Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 01.djvu/253
Treatment of Prisoners During the War.
numerous and vigilant guard disappointed us. "We reached Strasburg the next evening, where our captors gave us a dinner. We then went on to Winchester, where we spent the night. The Yankee officers gave us a first-rate supper. We reached Charlestown next day, where dinner was again given us—a very good one, too. The Yankee officers took us to their "mess," and treated us very courteously. That evening the Colonel commanding took us to Harper's Ferry. As we were starting, Captain Bailey very kindly gave us some tobacco, remarking, "You will find some difficulty in getting such things on the way." The Colonel left us at the Ferry, and we found ourselves in the hands of a different set of men. We were put in the "John Brown Engine House," where were already some twenty-five or thirty prisoners. There were no beds, no seats, and the floor and walls were alive with lice. Before being sent to this hole, we were stripped and searched. We stayed here about thirty-six hours, were then sent on to Wheeling, where we were put in a place neither so small nor so lousy as the one we had left, but the company was even less to our taste than lice, viz : Yankee convicts. We remained here two or three days, and then were taken to Camp Chase. We reached there in the night—were cold and wet. After undergoing a considerable amount of cursing and abuse, we were turned into prison No. 1, to shift for ourselves as best we could. At Camp Chase I made my first attempt at washing my clothes—having no change, I had to be minus shirt, drawers and socks during the operation. I worked so hard as to rub all the skin off my knuckles, and yet not enough to get the dirt out of my garments. We stayed at this place about twenty days. We were then started off to Johnson's Island. My friend had ten dollars good money when we reached Camp Chase, which was taken from him and sutlers' checks given instead. When about to leave for Johnson's Island, where, of course, Camp Chase checks would be useless, the sutler made it convenient not to be on hand to redeem his paper, so my friend lost all the little money he had. We marched from Camp Chase to Columbus, where we took the cars. This march was brutally conducted. Several of our number were sick, and yet the whole party was made to double quick nearly the whole distance—five miles. The excuse was, that otherwise "we would be too late for the train." But why not have made an earlier start? or why not have waited for the next train? We traveled all day, reached Johnson's Island in the night, worn out and hungry. I stayed at Johnson's Island from about November 20th to April 26th. During this time, in common with many others, I suffered a good deal. Prisoners who were supplied by friends in the North got along very well, but those altogether dependent upon the tender mercies of the Government were poorly off indeed. I was among the latter for sometime not having been able to communicate with my friends until the middle of December. But the New Year brought me supplies and letters more precious than bank notes, even to a half starved, shivering prisoner.