Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 03.djvu/65
Diary of Captain Robert E. Park.
February 10th, llth and 12th, 1865—There is a tent of sutler's supplies near the mess hall, kept by an avaricious Yankee, named Emery, who is believed to be a partner of General Schœff. Tobacco, matches, oil for cooking lamps, stationery, baker's bread, pies, cakes, apples, onions, etc., all of very poor quality, are kept for sale, and from 500 per cent, to 1,000 per cent, profit is charged. Emery's position is a paying, if not a very dignified one. Jolly Sam Brewer, the clever Twelfth Alabama sutler, would have rejoiced at a quarter of Emery's huge profits. There is very often an eager, clamorous throng crowded around his tent, checks in hand, and held aloft, eager to buy the inferior articles, sold at prices so far above their value. Emery and his clerks are vulgar, impertinent, grasping Yankees, and elegant Southern gentlemen are frequently compelled to submit to disagreeable familiarties from these ill bred men. The extortioners are openly denounced and unsparingly criticised and ridiculed by the impatient, hungry and poverty-stricken Rebels, as they anxiously await their time to be served. The enormous prices for very poor articles on sale are very candidly and freely complained of and objected to by the needy customers. But while they grumble, stern necessity forces them to buy. In clear weather the prisoners promenade in the open area and exercise by running, jumping, pitching quoits, etc.
February 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th—The privy is on the beach, where the tide comes in, 150 feet or more distant from the nearest division. It is open and exposed in front, and is in sight of Delaware city. The seats are very filthy, and cannot be occupied without being defiled. The sea water proves no disinfectant, and the constant frequenters of the place are sickened by the offensive odors which are wafted to their sensitive olfactories. Diarrhoea and dysentery are so prevalent, and the pen is so crowded, that parties are very often compelled to wait an hour or longer before they can be relieved. The floor and seats are too filthy and nauseating for description; yet very many who suffer from the diseases mentioned visit the foul place dozens of times, day and night, in rain, wind, hail, sleet and snow, and in spite of the most intense cold and blackest, most impenetrable darkness, pollution is scarcely avoidable on such occasions.