Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 37.djvu/249

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The Battle at Bethesda Church.

While lying on my cot afterwards I could hear the boom of General Early 's guns around the walls of the city, after having chased Hunter down the Valley from Lynchburg, and I heard the Yankees say, "I believe the rebels will get in in spite of us."

After weary months in Washington, during which time I was shown many kindnesses and attentions from Southern sympathizers, I was carried to Fort Delaware prison. After a lapse of some time I was drawn in with the lot of six hundred officers to be carried to "Morris Island," to be placed under the fire of our own guns at Charleston. We were crowded in the dark hole of the vessel, only equal to the "Black Hole of Calcutta," and packed on shelves like goods in a store, without any light or air, except that driven down a shaft by wind-sails.

On our arrival at our destination we were put in a "stockade pen," between "Fort Wagner and Fort Gregg," and guarded by a negro regiment. For forty-five days we sat upon the sands and witnessed the burning fuses from bombs, larger than nail kegs continuously fired night and day by our men at the forts. If they overshot the one or undershot the other they'd hit us. But that God that marks even the sparrow's fall, protected us. On the eve of our leaving for "Hilton Head," the negroes on guard fired into some of us. I saw three fall either killed or wounded; they were hurriedly moved out. I never learned their fate. On our arrival in "Port Royal Harbor" we cast anchor eight miles out from shore. Three of our number got the cabin maid to steal them life preservers from the cabins and quietly slid overboard where sharks were as thick as minnows. Two were exhausted from thirst and lack of food and were captured on Pinkney Island; the third reached Charleston.

The six hundred officers were now divided three hundred were confined in Fort Pulaski and three hundred at Hilton Head.

We had "jumped out of the frying pan into the fire." We were all put under what they call "retaliation," for forty-five days. They claimed that we starved their prisoners at Andersonville (not having much to feed them, as they had cut our lines and refusing to exchange), and with all their Christianity and philanthrophy they held it was right for them to starve us as a vicarious punishment for the sins of others. They gave us absolutely nothing at all to eat for forty-five days but a little