No draft was ever called for in Delaware County, except that in 1862, four townships seemed to have a deficiency of 24 men. Jay, at the time was short 103; Randolph, 49; Henry, 160; Wayne, 64; Allen, 597; Grant, 128; Madison, 177, etc. The people of Muncie, supposing their township was liable to the draft, raised by voluntary subscriptions, $8,000 or more, which was expended in hiring persons to enlist so as to avoid the draft. Perhaps twenty-five persons were thus hired to enlist. More careful examination showed that no quota was lacking from Muncie, even before these men had been hired. By this action, and by subsequent volunteers, no future draft was needed. So ardent and patriotic was the spirit that prevailed, several gentlemen who were too old for the service, and some ladies also, hired persons to go as soldiers. One man sent two in that way, paying them $500 each. Indeed, we are astonished in looking back to those eventful days, at the vigorous and ceaseless enthusiasm, which fired the public mind. Love for the cause, and overwhelming anxiety for its triumphant success, made labor easy and. carried the people forward in an activity of enterprise and sacrifice without a parallel in our history, or equaled only, if at all, by that of the Revolutionary, struggle. (Page 112)
This historical sketch of military affairs in connection with Delaware County could hardly be considered complete without reference being made to the subject of prison life. Doubtless, many of the soldiers from Delaware County were, during the progress of the war, captured by the foe and condemned to pass weary weeks and months inside those fearful prison in closures. Volumes might well be written upon that phase of soldier life, and is a subject, it may with propriety be said, that should by no means be forgotten nor ignored, but a clear, definite and accurate knowled1e of the methods of prison treatment as practiced by the emissaries of the late rebellion and experienced by our soldier boys, maintained among our people, that generations to come may know what their fathers endured in this regard to uphold the integrity of the nation, and to what extremes even those in rebellion against the Government permitted themselves to be led in the spirit of revenge, to accomplish by inhuman cruelty what the resort to arms hid failed to secure. But to write such a history of prison life and its experiences is not at this time our intention. The purpose at present is simply to show Delaware County soldiers bore the hardships of confinement, how they fared and languished and pined away in melancholy sadness at the long delay of the wished-for time when an exchange could be effected and they could reach again the Union lines.
The subject could hardly be better presented than by giving in part the experiences of one citizen of this county, who spent about twenty months in Southern prisons. Reference is here made to George W. Greene, Esq., formerly Clerk of the Circuit Court of Delaware County, and for a time during the war, Captain of Company E, in the Nineteenth Regiment of Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Additional interest will be given to the recital by furnishing a statement as if from his lips, which we do accordingly: I enlisted in the Nineteenth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, and was mustered in July 29, 1861, as First Lieutenant in Company E of that regiment. Hard service had been our lot during the progress of the conflict. The regiment had taken part in the engagements of Lewinsville, Gainesville, Manassas Junction, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Fitzhugh's Crossing and perhaps others. The Nineteenth Regiment was, during the morning of July 1, 1863, on the field, near the old town of Gettysburg, Penn., awaiting orders to lead the attack upon the rebel hosts that had presumed to invade the North, in what has since become the world-renowned battle of Gettysburg. The regiment belonged to what was called the Iron Brigade, being a part of the First Army Corps under command of Gen. Reynolds. The brigade was composed of the Twenty-fourth Michigan, the Second, Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin and the Nineteenth Indiana, all of which, like the Nineteenth Indiana, had seen much severe service.
Gen. Reynolds was understood to have received orders to begin the attack upon the rebel lines, in the meantime engaging their attention until the rest of the army could come up. We were on picket duty and Gen. Reynolds was examining the ground to learn how to conduct the movement assigned him, when he was killed by a shot from the enemy's sharpshooters. Gen. Doubleday succeeded to the command of the corps.
The infantry battle was begun about 9 O'clock, A. M., by the "Iron Brigade." We marched to the attack and succeeded in capturing a rebel brigade, Gen. Archey commanding and, sending them to the rear. We were directed to form a line along a certain ravine, and there await orders. We did so, and stood in full view of the rebel lines, but not fighting. After some hours, our lines were attacked by a rebel force, and we were compelled to fall back. Five times our line was re-formed, to be broken as often, and, at length, we gave way in disorder and retreated to Gettysburg. Meanwhile, the enemy were taking possession of the town, and as we came in, they speedily took possession of us, and we were-in short-we were prisoners. Sending us to the rear, disarmed and under guard, as we had done by their men in the morning-the great battle went furiously on. For two more days continued the dreadful contest and the carnage, while we were compelled to lie idle and helpless witnesses of the fight, taking no part therein. A considerable portion, though not all, of the regiments were captured. As the result of the long and fearful fight, the rebel forces wore obliged to retrace their weary way back to Virginia, whence they came-and the prisoners were taken to Richmond and elsewhere.
