English Diary

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2d. No change in food today. Men busy over the fire making cakes, mush, coffee and a variety of things, all out of corn meal. We can beat the cooks at home. Our recipes are varied and numerous.
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3d. Four ounces of bacon today instead of beef. We prefer bacon for then we can get grease to fry our mush with. The bloodhounds make an awful noise when the keeper takes them out for practice, or drill as we call it. One of the prisoners smothered to death last night ; his hole in the ground which he used as a shelter caved in on him.
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4th. Nothing but a quart of corn meal today. I don't believe I weigh one hundred pounds; have been quite sick since yesterday and don't feel iike doing anything, but will try and keep up, for it will not do to let your courage run down in a place like this.
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5th. More prisoners arrived last night. They say Richmond is thinning out fast, but I can assure you Andersonville is full. Ten died yesterday. A great many have sore arms, that member dropping off completely, caused by the insertion of the poison in Richmond.
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9th. I have been quite sick for the last four days and have not been able to attend to my diary. Well, there was nothing to mention except that a large number died.
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10th. I am no better today and cannot do anything. Walter Webb gets my rations and makes a little coffee for me out of corn meal.
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13th. I am a little better today and took a walk to the swamp to wash, and feel a little refreshed.
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14th. About five hundred prisoners came in from Richmond last night.
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15th. I feel considerably better this morning, although my bones are all sore and am quite stiff.
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16th. Rations — a sanitary cupful of corn meal and six ounces of beef, Eight or ten deaths yesterday and last night. Five hundred prisoners arrived from our old quarters at Richmond.
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19th. Nothing new last two or three days. Walter Webb, of my company, very sick today. Poor fellow, I must attend to him, as he did all he could for me when I was sick. We are going to take care of each other as long as we can.
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20th, No change in rations. Webb is no better today. More prisoners from Richmond just came in. It is cool here nights and morning but pleasant during the day. Webb, Culberson, Gallagher and I have two blankets which we make serve as a tent.
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21st. Some beans and a little soup added to the rations today. Webb is a little better, but Culberson is now sick.
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30th. Nothing to say for several days, but I must do something. A large number of prisoners arrived from Danville prison, it is getting very much crowded here.
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April 1, 1864. More prisoners from the neighborhood of Richmond, Va. Squads of four to six men are let outside of the gates each day to gather firewood for each ninety men. The poor fellows can't carry much but they are glad to get out and get some fresh air.
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2d. Rations, the usual quantity of corn meal and six or eight ounces of rotten beef, but it must be eaten. The filth and vermin in this place is horrible. Oh, humanity ! eh, Christianity! where are you. Not in the Southern Confederacy, that I can testify to. Some strangers, men and women, came in here the other day , and when they saw our condition, they turned up their noses and laughed.
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3d. They say that three or four of our men while out in the woods for firewood, over-powered the guard, took his musket from him, stripped him of his clothing, and then took him fifteen miles away and allowed him to go.
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4th. Rations, pig feed, (corn meal,) about three ounces of salt pork and half a pint of beans. Three men above-mentioned were pursued, over taken and brought back here today and ball and chain put on them.
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5th. Some more prisoners tried to get away last night. Capt. Wirz. the commander, is greatly excited ; he rode through the camp on his horse, and no prisoner dared speak to him.
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6th. Considerable fighting and stealing among the prisoners, It is not safe for one to have a dollar or a good overcoat, for you would be way-layed and killed, if necessary, to gain possession of the coveted articles. It is said there is a regular organized gang of thieves here. Deaths are on the increase all the time; from twenty- five to forty dropping off a day. The sun is quite warm now. God help us, if they keep us in this filth during the hot weather. The dead-line is claiming its victims and the stocks and various instruments of torture are being patronized. The deep-toned baying of the bloodhounds breaks the morning stillness of the forest and swamps; some poor fellow has got beyond the guards and is being chased down. The sound of the hounds dies away and instead we hear the far-away tooting of a horn and the rebel cheer — the run away is caught. In time they appear with him; he is led bleeding and torn and fastened in the infernal machine. The maggot flies deposit their eggs in his wounds and he is punished for ten or twelve hours and then turned into the prison with wounds uncured; a few days later we see him a working mass of maggots. The raiders, or prison thieves are getting bold. They are known as the "Collins Raiders,'' and are growing fat while many in the pen are starving to death. The prison is crowded to its very edge and it is impossible to keep from getting near the dead line. There are hundreds of crazy men in the pen who. in spite of our watching, would get to the dead-line; and many sane men would calmly fold their arms and step across it to end their misery. The guards in shooting the men nearly always wound or kill one who was not near the line; the bullet would pass through the body of the man it was intended for. and glancing on through the pen, would find a lodging place in some innocent man's body. The number shooting this way could be counted by the scores. We were constantly in as much danger of being shot here as at the battle front.
