Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 01.djvu/172
Southern Historical Society Papers.
unto the wicked and ungodly Rebels three of these "providential springs" and I am sure he did not plant ours in answer to prayer, for we had just as soon drunk the branch water.
REASONS WHY THERE WERE NO BARRACKS.
The Confederate Government has always been harshly assailed for its want of humanity in not having barracks to house the prisoners from the sun and rains. A more senseless hue and cry was never heard. How was it possible to saw timber into planks without saw-mills? There were two water-power mills distant three and six miles respectively, but such rude, primitive affairs undeserving the name. The nearest steam saw-mill was twenty-three miles distant (near Smithville), the next at Reynolds, about fifty miles distant; but the great bulk of the lumber used, fully two-thirds, was brought from Gordon, a distance of eighty miles. Even if these mills had had the capacity to supply the necessary amount of lumber, it would still have been impossible to have provided barracks for the prisoners, as all the available engines of all the railroads in the Confederacy were taxed to their utmost capacity in transporting supplies for the army in the field and to the prisons. But few even of the officers of the guard had shanties, and these few were built of slabs and sheeting, which every one knows is the refuse of the mills. And even though there were no lack of lumber, when we remember that there was but one solitary manufactory of cut nails in the limits of the Confederacy, certainly no blame could be attached to the authorities for not furnishing more comfortable quarters for them. Nearly every building in the encampment was built of rough logs and covered with clap-boards split from the tree and held to their places by poles. The force of these statements is readily appreciated by every intelligent, unprejudiced mind. Besides, is it customary for any nation in time of war to treat their prisoners in a more humane manner than their own soldiers in the field? The inquiry becomes pertinent when we reflect that during the last two years of the war there was not a tent of any description to be found in any of the armies of the Confederacy, save such as were captured from the Federals.
HOW THE STOCKADE WAS BUILT.
The stockade was built by the negroes belonging to the neighboring farms, either hired or pressed into service by the Confederate authorities to cut down the immense pine trees growing on the ground intended for the stockade; and these same trees were then cut into proper lengths and hewn upon the spot, and then planted in a ditch dug four feet deep to receive them. In this manner was the stockade made. Before it was completed the prisoners were forwarded in great numbers; and it being impossible to keep them in the cars, we had to put them in the completed end of the stockade and double the guards, and our whole force kept ever ready,