July 4, having been without food for two days and three nights, we set for Richmond and "Libby." Fourteen days were spent on the road, slow progress being made, especially at first, since much time was taken in repelling the attacks of the Union forces harassing them on the way. The prisoners went on foot to Staunton, and, from that point, were taken by rail to Richmond. No rations were given us until, perhaps, the second day, so that we were without food for full four days, and you may well believe we were a ravenous horde. But what use? We might as well have been quiet, for "clamoring" did no good. We were a hungry multitude marching on to "Libby" and weary months of imprisonment and semi-starvation.
We entered that detestable old prison July 18,1863, were searched, stripped of money, blankets, etc., and compelled to settle down to live in earnest in that unwelcome domicile, to us both new and strange. Luckily for myself, I had only $10 when captured and that I spent on the way to Richmond so the "Johnnies" were none the richer for it.
I had a shawl and a watch, neither of which was taken away. So our company was turned into "Libby," to live or die as the case might happen to turn out. The prison was a large building, running across a whole block from street to street, having three stories on one street and four stories on the other, the lower one being a half-cellar, unoccupied and partly filled with rubbish. There were three rooms on each floor, thirty by one hundred and twenty feet. Into these rooms the prisoners were ushered, and here we were to board and lodge for an indefinite length of time. These rebels undertook to be at the trouble and expense of our "keeping," for which we were not grateful to them in the least. It was for them a perfectly needless labor of which they might have been relieved any day. But they would persist. Attempts were made, one after another, to get loose from their clutches. Some few succeeded, but, for the most part, it was "no go." They sent us hither and yon, over their wretched confederacy, still keeping us "in limbo," and, for twenty long and weary and despairing months, did those psuedo-friends and cruel keepers retain their grasp upon our unwilling persons, and insist on furnishing us with "grub," and with a floor to sleep on, "free gratis for nothing," and, I may add, "without any thanks," for surely they got no thanks from us. As for clothing, they let us retain what we had on, and that suit was all I had for the whole time, except one pair of drawers and one pair of socks. I made my clothes go through, though they were long past decent wearing apparel. The shoes still hung in shreds, the shirt had been washed away clear above the elbows, and the coat and pants-well, why should I speak evil of those dear faithful old friends, for surely, they did there very best.
Friends at home, sanitary commissions, and what not, tried reach us, but mostly in vain: Hundreds of boxes which had been sent from the North, containing articles for the use of the prisoners, lay at times in immense heaps near the prison walls, but not much of their contents were ever suffered to gladden our longing sight. As for rations in "Libby," we had corn bread, in loaves about the size of a brick, and one loaf was a day's rations for two men. The meal was coarse, and the bread wretchedly cooked. We had also soup, made of rice and bacon or beef, for a while. The soup we could not bear, and we protested against it so vigorously that, after two or three weeks, the rice and the meat were furnished raw, and stoves were put into the room on the ground floor; when the prisoners divided themselves into messes of fifteen or twenty each, each mess providing for and superintending its own cooking. The rice was about two spoonfuls per man, and the meat was equal to a slice for each about as large as two fingers. The rice and the meat were boiled into soup.
After awhile the mess system was dropped, and each man cooked his own "grub." Twenty tins might be seen on the same stove at one time, and, when his rice and meat were boiled, each fellow took his dish and stood near, sipping his soup and gnawing his "chunk" of bread, or would squat or lie upon the floor, and take his ease any way he pleased.
