Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 10.djvu/36

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

face great obliquy to do so) will be found of great interest as well as valuable testimony on points we made in the discussion:]

The bread was badly baked, the bakery being run night and day; the ten thousand prisoners—the number originally intended to be confined at Andersonville—having risen to thirty-eight thousand, and, in addition to the fact that many of our men engaged in the bakery had very little sympathy with the poor men in the stockade, and took as little trouble with their work as possible, they were themselves over—tasked. Hence the bread was badly baked. Besides, our men were not used to corn bread, a fact which used to make the Georgians wonder, as they grew fat on corn bred, just as the healthiest and most able—bodied Irishman you could meet at a fair was a man whose principal food was potatoes.

The water was diarrhœal—a fact which was as injurious to the health of the Confederate authorities in that locality as to our men. But this difficulty was partially obviated by the digging of innumerable wells in various parts of the prison, and excellent water obtained, which the well diggers monopolized and sold for a cent a glass to those who had no claim on the wells.

But our men were great sufferers, and deaths were alarmingly on the increase. The Confederate doctors were, as I have already said, themselves startled and alarmed at the progress of disease and death. But they seemed powerless to check it. I can honestly say—and every man who was connected with the hospital department will bear me out—that the twenty-five or thirty Confederate surgeons who were in attendance at the hospital and in the stockade, acted with as much humanity toward the prisoners as the disheartening circumstances would permit. We were often a fortnight without being able to get medicine. They had no quinine for fever and ague; they had no opium for diarrhœa and dysentery. Our government made medicine a contraband of war, and wherever they found medicine on a blockade runner, it was confiscated, a policy which indicated, on the part of our rulers, both ignorance and barbaric cruelty; for, although no amount of medicine would save many of our men who have laid their bones in Georgia, I am as certain as I am of my own existence, that hundreds of men died, who, if we had had the right sort and proper quantity of medicine, would have been living to-day and restored to their families.

Scurvy was another disease which was making formidable inroads upon the health of the prisoners, but vegetables could not be had for love or money, although for miles the country was scoured, and I knew