move another step, I'll open you ---- ---- ----, I'll open
you from one end to the other.

Delaney stopped.  This checked the others till our lines reformed.

When Wirz saw the commotion he was panic-stricken with fear that the
long-dreaded assault on the Stockade had begun.  He ran down from the
headquarter steps to the Captain of the battery, shrieking:

"Fire! fire! fire!"

The Captain, not being a fool, could see that the rush was not towards
the Stockade, but away from it, and he refrained from giving the order.

But the spectators who had gotten before the guns, heard Wirz's excited
yell, and remembering the consequences to themselves should the artillery
be discharged, became frenzied with fear, and screamed, and fell down
over and trampled upon each other in endeavoring to get away.  The guards
on that side of the Stockade ran down in a panic, and the ten thousand
prisoners immediately around us, expecting no less than that the next
instant we would be swept with grape and canister, stampeded
tumultuously.  There were quite a number of wells right around us, and
all of these were filled full of men that fell into them as the crowd
rushed away. Many had legs and arms broken, and I have no doubt that
several were killed.

It was the stormiest five minutes that I ever saw.

While this was going on two of my company, belonging to the Fifth Iowa
Cavalry, were in hot pursuit of Curtis.  I had seen them start and
shouted to them to come back, as I feared they would be set upon by the
Raiders and murdered. But the din was so overpowering that they could not
hear me, and doubtless would not have come back if they had heard.

Curtis ran diagonally down the hill, jumping over the tents and knocking
down the men who happened in his way.  Arriving at the swamp he plunged
in, sinking nearly to his hips in the fetid, filthy ooze. He forged his
way through with terrible effort.  His pursuers followed his example, and
caught up to him just as he emerged on the other side.  They struck him
on the back of the head with their clubs, and knocked him down.

By this time order had been restored about us.  The guns remained silent,
and the crowd massed around us again.  From where we were we could see
the successful end of the chase after Curtis, and could see his captors
start back with him.  Their success was announced with a roar of applause
from the North Side.  Both captors and captured were greatly exhausted,
and they were coming back very slowly.  Key ordered the balance up on to
the scaffold.  They obeyed promptly.  The priest resumed his reading of
the service for the condemned.  The excitement seemed to make the doomed
ones exceedingly thirsty.  I never saw men drink such inordinate
quantities of water.  They called for it continually, gulped down a quart
or more at a time, and kept two men going nearly all the time carrying it
to them.

When Curtis finally arrived, he sat on the ground for a minute or so, to
rest, and then, reeking with filth, slowly and painfully climbed the
steps.  Delaney seemed to think he was suffering as much from fright as
anything else, and said to him:

"Come on up, now, show yourself a man, and die game."

Again the priest resumed his reading, but it had no interest to Delaney,
who kept calling out directions to Pete Donelly, who was standing in the
crowd, as to dispositions to be made of certain bits of stolen property:
to give a watch to this one, a ring to another, and so on.  Once the
priest stopped and said:

"My son, let the things of this earth go, and turn your attention toward
those of heaven."

Delaney paid no attention to this admonition.  The whole six then began
delivering farewell messages to those in the crowd.  Key pulled a watch
from his pocket and said:

"Two minutes more to talk."

Delaney said cheerfully:

"Well, good by, b'ys; if I've hurted any of y ez, I hope ye'll forgive
me.  Shpake up, now, any of yez that I've hurted, and say yell forgive

We called upon Marion Friend, whose throat Delaney had tried to cut three
weeks before while robbing him of forty dollars, to come forward, but
Friend was not in a forgiving mood, and refused with an oath.

Key said:

"Time's up!" put the watch back in his pocket and raised his hand like an
officer commanding a gun.  Harris and Payne laid hold of the ropes to the
supports of the planks.  Each of the six hangmen tied a condemned man's
hands, pulled a meal sack down over his head, placed the noose around his
neck, drew it up tolerably close, and sprang to the ground.  The priest
began praying aloud.

Key dropped his hand.  Payne and Harris snatched the supports out with a
single jerk.  The planks fell with a clatter.  Five of the bodies swung
around dizzily in the air.  The sixth that of "Mosby," a large, powerful,
raw-boned man, one of the worst in the lot, and who, among other crimes,
had killed Limber Jim's brother-broke the rope, and fell with a thud to
the ground.  Some of the men ran forward, examined the body, and decided
that he still lived.  The rope was cut off his neck, the meal sack
removed, and water thrown in his face until consciousness returned.
At the first instant he thought he was in eternity.  He gasped out:

"Where am I?  Am I in the other world?"

Limber Jim muttered that they would soon show him where he was, and went
on grimly fixing up the scaffold anew.  "Mosby" soon realized what had
happened, and the unrelenting purpose of the Regulator Chiefs.  Then he
began to beg piteously for his life, saying:

"O for God's sake, do not put me up there again!  God has spared my life
once.  He meant that you should be merciful to me."

Limber Jim deigned him no reply.  When the scaffold was rearranged, and a
stout rope had replaced the broken one, he pulled the meal sack once more
over "Mosby's" head, who never ceased his pleadings.  Then picking up the
large man as if he were a baby, he carried him to the scaffold and handed
him up to Tom Larkin, who fitted the noose around his neck and sprang
down.  The supports had not been set with the same delicacy as at first,
and Limber Jim had to set his heel and wrench desperately at them before
he could force them out.  Then "Mosby" passed away without a struggle.

After hanging till life was extinct, the bodies were cut down, the
meal-sacks pulled off their faces, and the Regulators formal two parallel
lines, through which all the prisoners passed and took a look at the
bodies.  Pete Donnelly and Dick Allen knelt down and wiped the froth off
Delaney's lips, and swore vengeance against those who had done him to



After the executions Key, knowing that he, and all those prominently
connected with the hanging, would be in hourly danger of assassination if
they remained inside, secured details as nurses and ward-masters in the
hospital, and went outside.  In this crowd were Key, Ned Carrigan, Limber
Jim, Dick McCullough, the six hangmen, the two Corporals who pulled the
props from under the scaffold, and perhaps some others whom I do not now

In the meanwhile provision had been made for the future maintenance of
order in the prison by the organization of a regular police force, which
in time came to number twelve hundred men.  These were divided into
companies, under appropriate officers.  Guards were detailed for certain
locations, patrols passed through the camp in all directions continually,
and signals with whistles could summon sufficient assistance to suppress
any disturbance, or carry out any orders from the chief.

The chieftainship was first held by Key, but when he went outside he
appointed Sergeant A. R. Hill, of the One Hundredth O. V. I.--now a
resident of Wauseon, Ohio,--his successor.  Hill was one of the
notabilities of that immense throng.  A great, broad-shouldered, giant,
in the prime of his manhood--the beginning of his thirtieth year--he was
as good-natured as big, and as mild-mannered as brave.  He spoke slowly,
softly, and with a slightly rustic twang, that was very tempting to a
certain class of sharps to take him up for a "luberly greeny."  The man
who did so usually repented his error in sack-cloth and ashes.

Hill first came into prominence as the victor in the most stubbornly
contested fight in the prison history of Belle Isle.  When the squad of
the One Hundredth Ohio--captured at Limestone Station, East Tennessee, in
September,1863--arrived on Belle Isle, a certain Jack Oliver, of the
Nineteenth Indiana, was the undisputed fistic monarch of the Island.
He did not bear his blushing honors modestly; few of a right arm that
indefinite locality known as "the middle of next week," is something
that the possessor can as little resist showing as can a girl her first
solitaire ring.  To know that one can certainly strike a disagreeable
fellow out of time is pretty sure to breed a desire to do that thing
whenever occasion serves.  Jack Oliver was one who did not let his biceps
rust in inaction, but thrashed everybody on the Island whom he thought
needed it, and his ideas as to those who should be included in this class
widened daily, until it began to appear that he would soon feel it his
duty to let no unwhipped man escape, but pound everybody on the Island.

One day his evil genius led him to abuse a rather elderly man belonging
to Hill's mess.  As he fired off his tirade of contumely, Hill said with
more than his usual "soft" rusticity:

--an--old--one--such--bad names."

Jack Oliver turned on him savagely.

"Well!  may be you want to take it up?"

The grin on Hill's face looked still more verdant, as he answered with
gentle deliberation:


Jack foamed, but his fiercest bluster could not drive that infantile
smile from Hill's face, nor provoke a change in the calm slowness of his

It was evident that nothing would do but a battle-royal, and Jack had
sense enough to see that the imperturbable rustic was likely to give him
a job of some difficulty.  He went off and came back with his clan, while
Hill's comrades of the One Hundredth gathered around to insure him fair
play.  Jack pulled off his coat and vest, rolled up his sleeves, and made
other elaborate preparations for the affray.  Hill, without removing a
garment, said, as he surveyed him with a mocking smile:


Jack roared out,

"By ---, I'll make you partickeler before I get through with you.  Now,
how shall we settle this?  Regular stand-up-and knock-down, or rough and

If anything Hill's face was more vacantly serene, and his tones blander
than ever, as he answered:

"Strike--any--gait--that--suits--you,--Mister;--I guess--I--will--be

They closed.  Hill feinted with his left, and as Jack uncovered to guard,
he caught him fairly on the lower left ribs, by a blow from his mighty
right fist, that sounded--as one of the by-standers expressed it--"like
striking a hollow log with a maul."

The color in Jack's face paled.  He did not seem to understand how he had
laid himself open to such a pass, and made the same mistake, receiving
again a sounding blow in the short ribs.  This taught him nothing,
either, for again he opened his guard in response to a feint, and again
caught a blow on his luckless left, ribs, that drove the blood from his
face and the breath from his body.  He reeled back among his supporters
for an instant to breathe.  Recovering his wind, be dashed at Hill
feinted strongly with his right, but delivered a terrible kick against
the lower part of the latter's abdomen.  Both closed and fought savagely
at half-arm's length for an instant; during which Hill struck Jack so
fairly in the mouth as to break out three front teeth, which the latter
swallowed.  Then they clenched and struggled to throw each other.  Hill's
superior strength and skill crushed his opponent to the ground, and he
fell upon him.  As they grappled there, one of Jack's followers sought to
aid his leader by catching Hill by the hair, intending to kick him in the
face.  In an instant he was knocked down by a stalwart member of the One
Hundredth, and then literally lifted out of the ring by kicks.

Jack was soon so badly beaten as to be unable to cry "enough!"  One of
his friends did that service for him, the fight ceased, and thenceforth
Mr.  Oliver resigned his pugilistic crown, and retired to the shades of
private life.  He died of scurvy and diarrhea, some months afterward, in

The almost hourly scenes of violence and crime that marked the days and
nights before the Regulators began operations were now succeeded by the
greatest order.  The prison was freer from crime than the best governed
City.  There were frequent squabbles and fights, of course, and many
petty larcenies.  Rations of bread and of wood, articles of clothing,
and the wretched little cans and half canteens that formed our cooking
utensils, were still stolen, but all these were in a sneak-thief way.
There was an entire absence of the audacious open-day robbery and murder
--the "raiding" of the previous few weeks.  The summary punishment
inflicted on the condemned was sufficient to cow even bolder men than the
Raiders, and they were frightened into at least quiescence.

Sergeant Hill's administration was vigorous, and secured the best
results.  He became a judge of all infractions of morals and law, and sat
at the door of his tent to dispense justice to all comers, like the Cadi
of a Mahometan Village.  His judicial methods and punishments also
reminded one strongly of the primitive judicature of Oriental lands.
The wronged one came before him and told his tale: he had his blouse, or
his quart cup, or his shoes, or his watch, or his money stolen during the
night.  The suspected one was also summoned, confronted with his accuser,
and sharply interrogated.  Hill would revolve the stories in his mind,
decide the innocence or guilt of the accused, and if he thought the
accusation sustained, order the culprit to punishment.  He did not
imitate his Mussulman prototypes to the extent of bowstringing or
decapitating the condemned, nor did he cut any thief's hands off, nor yet
nail his ears to a doorpost, but he introduced a modification of the
bastinado that made those who were punished by it even wish they were
dead.  The instrument used was what is called in the South a "shake"
--a split shingle, a yard or more long, and with one end whittled down to
form a handle.  The culprit was made to bend down until he could catch
around his ankles with his hands.  The part of the body thus brought into
most prominence was denuded of clothing and "spanked" from one to twenty
times, as Hill ordered, by the "shake" in same strong and willing hand.
It was very amusing--to the bystanders.  The "spankee" never seemed to
enter very heartily into the mirth of the occasion.  As a rule he slept
on his face for a week or so after, and took his meals standing.

The fear of the spanking, and Hill's skill in detecting the guilty ones,
had a very salutary effect upon the smaller criminals.

The Raiders who had been put into irons were very restive under the
infliction, and begged Hill daily to release them.  They professed the
greatest penitence, and promised the most exemplary behavior for the
future.  Hill refused to release them, declaring that they should wear
the irons until delivered up to our Government.

One of the Raiders--named Heffron--had, shortly after his arrest, turned
State's evidence, and given testimony that assisted materially in the
conviction of his companions.  One morning, a week or so after the
hanging, his body was found lying among the other dead at the South Gate.
The impression made by the fingers of the hand that had strangled him,
were still plainly visible about the throat.  There was no doubt as to
why he had been killed, or that the Raiders were his murderers, but the
actual perpetrators were never discovered.