For lodging at night, the men lay on the floor in tiers. A row of large posts stood through the center of each room for the support of the floor above. On either side of each row of posts in every room, two layers of sleeping men were arranged foot to foot, with a kind of alley between the rows of feet wide enough to walk up and down the room. For beds, each man had part of a blanket and nothing else. This Was considerate on the part of the rebels, and convenient (not to say comfortable) for us, since all parties were thereby relieved from the trouble and vexation of caring for, washing, etc., such a vast amount of bed-clothing as would have been required to furnish each man, or every couple, with beds after the modern style for people-out of jail. So it was vastly better for us that we had none (if you choose to think). As to personal appearance, we washed hands and faces as often as we pleased to take the trouble-washed shirts and drawers and pants every now and then, keeping drawers on when pants were in the wash, and vice versa.
There was in each room a hydrant pipe, which furnished a plentiful supply of water from James River, above the town. The water ran into a trough, say six feet long, two feet wide and two feet deep. In this trough ablutions of all kinds were effected at the pleasure of the performers. We had kettles of a somewhat large size, in which the soup had been made in the days of the "mess" system, and in these kettles water was heated for washing or any other needful purpose. Washing clothes, etc., was done mostly in buckets. There was some soap, not enough, however, but what we had was better than none. A Negro came in every day and swept the floor of the rooms, which kept them reasonably clean. No scrubbing was ever done. But, so little dirt was brought in from outside, that scrubbing was not badly needed.
On the cold New Year's (January, 1864), the hydrants froze up, and, for a day or two, the prisoners were allowed to go down to the basin (outside the prison and not far off), under guard, to get their supply of water. We had only water furnished us to drink, though some times some coffee came "through the lines," and sometimes money would be sent to different prisoners, and coffee, etc., would be bought. Whenever money (gold or greenbacks), was sent to the prisoners through the rebel authorities, or, if they found any in boxes, etc., sent us, the "rebs" would keep the good money and give us confederate bills-four to one. Once in a great while, some man would get some money tucked away in some odd place to keep the "rebs" from finding it. In such cases, a better bargain could be made with the "Northern money." A man who had money could get what he wished by paying pretty high for it.
As to news, an old Negro brought us "Southern" papers every morning, and some would buy them, and, of course, the news would be read aloud for the benefit of all. Whether that news did any good might be a question. It was on the rebel side, of course, and how much might be true it was impossible to tell. But the reading of the papers from time to time gave us something to talk about at any rate, and that did us good, because it kept us busy for the time. There were at first, after our arrival, seven or eight hundred prisoners; and, after Chickamauga, more than a thousand. At first, one of the lower rooms was used for a hospital; but, afterward, the sick were taken somewhere outside, I don't know where. I had the good fortune to keep in sound health, and, of course, saw nothing of the hospital. For a time, each prisoner had to stay in his own particular room; but, afterward, one could go anywhere in the building. At first, they kept account of the men by standing them in line, two by two and counting the pairs-every room by itself. But that would not do, and then they would send the men all to one room at one side of the building, and pass them through one door back to the other rooms, counting as they went through that door. This was an improvement for them, doubtless, as nothing was required, only to know how to count, and most people can do that, you know. For the prisoners, it worked well also. Prisoners escaped once in awhile by some means or other. Some door panels had been loosened so that they could be taken out when desirable; and when anybody had got out, or when any persons were engaged in working in the "tunnel," as was sometimes the case, we could manage to pass men enough through these panels so as to have them come round and be recounted, to keep the number all right. It is said some actually did get out of Libby. How the thing was done it is not easy to tell. Several escaped in some way through the windows, and the guards were accused of having been bribed to allow the outgoing "Yank" to get safe away. By and by the windows were fastened up with strong bars on the inside, so as to make it impossible to get through them at all. It is a curious fact, also, that one day, while this work was going on, one of our men took up a bar of iron upon his shoulder, walked boldly out of Libby, passed the guards, into the streets, and away into the city, and two or three days elapsed before he was discovered and brought back to his old quarters. Many plans were conceived for getting out of Libby, but, mostly, they were failures. The guard would, somehow, discover the scheme, and our game would be blocked, or something else would happen to break it up. Several times the plan was to capture the "squad" that came in the morning to do the counting, rush out into the town and risk getting away. The plan was-a foolhardy one, and could not have succeeded, of course, and it is well enough, doubtless, that it never