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The National tribune. (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, March 01, 1878, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82016187/1878-03-01/ed-1/seq-1/

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J mmtteM$32z:i
ft 'l, I
3 4$onihhj gonmitl devoted to the interextn of the goldicrB Ait! gafor;; of the hie war, mtd nil enmonern of the ijmted gtnte?.
Editors and Proprietors. 1 0L XJ 1N0 "
WASHDsTOTOJtf$D. 0., MARCH, 1878.
, . ..,,,, i v bri uupius, o uenis m currency or 1'ostago Stamps.
intend according to A ct oCongru,, in the gear of our Lord, iS7t, by &torge B. Umon A. Co., in the Office o'the Librarian qCongreu, at Wa,Mngton, D. 0. '
Libby Prison, Richmond, Virginia.
On the 9th of Miliary, 1863, one hundred
and nine men raafe their escape from this
This basfciie was situated at the southeast prison through a tufnel extending some sitfty
corner of Carey and Eighteenth streets. It con- i feet across the street on which the prison was
sisteel of a building, or block, of three stories, situated"; Fifty fivefpf them, including Colonel
with ah attic. The first story and attic were Streight, succeeded Ii reaching our lines,
used for enlisted men, officers being confined; The horrible puifose ancMutenfcion of the
vn buu suuuuej ana unrci noors. me dimensions rebels, of sacrificing fur officers confined in this
of the rooms were one hundred and five by
jforty-five feet, connected by door-ways and
having five windows at each end.
prison in cold bloodJhratker than permit their
release by the armicjof the republic, appears to
be well established! A magazine containing
Dungeons below the level of the street and several hundred noifnds of nmvrlm- wn rWp5
under the sidewalk were used for the confine-1 in an excavation befbath the building with a
.-J-.I 1 1 - . iWBK , mS -
ment ot prisoners who violated any known or
unknown rule of the prison. Into the six
rooms devoted to the confinement of officers, j had proved success!
of th6 time boastei
taken to prevent
as many as twelve hundred have been crowded
at one time, which allowed but twenty square
fuse attached, wittim, view to its explosion in
Case the raid ot KiWatrick in February. 1864,
si. The Richmond nn.no.rs
that measures had been
Uie release of the Union
&et? or four and a half feet each way, for each ! officers by Federal tfdops.
cast side. The swamp contained about, three acres of land,
or nearly one-fifth the territory assigned us; along the
borders of the stream, and extending back to either edge
of the morass, were frequent bogs, in which the stagnant
water, oozing up through the loose earth, had formed in
little pools, and was covered with a thick, dark scud, which
gave out a sickening stench when it was disturbed. At
its eastern extremity, where the water made its exit, the
prison sinks wore located; although from the weakness
of the sick mon, the lower part of the stream, for the dis
tance of several rods, was used for this purpose. The wa
ter was warm and disagreeable: it had a boggy, earthy
taste, and was, in its purest state, of a dark, reddish-brown
color; yot, if all the arrangements for our imprisonment
had been as good, as this we should never have murmured.
On the west side, near the dead line, was a bridge of loose
boards, upon- which communication could bo had with the
opposite side of the swamp. Above this a place had been
scooped out directly beneath the dead line, where water
for drinking and cooking purposes was dipped up in cups;
below, the water was reserved for bathing and washing
clothes. These arrangements, however, had been made
by common consent of the prisoners, the authorities hav
ing nothing to do with, it; there was nothing to prevent
the evil-disposed from disturbing the water and rendering
it unfit for use, except the moral influence of camp.
"distribution op rations. cooking. wood. L
"Some time in the afternoon the ration wagon drove
into the stockade laden with corn-meal, bacon and salt,
which were thrown down into a heap in an open space
about ra;dway the inclosure. It was a horrible sight to
witness the haggard crowd gathered about this precious
pile, while tho commissary superintended its division
among tho squad sergeants; gazing, meanwhile, with
wolfish ej'es upon the little heap as it diminished, or fol
lowiner their seriroanfc nmnmissurvhnnlr in ln'e nnnffm'G no
ptsmtamishdiswine follow clamorously the footsteps, .of ahoic.
; m.ujiur, us no carries cneir iooa to die accustomed trough.
! The rations were distributed by the division-sergeant to
i tho mess-sergeant, who then divided them among the men.
; To avoid quarrelling, during tho last distribution, it was
(The custom among all the messes for tho mess-sergeant to
i separate tho rations into as many small parcels as there
I were men in the mess; one man of the moss was placed a
short distance off, -with his back toward the parcels, in
such a position that he could not see them; the moss-sergeant
then pointed to one, with the words: 'Who has
this ? ' to which the man replied, announcing the name of
the recipient, when it was given to him. In this manner
tho whole number was gone through with, with satisfac
tion to all.