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8th. Great number of the prisoners sick with rheumatism, diarrhoea, scurvy and a great many are carried off. The hospital was removed outside of the stockade today to make room for more prisoners. The stream of water that passes through here runs from west to east, dividing the camp into two equal parts. The rebel camps are north and south of this stream, with breastworks and battery of artillery on each corner, south and east are the cook houses and west of all is the railroad depot, about three-fourths of a mile away. The rebels wash their clothing and themselves in this stream, horses and mules are driven into it to drink, buckets, tubs and kettles belonging to the rebel camp and cook houses are washed here, and all the filth of the camps thrown into it; and then it runs through to us. We have to use it, although it is literally alive with vermin and filth of all kinds. If our friends could see us! I know it would make many weep to see the thousands of their fellows who only a short time ago held their heads high in honor and pride, keeping step to the soul-stirring martial music, now rotting in filth and apparently forgotten by their government. Just think of it! Seventy-five deaths have occurred in the last 24 hours. At that rate it will not be long until we are all gone. There are about eighteen thousand prisoners here now and more coming in all the time; one shot by the guard today.
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12th. Have not written in my diary the last three days. During that time three hundred prisoners died. Rations for the last week very fair — corn cob meal and a little over a half-pound of beef.
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13th. Getting quite warm, which occasions a great many deaths.
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14th. More prisoners made their escape last night. It is said they dug a hole under the stockade and got out that way. Captain Wirz is wild; says his hounds will make short work of them.
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15th. Some more prisoners came in today. I did not learn where they are from, but, judging from their appearance, they have been captured recently. They have overcoats and blankets.
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16th. Wirz gave orders to the guards that if any prisoner approaches the dead-line, shoot him on the spot, and if a crowd congregates near the entrance, for the artillery to open fire on them.
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17th. Learned today that Sergeant Hope of Co. C, 13th, my regiment, died in Richmond. A number of boxes came today. Some of the prisoners are dissatisfied with their friends at home for their seeming forgetfulness.
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18th. About five hundred more prisoners came in today from Cahaba, Alabama. Bernard Tolen, Co. D, died today.
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19th Over a hundred deaths the last two days. Corn meal and bacon - a good change.
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21st. Nothing to write yesterday. More boxes for prisoners today. Some of the boys are getting the boxes which were sent to their comrades who are now dead. Rebels report through camp that United States transports are at Savannah to take away three thousand prisoners, but we have been fooled too often to credit the report.
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22d. Five hundred more prisoners came in this morning, being a part of those captured at Plymouth, N. C.
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28th. Nothing to write lately. One thousand more prisoners have arrived from Plymouth the last day or two. We are getting very much crowded. A prisoner shot this morning for crossing the dead-line to get a piece of bread. There is a little railing around the stockade and about fifteen feet from it, and the prisoners are forbidden going inside this space, to prevent any meddling with the stockade, guards being posted on top.
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29th. About a thousand new prisoners came in today. They were horrified to see the condition of things. I got a bag from one of the guards today while out after wood. I gave him a Testament which one of the new prisoners had given me, for it. I am going to make a shirt of it. Some of the prisoners made their escape last night through a small tunnel under the stockade.
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30th. They say we are going to get cooked rations soon. I hope we do, as wood and cooking utensils are scarce. We cook cakes on boards and then lay them in the sun until the water dries out of them.
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May 1st. Sunday rations — corn meal, rice and molasses. Fights all the time, day and night.
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2d. Pint of cooked rice and a gill of molasses for the next twenty-four hours. Will have my shirt finished today.
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4th. Six men shot within the last week. A Yankee made believe he was dead last night, and allowed himself to be carried out to the dead-house on a stretcher, and was laid alongside the dead. I hope the fellow will get inside our lines, but very few escape the bloodhounds.