All during July the prisoners came streaming in by hundreds and thousands
from every portion of the long line of battle, stretching from the
Eastern bank of the Mississippi to the shores of the Atlantic.  Over one
thousand squandered by Sturgis at Guntown came in; two thousand of those
captured in the desperate blow dealt by Hood against the Army of the
Tennessee on the 22d of the month before Atlanta; hundreds from Hunter's
luckless column in the Shenandoah Valley, thousands from Grant's lines in
front of Petersburg.  In all, seven thousand one hundred and twenty-eight
were, during the month, turned into that seething mass of corrupting
humanity to be polluted and tainted by it, and to assist in turn to make
it fouler and deadlier.  Over seventy hecatombs of chosen victims
--of fair youths in the first flush of hopeful manhood, at the threshold
of a life of honor to themselves and of usefulness to the community;
beardless boys, rich in the priceless affections of homes, fathers,
mothers, sisters and sweethearts, with minds thrilling with high
aspirations for the bright future, were sent in as the monthly sacrifice
to this Minotaur of the Rebellion, who, couched in his foul lair, slew
them, not with the merciful delivery of speedy death, as his Cretan
prototype did the annual tribute of Athenian youths and maidens, but,
gloating over his prey, doomed them to lingering destruction.  He rotted
their flesh with the scurvy, racked their minds with intolerable
suspense, burned their bodies with the slow fire of famine, and delighted
in each separate pang, until they sank beneath the fearful accumulation.
Theseus [Sherman.  D.W.]--the deliverer--was coming.  His terrible sword
could be seen gleaming as it rose and fell on the banks of the James, and
in the mountains beyond Atlanta, where he was hewing his way towards them
and the heart of the Southern Confederacy.  But he came too late to save
them.  Strike as swiftly and as heavily as he would, he could not strike
so hard nor so sure at his foes with saber blow and musket shot, as they
could at the hapless youths with the dreadful armament of starvation and

Though the deaths were one thousand eight hundred and seventeen more than
were killed at the battle of Shiloh--this left the number in the prison
at the end of the month thirty-one thousand six hundred and
seventy-eight.  Let me assist the reader's comprehension of the
magnitude of this number by giving the population of a few important
Cities, according to the census of 1870:

Cambridge, Mass     89,639
Charleston, S.  C.  48,958
Columbus, O.        31,274
Dayton, O.          30,473
Fall River, Mass    26,766
Kansas City, Mo     32,260

The number of prisoners exceeded the whole number of men between the ages
of eighteen and forty-five in several of the States and Territories in
the Union.  Here, for instance, are the returns for 1870, of men of
military age in some portions of the country:

Arizona              5,157
Colorado            15,166
Dakota               5,301
Idaho                9,431
Montana             12,418
Nebraska            35,677
Nevada              24,762
New Hampshire       60,684
Oregon              23,959
Rhode Island        44,377
Vermont             62,450
West Virginia        6,832

It was more soldiers than could be raised to-day, under strong pressure,
in either Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut,
Dakota, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine,
Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Medico, Oregon,
Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont or West Virginia.

These thirty-one thousand six hundred and seventy-eight active young men,
who were likely to find the confines of a State too narrow for them, were
cooped up on thirteen acres of ground--less than a farmer gives for
play-ground for a half dozen colts or a small flock of sheep.  There was
hardly room for all to lie down at night, and to walk a few hundred feet
in any direction would require an hour's patient threading of the mass of
men and tents.

The weather became hotter and hotter; at midday the sand would burn the
hand.  The thin skins of fair and auburn-haired men blistered under the
sun's rays, and swelled up in great watery puffs, which soon became the
breeding grounds of the hideous maggots, or the still more deadly
gangrene.  The loathsome swamp grew in rank offensiveness with every
burning hour.  The pestilence literally stalked at noon-day, and struck
his victims down on every hand.  One could not look a rod in any
direction without seeing at least a dozen men in the last frightful
stages of rotting Death.

Let me describe the scene immediately around my own tent during the last
two weeks of July, as a sample of the condition of the whole prison:
I will take a space not larger than a good sized parlor or sitting room.
On this were at least fifty of us.  Directly in front of me lay two
brothers--named Sherwood--belonging to Company I, of my battalion, who
came originally from Missouri.  They were now in the last stages of
scurvy and diarrhea.  Every particle of muscle and fat about their limbs
and bodies had apparently wasted away, leaving the skin clinging close to
the bone of the face, arms, hands, ribs and thighs--everywhere except the
feet and legs, where it was swollen tense and transparent, distended with
gallons of purulent matter.  Their livid gums, from which most of their
teeth had already fallen, protruded far beyond their lips.  To their left
lay a Sergeant and two others of their company, all three slowly dying
from diarrhea, and beyond was a fair-haired German, young and intelligent
looking, whose life was ebbing tediously away.  To my right was a
handsome young Sergeant of an Illinois Infantry Regiment, captured at
Kenesaw.  His left arm had been amputated between the shoulder and elbow,
and he was turned into the Stockade with the stump all undressed, save
the ligating of the arteries.  Of course, he had not been inside an hour
until the maggot flies had laid eggs in the open wound, and before the
day was gone the worms were hatched out, and rioting amid the inflamed
and super-sensitive nerves, where their every motion was agony.
Accustomed as we were to misery, we found a still lower depth in his
misfortune, and I would be happier could I forget his pale, drawn face,
as he wandered uncomplainingly to and fro, holding his maimed limb with
his right hand, occasionally stopping to squeeze it, as one does a boil,
and press from it a stream of maggots and pus.  I do not think he ate or
slept for a week before he died.  Next to him staid an Irish Sergeant of
a New York Regiment, a fine soldierly man, who, with pardonable pride,
wore, conspicuously on his left breast, a medal gained by gallantry while
a British soldier in the Crimea.  He was wasting away with diarrhea, and
died before the month was out.

This was what one could see on every square rod of the prison.  Where I
was was not only no worse than the rest of the prison, but was probably
much better and healthier, as it was the highest ground inside, farthest
from the Swamp, and having the dead line on two sides, had a ventilation
that those nearer the center could not possibly have.  Yet, with all
these conditions in our favor, the mortality was as I have described.

Near us an exasperating idiot, who played the flute, had established
himself.  Like all poor players, he affected the low, mournful notes,
as plaintive as the distant cooing of the dove in lowering, weather.
He played or rather tooted away in his "blues"-inducing strain hour after
hour, despite our energetic protests, and occasionally flinging a club at
him.  There was no more stop to him than to a man with a hand-organ, and
to this day the low, sad notes of a flute are the swiftest reminder to me
of those sorrowful, death-laden days.

I had an illustration one morning of how far decomposition would progress
in a man's body before he died.  My chum and I found a treasure-trove in
the streets, in the shape of the body of a man who died during the night.
The value of this "find" was that if we took it to the gate, we would be
allowed to carry it outside to the deadhouse, and on our way back have an
opportunity to pick up a chunk of wood, to use in cooking.  While
discussing our good luck another party came up and claimed the body.
A verbal dispute led to one of blows, in which we came off victorious,
and I hastily caught hold of the arm near the elbow to help bear the body
away.  The skin gave way under my hand, and slipped with it down to the
wrist, like a torn sleeve.  It was sickening, but I clung to my prize,
and secured a very good chunk of wood while outside with it.  The wood
was very much needed by my mess, as our squad had then had none for more
than a week.



Naturally, we had a consuming hunger for news of what was being
accomplished by our armies toward crushing the Rebellion.  Now, more than
ever, had we reason to ardently wish for the destruction of the Rebel
power.  Before capture we had love of country and a natural desire for
the triumph of her flag to animate us.  Now we had a hatred of the Rebels
that passed expression, and a fierce longing to see those who daily
tortured and insulted us trampled down in the dust of humiliation.

The daily arrival of prisoners kept us tolerably well informed as to the
general progress of the campaign, and we added to the information thus
obtained by getting--almost daily--in some manner or another--a copy of a
Rebel paper.  Most frequently these were Atlanta papers, or an issue of
the "Memphis-Corinth-Jackson-Grenada-Chattanooga-Resacca-Marietta-Atlanta
Appeal," as they used to facetiously term a Memphis paper that left that
City when it was taken in 1862, and for two years fell back from place to
place, as Sherman's Army advanced, until at last it gave up the struggle
in September, 1864, in a little Town south of Atlanta, after about two
thousand miles of weary retreat from an indefatigable pursuer.  The
papers were brought in by "fresh fish," purchased from the guards at from
fifty cents to one dollar apiece, or occasionally thrown in to us when
they had some specially disagreeable intelligence, like the defeat of
Banks, or Sturgis, or Bunter, to exult over.  I was particularly
fortunate in getting hold of these.  Becoming installed as general reader
for a neighborhood of several thousand men, everything of this kind was
immediately brought to me, to be read aloud for the benefit of everybody.
All the older prisoners knew me by the nick-name of "Illinoy"
--a designation arising from my wearing on my cap, when I entered prison,
a neat little white metal badge of "ILLS."  When any reading matter was
brought into our neighborhood, there would be a general cry of:

"Take it up to 'Illinoy,'" and then hundreds would mass around my
quarters to bear the news read.

The Rebel papers usually had very meager reports of the operations of the
armies, and these were greatly distorted, but they were still very
interesting, and as we always started in to read with the expectation
that the whole statement was a mass of perversions and lies, where truth
was an infrequent accident, we were not likely to be much impressed with

There was a marled difference in the tone of the reports brought in from
the different armies.  Sherman's men were always sanguine.  They had no
doubt that they were pushing the enemy straight to the wall, and that
every day brought the Southern Confederacy much nearer its downfall.
Those from the Army of the Potomac were never so hopeful.  They would
admit that Grant was pounding Lee terribly, but the shadow of the
frequent defeats of the Army of the Potomac seemed to hang depressingly
over them.

There came a day, however, when our sanguine hopes as to Sherman were
checked by a possibility that he had failed; that his long campaign
towards Atlanta had culminated in such a reverse under the very walls of
the City as would compel an abandonment of the enterprise, and possibly a
humiliating retreat.  We knew that Jeff. Davis and his Government were
strongly dissatisfied with the Fabian policy of Joe Johnston.  The papers
had told us of the Rebel President's visit to Atlanta, of his bitter
comments on Johnston's tactics; of his going so far as to sneer about the
necessity of providing pontoons at Key West, so that Johnston might
continue his retreat even to Cuba.  Then came the news of Johnston's
Supersession by Hood, and the papers were full of the exulting
predictions of what would now be accomplished "when that gallant young
soldier is once fairly in the saddle."

All this meant one supreme effort to arrest the onward course of Sherman.
It indicated a resolve to stake the fate of Atlanta, and the fortunes of
the Confederacy in the West, upon the hazard of one desperate fight.
We watched the summoning up of every Rebel energy for the blow with
apprehension.  We dreaded another Chickamauga.

The blow fell on the 22d of July.  It was well planned.  The Army of the
Tennessee, the left of Sherman's forces, was the part struck.  On the
night of the 21st Hood marched a heavy force around its left flank and
gained its rear.  On the 22d this force fell on the rear with the
impetuous violence of a cyclone, while the Rebels in the works
immediately around Atlanta attacked furiously in front.

It was an ordeal that no other army ever passed through successfully.
The steadiest troops in Europe would think it foolhardiness to attempt to
withstand an assault in force in front and rear at the same time.
The finest legions that follow any flag to-day must almost inevitably
succumb to such a mode of attack.  But the seasoned veterans of the Army
of the Tennessee encountered the shock with an obstinacy which showed
that the finest material for soldiery this planet holds was that in which
undaunted hearts beat beneath blue blouses.  Springing over the front of
their breastworks, they drove back with a withering fire the force
assailing them in the rear.  This beaten off, they jumped back to their
proper places, and repulsed the assault in front.  This was the way the
battle was waged until night compelled a cessation of operations.  Our
boys were alternately behind the breastworks firing at Rebels advancing
upon the front, and in front of the works firing upon those coming up in
the rear.  Sometimes part of our line would be on one side of the works,
and part on the other.

In the prison we were greatly excited over the result of the engagement,
of which we were uncertain for many days.  A host of new prisoners
perhaps two thousand--was brought in from there, but as they were
captured during the progress of the fight, they could not speak
definitely as to its issue.  The Rebel papers exulted without stint over
what they termed "a glorious victory."  They were particularly jubilant
over the death of McPherson, who, they claimed, was the brain and guiding
hand of Sherman's army.  One paper likened him to the pilot-fish, which
guides the shark to his prey.  Now that he was gone, said the paper,
Sherman's army becomes a great lumbering hulk, with no one in it capable
of directing it, and it must soon fall to utter ruin under the skilfully
delivered strokes of the gallant Hood.

We also knew that great numbers of wounded had been brought to the prison
hospital, and this seemed to confirm the Rebel claim of a victory, as it
showed they retained possession of the battle field.