"Iron bake-pans, like those used by the confederate
soldiers, had been issued to the prisoners who first arrived
at this place, in which to bake their meal and fry their
bacon; but nothing of tho kind was ever given out after
wards, to my knowledge. Tho United States soldiers, as
is well known, were never provided with other cooking
utensils than inoss-kettles and rr ess-pans, both too largo
to bo transported in any other way than upon army wa
gons. At tho time of our capture, in numerous instances,
tho tin cups and plates which we had were taken from us:
r m r m . i , our K"ives, ic will oe remetnbored, were confiscated at
prisoner. Major I. r. lurner commanded the Extracts from the Report on the Treatment of ! Danville; nothing, therofore, was left in our possession
ipnson, and Richard Turner was orison insnee. Snsoners of War by the Rebel Authorities. J with which to cook our raw food after it was given us.
.f ' i. ., . x .V ;F ! How to accomplish this necessary feat was a grave ques-
tor. lnis was the place to which prisoners: "ao following are extracts from the testimony I fcicm- Wo made shift, howevor, with chips, half canteens,
wore usually taken to be searched and robbed. I taken by tho Committee of tho House of Eopresout- MttS'g itthof
It was one of the first established by the rebels, i fttives of tho fortieth Congress, appointed to invus- i scarcely warmed through. The solder of the tin, molt
and continued in use until nearly the time of j "?" of prisoners of war byjho rebel Sui2ffi,Ki.teBSt "mfaU orvo andtSo?
Leo's surrender. Many thousand prisoners were j authorities, continued from our February num. tho ratious wore at last devoured in a half cooked state-i
ftvv,rv..rt..:i,r nn4iA i,. i. i ! bor a fact which aided in tho increase of tho frightful misery
temporarily confined here previous to .being j UU I that subsequently occurred, quite as muchas the small
sent SOU til. Eleven hundred prisoners, howevor j "Tho only unoccupied space in the inclosuro north of ' Quantity that was issued. A more extended account of
wnrn nnnfi nn,l l.nvn ,r, ,r f i,D a i ' ! tho svamp was a narrow strip fifty feet wide, reaching i the, quantity as well as tho quality of our food will bo giv
weio confined here many months. As early as j nuito across the oast side of tho pen, from north to south I on hereafter.
1S03, mon were Starving in this nrisou TllOV lut0 fcllis wc AVOro "shored in duo form, and turned loose ' . ' A tow t0Ps o tho pino trees, which had been loft with-
i .,, , ,. , P ' Ji to shift for ourselves. In this confined space wo wore nor- the stockade hy tho confederate authorities when tho
' iiiiciiul- was oiuaiuti, tugecuer wicu cue groator pare ot cue
, stumps, had boon used by tho first detachment, and an
; and
a squad from oach division wassont under guard to forago
ior uou umus ami scicks; mo praccico oomg urougnc to
an ond by one of tho details ' soizing tho guard and
marohiuir northward with him. Ai'tor this fi1pniinisbmp.
iekb. kiii iui . .--. ii. .1 i i n ,ii
- - j--- j. ,- , . -,. ... mmvm, S ., AftV J
suing of rations ; but tho mon wore not obliged to remain
snore au any ouior cuno or lor any ocner purposes
with vermin.
It was hore that Colonel Streight was lured
into an attempt to escape by the perfidy and
murderous intentions of the commandant of tho
cell full of
or bread and water. Hero he found six soldiers ; cooking utensils to tho bundle, left them with a friend.
confined in the foul stench of this loathsome cell. , 37. t sdot? BW SS
He was captured, ironed, thrust into a which wo had in vain sought repose, wo roll
)f filth and vermin and iwlnrPl tn n rlinf i our bltinkots wot with tho ohilling showor of
n iiibii uici oi mm, ami lociuceii to a cliot . h.ul mllou copiously llm.iujj tll0 utght and fn
'lorningbrokoat last, and rising from tho couch on
wo roiiou togetnor
dow which
fastening our
took placo, Captain "Wire devised a kind .-f parolo, or ob
ligation which the boys agreed to boforo going out, whore
in thoy agreed to mako uo attompt at oscapo wiiilo forag
ing; but oven this was not respected, and tho plau was
droppod in a short time. During all tho time in which
tho meu woro allowed to go out of tho blockade, any ono
witn sumoiont money or otnor valuaolos woro pornutted
iu uuo zi guuui, ii uo uuuiii uuu ouo uuompioyou ami will-
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customed to visit it.

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