Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 03.djvu/66
Southern Historical Society Papers.
February 17th, 18th and 19th—Plenty of "grape," i. e., rumors afloat of a speedy general exchange. I have written home by my old college-mate, Capt. Zeke Crocker, who is on the exchange list. Much of my time is spent writing to my lady friends in the Valley of Virginia and Baltimore, and to relatives South. No letters from home, however, reached me by flag of truce boat, though I know they have been written. The authorities are intentionally negligent about forwarding and delivering our letters from Dixie to us. Have read "Macaria," by Miss Evans; "The Caxtons," by Bulwer, and am reviewing arithmetic and algebra. A number of valuable books have been sent us by the ever thoughtful and attentive Baltimore ladies. They will never know how much they have done, in various kindly ways, to ameliorate our unhappy condition and relieve the dull tedium of our monotonous life. God bless the noble women of Baltimore! They are angels of mercy to us. The supply of drinking water has been scarce and insufficient lately, and those who have been too nice to use the filthy ditch water, so unpleasant to sight and smell, for bathing purposes, have been forbidden to use the fresh water in the hogsheads. The drinking water is brought over from Brandywine creek, and is dipped out of the hogsheads by means of tin cups, coffee pots, buckets, etc. It cannot be clean, but is greatly to be preferred to the brackish ditch water. It is to be hoped we will not have a water famine. Many pleasant acquaintances have been formed recently.
February 20th—Mr. Bennett, of Baltimore, sent me one dollar and a supply of paper, envelopes and stamps. Ahl and Wolf are, like many other civilians, "clothed in a little brief authority" over their fellow men, very arrogant and offensive. They seem to delight in harassing and annoying the defenceless victims under their care and control. They evidently regret the prospect of resumption of exchange. When we leave, their occupation as turnkeys will be gone, and the dreaded "front" stares them in the face. Their coward hearts quail at the thought. Wolf gave up watches and Confederate money to most of the prisoners. This is a good indication of approaching exchange. I am satisfied that President Davis and the Confederate Government have been ready for it at any time. No blame is attached to our leaders. Colonel Robert Ould has labored zealously in our behalf. My hopes of release have revived.
February 21st, 22d, 23d and 24th—A movement has been on foot