About the 1st of August a large squad of Sherman's men, captured in one
of the engagements subsequent to the 22d, came in.  We gathered around
them eagerly.  Among them I noticed a bright, curly-haired, blue-eyed
infantryman--or boy, rather, as he was yet beardless.  His cap was marked
"68th O. Y. Y. L," his sleeves were garnished with re-enlistment stripes,
and on the breast of his blouse was a silver arrow.  To the eye of the
soldier this said that he was a veteran member of the Sixty-Eighth
Regiment of Ohio Infantry (that is, having already served three years, he
had re-enlisted for the war), and that he belonged to the Third Division
of the Seventeenth Army Corps.  He was so young and fresh looking that
one could hardly believe him to be a veteran, but if his stripes had not
said this, the soldierly arrangement of clothing and accouterments, and
the graceful, self-possessed pose of limbs and body would have told the
observer that he was one of those "Old Reliables" with whom Sherman and
Grant had already subdued a third of the Confederacy.  His blanket,
which, for a wonder, the Rebels had neglected to take from him, was
tightly rolled, its ends tied together, and thrown over his shoulder
scarf-fashion.  His pantaloons were tucked inside his stocking tops,
that were pulled up as far as possible, and tied tightly around his ankle
with a string.  A none-too-clean haversack, containing the inevitable
sooty quart cup, and even blacker half-canteen, waft slung easily from
the shoulder opposite to that on which the blanket rested.  Hand him his
faithful Springfield rifle, put three days' rations in his haversack, and
forty rounds in his cartridge bog, and he would be ready, without an
instant's demur or question, to march to the ends of the earth, and fight
anything that crossed his path.  He was a type of the honest, honorable,
self respecting American boy, who, as a soldier, the world has not
equaled in the sixty centuries that war has been a profession.
I suggested to him that he was rather a youngster to be wearing veteran
chevrons.  "Yes," said he, "I am not so old as some of the rest of the
boys, but I have seen about as much service and been in the business
about as long as any of them.  They call me 'Old Dad,' I suppose because
I was the youngest boy in the Regiment, when we first entered the
service, though our whole Company, officers and all, were only a lot of
boys, and the Regiment to day, what's left of 'em, are about as young a
lot of officers and men as there are in the service.  Why, our old
Colonel ain't only twenty-four years old now, and he has been in command
ever since we went into Vicksburg.  I have heard it said by our boys that
since we veteranized the whole Regiment, officers, and men, average less
than twenty-four years old.  But they are gray-hounds to march and
stayers in a fight, you bet.  Why, the rest of the troops over in West
Tennessee used to call our Brigade 'Leggett's Cavalry,' for they always
had us chasing Old Forrest, and we kept him skedaddling, too, pretty
lively.  But I tell you we did get into a red hot scrimmage on the 22d.
It just laid over Champion Hills, or any of the big fights around
Vicksburg, and they were lively enough to amuse any one."

"So you were in the affair on the 22d, were you!  We are awful anxious to
hear all about it.  Come over here to my quarters and tell us all you
know.  All we know is that there has been a big fight, with McPherson
killed, and a heavy loss of life besides, and the Rebels claim a great

"O, they be -----.  It was the sickest victory they ever got.  About one
more victory of that kind would make their infernal old Confederacy ready
for a coroner's inquest.  Well, I can tell you pretty much all about that
fight, for I reckon if the truth was known, our regiment fired about the
first and last shot that opened and closed the fighting on that day.
Well, you see the whole Army got across the river, and were closing in
around the City of Atlanta.  Our Corps, the Seventeenth, was the extreme
left of the army, and were moving up toward the City from the East.
The Fifteenth (Logan's) Corps joined us on the right, then the Army of
the Cumberland further to the right.  We run onto the Rebs about sundown
the 21st.  They had some breastworks on a ridge in front of us, and we
had a pretty sharp fight before we drove them off.  We went right to
work, and kept at it all night in changing and strengthening the old
Rebel barricades, fronting them towards Atlanta, and by morning had some
good solid works along our whole line.  During the night we fancied we
could hear wagons or artillery moving away in front of us, apparently
going South, or towards our left.  About three or four o'clock in the
morning, while I was shoveling dirt like a beaver out on the works, the
Lieutenant came to me and said the Colonel wanted to see me, pointing to
a large tree in the rear, where I could find him.  I reported and found
him with General Leggett, who commanded our Division, talking mighty
serious, and Bob Wheeler, of F Company, standing there with his
Springfield at a parade rest.  As soon as I came up, the Colonel says:

"Boys, the General wants two level-headed chaps to go out beyond the
pickets to the front and toward the left.  I have selected you for the
duty.  Go as quietly as possible and as fast as you can; keep your eyes
and ears open; don't fire a shot if you can help it, and come back and
tell us exactly what you have seen and heard, and not what you imagine or
suspect.  I have selected you for the duty.'

"He gave us the countersign, and off we started over the breastworks and
through the thick woods.  We soon came to our skirmish or pickets, only a
few rods in front of our works, and cautioned them not to fire on us in
going or returning.  We went out as much as half a mile or more, until we
could plainly hear the sound of wagons and artillery.  We then cautiously
crept forward until we could see the main road leading south from the
City filled with marching men, artillery and teams.  We could hear the
commands of the officers and see the flags and banners of regiment after
regiment as they passed us.  We got back quietly and quickly, passed
through our picket line all right, and found the General and our Colonel
sitting on a log where we had left them, waiting for us.  We reported
what we had seen and heard, and gave it as our opinion that the Johnnies
were evacuating Atlanta.  The General shook his head, and the Colonel
says: 'You may re turn to your company.' Bob says to me:

"'The old General shakes his head as though he thought them d---d Rebs
ain't evacuating Atlanta so mighty sudden, but are up to some devilment
again. I ain't sure but he's right.  They ain't going to keep falling
back and falling back to all eternity, but are just agoin' to give us a
rip-roaring great big fight one o' these days--when they get a good
ready.  You hear me!'

"Saying which we both went to our companies, and laid down to get a
little sleep.  It was about daylight then, and I must have snoozed away
until near noon, when I heard the order 'fall in!' and found the regiment
getting into line, and the boys all tallying about going right into
Atlanta; that the Rebels had evacuated the City during the night, and
that we were going to have a race with the Fifteenth Corps as to which
would get into the City first.  We could look away out across a large
field in front of our works, and see the skirmish line advancing steadily
towards the main works around the City.  Not a shot was being, fired on
either side.

"To our surprise, instead of marching to the front and toward the City,
we filed off into a small road cut through the woods and marched rapidly
to the rear.  We could not understand what it meant.  We marched at quick
time, feeling pretty mad that we had to go to the rear, when the rest of
our Division were going into Atlanta.

"We passed the Sixteenth Corps lying on their arms, back in some open
fields, and the wagon trains of our Corps all comfortably corralled, and
finally found ourselves out by the Seventeenth Corps headquarters.  Two
or three companies were sent out to picket several roads that seemed to
cross at that point, as it was reported 'Rebel Cavalry' had been seen on
these roads but a short time before, and this accounted for our being
rushed out in such a great hurry.

"We had just stacked arms and were going to take a little rest after our
rapid march, when several Rebel prisoners were brought in by some of the
boys who had straggled a little.  They found the Rebels on the road we
had just marched out on.  Up to this time not a shot had been fired.
All was quiet back at the main works we had just left, when suddenly we
saw several staff officers come tearing up to the Colonel, who ordered us
to 'fall in!' 'Take aims!' 'about, face!'  The Lieutenant Colonel dashed
down one of the roads where one of the companies had gone out on picket.
The Major and Adjutant galloped down the others.  We did not wait for
them to come back, though, but moved right back on the road we had just
come out, in line of battle, our colors in the road, and our flanks in
open timber.  We soon reached a fence enclosing a large field, and there
could see a line of Rebels moving by the flank, and forming, facing
toward Atlanta, but to the left and in the rear of the position occupied
by our Corps.  As soon as we reached the fence we fired a round or two
into the backs of these gray coats, who broke into confusion.

"Just then the other companies joined us, and we moved off on 'double
quick by the right flank,' for you see we were completely cut off from
the troops up at the front, and we had to get well over to the right to
get around the flank of the Rebels.  Just about the time we fired on the
rebels the Sixteenth Corps opened up a hot fire of musketry and artillery
on them, some of their shot coming over mighty close to where we were.
We marched pretty fast, and finally turned in through some open fields to
the left, and came out just in the rear of the Sixteenth Corps, who were
fighting like devils along their whole line.

"Just as we came out into the open field we saw General R. K. Scott,
who used to be our Colonel, and who commanded our brigade, come tearing
toward us with one or two aids or orderlies.  He was on his big clay-bank
horse, 'Old Hatchie,' as we called him, as we captured him on the
battlefield at the battle of 'Matamora,' or 'Hell on the Hatchie,' as our
boys always called it.  He rode up to the Colonel, said something
hastily, when all at once we heard the all-firedest crash of musketry and
artillery way up at the front where we had built the works the night
before and left the rest of our brigade and Division getting ready to
prance into Atlanta when we were sent off to the rear.  Scott put spurs
to his old horse, who was one of the fastest runners in our Division,
and away he went back towards the position where his brigade and the
troops immediately to their left were now hotly engaged.  He rode right
along in rear of the Sixteenth Corps, paying no attention apparently to
the shot and shell and bullets that were tearing up the earth and
exploding and striking all around him.  His aids and orderlies vainly
tried to keep up with him.  We could plainly see the Rebel lines as they
came out of the woods into the open grounds to attack the Sixteenth
Corps, which had hastily formed in the open field, without any signs of
works, and were standing up like men, having a hand-to-hand fight.
We were just far enough in the rear so that every blasted shot or shell
that was fired too high to hit the ranks of the Sixteenth Corps came
rattling over amongst us.  All this time we were marching fast, following
in the direction General Scott had taken, who evidently had ordered the
Colonel to join his brigade up at the front.  We were down under the
crest of a little hill, following along the bank of a little creek,
keeping under cover of the bank as much as possible to protect us from
the shots of the enemy.  We suddenly saw General Logan and one or two of
his staff upon the right bank of the ravine riding rapidly toward us.
As he neared the head of the regiment he shouted:

"'Halt!  What regiment is that, and where are you going?'"  The Colonel,
in a loud voice, that all could hear, told him: "The Sixty-Eighth Ohio;
going to join our brigade of the Third Division--your old Division,
General, of the Seventeenth Corps."

"Logan says, 'you had better go right in here on the left of Dodge.
The Third Division have hardly ground enough left now to bury their dead.
God knows they need you.  But try it on, if you think you can get to

"Just at this moment a staff officer came riding up on the opposite side
of the ravine from where Logan was and interrupted Logan, who was about
telling the Colonel not to try to go to the position held by the Third
Division by the road cut through the woods whence we had come out, but to
keep off to the right towards the Fifteenth Corps, as the woods referred
to were full of Rebels.  The officer saluted Logan, and shouted across:

"General Sherman directs me to inform you of the death of General
McPherson, and orders you to take command of the Army of the Tennessee;
have Dodge close well up to the Seventeenth Corps, and Sherman will
reinforce you to the extent of the whole army.'

"Logan, standing in his stirrups, on his beautiful black horse, formed a
picture against the blue sky as we looked up the ravine at him, his black
eyes fairly blazing and his long black hair waving in the wind.
He replied in a ringing, clear tone that we all could hear:

"Say to General Sherman I have heard of McPherson's death, and have
assumed the command of the Army of the Tennessee, and have already
anticipated his orders in regard to closing the gap between Dodge and the
Seventeenth Corps.'

"This, of course, all happened in one quarter of the time I have been
telling you.  Logan put spurs to his horse and rode in one direction,
the staff officer of General Sherman in another, and we started on a
rapid step toward the front.  This was the first we had heard of
McPherson's death, and it made us feel very bad.  Some of the officers
and men cried as though they had lost a brother; others pressed their
lips, gritted their teeth, and swore to avenge his death.  He was a great
favorite with all his Army, particularly of our Corps, which he commanded
for a long while.  Our company, especially, knew him well, and loved him
dearly, for we had been his Headquarters Guard for over a year.  As we
marched along, toward the front, we could see brigades, and regiments,
and batteries of artillery; coming over from the right of the Army, and
taking position in new lines in rear of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth
Corps.  Major Generals and their staffs, Brigadier Generals and their
staffs, were mighty thick along the banks of the little ravine we were
following; stragglers and wounded men by the hundred were pouring in to
the safe shelter formed by the broken ground along which we were rapidly
marching; stories were heard of divisions, brigades and regiments that
these wounded or stragglers belonged, having been all cut to pieces;
officers all killed; and the speaker, the only one of his command not
killed, wounded or captured.  But you boys have heard and seen the same
cowardly sneaks, probably, in fights that you were in.  The battle raged
furiously all this time; part of the time the Sixteenth Corps seemed to
be in the worst; then it would let up on them and the Seventeenth Corps
would be hotly engaged along their whole front.

"We had probably marched half an hour since leaving Logan, and were
getting pretty near back to our main line of works, when the Colonel
ordered a halt and knapsacks to be unslung and piled up.  I tell you it
was a relief to get them off, for it was a fearful hot day, and we had
been marching almost double quick.  We knew that this meant business
though, and that we were stripping for the fight, which we would soon be
in.  Just at this moment we saw an ambulance, with the horses on a dead
run, followed by two or three mounted officers and men, coming right
towards us out of the very woods Logan had cautioned the Colonel to
avoid.  When the ambulance got to where we were it halted.  It was pretty
well out of danger from the bullets and shell of the enemy.  They
stopped, and we recognized Major Strong, of McPherson's Staff, whom the
all knew, as he was the Chief Inspector of our Corps, and in the
ambulance he had the body of General McPherson.  Major Strong,
it appears, during a slight lull in the fighting at that part of the
line, having taken an ambulance and driven into the very jaws of death to
recover the remains of his loved commander.  It seems he found the body
right by the side of the little road that we had gone out on when we went
to the rear.  He was dead when he found him, having been shot off his
horse, the bullet striking him in the back, just below his heart,
probably killing him instantly.  There was a young fellow with him who
was wounded also, when Strong found them.  He belonged to our First
Division, and recognized General McPherson, and stood by him until Major
Strong came up.  He was in the ambulance with the body of McPherson when
they stopped by us.