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7th. Rained hard last night and is still raining. Our drinking water is thick with mud and filth. I sometimes think everything is coming on us to hurry us off, Well, probably the sooner out of such misery the better, but I will keep up as long as there is a spark of life left in me. A great many get discouraged and die when they could prolong their lives with a little courage. But it is only a matter of time, as six months is considered a prisoner's life in a Confederate prison, although it has been eight months since I was captured. I am a mere skeleton.
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8th. Received a pound of bread today, the first we have had since we came here, three ounces of beef, and a bucketful of rice to be divided among ninety men. How we wretches enjoyed it! The bread was made of yellow meal and somewhat resembled fruit cake the flies taking the place of the raisins. Nearly all the old prisoners now have scurvy, the gums turning black and swelling bevond the teeth, and pouching out the cheek; the teeth become loose and drop out. The mouth becomes cancerous and the patient lingers and dies. In others the limbs turn black and swell to the greatest capacity of the skin, black watery sores open, gangrene sets in, and death shortly follows. The whole prison was a hell of torture and insanity. You could hear praying and groaning mingled with the laugh of the lunatic and cursing. The sun is growing hotter and the raiders bolder. The guards are more numerous, the stocks more terrible and the chain-gangs are full of victims. The ground swarms with all kinds of vermin, and millions upon millions of mosquitoes come from the surrounding swamps to feast on our emaciated bodies; their buzzing hum adds to the bedlam of the prison, and with the hooting of the owls and the mournful notes of the whip-poor-wills, howled a requiem, broken only by the crack of the muskets of the murderous guards, or the sounds of their voices as they cry out the hour of the night from their perches on the stockade. I have lain on the battle-field in the solemn hours of the night, surrounded with dead and dying and listening to the piteous, agonizing cries of the wounded, but it is nothing compared to this den of misery and woe, the memory of which will be ever present to those who experienced it. Nearly one-half of the old prisoners are dead and nearly all of those living are prostrated with scurvy and gangrene. There is a place outside the stockade where; some of the sick are taken, but they are so poisoned by the stench of the prison, that nearly all die. Unless one was there, it is hard for the mind to grasp the magnitude of this hell on earth. There are nearly 30,000 young men who had been pronounced sound and healthy and the best material in the land, condemned to this hell of torture and misery. There seems to be no relief; we must rot in this living grave. The raiders are having everything their own way; it is a common thing to find dead men in the morning with throats cut or heads crushed in. The raiders got so bold that gangs of them go about in daylight and rob by the wholesale; great talk of organizing the prisoners into regulars or prison police.
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bedlam - a scene of uproar and confusion
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9th. Eighteen prisoners brought in today from Sherman's army. They bring good news as to the movement of our troops. They say our forces captured four thousand rebels the day they were captured.
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12th. About two hundred more prisoners the last day or two. Rebels greatly excited about something. A cripple was shot for going inside the dead-line. Taylor, of Co. D, died today. Rations same with the exception of a pint of vinegar for each ten men.
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13th. John Moore, of my company, died today. About fifty prisoners today from Dalton. They say Dalton is in the hands of our army, and that Sherman is marching on Atlanta. The average deaths for the last week has been about sixty per day.
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14th. About a hundred and thirty prisoners came in today — captured at Dalton. They bring good news concerning the movement of our troops.
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15th. We can see wagons haulaway the bodies from the dead-house, like so much dirt; as many as twenty bodies piled on one wagon. Upwards of fifteen hundred men have died since we came here.
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16th. One thousand old prisoners from Danville, Va just arrived.
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17th. About seven hundred and fifty more prisoners, mostly from the army of the Potomac. They were greatly surprised to see so many prisoners here. Raining hard. There are millions and millions of all kinds of vermin here, flies, bugs, maggots and lice, some of them as large as spiders. If they once get the best of you, you are a goner. A great many of the prisoners are hopelessly crazy, starvation, disease and vermin being the cause.
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18th. Rations for the last week have not taken any change. Weather getting warm. Thousands coming in all the time; more guards placed on duty.
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19th. Corn bread and about three ounces of bacon for today. Some fifteen hundred prisoners came in last night and this morning — mostly from the Army of the Potomac. Great many prisoners suffering from scurvy; some of them are all doubled up and cannot stretch either limb; some have their gums rot and teeth drop out.