was actually tried. The only extensive scheme that ever did succeed in any considerable degree, was the "tunnel" which so much has been said. That tunnel was made in this way: There was an unoccupied basement, mostly empty, containing only some rubbish of boards and what not, and dark as midnight. Somebody conceived the idea of getting down into that, and then digging out through the wall and the ground out-side the wall. Several joined in the plot and undertook its execution. The bricks in one of the hearths on the ground floor were lifted, and a hole was made, diagonally, through the wall into the room of the basement, which was next, the outside wall, through which access was gained to the basement. Then, a big boulder in the outer wall was loosened, and then a tunnel was commenced. Work in the tunnel was continued mostly by night (though, sometimes, I think it was done in the day-time) for six or eight weeks, by those concerned in the scheme. Of course, only one could actually dig at a time, though several would cooperate, by taking the dirt from the digger, disposing of it and letting him go back to his work-or, by taking his place, since one could work only a short time in the tunnel. The dirt had all to be brought out, and something had to be done with it. Part of it was thrown among the rubbish of the basement, and part was handed up in blankets, etc, through the hearth, and washed away in the privy by the water works connected with the place. The length of the tunnel was about seventy-five feet, and the size perhaps two feet across. As I understood the matter, Col. Rose had more or less to do with the engineering of the tunnel as to the direction, length, etc. He was allowed, for some reason to go outside the prison at different times, and it was stated that he took those opportunities to plan for the tunnel. Rumor had it that he purchased the privilege of passing out. If he did, however, it was no body's business but his own. The tunnel must have been not much below the surface of the ground. At one point, the earth began to fall in from above. It was said that the man at work in the tunnel put his head out of the hole and saw the guard walking his beat. He was alarmed but continued to prop the roof with stove-wood in such a way as to prevent its caving and yet allowed opportunity for egress and thus the catastrophe was averted. During the progress of the work, the scheme was known only to its projectors, say fifteen or twenty persons. But, when the tunnel had reached the surface and was ready for the outward passage the matter became known somehow to very many, and some hundred made their way into the basement and, during the night, one hundred and nine succeeding in making sure their exit into the outer air in the silence of a starlit evening. Why they were not discovered, is a mystery, for the guard could not have been far away, and the escaped men went two and two as they left the vicinity of the place of exit, one waiting till the next one had come out. The evening was so light that the men inside the prison could see the others as they walked away. Many more were ready and anxious to "thread the tunnel," but daylight drew near, and they crawled back to the upper room, hoping, though, against hope, that another "jail delivery" might be made the next night. But no! It was not to be. In the morning at the "counting," heroic efforts were made to use the repeaters; and with large success; but, alas! One hundred and nine was a fatal number. Though many got through the "panels" and were re counted, the count fell badly short. The "Johnnies" were puzzled and mystified a long time, and counted and re-counted five or six times. But, though they made a different count every time, the proper number would not come. They could not find "Yanks" enough. It was a long time before the idea that any were gone dawned upon their stupid minds, but, at last, they seemed to "see the point," and went out and told that a lot of Yanks had got out. They could not tell how many, for the count was never twice alike; but a "big lot" were surely gone, and no mistake. They seemed to think escape impossible, but yet, the count of the day before could not be found. And then there was a hub-bub! We could see them running and mounting, and then riding hither and thither. We knew well enough what it meant, and of course enjoyed the fun. For some hours, they could not imagine how such a crowd of "Yanks" could get away; About 10 o'clock, however, somebody spied the "hole," and a little Negro was sent in and he went through the tunnel into the basement, and then turned and went back again, and lo! The secret was out; the blasted Yanks had crawled through the ground.
The prisoners were out and trying to get to the Union lines. But, that, in a hostile town-and an enemy's country, was no easy task. Some (about fifty) did succeed in escaping to the Federal camps; how, I do not know, as I was not among them. In a few days, some sixty of the escaped ones were re-captured and brought back to their old domicile. These were condemned, and punished for their escape, to be confined, perhaps, thirty days in the basement-a horrid place and utterly unfit for the abode of human beings. They were to be fed upon bread and water, but their comrades above contrived, by making a hole through the door and putting the neck of an old bottle into the aperture, to turn down soup-and coffee, if they had it, as they sometimes did-so that the "convicts" below really fared better than the men above. The rebels thought better of the matter and revoked the sentence before long, and, in two or three weeks, they were brought up into the rooms with the rest of us again.