"It seems that when the fight opened away back in the rear where we had
been, and at the left of the Sixteenth Corps which was almost directly in
the rear of the Seventeenth Corps, McPherson sent his staff and orderlies
with various orders to different parts of the line, and started himself
to ride over from the Seventeenth Corps to the Sixteenth Corps, taking
exactly the same course our Regiment had, perhaps an hour before, but the
Rebels had discovered there was a gap between the Sixteenth and
Seventeenth Corps, and meeting no opposition to their advances in this
strip of woods, where they were hidden from view, they had marched right
along down in the rear, and with their line at right angles with the line
of works occupied by the left of the Seventeenth Corps; they were thus
parallel and close to the little road McPherson had taken, and probably
he rode right into them and was killed before he realized the true

"Having piled our knapsacks, and left a couple of our older men, who were
played out with the heat and most ready to drop with sunstroke, to guard
them, we started on again.  The ambulance with the corpse of Gen.
McPherson moved off towards the right of the Army, which was the last we
ever saw of that brave and handsome soldier.

"We bore off a little to the right of a large open field on top of a high
hill where one of our batteries was pounding away at a tremendous rate.
We came up to the main line of works just about at the left of the
Fifteenth Corps.  They seemed to be having an easy time of it just then
--no fighting going on in their front, except occasional shots from some
heavy guns on the main line of Rebel works around the City.  We crossed
right over the Fifteenth Corps' works and filed to the left, keeping
along on the outside of our works.  We had not gone far before the Rebel
gunners in the main works around the City discovered us; and the way they
did tear loose at us was a caution.  Their aim was rather bad, however,
and most of their shots went over us.  We saw one of them--I think it was
a shell--strike an artillery caisson belonging to one of our-batteries.
It exploded as it struck, and then the caisson, which was full of
ammunition, exploded with an awful noise, throwing pieces of wood and
iron and its own load of shot and shell high into the air, scattering
death and destruction to the men and horses attached to it.  We thought
we saw arms and legs and parts of bodies of men flying in every
direction; but we were glad to learn afterwards that it was the contents
of the knapsacks of the Battery boys, who had strapped them on the
caissons for transportation.

"Just after passing the hill where our battery was making things so
lively, they stopped firing to let us pass.  We saw General Leggett, our
Division Commander, come riding toward us.  He was outside of our line of
works, too.  You know how we build breastworks--sort of zigzag like, you
know, so they cannot be enfiladed.  Well, that's just the way the works
were along there, and you never saw such a curious shape as we formed our
Division in.  Why, part of them were on one side of the works, and go
along a little further and here was a regiment, or part of a regiment on
the other side, both sets firing in opposite directions.

"No sir'ee, they were not demoralized or in confusion, they were cool and
as steady as on parade.  But the old Division had, you know, never been
driven from any position they had once taken, in all their long service,
and they did not propose to leave that ridge until they got orders from
some one beside the Rebs.

"There were times when a fellow did not know which side of the works was
the safest, for the Johnnies were in front of us and in rear of us.
You see, our Fourth Division, which had been to the left of us, had been
forced to quit their works, when the Rebs got into the works in their
rear, so that our Division was now at the point where our line turned
sharply to the left, and rear--in the direction of the Sixteenth Corps.

"We got into business before we had been there over three minutes.
A line of the Rebs tried to charge across the open fields in front of us,
but by the help of the old twenty-four pounders (which proved to be part
of Cooper's Illinois Battery, that we had been alongside of in many a
hard fight before), we drove them back a-flying, only to have to jump
over on the outside of our works the next minute to tackle a heavy force
that came for our rear through that blasted strip of woods.  We soon
drove them off, and the firing on both sides seemed to have pretty much

"'Our Brigade,' which we discovered, was now commanded by 'Old Whiskers'
(Colonel Piles, of the Seventy-Eighth Ohio.  I'll bet he's got the
longest whiskers of any man in the Army.)  You see General Scott had not
been seen or heard of since he had started to the rear after our regiment
when the fighting first commenced.  We all believed that he was either
killed or captured, or he would have been with his command.  He was a
splendid soldier, and a bull-dog of a fighter.  His absence was a great
loss, but we had not much time to think of such things, for our brigade
was then ordered to leave the works and to move to the right about twenty
or thirty rods across a large ravine, where we were placed in position in
an open corn-field, forming a new line at quite an angle from the line of
works we had just left, extending to the left, and getting us back nearer
onto a line with the Sixteenth Corps.  The battery of howitzers, now
reinforced by a part of the Third Ohio heavy guns, still occupied the old
works on the highest part of the hill, just to the right of our new line.
We took our position just on the brow of a hill, and were ordered to lie
down, and the rear rank to go for rails, which we discovered a few rods
behind us in the shape of a good ten-rail fence.  Every rear-rank chap
came back with all the rails he could lug, and we barely had time to lay
them down in front of us, forming a little barricade of six to eight or
ten inches high, when we heard the most unearthly Rebel yell directly in
front of us.  It grew louder and came nearer and nearer, until we could
see a solid line of the gray coats coming out of the woods and down the
opposite slope, their battle flags flying, officers in front with drawn
swords, arms at right shoulder, and every one of them yelling like so
many Sioux Indians.  The line seemed to be massed six or eight ranks
deep, followed closely by the second line, and that by the third, each,
if possible, yelling louder and appearing more desperately reckless than
the one ahead.  At their first appearance we opened on them, and so did
the bully old twenty-four-pounders, with canister.

"On they came; the first line staggered and wavered back on to the
second, which was coming on the double quick.  Such a raking as we did
give them.  Oh, Lordy, how we did wish that we had the breech loading
Spencers or Winchesters.  But we had the old reliable Springfields, and
we poured it in hot and heavy.  By the time the charging column got down
the opposite slope, and were struggling through the thicket of
undergrowth in the ravine, they were one confused mass of officers and
men, the three lines now forming one solid column, which made several
desperate efforts to rush up to the top of the hill where we were
punishing them so.  One of their first surges came mighty near going
right over the left of our Regiment, as they were lying down behind their
little rail piles.  But the boys clubbed their guns and the officers used
their revolvers and swords and drove them back down the hill.

"The Seventy-Eighth and Twentieth Ohio, our right and left bowers, who
had been brigaded with us ever since 'Shiloh,' were into it as hot and
heavy as we had been, and had lost numbers of their officers and men, but
were hanging on to their little rail piles when the fight was over.
At one time the Rebs were right in on top of the Seventy-Eighth.  One big
Reb grabbed their colors, and tried to pull them out of the hands of the
color-bearer.  But old Captain Orr, a little, short, dried-up fellow,
about sixty years old, struck him with his sword across the back of the
neck, and killed him deader than a mackerel, right in his tracks.

"It was now getting dark, and the Johnnies concluded they had taken a
bigger contract in trying to drive us off that hill in one day than they
had counted on, so they quit charging on us, but drew back under cover of
the woods and along the old line of works that we had left, and kept up a
pecking away and sharp-shooting at us all night long.  They opened fire
on us from a number of pieces of artillery from the front, from the left,
and from some heavy guns away over to the right of us, in the main works
around Atlanta.

"We did not fool away much time that night, either.  We got our shovels
and picks, and while part of us were sharpshooting and trying to keep the
Rebels from working up too close to us, the rest of the boys were putting
up some good solid earthworks right where our rail piles had been, and by
morning we were in splendid shape to have received our friends, no matter
which way they had come at us, for they kept up such an all-fired
shelling of us from so many different directions; that the boys had built
traverses and bomb-proofs at all sorts of angles and in all directions.

"There was one point off to our right, a few rods up along our old line
of works where there was a crowd of Rebel sharpshooters that annoyed us
more than all the rest, by their constant firing at us through the night.
They killed one of Company H's boys, and wounded several others.  Finally
Captain Williams, of D Company, came along and said he wanted a couple of
good shots out of our company to go with him, so I went for one.  He took
about ten of us, and we crawled down into the ravine in front of where we
were building the works, and got behind a large fallen tree, and we laid
there and could just fire right up into the rear of those fellows as they
lay behind a traverse extending back from our old line of works.  It was
so dark we could only see where to fire by the flash of guns, but every
time they would shoot, some of us would let them have one.  They staid
there until almost daylight, when they, concluded as things looked, since
we were going to stay, they had better be going.

"It was an awful night.  Down in the ravine below us lay hundreds of
killed and wounded Rebels, groaning and crying aloud for water and for
help.  We did do what we could for those right around us--but it was so
dark, and so many shell bursting and bullets flying around that a fellow
could not get about much.  I tell you it was pretty tough next morning to
go along to the different companies of our regiment and hear who were
among the killed and wounded, and to see the long row of graves that were
being dug to bury our comrades and our officers.  There was the Captain
of Company E, Nelson Skeeles, of Fulton County, O., one of--the bravest
and best officers in the regiment.  By his side lay First Sergeant
Lesnit, and next were the two great, powerful Shepherds--cousins but more
like brothers.  One, it seems, was killed while supporting the head of
the other, who had just received a death wound, thus dying in each
other's arms.

"But I can't begin to think or tell you the names of all the poor boys
that we laid away to rest in their last, long sleep on that gloomy day.
Our Major was severely wounded, and several other officers had been hit
more or less badly.

"It was a frightful sight, though, to go over the field in front of our
works on that morning.  The Rebel dead and badly wounded laid where they
had fallen.  The bottom and opposite side of the ravine showed how
destructive our fire and that of the canister from the howitzers had
been.  The underbrush was cut, slashed, and torn into shreds, and the
larger trees were scarred, bruised and broken by the thousands of bullets
and other missiles that had been poured into them from almost every
conceivable direction during the day before.

"A lot of us boys went way over to the left into Fuller's Division of the
Sixteenth Corps, to see how some of our boys over there had got through
the scrimmage, for they had about as nasty a fight as any part of the
Army, and if it had not been for their being just where they were, I am
not sure but what the old Seventeenth Corps would have had a different
story to tell now.  We found our friends had been way out by Decatur,
where their brigade had got into a pretty lively fight on their own hook.

"We got back to camp, and the first thing I knew I was detailed for
picket duty, and we were posted over a few rods across the ravine in our
front.  We had not been out but a short time when we saw a flag of truce,
borne by an officer, coming towards us.  We halted him, and made him wait
until a report was sent back to Corps headquarters.  The Rebel officer
was quite chatty and talkative with our picket officer, while waiting.
He said he was on General Cleburne's staff, and that the troops that
charged us so fiercely the evening before was Cleburne's whole Division,
and that after their last repulse, knowing the hill where we were posted
was the most important position along our line, he felt that if they
would keep close to us during the night, and keep up a show of fight,
that we would pull out and abandon the hill before morning.  He said that
he, with about fifty of their best men, had volunteered to keep up the
demonstration, and it was his party that had occupied the traverse in our
old works the night before and had annoyed us and the Battery men by
their constant sharpshooting, which we fellows behind the old tree had
finally tired out.  He said they staid until almost daylight, and that he
lost more than half his men before he left.  He also told us that General
Scott was captured by their Division, at about the time and almost the
same spot as where General McPherson was killed, and that he was not hurt
or wounded, and was now a prisoner in their hands.

"Quite a lot of our staff officers soon came out, and as near as we
could learn the Rebels wanted a truce to bury their dead.  Our folks
tried to get up an exchange of prisoners that had been taken by both
sides the day before, but for some reason they could not bring it about.
But the truce for burying the dead was agreed to.  Along about dusk some
of the boys on my post got to telling about a lot of silver and brass
instruments that belonged to one of the bands of the Fourth Division,
which had been hung up in some small trees a little way over in front of
where we were when the fight was going on the day before, and that when,
a bullet would strike one of the horns they could hear it go 'pin-g' and
in a few minutes 'pan-g' would go another bullet through one of them.

"A new picket was just coming' on, and I had picked up my blanket and
haversack, and was about ready to start back to camp, when, thinks I,
'I'll just go out there and see about them horns.'  I told the boys what
I was going to do.  They all seemed to think it was safe enough, so out I
started.  I had not gone more than a hundred yards, I should think, when
here I found the horns all hanging around on the trees just as the boys
had described.  Some of them had lots of bullet holes in them.  But I saw
a beautiful, nice looking silver bugle hanging off to one side a little.
'I Thinks,' says I, 'I'll just take that little toot horn in out of the
wet, and take it back to camp.' I was just reaching up after it when I
heard some one say,

"'Halt!' and I'll be dog-Boned if there wasn't two of the meanest looking
Rebels, standing not ten feet from me, with their guns cocked and pointed
at me, and, of course, I knew I was a goner; they walked me back about
one hundred and fifty yards, where their picket line was.  From there I
was kept going for an hour or two until we got over to a place on the
railroad called East Point.  There I got in with a big crowd of our
prisoners, who were taken the day before, and we have been fooling along
in a lot of old cattle cars getting down here ever since.

"So this is 'Andersonville,' is it! Well, by ---!"



