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The National tribune. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, March 01, 1878, Image 3

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m ft hole which lus hands have scooped but; in the sand.
Tho tattered ruga, that partially cover him cannob conceal
tho bones that gleam through the skin ; his oyes move
tearfully in his head, his hands clench tightly together,
lus limbs aro drawn up in horriblo contortions by tho
cramp. The only motion of which is body is capable is a
.,, v,....& uu.u oiviu tv oiuu uiiuu jusuucic usapivoc, ana
the vermin crawl in vast armies over his wretched norson:
lie takes no notice of passing objects unless particularly
addressed, for the world is rapidly going out to him.
Placing our ear to his lips, wo gathor from his faint whis
pers that but a short timo bofore ho had loft some New
England college, flushed with hope and courage, to battle
for liberty and right. A. fond mother pressed her lips to
his brow, as with tearful oyes she bade him farewell : n.
kind sister in cheering words urged him on to duty ; a
brother s hand wrapped the garb of his country's defend-
about in tho crowd.JLVnd lions, too, aro emaciated forms
too weak to walk, and, they turn their hollow oyes plead
ing y upon us ; thoWaro tho victims of diarrhea ; their
flcshloss arms hang languidly by their sides, and their hoi
lo.w cheeks aro livid with leanness. Bub few of these men
can be benefited now by the surgeon's skill ; many will
call for it but a little while. Even while we stand hero
some have felt the last agony and expired.
l'JlOCUKIKG WATEIl. OTfiW DEFENSES.
ors about his form
deeds of valor. Ho
had performed
oven while wo
and in tho field ho
was cintm-nri. mill-
linger beside him a faint shudder passes through his frame
wm ,m iB uvui. no, too, win soon uo oorno away to a
nameless grave ; and his loved ones shall seek in vain to
distinguish him from the thousands that sleep by his
side.
"Just in front of us wo see a throng gathered about an
object which in othor places than this would draw tears of
sympathy from the hardest heart, but scenes of horror aro
to frequent here that this oxcites but a passiug interest.
It 'lis a young soldier, born and raided in a fertile township
ui'Qluo ; his early, life has been passed among tho pleasant
tales of that noble State ; every kindness which parental
love could bestow had been lavished upon him, and he
had ranked high among the promising and intelligent
youth of his country a man of talent, of literary attain
ments, of noblo instincts. Bub reason is now dethroned.
Leaving this busy scene, wo walk around among tho
prisoners and oxamino their facilities for procuring water,
iho main reservoir is tho creek, which passes through the
swamp ; but it also runs through tho onmrs rC t.iin -i'cnn
n nt r. in rr
guard and. along tho 'base of tho cook-house, outsido the
wuiiH, lucuiving tne roiuso and garbage of both of these ;
tho prisoners within havo dug holes in various parts of tho
inclosuro, laboriously excavating tho earth with their hands
face in old boot-legs. We shall find, perhaps, fifty of these
water holes, but the fluid thus rbtainod is pure and cool,
and amply repays the patient toil required in their exca
vation. Near the northern extremity of the swamp is a
spring, bubbling up from the marshy ground, which has
been scooped out to a slight depth ; and just outside the
dead-line is another, a living stream, flowing through a
spout fixed there by some daring prisonor in tho darkness
of. tho night, or, mayhap, by some ofiicer, more humane
than his fellows; but it is beyond the reach of the hand,
and the prisoners tic their little cups upon a long stick,
,luu "'S' us n, were, lor tno cooling liquid.
"Having examined this pen thus hastily, le
ufcuiu, wjiero we came in, leaving those
this man gloated ovor their'
witlwlolight at their tears.
misery and became profane
jljc carried the letters to his
- - riT' . ---.,
nlnn nn n.. .,:,... ZrY ,1. 1i..1. 1 ' i , 1 .
y.i,v, mm uajjuhujujuu iv uuvuiHiiojuy in reading ana ourn
mg them, with no one to look on but himself.'7
In May tho author was paroled for duty as surgeon's
clerk, a service which subsequently gave him full opportu
nity to familiarize himself with the customs and practices
which obtained among the prison authorities, the disposi
tion of tho officers and uuards, and tho supply and govern
ment of tho prison itsolf. In this now capacity ho gives
us the following experiences :
it
DESCML'TIGN OF THE KATIONS GOOK-HOUSES-
RAW RATIONS.