I stayed about ten months in Libby and, May 5, 1864, the whole company left its precious precincts, and passed forth never to behold it more. After tarrying four days at Danville, Va. (having unusually good rations there, by the way), our company passed on to Macon, Ga., Camp Oglethorpe-remaining there from May 19 to July 21. From Macon, 600 out of 1,500 present were removed to Charleston, S. C., and, after enjoying for three months, such measures of hospitality as the generous denizens of that famous old town chose to bestow, another move was made. This time, it was to Columbia. S. C. At first, we were quartered at some distance from the town, and afterward, on the grounds of what was the Insane Asylum. In February 1865, our band was taken-to Charlotte, to Goldsboro, and so to the Federal lines, twelve miles above Wilmington, N.C., on Cape Fear River. We reached that blessed place March 1, 1865; exactly twenty months after the "Johnnies" had taken us to "board." At Macon, several tunnels were begun, and one was near completion-but none succeeded. While there, we dug in the ground for huts, and covered them over with dirt. The tunnel at Libby passed under a street and came to the surface, inside the fence, in an in closure containing a warehouse, that had in it many hundreds of boxes and barrels sent from the North, containing articles for the use of the prisoners, the contents of which, however, had never, found their way inside the walls of "Libby." While at Charleston, S. C., the bodies of prisoners were put into the old "jail yard," and, after-ward, into the "Roper Hospital," both under fire of the Federal batteries. I suppose notice was given to the Union officers, as movement seemed intended as a protection to the city of Charleston. It had no effect however, for the Federal Guns boomed away just as before. They shot beyond us, and no shells ever harmed a single man, except one, by a fragment. That hospital had been struck by a ball that had gone through two walls and the floor, into the basement. But none came near it while we were there. The prisoners got some things from the North, though not a tenth part of what was sent. Before a box was brought into "the prison, a man would take an ax and knock the box in, to see that nothing contraband was inside. Sugar, coffee, butter, canned fruits, would all be smashed" together into one confused mass.
One may ask, what did the prisoners do! Many things. They cooked and ate, performed their daily ablutions, washed their clothes, went on the "skirmish line" (hunted for gray backs), and, when all these were done, they went from room to room, chatted, played cards, or checkers, or chess; made rings out of bones, or chairs out of barrels, etc., etc.
At one time "debates" were established, but they did not continue. Richardson, Parson, McCabe and others were there a part of the time, and they spoke. Gen. Neal Dow was there also; and he lectured on temperance. A paper was edited and read at stated periods. And so, in many ways men tried to make the time seem pleasant and cheerful. As has been stated, the rebel authorities put the prisoners under the fire Federal batteries. Instead, however, of receiving any harm there from, they thoroughly enjoyed the situation. It was an agreeable relief from the tedious monotony of ignorance, which so for so many months had been suffered. Before this time, we had been wholly cut off from the world and especially from our friends, and from the operations of the Union army. Now we were in sight and hearing of our fort and guns. Night after night we stood and watched the shells as they sped their way from the batteries, flying in their shining arch of light above our heads, to carry new terrors to the hearts of the forlorn dwellers in the wretched city so long under siege. And the new situation was decidedly one of comparative pleasure and satisfaction. The prisoners were, considering all things; an orderly and well-behaved set of men, fully as much so as could reasonably be expected. As Capt. Green was an office, his treatment, though bad enough, was not nearly so severe as that of prisoners who were privates. Many of the scenes in Pemberton, on Belle Isle, Danville, and, above all, Andersonville, were beyond conception. Andersonville was, in fact, the crowning horror of the time. Thirty-five thousand men were shut up in an open stockade, in the broiling sun, and the damps of night, starving from insufficient and unsuitable food, with water utterly abominable, and amid untold horrors of exposure, -sickness, suffering and death! At one time, from seventy to eighty would die in a single night. When Gen. Sherman was marching through Georgia to the sea, it is stated upon apparently good authority, that the guns upon the walls of the Andersonville stockade were trained upon the mass of wretched prisoners within the in closure, with orders to open fire upon them if the Union army were found to be approaching that vicinity.