Clothing had now become an object of real solicitude to us older
prisoners.  The veterans of our crowd--the surviving remnant of those
captured at Gettysburg--had been prisoners over a year.  The next in
seniority--the Chickamauga boys--had been in ten months.  The Mine Run
fellows were eight months old, and my battalion had had seven months'
incarceration.  None of us were models of well-dressed gentlemen when
captured.  Our garments told the whole story of the hard campaigning we
had undergone.  Now, with months of the wear and tear of prison life,
sleeping on the sand, working in tunnels, digging wells, etc., we were
tattered and torn to an extent that a second-class tramp would have
considered disgraceful.

This is no reflection upon the quality of the clothes furnished by the
Government.  We simply reached the limit of the wear of textile fabrics.
I am particular to say this, because I want to contribute my little mite
towards doing justice to a badly abused part of our Army organization
--the Quartermaster's Department.  It is fashionable to speak of "shoddy,"
and utter some stereotyped sneers about "brown paper shoes," and
"musketo-netting overcoats," when any discussion of the Quartermaster
service is the subject of conversation, but I have no hesitation in
asking the indorsement of my comrades to the statement that we have never
found anywhere else as durable garments as those furnished us by the
Government during our service in the Army.  The clothes were not as fine
in texture, nor so stylish in cut as those we wore before or since, but
when it came to wear they could be relied on to the last thread.  It was
always marvelous to me that they lasted so well, with the rough usage a
soldier in the field must necessarily give them.

But to return to my subject.  I can best illustrate the way our clothes
dropped off us, piece by piece, like the petals from the last rose of
Summer, by taking my own case as an example:  When I entered prison I was
clad in the ordinary garb of an enlisted man of the cavalry--stout,
comfortable boots, woolen pocks, drawers, pantaloons, with a
"reenforcement," or "ready-made patches," as the infantry called them;
vest, warm, snug-fitting jacket, under and over shirts, heavy overcoat,
and a forage-cap.  First my boots fell into cureless ruin, but this was
no special hardship, as the weather had become quite warm, and it was
more pleasant than otherwise to go barefooted.  Then part of the
underclothing retired from service.  The jacket and vest followed, their
end being hastened by having their best portions taken to patch up the
pantaloons, which kept giving out at the most embarrassing places.  Then
the cape of the overcoat was called upon to assist in repairing these
continually-recurring breaches in the nether garments.  The same
insatiate demand finally consumed the whole coat, in a vain attempt to
prevent an exposure of person greater than consistent with the usages of
society.  The pantaloons--or what, by courtesy, I called such, were a
monument of careful and ingenious, but hopeless, patching, that should
have called forth the admiration of a Florentine artist in mosaic.
I have been shown--in later years--many table tops, ornamented in
marquetry, inlaid with thousands of little bits of wood, cunningly
arranged, and patiently joined together.  I always look at them with
interest, for I know the work spent upon them: I remember my
Andersonville pantaloons.

The clothing upon the upper part of my body had been reduced to the
remains of a knit undershirt.  It had fallen into so many holes that it
looked like the coarse "riddles" through which ashes and gravel are
sifted.  Wherever these holes were the sun had burned my back, breast and
shoulders deeply black.  The parts covered by the threads and fragments
forming the boundaries of the holes, were still white.  When I pulled my
alleged shirt off, to wash or to free it from some of its teeming
population, my skin showed a fine lace pattern in black and white, that
was very interesting to my comrades, and the subject of countless jokes
by them.

They used to descant loudly on the chaste elegance of the design, the
richness of the tracing, etc., and beg me to furnish them with a copy of
it when I got home, for their sisters to work window curtains or tidies
by.  They were sure that so striking a novelty in patterns would be very
acceptable.  I would reply to their witticisms in the language of
Portia's Prince of Morocco:

               Mislike me not for my complexion--
               The shadowed livery of the burning sun.

One of the stories told me in my childhood by an old negro nurse, was of
a poverty stricken little girl "who slept on the floor and was covered
with the door," and she once asked--

"Mamma how do poor folks get along who haven't any door?"

In the same spirit I used to wonder how poor fellows got along who hadn't
any shirt.

One common way of keeping up one's clothing was by stealing mealsacks.
The meal furnished as rations was brought in in white cotton sacks.
Sergeants of detachments were required to return these when the rations
were issued the next day.  I have before alluded to the general
incapacity of the Rebels to deal accurately with even simple numbers.
It was never very difficult for a shrewd Sergeant to make nine sacks
count as ten.  After awhile the Rebels began to see through this sleight
of hand manipulation, and to check it.  Then the Sergeants resorted to
the device of tearing the sacks in two, and turning each half in as a
whole one.  The cotton cloth gained in this way was used for patching,
or, if a boy could succeed in beating the Rebels out of enough of it,
he would fabricate himself a shirt or a pair of pantaloons.  We obtained
all our thread in the same way.  A half of a sack, carefully raveled out,
would furnish a couple of handfuls of thread.  Had it not been for this
resource all our sewing and mending would have come to a standstill.

Most of our needles were manufactured by ourselves from bones.  A piece
of bone, split as near as possible to the required size, was carefully
rubbed down upon a brick, and then had an eye laboriously worked through
it with a bit of wire or something else available for the purpose.
The needles were about the size of ordinary darning needles, and answered
the purpose very well.

These devices gave one some conception of the way savages provide for the
wants of their lives.  Time was with them, as with us, of little
importance.  It was no loss of time to them, nor to us, to spend a large
portion of the waking hours of a week in fabricating a needle out of a
bone, where a civilized man could purchase a much better one with the
product of three minutes' labor.  I do not think any red Indian of the
plains exceeded us in the patience with which we worked away at these
minutia of life's needs.

Of course the most common source of clothing was the dead, and no body
was carried out with any clothing on it that could be of service to the
survivors.  The Plymouth Pilgrims, who were so well clothed on coming in,
and were now dying off very rapidly, furnished many good suits to cover
the nakedness of older, prisoners.  Most of the prisoners from the Army
of the Potomac were well dressed, and as very many died within a month or
six weeks after their entrance, they left their clothes in pretty good
condition for those who constituted themselves their heirs,
administrators and assigns.

For my own part, I had the greatest aversion to wearing dead men's
clothes, and could only bring myself to it after I had been a year in
prison, and it became a question between doing that and freezing to

Every new batch of prisoners was besieged with anxious inquiries on the
subject which lay closest to all our hearts:

"What are they doing about exchange!"

Nothing in human experience--save the anxious expectancy of a sail by
castaways on a desert island--could equal the intense eagerness with
which this question was asked, and the answer awaited.  To thousands now
hanging on the verge of eternity it meant life or death.  Between the
first day of July and the first of November over twelve thousand men
died, who would doubtless have lived had they been able to reach our
lines--"get to God's country," as we expressed it.

The new comers brought little reliable news of contemplated exchange.
There was none to bring in the first place, and in the next, soldiers in
active service in the field had other things to busy themselves with than
reading up the details of the negotiations between the Commissioners of
Exchange.  They had all heard rumors, however, and by the time they
reached Andersonville, they had crystallized these into actual statements
of fact.  A half hour after they entered the Stockade, a report like this
would spread like wildfire:

"An Army of the Potomac man has just come in, who was captured in front
of Petersburg.  He says that he read in the New York Herald, the day
before he was taken, that an exchange had been agreed upon, and that our
ships had already started for Savannah to take us home."

Then our hopes would soar up like balloons.  We fed ourselves on such
stuff from day to day, and doubtless many lives were greatly prolonged by
the continual encouragement.  There was hardly a day when I did not say
to myself that I would much rather die than endure imprisonment another
month, and had I believed that another month would see me still there,
I am pretty certain that I should have ended the matter by crossing the
Dead Line.  I was firmly resolved not to die the disgusting, agonizing
death that so many around me were dying.

One of our best purveyors of information was a bright, blue-eyed,
fair-haired little drummer boy, as handsome as a girl, well-bred as a
lady, and evidently the darling of some refined loving mother.  He
belonged, I think, to some loyal Virginia regiment, was captured in one
of the actions in the Shenandoa Valley, and had been with us in
Richmond. We called him "Red Cap," from his wearing a jaunty,
gold-laced, crimson cap.  Ordinarily, the smaller a drummer boy is the
harder he is, but no amount of attrition with rough men could coarse the
ingrained refinement of Red Cap's manners.  He was between thirteen and
fourteen, and it seemed utterly shameful that men, calling themselves
soldier should make war on such a tender boy and drag him off to prison.

But no six-footer had a more soldierly heart than little Red Cap, and
none were more loyal to the cause.  It was a pleasure to hear him tell
the story of the fights and movements his regiment had been engaged in.
He was a good observer and told his tale with boyish fervor.  Shortly
after Wirz assumed command he took Red Cap into his office as an Orderly.
His bright face and winning manner; fascinated the women visitors at
headquarters, and numbers of them tried to adopt him, but with poor
success.  Like the rest of us, he could see few charms in an existence
under the Rebel flag, and turned a deaf ear to their blandishments.
He kept his ears open to the conversation of the Rebel officers around
him, and frequently secured permission to visit the interior of the
Stockade, when he would communicate to us all that he has heard.
He received a flattering reception every time he cams in, and no orator
ever secured a more attentive audience than would gather around him to
listen to what he had to say.  He was, beyond a doubt, the best known and
most popular person in the prison, and I know all the survivors of his
old admirer; share my great interest in him, and my curiosity as to
whether he yet lives, and whether his subsequent career has justified the
sanguine hopes we all had as to his future.  I hope that if he sees this,
or any one who knows anything about him, he will communicate with me.
There are thousands who will be glad to hear from him.

A most remarkable coincidence occurred in regard to this comrade.
Several days after the above had been written, and "set up," but before
it had yet appeared in the paper, I received the following letter:

                                             ECKHART MINES,
                              Alleghany County, Md., March 24.

To the Editor of the BLADE:

Last evening I saw a copy of your paper, in which was a chapter or two of
a prison life of a soldier during the late war.  I was forcibly struck
with the correctness of what he wrote, and the names of several of my old
comrades which he quoted: Hill, Limber Jim, etc., etc.  I was a drummer
boy of Company I, Tenth West Virginia Infantry, and was fifteen years of
age a day or two after arriving in Andersonville, which was in the last
of February, 1884.  Nineteen of my comrades were there with me, and, poor
fellows, they are there yet.  I have no doubt that I would have remained
there, too, had I not been more fortunate.

I do not know who your soldier correspondent is, but assume to say that
from the following description he will remember having seen me in
Andersonville: I was the little boy that for three or four months
officiated as orderly for Captain Wirz.  I wore a red cap, and every day
could be seen riding Wirz's gray mare, either at headquarters, or about
the Stockade.  I was acting in this capacity when the six raiders
--"Mosby," (proper name Collins) Delaney, Curtis, and--I forget the other
names--were executed.  I believe that I was the first that conveyed the
intelligence to them that Confederate General Winder had approved their
sentence.  As soon as Wirz received the dispatch to that effect, I ran
down to the stocks and told them.

I visited Hill, of Wauseon, Fulton County, O., since the war, and found
him hale and hearty.  I have not heard from him for a number of years
until reading your correspondent's letter last evening.  It is the only
letter of the series that I have seen, but after reading that one, I feel
called upon to certify that I have no doubts of the truthfulness of your
correspondent's story.  The world will never know or believe the horrors
of Andersonville and other prisons in the South.  No living, human being,
in my judgment, will ever be able to properly paint the horrors of those
infernal dens.

I formed the acquaintance of several Ohio soldiers whilst in prison.
Among these were O. D. Streeter, of Cleveland, who went to Andersonville
about the same time that I did, and escaped, and was the only man that I
ever knew that escaped and reached our lines.  After an absence of
several months he was retaken in one of Sherman's battles before Atlanta,
and brought back.  I also knew John L. Richards, of Fostoria, Seneca
County, O. or Eaglesville, Wood County.  Also, a man by the name of
Beverly, who was a partner of Charley Aucklebv, of Tennessee.  I would
like to hear from all of these parties.  They all know me.

Mr. Editor, I will close by wishing all my comrades who shared in the
sufferings and dangers of Confederate prisons, a long and useful life.
                                   Yours truly,
                                                  RANSOM T. POWELL



Speaking of the manner in which the Plymouth Pilgrims were now dying,
I am reminded of my theory that the ordinary man's endurance of this
prison life did not average over three months.  The Plymouth boys arrived
in May; the bulk of those who died passed away in July and August.
The  great increase of prisoners from all sources was in May, June and
July.  The greatest mortality among these was in August, September and

Many came in who had been in good health during their service in the
field, but who seemed utterly overwhelmed by the appalling misery they
saw on every hand, and giving way to despondency, died in a few days or
weeks.  I do not mean to include them in the above class, as their
sickness was more mental than physical.  My idea is that, taking one
hundred ordinarily healthful young soldiers from a regiment in active
service, and putting them into Andersonville, by the end of the third
month at least thirty-three of those weakest and most vulnerable to
disease would have succumbed to the exposure, the pollution of ground and
air, and the insufficiency of the ration of coarse corn meal.  After this
the mortality would be somewhat less, say at the end of six months fifty
of them would be dead.  The remainder would hang on still more
tenaciously, and at the end of a year there would be fifteen or twenty
still alive.  There were sixty-three of my company taken; thirteen lived
through.  I believe this was about the usual proportion for those who
were in as long as we.  In all there were forty-five thousand six hundred
and thirteen prisoners brought into Andersonville.  Of these twelve
thousand nine hundred and twelve died there, to say nothing of thousands
that died in other prisons in Georgia and the Carolinas, immediately
after their removal from Andersonville.  One of every three and a-half
men upon whom the gates of the Stockade closed never repassed them alive.
Twenty-nine per cent. of the boys who so much as set foot in
Andersonville died there.  Let it be kept in mind all the time, that the
average stay of a prisoner there was not four months.  The great majority
came in after the 1st of May, and left before the middle of September.
May 1, 1864, there were ten thousand four hundred and twenty-seven in the
Stockade.  August 8 there were thirty-three thousand one hundred and
fourteen; September 30 all these were dead or gone, except eight thousand
two hundred and eighteen, of whom four thousand five hundred and ninety
died inside of the next thirty days.  The records of the world can shove
no parallel to this astounding mortality.

