Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/248

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232 Southern Historical Society Papers.

wide, forming the pathway of the sentinels. Ten or twelve feet in front of the stockade was a row of pine poles. Through each of these an auger hole was bored and a strong two-inch rope passed. This was called the dead line. If the prisoners touched it, or came too near it, the negro sentinels were instructed to fire upon them. Frequently they would cry out: " Look a-here, white man, the bul- let in this nigger's gun is getting mighty hot, and he will fling it into some of you directly, if you don't mind ! "


A negro corporal or sergeant, as the case might be, was in charge of each detachment. We were formed in line three times each day morning, noon, and afternoon in regular order, and the roll was called, when the negro could read; when he could not, we were counted. We remained in ranks until the officer of the day came 'round, when the corporal, or sergeant, saluted. The salute was returned, when the officer made his report so many in ranks and so many sick in the tents. After this was done, we were dismissed and went to our quarters.

One of these negro corporals was formerly a slave who had run away from his master in South Carolina fourteen years before. He was a kind-hearted negro, coal-black, and weighed about 200 pounds. He went by the name of Hill Harris.

For rations we were furnished with three army crackers per day, and a half-pint of soup. The crackers were issued in the morning, and in the following manner: Two poles, eight or ten feet long, were attached one to either side of a cracker-box, forming a kind of hand- litter, which was borne by two negroes one walking in front, the other behind. As the box passed our tents, if no one was ready to receive the crackers, the corporal in charge would throw them to us, giving each his daily allowance.

About noon the half-pint of soup was passed. It was called bean soup, but we could never discover any traces of that vegetable in the mixture. In this way we were fed during the forty-four days ot our imprisonment in the stockade at Morris Island.


While we remained here, a flag of truce was held, and since it was contrary to the rules of war to keep prisoners under fire at such a time, we were placed in the hold of a lumber-boat, while the truce remained. During our stay in the hold of the boat -the ladies of