NARRATIVE OF JOSEPH A BROWN
Besides the account given by Capt. Green, presented in the foregoing sketch, the statements of several others are added, throwing considerable light upon the painful subject. One of these, Joseph A. Brown, of Company L of the Ninth Calvary is as follows:
I enlisted in Company L of the One Hundred and Twenty-first Regiment (Ninth Cavalry), Capt. Albert Morehouse, December 16 1863. Was captured September 25, 1864, at Sulphur Trestle, Ala., by Gen. Forrest, with eight hundred others, and imprisoned at Cahawba, Ala., from the time of capture 'till March 25, 1865, when we were paroled and sent home. I was a walking skeleton. It took me three years to recover from the effects of prison life. The prison was a large cotton house. The fixtures were peculiar. Bunks were built around the walls, like an old-fashioned canal boat, four to five tiers high, so that one had to climb to the upper tiers. Many had to sleep on the floor. Our rations were a pint of corn meal per man daily, and a small piece of fat pork every other day. Water was furnished by a small stream from an artesian well, flowing through the prison. The water was healthy and reasonably clean. We had also the privilege of a yard outside, in which, by the way the cooking was done. They had a "dead line," about six feet from - the wall of the- yard. There were about three thousand in the prison, and many died. Frequently eight or ten would die in one night. We lay on the bare floor or in the empty bunks.
The next is the narrative of William J. Carson. He joined the army September 2, 1861, entering Company E, First Battalion, Fifteenth Regiment of United States Infantry. He was captured September 20, 1883, at Chickamauga. The regiment belonged to the Fourteenth Army Corps, Department of the Cumberland Gen. Thomas commanding.
On the second day of the fight, the soldiers threw up works of earth and rocks, for defense, early in the morning, and fought till noon. At that time, the Army was evidently defeated, and was obliged to retreat.
The division to which the Fifteenth United- States Regiment belonged was ordered to hold their position as long as possible, to give the main body a means of escape. They did so, and. all who obeyed the order were either killed, wounded or captured -made a sacrifice, as it were-to enable the army, as a whole, to take a new position. This body of heroic men, thus consecrating themselves for the salvation of the rest, held their ground till night, when the Confederates massed in solid phalanx, charging, captured all that were left alive. Through the afternoon, that body of Union troops had fired 110 shots, each men, during the time from 2 o'clock till dark. About six thousand were captured. After the battle, they were taken to Richmond by rail, marching for some days, and embarking at Dalton, Ga. Three large freight trains were filled, and they reached Richmond ten days after the capture. No rations were issued to the prisoners until the second sight, at Tunnel Hill, when the rebels gave out half a pint of corn meal to every two men. There were no utensils for cooking, except as some melted their canteens apart and baked the meal upon them. From there to Richmond, all the prisoners had given them was five crackers, hard, tough, nearly uneatable, made of pea (or bean) meal. (Some that had money were able to buy). Twenty-one hundred men were put into the Pemberton building, opposite "Libby," and the rest were taken elsewhere. There were three stories and a garret besides the basement, with two rooms upon each floor 90x100 feet. The prisoners occupied three stories and the garret (attic). The lower basement rooms were used for storage. One had sugar and molasses and the other had salt. The "boys" made holes through the floor into each room below, large enough to admit the body of a man. Out of one room they would get sugar and out of the other salt, and then they would exchange these articles through holes made in the partitions, by putting spoons through. But the men soon got enough salt, and they would not exchange any longer. For rations, the prisoners had a small piece of bread (three ounces) daily, with a little meat every other day, and, at night, three gills of soup made of peas, with black bugs swimming on the top of the soup. One day the boys observed some rats outside the windows (they were allowed to look out then). One said, "If I had a fish-hook, I could fish up some of these rats." Mr. Carson had a hook, and the man put down the hook (baited with something), and caught several. They dressed and cooked the rats into soup, and it was nice eating. They would have caught more, but a big rat cut the line with his foot and the hook was lost and the rat catching was done. There were fireplaces but no fuel, only as the guard would hand in a piece of board or something, which would be whittled up inside the prison like splinters, and a fire made in that way. Sometimes the boys would split the bones (left from the meat) up fine, and make broth from that. The men were nearly starved. No one had one-fourth enough. Each would cram down, at once, the whole that he got for all day, and then wait till the next morning for more. They slept on the damp and slimy floor, with no covering at all, lying as closely together as they could well be stowed. The floors were never swept nor cleaned in any way, and they came to be wretchedly filthy. Mr. C. became sick and was taken to the hospital. The accommodations were some better there. They had bunks with straw, and the rations were not so scant. Very little care, however, was taken of the sick. The nurses, indeed, were mostly Federal soldiers, but, if the truth be told, it must be said that they were-careless, too. The prisoners were searched, and their money, if discovered, was taken away, yet many contrived to secrete their money so that the rebels never did find it. Mr. Carson kept his by scratching the dirt from a crack in the floor, cramming the roll of bills into the crack, and then filling it with dirt again. They never even suspected the hiding place. The rebels would give the prisoners seven Confederate dollars for one greenback dollar. A day or two after they were put into "Pemberton," the rebel officers passed through among the prisoners and got most of the money which the soldiers had, promising to return it when paroled, and telling them, also, that if the money was not given up willingly search would be made, the money taken and not a dollar ever returned. Most gave up all they had. One man gave them $500. There was a pile of bills eight inches thick that had been collected in this way. None of it was ever returned that he ever heard of. Those who had money could send for what they wished by the hospital steward, who would take a Negro with a basket into the city and bring the articles the next morning, if they were to be had.
