Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 03.djvu/198
Southern Historical Society Papers.
that while painful and harrowing to one's feelings to be pent up within despised prison walls during such trying times, it is no disgrace to be a prisoner of war, if not captured under dishonorable circumstances. Lafayette languished in prison, and so did Louis Napoleon, the present Emperor of France, and his illustrious uncle, the First Napoleon, and so did St. Paul, and so have the great and good of all ages. We are but mortals, and must yield to the fiat of remorseless destiny. There are here many splendid specimens of physical, mental and moral manhood, and in them we see the age of chivalry revived. Three-fourths of the officers are under thirty years of age; many are of the first order of talent, and will make their marks in after life. A large number are graduates of colleges and universities, and many have had the advantage of extensive travel over Europe and America, and are gentlemen of culture and refinement. Some, of course, in so large a body, gathered from so many States, are coarse and unrefined, illiterate men, promoted doubtless on account of their gallantry in battle, or through the partiality of their ignorant companions. A vast majority are brave, gallant and dashing soldiers, and are deserving of special mention in my Diary. Superior power has incarcerated these men in a loathsome prison, indignities and insults are daily heaped upon them, and they have no ability to resent them. Starvation sometimes almost drives them to reluctant submission, but the whole Yankee Government, with its immense army of more than a million men, cannot shake their confidence in the truth and justice of their cause, nor crush their resolute, undaunted spirits. For future reference I have bought a small blank book, and am getting the autographs of many acquaintances, with their military rank, name of their commands, and their home address. A great many officers in the pen, and a few in the hospital, have these autograph books, and are assiduous in collecting names.
April 4th—Mrs. Emma R. Peterkin, Mrs. Meeteer, and other ladies from Philadelphia, visited the hospital and our ward to-day by special permission. They brought us some vegetables, fruit, etc. Their gentle presence and kindly words of sympathy infused new life into us, and was a most delightful and charming incident in our cheerless prison experience. One of the ladies came to my bed, spoke of her friendship for Mrs. Professor LeConte, of Athens, Georgia, and gave me some nice fruit. She also gave me hastily a recent number of Ben Wood's excellent Democratic paper, the "New York News." This is a real treat, as Ben Wood is a "Rebel