Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 01.djvu/178
Southern Historical Society Papers.
Confederates used to hunt and worry prisoners with bloodhounds. Now it is well known that the breed of bloodhounds is nearly extinct in the South, and the large packs of those dogs alluded to by writers on this subject existed only in their imaginations, the prolific brains of penny-a-liners, whose vile and lying compositions even now abound in many so-called respectable New York papers. No public man is safe from their atrocious attacks. Among the various specimens of this dog alluded to by the above-named gentry, was the famous bloodhound of the Libby prison. The writer has often seen this formidable animal, which certainly in his youth must have been as fine a specimen of the kind as could be met anywhere, but unfortunately for the thrilling portion of the accounts of his doings at the time of the war, the poor beast, worn out from old age and with hardly a tooth in his head, wandered about a harmless, inoffensive creature. He was the property of the Commandant of the Libby, who kept him because he was a pet dog of his father's, and there the brute lived a pensioner in his old age. As to his worrying men, he could not, had he even tried, have worried a child. The other prisons had none, not even as pensioners. Among the records history gives us of using those dogs to hunt men, it is stated that during the Florida war a number of bloodhounds were imported by the Federal Government from Cuba to hunt the Indians out of the Everglades, and that numbers of the natives were worried to death by the ferocious beasts. The writer does not deny that when a prisoner got out of the stockade trying to escape, if no clue could be obtained of his whereabouts, a few mongrel or half-bred fox-hounds were used to track him, but the worrying was all done in the correspondent's own brain. However, it suited the times and made the article sell. The only complaint made is that this vile and malicious lie is still, if not believed, repeated by some who use it for party purposes, and thus help to keep up the bad feeling between the North and South.
In reference to the causes of the mortality at Andersonville, we have the highest medical authority, testimony which the other side cannot impeach, for it was on his testimony (garbled and perverted, it is true) that they hung Captain Wirz. Dr. Joseph Jones, now a professor in the Medical College at New Orleans, and then one of the most distinguished surgeons in the Confederate service, was sent to Andersonville to inspect the prison and report on the causes of mortality at Andersonville. He has recently sent us a MS., from which we make the following extract:
In the specification of the first charge against Henry Wirz, formerly Commandant of the interior of the Confederate States military prison at Andersonville, during his trial before a special Military