Mr. Carson was taken to the hospital not far from New Year's. He was out of his head for some time while there, and was released about the last of January 1864 at City Point. Three hundred and fifty prisoners were exchanged at the same time. He says he weighed only sixty-four pounds. He could walk, but be was truly a walking skeleton. He weighed only seventy-five pounds when he came to Muncie, in Jim (sic), 1864. He was taken at first, after exchange, to the hospital at Annapolis, Md., and stayed there four weeks. He was then furloughed home, his furlough being renewed from month to month till the last of July 1864, at which time he was directed to report to Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio, whence he was sent to Fort Adams, R.I. At this place, he was discharged at the expiration of his term of service, September 2, 1864. At one time, the prisoners in the hospital had access to a vacant lot or yard back of the prison, 60x80 feet. Three hundred and fifty other prisoners from Belle Isle were brought there and kept a short time. Those men were in a condition that words cannot describe. They were filthy beyond conception. Many had no clothing but rags of blankets wrapped around their bodies, or pieces of pants, or the like. Their hair hung tangled upon their shoulders and their beards rough and unshaven; they looked more like wild animals than human beings. The bodies of many of them had scars of sores, or the sores themselves, made by lice eating into the flesh. Most of them could walk, but they were merely skin and bone, and the stench from that crowd of men was worse than carrion. A large hogshead of swill stood in the corner of the yard, where the offal of the hospital food was thrown, and those men quarreled and swore and fought to get to that hogshead for the scraps of bread, etc, that were in it. You never saw such a struggle as they made among a horde of hungry swine trying to get at the swill poured into the trough. Before they could be distributed to the hospital, thirteen had died right there in the yard. Fourteen were left in the ward in which Mr. Carson was, and the next morning eight of them were dead. The human mind cannot believe the terrible condition of those wretched men. Yet, they were fathers, and brothers, and sons, and Union Soldiers, who, when they went into the fight in which they were captured; were hardy and strong, bold and brave, and by exposure and starvation, and by overcrowding and neglect, had those poor victims of cruelty become such hideous specters of humanity. The soul shudders at the recital, and the historian drops the curtain over the sight lest we lose our faith in human kindness, and lest we come to look upon men as monsters. Says Mr. Carson, "As we were on the boats, passing down by City Point, after we had anchored and when daylight came, the men caught sight of the stars and stripes. They were starved and weak and many of them sick, but at the sight, such a shout arose, as human ears had never heard. Poor fellows, who lay there too sick and feeble to speak aloud, raised their skinny hands and tried to shout with the rest. The rebels in charge were enraged and tried to make them hush, threatening to take them back to prison if they did not keep quiet; but they might as well have tried to still the whirlwind. The men shouted till they were weary, which in fact was not long."
As the boats on which the Union soldiers were conveyed came alongside the old steamer New York, they saw the "Johnny Rebs" on her decks waiting to be exchanged. But what a contrast! They stood there, fresh and full fed, healthy and strong, well and warmly clothed, with good hats and shoes, supplied to them by the Government and the people they were trying to destroy. The Union soldiers coming from rebel prisons as from very charnel houses of death were ragged and filthy and sore and sick and woe-begone many--many of them the very pictures of living death. How many weeks and months had these poor faithful men waited, in growing despair, for this welcome day.
------End of Draft and Prison Life------
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