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20th. What a sad looking place this is this morning; a heavy rain and thunder storm last night and we were almost drowned. No tents or shelter of any kind, and the rain poured down in unceasing torrents. Some of the new prisoners who made tents of their blankets found them of little use. Culberson, Webb, Gallagher and myself compose the party of my company who have held together so long. Culberson's days, poor fellow, are numbered; he was taken outside to the hospital this morning. A few months ago he was a large, hearty, fine-looking fellow, but now — a total wreck. It is not always the largest and the strongest that can stand it the longest. I am weary and sick; sick in body and mind, and don't care whether I write any more or not.
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21st, Fifty prisoners arrived yesterday, captured in Florida. Raining hard today. The raiders killed a man last night. Prisoners dying of dropsy; when they are dead, their bodies swell up as large as barrels. There is quite a fight over a dead man's pants; when a prisoner dies, his shoes, stockings, shirt, pants and cap are stripped from him. One prisoner will almost kill another to gain possession of them.
=================================
dropsy - old-fashioned or less technical term for edema
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24th. Quite a number of visitors here today to see a real live Yankee; he is quite a curiosity, especially in this predicament.
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25th. Five hundred more prisoners today from Gen. Sickel's command. Getting very warm and vermin multiplying; our water is full of maggots and filth.
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26th. Raining hard again today. Mud and filth are our bed fellows. Six hundred more prisoners this afternoon. I am somewhat crippled, myself, but manage to try and wash and keep clean, that is the principal thing. One hundred have died within the last 24 hours.
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27th. Rations, half a loaf of corn bread and two ounces of bacon. Prisoners complaining of our government allowing its soldiers to remain so long in misery and suffering.
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28th Eleven hundred prisoners arrived last night, chiefly from the army before Richmond. A great many deaths yesterday but could not learn the number. The rebels are now trying to conceal the number of deaths, but before they were glad enough to tell us how many died. Evidently they are getting alarmed.
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29th, Bread today. They say they must get meal to one half and bread to the other half on alternate days. Raiders are getting worse every day. Some prisoners escaped from the guards yesterday while out after fire-wood; Captain Wirz started the blood hounds after them.
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30th. An order from Capt. Wirz has been read, that each Sergeant who passes men outside the gate must sign a paper for the safe return of the men thus detached, and any violation of that order on the part of the squad will he punished by stopping their rations until the escaped have been brought back.
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31st. Some of the prisoners while out after wood trade with the guards for onions, potatoes, beans, etc., and bring them in here and sell them for exorbitant prices — one dollar for an onion and the same for a pint of black beans.
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2d. Eggs are selling at fifty cents a piece; a solid inch of soap, fifty cents; one head of cabbage, one dollar; a shaving and hair cutting saloon has been opened in the swamp
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3d. Those stores are doing quite a business, especially among the new arrivals, who have plenty of money; it requires a large amount. Weather is getting warm and what a terrible smell there is.
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4th. Deaths increasing every day — almost as fast as they are coming in. God help us! no tongue or pen can describe, or imagination portray, how horrible is this hell on earth.
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5th. Raining hard all day; some cases of small-pox here. There will be no help for us if that disease once gets started. It made me sick when I heard that news, but I will trust in God for He has protected me through twenty fights and skirmishes and through all the hardships and sufferings of prison life for eight months, when many of my comrades who were captured with me are gone. I believe half of the 127 of my company who were captured with me are dead.
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6th. Three hundred more prisoners came in this morning from Sherman's army. They are of the opinion that Atlanta will soon be in the possession of our troops. Raining today; the two men who escaped the other day were brought in and put in irons; one of them had the flesh torn from his legs.
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7th. Raining again today; men lying out in the rain and mud, sick and suffering; thirty deaths reported from small-pox within the last week,
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8th. Got a diary from one of the new prisoners; glad of it, for mine was almost full. He said I was doing something he could not do. Well, I commenced it and it comes natural to me now, besides, it occupies my mind and gives me some exercise twice a day going from one end of the prison to the other hunting up news. I will soon have to lookout for a new pencil. This is the fourth piece and it is very short. I could not find my cap this morning, but watched my chance among the dead and got another. It is about four sizes too large for me, but as I will not go to see my sweet-heart for some time, it will have to do.