-COOKING
" The rations consisted of corn-meal, bacon, fresh beef,
peas, rice, salt, and sorghum molasses. The corn-meal
was unbolted, some of it ground with the cob, and often
filled with sand and gravel. Much of it had apparently
boen put up while warm, and had become sour and musty,
either during transportation or while in store. Tho bacon
was loan, yellow, very salt, and maggoty ; it had boen
brought to us unpacked, and was covered with dirt and
cinders ; it was so soft with rust that it could easily bo
pulled to pieces with the fingers. Tho beef was slaught
ered near the prison, to which it was brought and thrown
i uuwu in a pno, in tno north cook-house, where it lay until
j it was issued to the prisonors. Hero, in this hot climate,
it was soon infested with flies and maggots, and rapidly
let us pass out
wroicnea . beings,
ojiangca into a greenish color, emitting an offensive odor
peculiar to decaying flesh. It was very lean, but the heat
;.Vv u w,im JUS cauoa rags trom ins emaciated form in
his fronzy, gnashing his teeth and foaming with rago; but
tho paroxysm is momentary .. his siirnncrhh ;.-i nvhmWitri .
I'V hlR Slirnncrfch isi nVliniiatiiri
he falls to the ground helpless as infancy, and is borne
umty uy ms commacs.
" There is one fornTTJflliscli'se which is almost too hor
nlto bo witnessed, yet we cauncjt understand tho wretch
edness of the prison without looking upon it. This is not
a solitary case, but wc shall . find numerous similar ones
before wo leave this living charnel-house. Wo instinctive
ly pause as wo reach tho awful sight . before us, holding
our breath lest we inhale tho terrible stench that arises
from -it: Here is a living being who has become so ex
hausted from exposure that he is uuablo to rise from the,
ground, suffering with diarrhea in its last and worst form.
Ho is covered with his own fasces : the vermin: crawl and
not upon his flesh, tumbling uudisturbed into his eyes and
oars and open mouth ; the worms aro feeding beneath his
skin, burying themselves where his limbs, swollen with
scurvy, Ihiyo burst open in running sores ; they havo even
fotind their way into his intestines, and form a living,
writhing mass within him. His case has been represented
to the surgeons, but they have pronounced him incurable,
and he is left here in his misery, in which he will linger
three or four days more. Proper care and treatment
would have saved him long ago, but not now and his
comrades abandon him to death.
... VJlll we aVP. azig upon this sickening apeotacle Hie
drum Ideals at the south gate, and the prisoners, dropping
their half-cooked food, hasten to form themselves in ranks,
preparatory. to being counted. Being arranged in irreg
ular lines, tho strong men standing for tho most part with
uncovered headshaving no hats the weak sitting or ly
ing upon the ground, the sergeant passes carefully around
to see if all' the ranks are full, and searches among tho
huts ior those that are unablo to orawl to the line. Rais
ing our oyes we observe that each sentry. box contains two
additional mm, and that they grasp their muskets with a
firm hand. The prisoners observe it alsp, and thev.know
well that some of their commdos worn inissprt t thn inat
-11 n11 nA tKv, H . i , - v.-v. ..wv ......., .. iiuo .ui.uigou Willi UUglUS, SU US LO OllllUlUe OVOrV
nim(Vr,.n..niu,.T -I'V,; ,,.;""' "VV"".':jT."".",ulvl,???.s?,CKI,,es "" ln vo sopnmto ola-
7, (O - "'" "' "u' umiiva iui wuiu, jiusiuy passes
itoin-the head to the roar of tho column, coubting tho
.standing men; tho sergeant loads him to the sick that still
remain in their hovels, unablo to creep out, and to the
dead, and tho complement is filled; he sots tho division
T nV V inlJ J w- ' ""W, still remaining i jie. j toward the stockade, with nine chances in ten of its fall
.UOl US aiSO nasSS OH Wir.h thn ninnnv fill lir. nrmrc s l. Ai ! :.,. -.,.. 1.1.- iv , .. ,
. ... ,,lllllvJ tl, njcivjiit- umjau HIUIUUUU i UU1II1IH. I , , . . " O Z '." . -" ' wm ....., vii
starving and dvinrr. nnrlnv tim hni.Mrnrr vn,f0 rtr n,; -.t:,s ri'ouciered it quite tender before it was served im. Tim nr.
bio sun ; and if you have been able, in this brief view to i ? denominated black peas, or cow poas, was brought in
understand the thousandth part of the misery hero en-! SJicl" apparently just as it had left tho threshing ground
dureci ; to realize anything of the horror by which you i J , Pro"ucor, having never been winnowed or cleansed
nave oeen surrounded; or, on the other hand, if you can I , ""HPoas ana tne dirt wnicli naturally minglcsvith
uan uij unu iiiiougnc oi pity 10;
over us, who have allowed their
lowed up in their vemrefnl
nothing so much as in torturi
been m vain.
t r.N i.
