Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/244

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

who manage to get a permit to visit some officer in the hospital, under a negro guard. The prisoners are employed as laborers to empty vessels of provisions, coal, wood, etc., and to do all sorts of menial offices. Their small rations are slightly increased as a reward, and they enjoy a respite from the rigid confinement. They are glad to get on these working squads. My brave men, one of whom is Wesley F. Moore, are true as steel, and, despite their sufferings and privations, are still hopeful of success, and resolved to remain faithful to the bitter end. I write them encouragingly, send them some tobacco, bought from the sutler, and urge them to remain faithful to their cause, and never despair of ultimate deliverance from prison, and the final success of the Southern Confederacy. They are without comforts, deprived of the bare necessities of life even, and have no acquaintances or friends in the North upon whom they might call for needed relief. Would that I could supply their pressing wants. These resolute, suffering private soldiers and their comrades in the field are the true heroes of the war: they, and not the men of rank, deserve the most honor and gratitude.

December 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th —Have received a kind letter from Mr. James M. Coulter, of Baltimore, stating that he inclosed ($5) five dollars, and generously offering to send anything else I might need. The letter had been opened and money abstracted before it was handed me. I am very grateful to Mr. Coulter, and as I need the money very much, went to Major Brady, the Provost Marshal, and made complaint. He said he knew nothing of the letter, as it was sent to "care Dr. A. Heger, Surgeon of Hospital." I went to the surgeon's office, showed him the letter, told him that the money had been taken out, and asked him to see it was turned over to me. He replied that there was no money in it when received, and declined to investigate the matter further. I am convinced the money did come and was stolen. Language is too poor to adequately describe the mean, petty rascality of a man so low and depraved as to rob a poor, destitute, powerless prisoner, and of so small an amount, great and important however to so very needy a person. Major Hanvey and Lieutenant Arrington had money stolen in the same way. We have no redress, and must submit to the unpunished and unrebuked robbery. Some of the officers entertain us by singing; Lieutenant Morgan, of the First North Carolina troops, is leader, and his favorite songs are "The Vacant Chair" and "All Quiet Along the Potomac To-Night."