Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/245
Diary of Capt. Robert E. Park, Twelfth Alabama Regiment.
December 18th, 19th and 20th—Our cottage is some distance from the main hospital buildings, all of which are built in a circle. In front of each is a covered platform or piazza, extending entirely around, cyclorama style, and on which the prisoners walk to the mess-room. My Dutch doctor has been sending my meagre meals to me, but two days ago he ordered me to go to my meals. A painful accident happened to me on my first attempt, and I am now confined to my bed. It had rained and sleeted the night before, and the long piazza was covered over with ice. The morning was windy and bitter cold; but knowing I could not afford to miss a meal, I took up my crutches and began my walk over the frozen ground to the nearest steps of the circular piazza. I was filled with dread on finding it covered with sleek, glassy ice, and used my crutches and right foot with great care and slowness. My left foot and leg were tied up as usual by a white cloth swing suspended around my neck, and I feared I might fall at any time. I was getting along pretty well, stopping frequently to allow parties of prisoners to pass by me on their way to the mess-room, and thus avoided being jostled against and thrown down, when, just as I had reached within two buildings of the breakfast room, and was congratulating myself on my good fortune, some Yankee, guards, composed of Irish and Dutch, met me, and as they did not offer to make room for me, I moved towards one side, and as I did so one of my crutches slipped on the treacherous ice, and I fell forward, throwing, without thought, my wounded foot and leg in front of me, breaking the thin cloth swing as I did so, and falling with all my weight on my disabled limb. The great shock to my whole system, and the intense pain which I endured rendered me utterly helpless and, for a few moments, insensible. My unfortunate leg was again seriously injured and my whole nervous system shocked and unstrung. The soldiers picked me up and assisted me to my room, where I have lain ever since in a state of helplessness and severe pain. Instead of giving me some nourishing food, my principal diet is weak beef soup and blanc mange. Lieutenant Reagan, who suffers a great deal, shares my detestation for blanc mange.
December 21st, 22d, 23d and 24th—Our prison circle has been thrown into a state of feverish excitement by the perpetration of one of the most brutal and cowardly outrages ever inflicted upon unarmed, helpless, wounded prisoners of war and brave, honorable gentlemen and soldiers. Lieutenant Morgan, of North Carolina, and Lieutenant Hudgins, of Virginia, were apprehended in a very