Since the above matter was first published in the BLADE, a friend has
sent me a transcript of the evidence at the Wirz trial, of Professor
Joseph Jones, a Surgeon of high rank in the Rebel Army, and who stood at
the head of the medical profession in Georgia.  He visited Andersonville
at the instance of the Surgeon-General of the Confederate States' Army,
to make a study, for the benefit of science, of the phenomena of disease
occurring there.  His capacity and opportunities for observation, and for
clearly estimating the value of the facts coming under his notice were,
of course, vastly superior to mine, and as he states the case stronger
than I dare to, for fear of being accused of exaggeration and downright
untruth, I reproduce the major part of his testimony--embodying also his
official report to medical headquarters at Richmond--that my readers may
know how the prison appeared to the eyes of one who, though a bitter
Rebel, was still a humane man and a conscientious observer, striving to
learn the truth:

                         MEDICAL TESTIMONY.

[Transcript from the printed testimony at the Wirz Trial, pages 618 to
639, inclusive.]

                                             OCTOBER 7, 1885.

Dr. Joseph Jones, for the prosecution:

By the Judge Advocate:

Question.  Where do you reside

Answer.  In Augusta, Georgia.

Q.  Are you a graduate of any medical college?

A.  Of the University of Pennsylvania.

Q.  How long have you been engaged in the practice of medicine?

A.  Eight years.

Q.  Has your experience been as a practitioner, or rather as an
investigator of medicine as a science?

A.  Both.

Q.  What position do you hold now?

A.  That of Medical Chemist in the Medical College of Georgia, at

Q.  How long have you held your position in that college?

A.  Since 1858.

Q.  How were you employed during the Rebellion?

A.  I served six months in the early part of it as a private in the
ranks, and the rest of the time in the medical department.

Q.  Under the direction of whom?

A.  Under the direction of Dr. Moore, Surgeon General.

Q.  Did you, while acting under his direction, visit Andersonville,

A.  Yes, Sir.

Q.  For the purpose of making investigations there?

A.  For the purpose of prosecuting investigations ordered by the Surgeon

Q.  You went there in obedience to a letter of instructions?

A.  In obedience to orders which I received.

Q.  Did you reduce the results of your investigations to the shape of a

A.  I was engaged at that work when General Johnston surrendered his

(A document being handed to witness.)

Q.  Have you examined this extract from your report and compared it with
the original?

A.  Yes, Sir; I have.

Q.  Is it accurate?

A.  So far as my examination extended, it is accurate.'

The document just examined by witness was offered in evidence, and is as

Observations upon the diseases of the Federal prisoners, confined to Camp
Sumter, Andersonville, in Sumter County, Georgia, instituted with a view
to illustrate chiefly the origin and causes of hospital gangrene, the
relations of continued and malarial fevers, and the pathology of camp
diarrhea and dysentery, by Joseph Jones; Surgeon P. A. C. S., Professor
of Medical Chemistry in the Medical College of Georgia, at Augusta,

Hearing of the unusual mortality among the Federal prisoners confined at
Andersonville; Georgia, in the month of August, 1864, during a visit to
Richmond, Va., I expressed to the Surgeon General, S. P. Moore,
Confederate States of America, a desire to visit Camp Sumter, with the
design of instituting a series of inquiries upon the nature and causes of
the prevailing diseases.  Smallpox had appeared among the prisoners, and
I believed that this would prove an admirable field for the establishment
of its characteristic lesions.  The condition of Peyer's glands in this
disease was considered as worthy of minute investigation.  It was
believed that a large body of men from the Northern portion of the United
States, suddenly transported to a warm Southern climate, and confined
upon a small portion of land, would furnish an excellent field for the
investigation of the relations of typhus, typhoid, and malarial fevers.

The Surgeon General of the Confederate States of America furnished me
with the following letter of introduction to the Surgeon in charge of the
Confederate States Military Prison at Andersonville, Ga.:

                              CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA,
                              SURGEON GENERAL'S OFFICE, RICHMOND, VA.,
                              August 6, 1864.

SIR:--The field of pathological investigations afforded by the large
collection of Federal prisoners in Georgia, is of great extant and
importance, and it is believed that results of value to the profession
may be obtained by careful investigation of the effects of disease upon
the large body of men subjected to a decided change of climate and those
circumstances peculiar to prison life.  The Surgeon in charge of the
hospital for Federal prisoners, together with his assistants, will afford
every facility to Surgeon Joseph Jones, in the prosecution of the labors
ordered by the Surgeon General.  Efficient assistance must be rendered
Surgeon Jones by the medical officers, not only in his examinations into
the causes and symptoms of the various diseases, but especially in the
arduous labors of post mortem examinations.

The medical officers will assist in the performance of such post-mortems
as Surgeon Jones may indicate, in order that this great field for
pathological investigation may be explored for the benefit of the Medical
Department of the Confederate Army.
                                        S. P. MOORE, Surgeon General.

     In charge of Hospital for Federal prisoners, Andersonville, Ga.

In compliance with this letter of the Surgeon General, Isaiah H. White,
Chief Surgeon of the post, and R. R. Stevenson, Surgeon in charge of the
Prison Hospital, afforded the necessary facilities for the prosecution of
my investigations among the sick outside of the Stockade.  After the
completion of my labors in the military prison hospital, the following
communication was addressed to Brigadier General John H. Winder, in
consequence of the refusal on the part of the commandant of the interior
of the Confederate States Military Prison to admit me within the Stockade
upon the order of the Surgeon General:

                              CAMP SUMTER, ANDERSONVILLE GA.,
                              September 16, 1864.

GENERAL:--I respectfully request the commandant of the post of
Andersonville to grant me permission and to furnish the necessary pass
to visit the sick and medical officers within the Stockade of the
Confederate States Prison.  I desire to institute certain inquiries
ordered by the Surgeon General.  Surgeon Isaiah H. White, Chief Surgeon
of the post, and Surgeon R. R. Stevenson, in charge of the Prison
Hospital, have afforded me every facility for the prosecution of my
labors among the sick outside of the Stockade.
               Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                         JOSEPH JONES, Surgeon P. A. C. S.

Brigadier General JOHN H. WINDER,
Commandant, Post Andersonville.

In the absence of General Winder from the post, Captain Winder furnished
the following order:

                              CAMP SUMTER, ANDERSONVILLE;
                                        September 17, 1864.

CAPTAIN:--You will permit Surgeon Joseph Jones, who has orders from the
Surgeon General, to visit the sick within the Stockade that are under
medical treatment.  Surgeon Jones is ordered to make certain
investigations which may prove useful to his profession.  By direction of
General Winder.
                              Very respectfully,
                                        W. S. WINDER, A. A. G.

Captain H. WIRZ, Commanding Prison.

     Description of the Confederate States Military Prison Hospital at
     Andersonville. Number of prisoners, physical condition, food,
     clothing, habits, moral condition, diseases.

The Confederate Military Prison at Andersonville, Ga., consists of a
strong Stockade, twenty feet in height, enclosing twenty-seven acres.
The Stockade is formed of strong pine logs, firmly planted in the ground.
The main Stockade is surrounded by two other similar rows of pine logs,
the middle Stockade being sixteen feet high, and the outer twelve feet.
These are intended for offense and defense.  If the inner Stockade should
at any time be forced by the prisoners, the second forms another line of
defense; while in case of an attempt to deliver the prisoners by a force
operating upon the exterior, the outer line forms an admirable protection
to the Confederate troops, and a most formidable obstacle to cavalry or
infantry.  The four angles of the outer line are strengthened by
earthworks upon commanding eminences, from which the cannon, in case of
an outbreak among the prisoners, may sweep the entire enclosure; and it
was designed to connect these works by a line of rifle pits, running
zig-zag, around the outer Stockade; those rifle pits have never been
completed.  The ground enclosed by the innermost Stockade lies in the
form of a parallelogram, the larger diameter running almost due north and
south.  This space includes the northern and southern opposing sides of
two hills, between which a stream of water runs from west to east.
The surface soil of these hills is composed chiefly of sand with varying
admixtures of clay and oxide of iron.  The clay is sufficiently tenacious
to give a considerable degree of consistency to the soil.  The internal
structure of the hills, as revealed by the deep wells, is similar to that
already described.  The alternate layers of clay and sand, as well as the
oxide of iron, which forms in its various combinations a cement to the
sand, allow of extensive tunneling.  The prisoners not only constructed
numerous dirt huts with balls of clay and sand, taken from the wells
which they have excavated all over those hills, but they have also, in
some cases, tunneled extensively from these wells.  The lower portions of
these hills, bordering on the stream, are wet and boggy from the constant
oozing of water.  The Stockade was built originally to accommodate only
ten thousand prisoners, and included at first seventeen acres.  Near the
close of the month of June the area was enlarged by the addition of ten
acres.  The ground added was situated on the northern slope of the
largest hill.

The average number of square feet of ground to each prisoner in August
1864: 35.7

Within the circumscribed area of the Stockade the Federal prisoners were
compelled to perform all the offices of life--cooking, washing, the calls
of nature, exercise, and sleeping.  During the month of March the prison
was less crowded than at any subsequent time, and then the average space
of ground to each prisoner was only 98.7 feet, or less than seven square
yards.  The Federal prisoners were gathered from all parts of the
Confederate States east of the Mississippi, and crowded into the confined
space, until in the month of June the average number of square feet of
ground to each prisoner was only 33.2 or less than four square yards.
These figures represent the condition of the Stockade in a better light
even than it really was; for a considerable breadth of land along the
stream, flowing from west to east between the hills, was low and boggy,
and was covered with the excrement of the men, and thus rendered wholly
uninhabitable, and in fact useless for every purpose except that of
defecation.  The pines and other small trees and shrubs, which originally
were scattered sparsely over these hills, were in a short time cut down
and consumed by the prisoners for firewood, and no shade tree was left in
the entire enclosure of the stockade.  With their characteristic industry
and ingenuity, the Federals constructed for themselves small huts and
caves, and attempted to shield themselves from the rain and sun and night
damps and dew.  But few tents were distributed to the prisoners,
and those were in most cases torn and rotten.  In the location and
arrangement of these tents and huts no order appears to have been
followed; in fact, regular streets appear to be out of the question in so
crowded an area; especially too, as large bodies of prisoners were from
time to time added suddenly without any previous preparations.
The irregular arrangement of the huts and imperfect shelters was very
unfavorable for the maintenance of a proper system of police.

The police and internal economy of the prison was left almost entirely in
the hands of the prisoners themselves; the duties of the Confederate
soldiers acting as guards being limited to the occupation of the boxes
or lookouts ranged around the stockade at regular intervals, and to the
manning of the batteries at the angles of the prison.  Even judicial
matters pertaining to themselves, as the detection and punishment of such
crimes as theft and murder appear to have been in a great measure
abandoned to the prisoners.  A striking instance of this occurred in the
month of July, when the Federal prisoners within the Stockade tried,
condemned, and hanged six (6) of their own number, who had been convicted
of stealing and of robbing and murdering their fellow-prisoners.  They
were all hung upon the same day, and thousands of the prisoners gathered
around to witness the execution.  The Confederate authorities are said
not to have interfered with these proceedings.  In this collection of men
from all parts of the world, every phase of human character was
represented; the stronger preyed upon the weaker, and even the sick who
were unable to defend themselves were robbed of their scanty supplies of
food and clothing.  Dark stories were afloat, of men, both sick and well,
who were murdered at night, strangled to death by their comrades for
scant supplies of clothing or money.  I heard a sick and wounded Federal
prisoner accuse his nurse, a fellow-prisoner of the United States Army,
of having stealthily, during his sleep inoculated his wounded arm with
gangrene, that he might destroy his life and fall heir to his clothing.


