Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/18

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

Touching my treatment on the whole, I cannot recall a solitary instance during the fourteen months while I was a prisoner of being insulted, browbeaten, robbed, or maltreated in any manner by a Confederate officer or soldier.

The books written by other Union soldiers who were prisoners in the South teem with accounts of brutality, insults, and suffering heaped upon them by Rebel officers and guards seemingly for cruelty's sake. I cannot question the veracity of those Northern writers; but I can and will speak for myself as fat-as I was concerned and as to my experience and as to what came under my observation. With all due respect to my late brethren-in-arms and in prison life, I cannot but think that to some extent they were instrumental, if they state facts, in bringing it upon themselves. Did they give the "soft answer" when questioned? I do not hold that the prisoner when questioned should be obliging to the extent of giving information. O, no; but he can be courteous in his refusal to do so.

He thus describes Andersonville:

Visions of exchange were dispelled when we left the cars and stood in line before the south gate of Andersonville Prison. This was the 27th of February, 1864, between 10 and 11 a. m. I spent the remainder of the clay exploring the camp to find a favorable place for our habitation.

The camp was situated on what had been heavy pine timber land, but the trees had been cut down. There was a stream of clear water running east through the prison grounds. The stockade was built of pine logs cut twenty feet long and hewed to the thickness of one foot and set in a trench five feet deep, making a wall fifteen high, on the top of which were sentry boxes about thirty-five feet apart. The stockade was not quite completed when we arrived there, but a strong force of men was at work at it. When completed, it would comprise about eleven acres. There were only about 2,000 prisoners confined there upon our arrival.

We were guarded by the Twenty-fifth Alabama Infantry, veteran troops, who knew how to treat prisoners. And I said then and have ever since said in speaking of our guards—the Twenty-fifth Alabama Infantry—that I never met the same number of