J3pmo time in tho latter part of July, Genor
made his famous but unfortunate mid nnnn ,Tnnnn. Hip . U101e were two cook-houses used in connection with'tho
i no nrst ot tueso was in irocoss of erection when
entered the pen, and
,nnv ronioi ! """ ilo ouunvioii .ioouc cue micidio oi Mav. it was lo
r tne beings in authority :, iV-o""""""a "lu wuuu Bowing m uio neia ; uesiues,
humanity to bo all swal- i tlloy wero fillecl with bliSs. and many of th6m wereso
missions, nnrlwim ri.i?rri,h ?,, eaten as to leave nothing but tho thick, touffh skin of the
ng us, then your visit litis not ! PCi 1U lts nfttnil shape. The rice was sour or musty, and
nan apparently been put up m a half-dried state, where' it
al Sherman bccame Seated and wholly Unfitted for use.
Tn fi,o ! "There were two cook-houses used in com
nffp.f. nf 'wliinlt -,.... (V.1J. .. A..J.i tt-i- t.l i. -li. . ..' OriSOn. T!ln fivsf; nf Hiown wnc in iiTAnno.: n
, . .; ," ,,vo iUlu uu -tv.uuoihouvuio oy oocn prisoner j :, , . ; , "" -"-": -"" r"
and jailer. There were at that tima about thirty thou- thc cJtachment to which I belonged
sand men conflnod at. t-.hiK nlnnn. ni) t .,0 mnfirn,.,i wont mto operation about the nnddl
that General Stoneman would ride suddenly down upon I Cftotl on fc,ie nortu sWo of and near the swamp west of the
us, open tho prison doors, and set us free. The valiant Pllson ancl was subsequently inclosed by the defensive
roatly 'exercised' at the prospect of , ,UWp" .b
adually reducing the rations, until ho 1 0e r suihciont
Captain Wirz was greatly
his experiment of gradual
sliould ascertain, with inlinitesshnal exactness, the precise
amount of food a Yankee would ranm'. t.n snnnmf. ufn
being interfered with, when it was so near its solution; ho j atnd peas or ice ;
tlierofore, under General Winder's order, commenced for- I fche wauts of. the
cuying tne place. For this purpose a largo forco of ne
groes were conscripted, and immediately set to work. A
strong earthwork was thrown up, some thirty rods from
the southwest corner of the stockade, mounting nine light
guns, fiyo of which wero trained to bear diagonally across
At tne time it was built, lb was suonosed to
capacity to perform all the cookincr neces
sary for the prisoners, and contained ,-threo large ovens
and several kettles set in brick-work for boilinc the meat
but it being found inadequate to supply
men, another building was constructed
mat iiioiosare, r,o guard against an uprising of the prison
ers in case of an attack about twenty-five rods from tho
north gate, and a littlef-edtho north of it. smot.lim- nnrtti.
some time in the latter nart ot August. It was lonataH
about a hundred yards north of the defenses, on a lino
with the west wall of the prison. This was designed and
used exclusively for boiling the meat and peas, and con
tained, perhaps, a dozen largo potash kettles, set in brick
work. The old cook-houso was thereafter used for baking
the corn-meal. A strong force of paroled prisoners was
appointed to perform tho work in these cook-houses, but
with constant labor it was unable to supply our wants,
and about one-half of the rations wero issued raw.
"The meal was prepared for baking by first pouring it
in quantity into a largo trough prepared for the purpose.
A little salt was then added, when water enough was
poured in to make it of the proper consistency, and the
wilh sticks to mix it thoroiiLdilv. Tha
in sheer-iron pans, twenty-four by six-
vision to which tho missing man
bolomred.
is drawn
t,
.up n lino into tne others; tho sergeant reports his number
present; tho ofiicor examines his book arid finds that one
Is goiiQ. Tho sergeant shakes his head whim nslrH xvhnh
Jias. become ot him; the men in rank are interrogated, but
ivo reply 'is obtained. A sick man lying upon the ground
points; to a hole near by; tho officer goes jn that direction,
stoops down and looks beneath tho thin shell of earth,
and there, in tho bosom of his mother the mother of us
iill tho missed one lies, dead; doad, unknown ,t,o his com
rades to all but God who saw his dying struggle, and who
will, bring him in tho last day a living witness against the
fiends that doomed him to such a fate.
