Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/242

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232
Southern Historical Society Papers.

But to know the men we must see them divested of all their false notions of soldier life, and enduring the incomparable hardships which marked the latter half of the war.

 

 

Diary of Captain Robert E. Park, of Twelfth Alabama Regiment.

[Continued from October Number.]

December 9th, 1864—Letters have been received from Captain Hewlett, now at Fort Delaware; from Misses Lizzie Swartzwelder, Nena Kiger, Gertie Coffroth and Jennie Taylor, of Winchester, and Misses Anna McSherry, Mollie Harlan and Mary Alburtis, of Martinsburg. The dear young ladies who write me so promptly and so kindly have my warmest gratitude for their cheering letters. These charming, hitherto unknown "Cousins," contribute greatly towards relieving the tedious, unvarying monotony of this humiliating prison life. Additional insults in different ways are the only change, and keep us in a constant state of excitement and indignation. The very confusion and turmoil is monotony. Private Sam Brewer, of my company, also wrote me from Elmira, New York, where he is confined as a prisoner of war. Sam was the well known, humorous sutler of the Twelfth Alabama. He says that a poor, starving Tar Heel at Elmira, looking up piteously and pleadingly at him, as he sucked a bare beef-bone, said: "Mr., when you finish that bone, please, sir, let me juice it while." This letter must have been overlooked or very hurriedly read by the prison inspectors who examine all letters and condemn hundreds of them, or I would never have been permitted to receive it. Sam says it is bitter cold at Elmira, and he has but one blanket. They have snows several feet deep. Poor Dick Noble, from "Big Hungry," near Tuskegee, died a prisoner at Elmira. He was a faithful fellow. A kind letter was received, too, from Mr. J. W. Fellows, of Manchester, New Hampshire, who, with Professor William Johns, prepared me for college at Brownwood Institute, La Grange, Georgia, in 1859. He is now practicing law, and is an uncompromising Democrat. He has lived among the Southern people, formed friendships there, and understands their peculiar institution—slavery. His letter is very kind and full of sympathy, and he offers to aid me. Alfred Parkins, of Winchester, a prisoner in the "Bull Pen," as the quarters of the privates is designated, came to see Lieutenant Arrington,