Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 34.djvu/45
Prison Rcminiscemes. 37
Bennett, there is one request I wish to make of you for them, and I feel that you, as a woman of influence, can do something for us." She shrugged her shoulders in the polite French style, and said she was but a woman, with only a woman's influence. [ made a complimentary reply and said to her: "Mrs. Bennett, my companions here had their clothing battle-torn and blood- stained. They are now in need of outer clothing. They have friends in New York City who are willing and ready to furnish them; but there is an order here forbidding our soldiers from receiving outer clothing. Now, my request is that you have this order withdrawn, or modified, so as to permit our men to receive outer clothing." She promptly replied that she would use all her influence to accomplish the request, that she expected to have Mrs. Lincoln to visit Fort Washington (her home) next week, and she would get her to use her influence with the President to revoke the order. The New York Herald of the next day, and for successive days, had an editorial paragraph calling public attention to the order, telling of the exposure of the wounded and sick prisoners to the chilling morning and evening winds of the Sound, and insisting, for humanity's sake, that the order should be revoked. Afterwards I received from Mrs. Bennett the fol- lowing note :
FORT WASHINGTON, Sept. i^th, 1863. SIR:
Yesterday Mrs. Lincoln visited me at Fort Washington. I embraced the opportunity to ask her to use her influence in re- gard to the request you made me. She assured me she will attend to it immediately on her return to Washington. For all your sakes I sincerely hope she may succeed. I have done all in my power. I can do no more. Hoping that your prison hours may pass lightly over,
I remain with best wishes for yourself and brother officers,
H. A. BENNETT. To Adjutant Crocker."
Mrs. Bennett conversed freely with me about her husband. She said he was always a sincere friend of the South ; that when, upon the firing upon Fort Sumter. the wild furor swept the