The large number of men confined within the Stockade soon, under a
defective system of police, and with imperfect arrangements, covered the
surface of the low grounds with excrements.  The sinks over the lower
portions of the stream were imperfect in their plan and structure, and
the excrements were in large measure deposited so near the borders of the
stream as not to be washed away, or else accumulated upon the low boggy
ground.  The volume of water was not sufficient to wash away the feces,
and they accumulated in such quantities in the lower portion of the
stream as to form a mass of liquid excrement heavy rains caused the water
of the stream to rise, and as the arrangements for the passage of the
increased amounts of water out of the Stockade were insufficient, the
liquid feces overflowed the low grounds and covered them several inches,
after the subsidence of the waters.  The action of the sun upon this
putrefying mass of excrements and fragments of bread and meat and bones
excited most rapid fermentation and developed a horrible stench.
Improvements were projected for the removal of the filth and for the
prevention of its accumulation, but they were only partially and
imperfectly carried out.  As the forces of the prisoners were reduced by
confinement, want of exercise, improper diet, and by scurvy, diarrhea,
and dysentery, they were unable to evacuate their bowels within the
stream or along its banks, and the excrements were deposited at the very
doors of their tents.  The vast majority appeared to lose all repulsion
to filth, and both sick and well disregarded all the laws of hygiene and
personal cleanliness.  The accommodations for the sick were imperfect and
insufficient.  From the organization of the prison, February 24, 1864, to
May 22, the sick were treated within the Stockade.  In the crowded
condition of the Stockade, and with the tents and huts clustered thickly
around the hospital, it was impossible to secure proper ventilation or to
maintain the necessary police.  The Federal prisoners also made frequent
forays upon the hospital stores and carried off the food and clothing of
the sick.  The hospital was, on the 22d of May, removed to its present
site without the Stockade, and five acres of ground covered with oaks and
pines appropriated to the use of the sick.

The supply of medical officers has been insufficient from the foundation
of the prison.

The nurses and attendants upon the sick have been most generally Federal
prisoners, who in too many cases appear to have been devoid of moral
principle, and who not only neglected their duties, but were also engaged
in extensive robbing of the sick.

From the want of proper police and hygienic regulations alone it is not
wonderful that from February 24 to September 21, 1864, nine thousand four
hundred and seventy-nine deaths, nearly one-third the entire number of
prisoners, should have been recorded.  I found the Stockade and hospital
in the following condition during my pathological investigations,
instituted in the month of September, 1864:


At the time of my visit to Andersonville a large number of Federal
prisoners had been removed to Millen, Savannah; Charleston, and other
parts of, the Confederacy, in anticipation of an advance of General
Sherman's forces from Atlanta, with the design of liberating their
captive brethren; however, about fifteen thousand prisoners remained
confined within the limits of the Stockade and Confederate States
Military Prison Hospital.

In the Stockade, with the exception of the damp lowlands bordering the
small stream, the surface was covered with huts, and small ragged tents
and parts of blankets and fragments of oil-cloth, coats, and blankets
stretched upon stacks.  The tents and huts were not arranged according to
any order, and there was in most parts of the enclosure scarcely room for
two men to walk abreast between the tents and huts.

If one might judge from the large pieces of corn-bread scattered about in
every direction on the ground the prisoners were either very lavishly
supplied with this article of diet, or else this kind of food was not
relished by them.

Each day the dead from the Stockade were carried out by their
fellow-prisoners and deposited upon the ground under a bush arbor, just
outside of the Southwestern Gate.  From thence they were carried in
carts to the burying ground, one-quarter of a mile northwest, of the
Prison.  The dead were buried without coffins, side by side, in trenches
four feet deep.

The low grounds bordering the stream were covered with human excrements
and filth of all kinds, which in many places appeared to be alive with
working maggots.  An indescribable sickening stench arose from these
fermenting masses of human filth.

There were near five thousand seriously ill Federals in the Stockade and
Confederate States Military Prison Hospital, and the deaths exceeded one
hundred per day, and large numbers of the prisoners who were walking
about, and who had not been entered upon the sick reports, were suffering
from severe and incurable diarrhea, dysentery, and scurvy.  The sick were
attended almost entirely by their fellow-prisoners, appointed as nurses,
and as they received but little attention, they were compelled to exert
themselves at all times to attend to the calls of nature, and hence they
retained the power of moving about to within a comparatively short period
of the close of life.  Owing to the slow progress of the diseases most
prevalent, diarrhea, and chronic dysentery, the corpses were as a general
rule emaciated.

I visited two thousand sick within the Stockade, lying under some long
sheds which had been built at the northern portion for themselves.  At
this time only one medical officer was in attendance, whereas at least
twenty medical officers should have been employed.

Died in the Stockade from its organization, February 24, 186l to
September 2l ....................................................3,254
Died in Hospital during same time ...............................6,225

Total deaths in Hospital and Stockade ...........................9,479

Scurvy, diarrhea, dysentery, and hospital gangrene were the prevailing
diseases.  I was surprised to find but few cases of malarial fever, and
no well-marked cases either of typhus or typhoid fever.  The absence of
the different forms of malarial fever may be accounted for in the
supposition that the artificial atmosphere of the Stockade, crowded
densely with human beings and loaded with animal exhalations,
was unfavorable to the existence and action of the malarial poison.
The absence of typhoid and typhus fevers amongst all the causes which are
supposed to generate these diseases, appeared to be due to the fact that
the great majority of these prisoners had been in captivity in Virginia,
at Belle Island, and in other parts of the Confederacy for months, and
even as long as two years, and during this time they had been subjected
to the same bad influences, and those who had not had these fevers before
either had them during their confinement in Confederate prisons or else
their systems, from long exposure, were proof against their action.

The effects of scurvy were manifested on every hand, and in all its
various stages, from the muddy, pale complexion, pale gums, feeble,
languid muscular motions, lowness of spirits, and fetid breath, to the
dusky, dirty, leaden complexion, swollen features, spongy, purple, livid,
fungoid, bleeding gums, loose teeth, oedematous limbs, covered with livid
vibices, and petechiae spasmodically flexed, painful and hardened
extremities, spontaneous hemorrhages from mucous canals, and large,
ill-conditioned, spreading ulcers covered with a dark purplish fungus
growth. I observed that in some of the cases of scurvy the parotid
glands were greatly swollen, and in some instances to such an extent as
to preclude entirely the power to articulate.  In several cases of
dropsy of the abdomen and lower extremities supervening upon scurvy, the
patients affirmed that previously to the appearance of the dropsy they
had suffered with profuse and obstinate diarrhea, and that when this was
checked by a change of diet, from Indian corn-bread baked with the husk,
to boiled rice, the dropsy appeared.  The severe pains and livid patches
were frequently associated with swellings in various parts, and
especially in the lower extremities, accompanied with stiffness and
contractions of the knee joints and ankles, and often with a brawny feel
of the parts, as if lymph had been effused between the integuments and
apeneuroses, preventing the motion of the skin over the swollen parts.
Many of the prisoners believed that the scurvy was contagious, and I saw
men guarding their wells and springs, fearing lest some man suffering
with the scurvy might use the water and thus poison them.

I observed also numerous cases of hospital gangrene, and of spreading
scorbutic ulcers, which had supervened upon slight injuries.  The
scorbutic ulcers presented a dark, purple fungoid, elevated surface, with
livid swollen edges, and exuded a thin; fetid, sanious fluid, instead of
pus.  Many ulcers which originated from the scorbutic condition of the
system appeared to become truly gangrenous, assuming all the
characteristics of hospital gangrene.  From the crowded condition, filthy
habits, bad diet, and dejected, depressed condition of the prisoners,
their systems had become so disordered that the smallest abrasion of the
skin, from the rubbing of a shoe, or from the effects of the sun, or from
the prick of a splinter, or from scratching, or a musketo bite, in some
cases, took on rapid and frightful ulceration and gangrene.  The long use
of salt meat, ofttimes imperfectly cured, as well as the most total
deprivation of vegetables and fruit, appeared to be the chief causes of
the scurvy.  I carefully examined the bakery and the bread furnished the
prisoners, and found that they were supplied almost entirely with
corn-bread from which the husk had not been separated.  This husk acted
as an irritant to the alimentary canal, without adding any nutriment to
the bread.  As far as my examination extended no fault could be found
with the mode in which the bread was baked; the difficulty lay in the
failure to separate the husk from the corn-meal.  I strongly urged the
preparation of large quantities of soup made from the cow and calves'
heads with the brains and tongues, to which a liberal supply of sweet
potatos and vegetables might have been advantageously added.  The
material existed in abundance for the preparation of such soup in large
quantities with but little additional expense.  Such aliment would have
been not only highly nutritious, but it would also have acted as an
efficient remedial agent for the removal of the scorbutic condition. The
sick within the Stockade lay under several long sheds which were
originally built for barracks.  These sheds covered two floors which
were open on all sides.  The sick lay upon the bare boards, or upon such
ragged blankets as they possessed, without, as far as I observed, any
bedding or even straw.


The haggard, distressed countenances of these miserable, complaining,
dejected, living skeletons, crying for medical aid and food, and cursing
their Government for its refusal to exchange prisoners, and the ghastly
corpses, with their glazed eye balls staring up into vacant space, with
the flies swarming down their open and grinning mouths, and over their
ragged clothes, infested with numerous lice, as they lay amongst the sick
and dying, formed a picture of helpless, hopeless misery which it would
be impossible to portray bywords or by the brush.  A feeling of
disappointment and even resentment on account of the United States
Government upon the subject of the exchange of prisoners, appeared to be
widespread, and the apparent hopeless nature of the negotiations for some
general exchange of prisoners appeared to be a cause of universal regret
and deep and injurious despondency.  I heard some of the prisoners go so
far as to exonerate the Confederate Government from any charge of
intentionally subjecting them to a protracted confinement, with its
necessary and unavoidable sufferings, in a country cut off from all
intercourse with foreign nations, and sorely pressed on all sides, whilst
on the other hand they charged their prolonged captivity upon their own
Government, which was attempting to make the negro equal to the white
man.  Some hundred or more of the prisoners had been released from
confinement in the Stockade on parole, and filled various offices as
clerks, druggists, and carpenters, etc., in the various departments.
These men were well clothed, and presented a stout and healthy
appearance, and as a general rule they presented a much more robust and
healthy appearance than the Confederate troops guarding the prisoners.

The entire grounds are surrounded by a frail board fence, and are
strictly guarded by Confederate soldiers, and no prisoner except the
paroled attendants is allowed to leave the grounds except by a special
permit from the Commandant of the Interior of the Prison.

The patients and attendants, near two thousand in number, are crowded
into this confined space and are but poorly supplied with old and ragged
tents.  Large numbers of them were without any bunks in the tents, and
lay upon the ground, oft-times without even a blanket.  No beds or straw
appeared to have been furnished.  The tents extend to within a few yards
of the small stream, the eastern portion of which, as we have before
said, is used as a privy and is loaded with excrements; and I observed a
large pile of corn-bread, bones, and filth of all kinds, thirty feet in
diameter and several feet in hight, swarming with myriads of flies, in a
vacant space near the pots used for cooking.  Millions of flies swarmed
over everything, and covered the faces of the sleeping patients, and
crawled down their open mouths, and deposited their maggots in the
gangrenous wounds of the living, and in the mouths of the dead.  Musketos
in great numbers also infested the tents, and many of the patients were
so stung by these pestiferous insects, that they resembled those
suffering from a slight attack of the measles.

The police and hygiene of the hospital were defective in the extreme;
the attendants, who appeared in almost every instance to have been
selected from the prisoners, seemed to have in many cases but little
interest in the welfare of their fellow-captives.  The accusation was
made that the nurses in many cases robbed the sick of their clothing,
money, and rations, and carried on a clandestine trade with the paroled
prisoners and Confederate guards without the hospital enclosure, in the
clothing, effects of the sick, dying, and dead Federals.  They certainly
appeared to neglect the comfort and cleanliness of the sick intrusted to
their care in a most shameful manner, even after making due allowances
for the difficulties of the situation.  Many of the sick were literally
encrusted with dirt and filth and covered with vermin.  When a gangrenous
wound needed washing, the limb was thrust out a little from the blanket,
or board, or rags upon which the patient was lying, and water poured over
it, and all the putrescent matter allowed to soak into the ground floor
of the tent.  The supply of rags for dressing wounds was said to be very
scant, and I saw the most filthy rags which had been applied several
times, and imperfectly washed, used in dressing wounds.  Where hospital
gangrene was prevailing, it was impossible for any wound to escape
contagion under these circumstances.  The results of the treatment of
wounds in the hospital were of the most unsatisfactory character, from
this neglect of cleanliness, in the dressings and wounds themselves, as
well as from various other causes which will be more fully considered.
I saw several gangrenous wounds filled with maggots.  I have frequently
seen neglected wounds amongst the Confederate soldiers similarly
affected; and as far as my experience extends, these worms destroy only
the dead tissues and do not injure specially the well parts.  I have even
heard surgeons affirm that a gangrenous wound which had been thoroughly
cleansed by maggots, healed more rapidly than if it had been left to
itself.  This want of cleanliness on the part of the nurses appeared to
be the result of carelessness and inattention, rather than of malignant
design, and the whole trouble can be traced to the want of the proper
police and sanitary regulations, and to the absence of intelligent
organization and division of labor.  The abuses were in a large measure
due to the almost total absence of system, government, and rigid, but
wholesome sanitary regulations.  In extenuation of these abuses it was
alleged by the medical officers that the Confederate troops were barely
sufficient to guard the prisoners, and that it was impossible to obtain
any number of experienced nurses from the Confederate forces.  In fact
the guard appeared to be too small, even for the regulation of the
internal hygiene and police of the hospital.

The manner of disposing of the dead was also calculated to depress the
already desponding spirits of these men, many of whom have been confined
for months, and even for nearly two years in Richmond and other places,
and whose strength had been wasted by bad air, bad food, and neglect of
personal cleanliness.  The dead-house is merely a frame covered with old
tent cloth and a few bushes, situated in the southwestern corner of the
hospital grounds.  When a patient dies, he is simply laid in the narrow
street in front of his tent, until he is removed by Federal negros
detailed to carry off the dead; if a patient dies during the night, he
lies there until the morning, and during the day even the dead were
frequently allowed to remain for hours in these walks.  In the dead-house
the corpses lie upon the bare ground, and were in most cases covered with
filth and vermin.