"Tho lost man found, tho extra sentinels are relieved, the
men break ranks and resume their occupations ; but tho
sorgeant has work yet to do, for the sick of his division
arc to bo gathered up, tho helpless upon blankets, thoso
nblo to walk, in squads; and all must report at tho south
gate, to recoivu their medicines. Wo pass over to this
gate and oast a casual glance upon tho mass of wrotohod
noss gathered thore. jftay, shrink not, there are worse
spectacles than this in this horriblo pit ; there are sights
here to freeze tho blood, scenes of suffering with which
l,n .-.. ri.i r..:..K p..i .:,.....,.. ,,j 1.1... 1 ,. v ...
vim uiuai iiigtibuu jjwmiw) ui mu norrors 01 noil bear no
parallel.
"Gathered here from all parts of tho stockade, and
crowded in fciio small space, is half au acre of human bo
ings, suffering in every form of disease. Somo aro lyiii"
upon tho .blankets upon which they have been brought ;
some are prone upon tho earth whoro they woro laicf by
their Comrades ; somo havo orawlod hithor upon thoir
hands and knees: and horo thov must, rnnimn rm immv
long hours in this broiling sun, without shaker or protoC
tion, uniting waiting till thoir turn shall como to be
borvqu. ; yot fourteen surgeons aro busily working in yon
der little inclosuro, and each has his assistant, who can
prescribe for most of tho cases.
'-Hero aro to bo soon tho ravages of scurvy and diar-
ilium nP K.l....,..... ...! r. . r. , . . .'
l""i "l "jouuiury itiiu lovers, oi nungor and exposure
work was constructed, of smaller dimensions than the
urst, suapod like a parallellogram, and mounting five I
guns, three of which also bore upon the prison pon. Two i
lines of stockade wore built around the whole inclosure, I
about sixteen feet apart, the inner ono being fifty yards
from the wall of the orison np.n. An pnptliwf.i'1- w-io" tian i
raised on each 'comer of tho new stockades, except on the whol,e stirr,ed, "
southwest corner. Alow intrPiiHunnnt. wns i-.hon .imW ' uough was baked
up around the north end of tho whole, which extended i J?en inclies iu surface and two and one-half inches deep,
from the main road on tho west side to the swamn on tlm ' The w1iq1 ' was divided iuto pones containing about a
oast, and was arranged with angles, so as to enfilade evorv ' Pouun and eacu ol tll0Se pones constituted a day's ration
vi mum iui unw iti.iu. x juj UUUIUSb UlU.inUllUhS UOU1U IlOU
be observed in mixing this 'stuff;' the meal, as above
vaUons, it will bo seen by reference to the ground plan ; statea was partly corn and partly cob, and often contained
that an attack from any direction upon the force o-uardinn- j materials that wore neither of these. Tho water was
us would bo an attack against us also; for a nm fired l"PPed in quautity from the creek, and no moans of clean
from any point would either bo instantly silenced hv t.hn i in ifc wore turnished, and these, with the haste" necessary
avtillery in the fortifications, or its shot must bo thrown tu.uo made m preparing tho dough, conspired to make the
, mt.vmic uuiKWivuiLnuuiiu siUKuniug, piiltlCUiaiiy WU0U COid
j The prisonors who had charge of the cook-house uridoubt-
by uo moans gratifying to them, however well pleased they , v tr,od t0 PreParo Ul loo as well as thov could, but
would havo been to bo taken out by their friends. Nor I bhou ettoi'ts were yaiu with such limited facilities. as they,
wnivi uj nira u;ivu wmi uiicen oy soigo, ior in tnat event
we must inevitably havo starved to death, for tho temper
of both, General Winder and Captain Wirz was such that
they would have taken away all our rations for tho use 0
tho garrison, aud reduced us to the last extremity bofOro
thpy wquld havo yielded the placo. Tho prisonors were
thus made the chief part of their own security.
"boxks and packages vnon HOME LETTERS.
had.
