Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 03.djvu/195
Diary of Captain Robert E. Park.
his men on to the fray; but they will urge him on no more, and never again will he behold the proud banner he has loved so well. With the roar of the cannon and rattling of musketry falling upon his ear, or with a fair vision of his dear childhood's home before his mind, and a prayer he lisped in days gone by at his mother's knee, his eyes close, his breath ceases, and the brave prisoner's life is ended. Horrid war has given another noble heart to death, and taken the sunshine from another happy home. The dead prisoner is carried to the "dead-house," stripped of his clothing, placed by strangers and enemies in a rough, unpainted pine coffin, hoisted in an old cart, and hurried to the burial ground, like the carcass of some dumb brute, without the presence or ministrations of a single friend. They are carried across the bay, when not sunk within it, and buried on the Jersey shore. The graves are seldom marked, or it is done in a very careless manner, easily erased in a short time by the action of the elements.
March 27th—All the paroled prisoners have had their "checks" redeemed or "cashed," and it is said a boat will carry them to Dixie soon. Oh! that I could be of the lucky number.
March 28th—I received a very kind letter from that true friend and noble woman, Miss McSherry, to-day, enclosing $12, which was paid me in checks. Her generous, disinterested kindness, commands my sincere admiration and warmest gratitude. Miss Mary Alburtis, of Martinsburg, also wrote me very kindly.
March 29th—Letters to day from Miss Nena Kiger and Miss Mollie Harlan, and wrote two letters to friends in Winchester, and two to Martinsburg. The only newspaper we are permitted to buy or receive is the "Philadelphia Inquirer" a very bitter, boastful and malignant sheet, full of falsehoods about the Southern people and Confederate armies. Its price to our Yankee guards is five cents, to the sick and penniless prisoners is ten cents. A young "galvanized" man—i.e., one ready to take the oath when allowed—named C., who claims to be from both Alabama and Kentucky, is one of the nurses in our ward. He had not the courage, fortitude and patriotic principle requisite to remain true to the land of his birth, and has signified his willingness to repudiate his first pledge, and swear allegiance to the Yankee Government. I have talked with C., and remonstrated with him upon his disgraceful conduct, but he seems resolved upon his course.
March 30th and 31st—My first letter from Dixie since my capture, 19th September, over six months ago, came to-day and rejoiced me