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9th. Raining today; it has rained every day this month, adding much to the suffering of us poor creatures. Several detachments got no bread for two days; they don't know the reason, but I suppose they have the shorts as usual. One man was drowned in the swamp this afternoon. New potatoes sell at one dollar per dozen. I couldn't buy any even if they were a cent a bushel.
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10th. Raining as usual. Eleven hundred and forty prisoners came in this morning from the Army of the Potomac; they bring no news of any kind.
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12th. Raining all day yesterday and last night. One hundred and nine have died in the last twenty-four hours.
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13th. Raining all the time; men dying constantly from the effects of the rain and exposure, having no shelter of any kind.
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14th. About a thousand prisoners came in today from the Mississippi, stripped of blankets, coats, shoes, money, watches, rings, and in fact, everything was taken from them; they said after their capture they were treated in a most barbarous manner.
But evil for good they returned,
Insulted and abused us;
Our prayers, our tears, they mocked and spurned,
And worse than brutes they used us.
It was reported that General Sherman sent a large force of cavalry to release us. When Wirz heard of them coming, he issued an order to the commander of the artillery to be ready, and when the Yankee cavalry got within seven miles of the pen, to open fire on the prisoners with grape and canister and to continue firing as long as a prisoner lived: but our cavilry was defeated and a part of them captured and taken into the pen with us.
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapeshot
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canister_shot
virtualmod
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Re: English Diary

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15th. Raining again this morning, but the sky promises a fine afternoon. It is not worth while to state the kind and quantity of rations we have been getting, as there has been no change.
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Re: English Diary

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16th. A fine morning, but everything is wet and mouldy in consequence of so much rain, it having rained every day this month. The raiders attacked a new prisoner this morning and beat him unmercifully. They are a hard looking set of cusses; they have a leader named Collins, and are called "Mosby and his gang," after the notorious Mosby. A great deal of trading going on— the peddlers becoming a great nuisance; wood is in great demand, a handful is worth fifty cents. Hardly anything can be obtained for less than half a dollar.
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Re: English Diary

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17th. A great many deaths in camp daily. It is clear and warm this morning, and I think I will take a stroll through camp this afternoon, as I have not been around much lately, it having been so wet.
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Re: English Diary

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18th. Some of the raiders at work again last night. The prisoners are talking of organizing a police force for protection. Three hundred and ninety more prisoners arrived this morning, having been captured in front of Richmond. Among them were D. A. Callahan, Sergeant Major of my regiment; he did not know me, I had changed so. I don't wonder, as my weight has dropped from 150 to about 100 pounds.
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Re: English Diary

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19th. One of the raiders arrested by the police this morning for stealing from one of the prisoners. He was sent out to the rebel guardhouse, as Wirz had given the police authority to send them there. I hope this will lessen the crimes committed here. It is reported that the body of a man was found buried under a tent occupied by the raiders. Several fights between the regulars and the raiders; dug-outs and huts were torn down, sticks and poles being used by both as weapons; the "Regulars" were strong in numbers, while the "Raiders" were strong in flesh. The battle lasted all day, the raiders were overpowered and over one hundred of them were arrested and taken outsike the stockade and put in the rebel guard-house for safe-keeping.
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20th. A great many sick taken out to the hospital every day.
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Re: English Diary

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21st. Man was shot at the dead-line last night by one of the guards. Some of the detachments have not had any fire-wood for several days, and cannot cook their raw rations. Another raider arrested today and sent to the guard-house. Report says that all the leaders are going to be arrested and tried for murder; there is evidence against them that they have killed several of their fellow-prisoners.
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22d. The rice we receive is hardly fit to eat, because of so much handling and measuring. I think we make a piteous spectacle standing in squads of thirty around a half bucketful of rice, in the midst of a drenching storm, thunder rolling over our heads, waiting for our rations of rice, which resembles slop. The men that have old tin cups are considered lucky, while others receive theirs on pieces of boards, and in bags made out of pants legs, and caps. Now imagine, if you can. The men eating that rice with a relish with their dirty black fingers. So much for starvation in the "Sunny South."
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23d. The new addition to the stockade will be finished in a few days and that will give us more room. Number of deaths increasing in an alarming manner; some fall dead while walking.
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Re: English Diary

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24th. Four more of the raiders arrested yesterday and sent to the guard-house, where they put a ball and chain on them.
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