Tho peas and rice wero boiled in the noith cook-house
they wore turned from tlo bags as they were brought; to
the prison, without cleansing or 'separating from tho cliaff
and dirt, into the largo potash kettles containing "the
water in which the meat had boon boiled ; tho cooks hero
as in the south cook-house had no means of cleansing tho
raw material, and had they possessed tho facilities they
! had no time to devote, to thc purpose. To winnow semi-
I wonl'lv it oilftiSMiiiti- nniilimf rC inn & fi 1i OMI1 ....4-:..... l
"Express boxes were occasionally received by some 0f i lowing a third of a pint to oaeh, requires a long time
tno prisoners, out, as at Danville, they had been subiooted """ ww u&u iuuuiuw, um, tor cwoniy.
tu auiuuu uy iiiu auuioncios, ana nuer leaving tnoir iiancts ! .r; Xz : VJ """ "" '",- " o ouuyiy im-
coutained nothing more than a loaf of mouldy oake, unfit ' Poss,,ble- 0f thes oookod rations tliero woro diiilv is
for eatimr : all nrHrlns of vnlm mSfimi. ft. onHnn- . .,. : sued to each prisouer about a pound of broad, a fourth of
ing, had beon confiscated. Packages of letters also camo ft Plnt ot' bacon, or four or six ounces of beef (inolud-
to tno prison by flag of truce ; but. under the regulations ! u u Wi " piuuo ol U1U uaoou, aim a teaspoon lul of
of Captain Wirz, every prisonor was compelled to pay tho ' s,.ll.fc ' twiee aweok a pint of peas or rice woro issued in ad
captain ten cents in silver before wncivinrr his inwnr Tt - dition, and occasionally a couplo of toaspoonfuls of sbr-
o unpalatable
About halt ot the rations woro issued raw, because of
and as wo stand looking upon tho putrid mass, writhing
in hideous contortions, a siokeniug stench arises from it
that penetrates for milos, it is said, Ground tho prison.
w o seo men upon whom scorbutio sores have hmm
long at
thoir limbs
WOrJC. and Slioat Jlo OS arooatnn hi t.hnii. Aw.i.c
are black and swollon, or liko rotton flesh discharging a
yellowish matter that omits this moat omniflivoiwlnr? in
somo the eye has beon dostroyed, and they gropo blindly
was very seldom that tho villain's oxcheouer was banofitoil gnum molassess. bomotamos a sort of mush was made to
by this extortion, for very few men in Andorsonvillo nos-1 VUce fc. pluce ot fcho i)one uuc- hough it was a change
sessod any money of any kind, much less in coin. Tim : 4m "io monotonous oora broad, it was
captain know very woll that the creator number of man i Umt th0 brond was pvoterrod
had 110 monOV at all. and that, tbnsn wlm wnm sn fmtim
ate as to possess irrcoubacks must buv thoir silver of his : tho vast amount ot labor necessary to cook them in bulk
sutler, paying therefor an enormous premium. Thoso lot- i a,fc tuo cook-houses, or rather because tho confederate aiw
tors had beon prepaid, and boroa worthless photograph of, tkontios wore too poor, too indolent, or too brutal, (prob
Joff. Davis; but this made no differencethe captain must i T1' U.ie lafcto') to turmsh facilities for tho purpose ; had
havo hard cash, or he would keop tho letters, and ho kept the pnsonoi-s boon provided with tho means they would
them. And thus this puerilo scoundrel this snoakinV , 1,ul ' vo performed tho requisite labor. Tho manner
thieving, cowardly whipper of blaok womon and helpless i u which thoso raw rations woro issued has already been
mon sought to gratify at tho samo timo his avarico and desonbod ; it is only necessary to state horo that thoir
his spito ; to tormout tho wretched prisonors, already 1 !0"t as such that wouUl make tho samo quantity
ov
his
but
verwholmod with disease and starvation, tho result of n.s tho cooko(1 aml tlmt thy were issued alternately with
is own barbarity. Those letters woro valueless to him, ' V10 lattor one-half tho prisonors receiving raw food ono
priceless to their rightful owner ; and many a fum-) m """ Uiau luu lw' "llvu "UI" given cue quantity
issued during
tho early part of tho season ; but as tho
ishncl man would lmvn bavtrniimrl i:r lnv'e mHrm flimwrl.
his lifo dopeudod upon them, for the precious missive, ' Uot woaUior advanced and tho number conflnod horo in
bearing tidings of symaathy and lovo from homo. No i OVOftSQl' tu0 'ly ftUowauce diminished until it became
physical torturo could equal in intensity this deprivation. , but a moro "orsol to each man. How wo ondured such
Tho poor follows who had stood in tho stocks for four and ! Prolonged tamuio is a mystery ; and that ton thousand
twenty hours uudor a broiling sun, who had ondured ox-! nion woro that summer killed in tho most horriblo ways,
posure and famino for months without a murmur, wept "' o. uor, aided, advised and comforted by fjap
liliO children when they know that kind words from loved i tum lr" w most wrtnin.
and loving ones had como so near and wero withheld. Yot .,
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