The cooking arrangements are of the most defective character.  Five large
iron pots similar to those used for boiling sugar cane, appeared to be
the only cooking utensils furnished by the hospital for the cooking of
nearly two thousand men; and the patients were dependent in great measure
upon their own miserable utensils.  They were allowed to cook in the tent
doors and in the lanes, and this was another source of filth, and another
favorable condition for the generation and multiplication of flies and
other vermin.

The air of the tents was foul and disagreeable in the extreme, and in
fact the entire grounds emitted a most nauseous and disgusting smell.
I entered nearly all the tents and carefully examined the cases of
interest, and especially the cases of gangrene, upon numerous occasions,
during the prosecution of my pathological inquiries at Andersonville, and
therefore enjoyed every opportunity to judge correctly of the hygiene and
police of the hospital.

There appeared to be almost absolute indifference and neglect on the part
of the patients of personal cleanliness; their persons and clothing
inmost instances, and especially of those suffering with gangrene and
scorbutic ulcers, were filthy in the extreme and covered with vermin.
It was too often the case that patients were received from the Stockade
in a most deplorable condition.  I have seen men brought in from the
Stockade in a dying condition, begrimed from head to foot with their own
excrements, and so black from smoke and filth that they, resembled negros
rather than white men.  That this description of the Stockade and
hospital has not been overdrawn, will appear from the reports of the
surgeons in charge, appended to this report.


We will examine first the consolidated report of the sick and wounded
Federal prisoners.  During six months, from the 1st of March to the 31st
of August, forty-two thousand six hundred and eighty-six cases of
diseases and wounds were reported.  No classified record of the sick in
the Stockade was kept after the establishment of the hospital without the
Prison.  This fact, in conjunction with those already presented relating
to the insufficiency of medical officers and the extreme illness and even
death of many prisoners in the tents in the Stockade, without any medical
attention or record beyond the bare number of the dead, demonstrate that
these figures, large as they, appear to be, are far below the truth.

As the number of prisoners varied greatly at different periods, the
relations between those reported sick and well, as far as those
statistics extend, can best be determined by a comparison of the
statistics of each month.

During this period of six months no less than five hundred and sixty-five
deaths are recorded under the head of 'morbi vanie.'  In other words,
those men died without having received sufficient medical attention for
the determination of even the name of the disease causing death.

During the month of August fifty-three cases and fifty-three deaths are
recorded as due to marasmus.  Surely this large number of deaths must
have been due to some other morbid state than slow wasting.  If they were
due to improper and insufficient food, they should have been classed
accordingly, and if to diarrhea or dysentery or scurvy, the
classification should in like manner have been explicit.

We observe a progressive increase of the rate of mortality, from 3.11 per
cent. in March to 9.09 per cent. of mean strength, sick and well, in
August.  The ratio of mortality continued to increase during September,
for notwithstanding the removal of one-half of the entire number of
prisoners during the early portion of the month, one thousand seven
hundred and sixty-seven (1,767) deaths are registered from September 1 to
21, and the largest number of deaths upon any one day occurred during
this month, on the 16th, viz. one hundred and nineteen.

The entire number of Federal prisoners confined at Andersonville was
about forty thousand six hundred and eleven; and during the period of
near seven months, from February 24 to September 21, nine thousand four
hundred and seventy-nine (9,479) deaths were recorded; that is, during
this period near one-fourth, or more, exactly one in 4.2, or 13.3 per
cent., terminated fatally.  This increase of mortality was due in great
measure to the accumulation of the sources of disease, as the increase of
excrements and filth of all kinds, and the concentration of noxious
effluvia, and also to the progressive effects of salt diet, crowding, and
the hot climate.


1st.  The great mortality among the Federal prisoners confined in the
military prison at Andersonville was not referable to climatic causes, or
to the nature of the soil and waters.

2d.  The chief causes of death were scurvy and its results and bowel
affections-chronic and acute diarrhea and dysentery.  The bowel
affections appear to have been due to the diet, the habits of the
patients, the depressed, dejected state of the nervous system and moral
and intellectual powers, and to the effluvia arising from the decomposing
animal and vegetable filth.  The effects of salt meat, and an unvarying
diet of cornmeal, with but few vegetables, and imperfect supplies of
vinegar and syrup, were manifested in the great prevalence of scurvy.
This disease, without doubt, was also influenced to an important extent
in its origin and course by the foul animal emanations.

3d.  From the sameness of the food and form, the action of the poisonous
gases in the densely crowded and filthy Stockade and hospital, the blood
was altered in its constitution, even before the manifestation of actual
disease.  In both the well and the sick the red corpuscles were
diminished; and in all diseases uncomplicated with inflammation,
the fibrous element was deficient.  In cases of ulceration of the mucous
membrane of the intestinal canal, the fibrous element of the blood was
increased; while in simple diarrhea, uncomplicated with ulceration,
it was either diminished or else remained stationary.  Heart clots were
very common, if not universally present, in cases of ulceration of the
intestinal mucous membrane, while in the uncomplicated cases of diarrhea
and scurvy, the blood was fluid and did not coagulate readily, and the
heart clots and fibrous concretions were almost universally absent.
From the watery condition of the blood, there resulted various serous
effusions into the pericardium, ventricles of the brain, and into the
abdomen.  In almost all the cases which I examined after death, even the
most emaciated, there was more or less serous effusion into the abdominal
cavity.  In cases of hospital gangrene of the extremities, and in cases
of gangrene of the intestines, heart clots and fibrous coagula were
universally present.  The presence of those clots in the cases of
hospital gangrene, while they were absent in the cases in which there was
no inflammatory symptoms, sustains the conclusion that hospital gangrene
is a species of inflammation, imperfect and irregular though it may be in
its progress, in which the fibrous element and coagulation of the blood
are increased, even in those who are suffering from such a condition of
the blood, and from such diseases as are naturally accompanied with a
decrease in the fibrous constituent.

4th.  The fact that hospital Gangrene appeared in the Stockade first, and
originated spontaneously without any previous contagion, and occurred
sporadically all over the Stockade and prison hospital, was proof
positive that this disease will arise whenever the conditions of
crowding, filth, foul air, and bad diet are present.  The exhalations
from the hospital and Stockade appeared to exert their effects to a
considerable distance outside of these localities.  The origin of
hospital gangrene among these prisoners appeared clearly to depend in
great measure upon the state of the general system induced by diet, and
various external noxious influences.  The rapidity of the appearance and
action of the gangrene depended upon the powers and state of the
constitution, as well as upon the intensity of the poison in the
atmosphere, or upon the direct application of poisonous matter to the
wounded surface.  This was further illustrated by the important fact that
hospital gangrene, or a disease resembling it in all essential respects,
attacked the intestinal canal of patients laboring under ulceration of
the bowels, although there were no local manifestations of gangrene upon
the surface of the body.  This mode of termination in cases of dysentery
was quite common in the foul atmosphere of the Confederate States
Military Hospital, in the depressed, depraved condition of the system of
these Federal prisoners.

5th.  A scorbutic condition of the system appeared to favor the origin of
foul ulcers, which frequently took on true hospital gangrene.  Scurvy and
hospital gangrene frequently existed in the same individual.  In such
cases, vegetable diet, with vegetable acids, would remove the scorbutic
condition without curing the hospital gangrene.  From the results of the
existing war for the establishment of the independence of the Confederate
States, as well as from the published observations of Dr. Trotter, Sir
Gilbert Blane, and others of the English navy and army, it is evident
that the scorbutic condition of the system, especially in crowded ships
and camps, is most favorable to the origin and spread of foul ulcers and
hospital gangrene.  As in the present case of Andersonville, so also in
past times when medical hygiene was almost entirely neglected, those two
diseases were almost universally associated in crowded ships.  In many
cases it was very difficult to decide at first whether the ulcer was a
simple result of scurvy or of the action of the prison or hospital
gangrene, for there was great similarity in the appearance of the ulcers
in the two diseases.  So commonly have those two diseases been combined
in their origin and action, that the description of scorbutic ulcers, by
many authors, evidently includes also many of the prominent
characteristics of hospital gangrene.  This will be rendered evident by
an examination of the observations of Dr. Lind and Sir Gilbert Blane upon
scorbutic ulcers.

6th.  Gangrenous spots followed by rapid destruction of tissue appeared
in some cases where there had been no known wound.  Without such
well-established facts, it might be assumed that the disease was
propagated from one patient to another.  In such a filthy and crowded
hospital as that of the Confederate States Military Prison at
Andersonville, it was impossible to isolate the wounded from the sources
of actual contact of the gangrenous matter.  The flies swarming over the
wounds and over filth of every kind, the filthy, imperfectly washed and
scanty supplies of rags, and the limited supply of washing utensils, the
same wash-bowl serving for scores of patients, were sources of such
constant circulation of the gangrenous matter that the disease might
rapidly spread from a single gangrenous wound.  The fact already stated,
that a form of moist gangrene, resembling hospital gangrene, was quite
common in this foul atmosphere, in cases of dysentery, both with and
without the existence of the disease upon the entire surface, not only
demonstrates the dependence of the disease upon the state of the
constitution, but proves in the clearest manner that neither the contact
of the poisonous matter of gangrene, nor the direct action of the
poisonous atmosphere upon the ulcerated surfaces is necessary to the
development of the disease.

7th.  In this foul atmosphere amputation did not arrest hospital
gangrene; the disease almost invariably returned.  Almost every
amputation was followed finally by death, either from the effects of
gangrene or from the prevailing diarrhea and dysentery.  Nitric acid and
escharotics generally in this crowded atmosphere, loaded with noxious
effluvia, exerted only temporary effects; after their application to the
diseased surfaces, the gangrene would frequently return with redoubled
energy; and even after the gangrene had been completely removed by local
and constitutional treatment, it would frequently return and destroy the
patient.  As far as my observation extended, very few of the cases of
amputation for gangrene recovered.  The progress of these cases was
frequently very deceptive.  I have observed after death the most
extensive disorganization of the structures of the stump, when during
life there was but little swelling of the part, and the patient was
apparently doing well.  I endeavored to impress upon the medical officers
the view that in this disease treatment was almost useless, without an
abundant supply of pure, fresh air, nutritious food, and tonics and
stimulants.  Such changes, however, as would allow of the isolation of
the cases of hospital gangrene appeared to be out of the power of the
medical officers.

8th.  The gangrenous mass was without true pus, and consisted chiefly of
broken-down, disorganized structures.  The reaction of the gangrenous
matter in certain stages was alkaline.

9th.  The best, and in truth the only means of protecting large armies
and navies, as well as prisoners, from the ravages of hospital gangrene,
is to furnish liberal supplies of well-cured meat, together with fresh
beef and vegetables, and to enforce a rigid system of hygiene.

10th.  Finally, this gigantic mass of human misery calls loudly for
relief, not only for the sake of suffering humanity, but also on account
of our own brave soldiers now captives in the hands of the Federal
Government.  Strict justice to the gallant men of the Confederate Armies,
who have been or who may be, so unfortunate as to be compelled to
surrender in battle, demands that the Confederate Government should adopt
that course which will best secure their health and comfort in captivity;
or at least leave their enemies without a shadow of an excuse for any
violation of the rules of civilized warfare in the treatment of

                    [End of the Witness's Testimony.]

The variation--from month to month--of the proportion of deaths to the
whole number living is singular and interesting.  It supports the theory
I have advanced above, as the following facts, taken from the official
report, will show:
     In April one in every sixteen died.
     In May one in every twenty-six died.
     In June one in every twenty-two died.
     In July one in every eighteen died.
     In August one in every eleven died.
     In September one in every three died.
     In October one in every two died.
     In November one in every three died.

Does the reader fully understand that in September one-third of those in
the pen died, that in October one-half of the remainder perished, and in
November one-third of those who still survived, died?  Let him pause for
a moment and read this over carefully again; because its startling
magnitude will hardly dawn upon him at first reading.  It is true that
the fearfully disproportionate mortality of those months was largely due
to the fact that it was mostly the sick that remained behind, but even
this diminishes but little the frightfulness of the showing.  Did any one
ever hear of an epidemic so fatal that one-third of those attacked by it
in one month died; one-half of the remnant the next month, and one-third
of the feeble remainder the next month?  If he did, his reading has been
much more extensive than mine.

The greatest number of deaths in one day is reported to have occurred on
the 23d of August, when one hundred and twenty-seven died, or one man
every eleven minutes.

The greatest number of prisoners in the Stockade is stated to have been
August 8, when there were thirty-three thousand one hundred and fourteen.

I have always imagined both these statements to be short of the truth,
because my remembrance is that one day in August I counted over two
hundred dead lying in a row.  As for the greatest number of prisoners,
I remember quite distinctly standing by the ration wagon during the whole
time of the delivery of rations, to see how many prisoners there really
were inside.  That day the One Hundred and Thirty-Third Detachment was
called, and its Sergeant came up and drew rations for a full detachment.
All the other detachments were habitually kept full by replacing those
who died with new comers.  As each detachment consisted of two hundred
and seventy men, one hundred and thirty-three detachments would make
thirty-five thousand nine hundred and ten, exclusive of those in the
hospital, and those detailed outside as cooks, clerks, hospital
attendants and various other employments--say from one to two thousand

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