English Diary

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14th. Webb called on me today; we had a talk over the excitement caused by the appeal to the Irish; he says McNeill is no true Irishman or he would not try to degrade Ireland and her people by making such a proposition. It is quite cool now and we have hardly any clothing.
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29th. Had another severe attack of rheumatism and feel badly. While one of the doctors visited us yesterday, his dog strayed into one of the tents, and one of the prisoners threw an old blanket over him and killed him; he ate part of it and said it was elegant; he buried the entrails, but one of the other poor fellows dug them up, cooked and ate them.
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December 4, 1864. I asked Dr. Pollott, who attends this ward, if he would examine the records out in the surgeons headquarters let me know how many of my regiment have died at Andersonville since I came here.
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10th. I feel no better. My diary is full; it is too bad, but cannot get any more. Good bye all; I did not think it would hold out so long when I commenced.
Yours sufferingly,
MICHAEL DOUGHERTY,
Co. B, 13th Pa. Volunteer Cavalry.
Confederate State Military Prison Hospital.
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Later Events,
From the time of the last record in my diary in December, 1864, up to April, 1865, I remained in the hospital, and was not able to keep any daily record, even if I had the facilities to do so, which I had not. During this time, as during the previous months, there were constant rumors of exchange and parole, but we heard the same so often that I would not believe it until I found myself homeward bound. We did know, however, that they were sending a great many prisoners north from Andersonville and presumed it was for exchange or parole, although we did not know definitely; and even when my own turn came to leave, I did not know what my destination was until after I had left Andersonville; the sick in the hospital were the last prisoners to be sent away.
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April 12, 1865. Leave Andersonville, Georgia, today. Start from here by way of Selma, thence to Jackson, Miss., stopping at the Big Black river for a week to gain strength before we start north.
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April 20th. Just heard of the assassination of President Lincoln. Our boys are furious over the sad news, saying it is a Rebel plot.
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April 22d. Near Vicksburg, Miss. There are about 4000 of us prisoners at this place. We got orders to be ready to march into Vicksburg tomorrow, as there are two boats ready to take us up the Mississippi to St. Louis, Mo.
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April 23, 1865. Vicksburg. Miss. Went aboard the boat called the "Sultana" to be taken to St. Louis, Mo. There are about 2200 of us. mostly old prisoners from Andersonville, Ga. On the trip up the Mississippi, the "Sultana" met with a terrible disaster, causing complete destruction of the boat; and hundreds of men who had passed safely through many bloody battles and the horrible suffering of Southern prison life perished within but a few days' journey of home and friends. The story of the accident can best be told by the following account taken from a St. Louis newspaper dated May 1, 1865.
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"The Boat Packed"
"The boat was packed to its utmost capacity, the men occupying every available space possible on decks, in the hold, and at other points of vantage. The boat traveled from eight to ten miles per hour, the river being out of its banks about twenty feet and a swift current prevailing. The boat reached Memphis on the morning of April 26th, where a quantity of sugar, which had served as ballast, was unloaded. The boat was towed across the river, and after dark it started on its trip up the river. The terrific explosion which occasioned the destruction of the vessel with its thousands of human freight occurred about four o'clock in the morning of April 27th at "Hen and Chickens" Islands. One of the four boilers burst, and the flying pieces ascended and almost cut the vessel in twain. The fire immediately spread and the cabins burned like tinder, and it was but a short time until the entire craft was enveloped in flames and burned to the water's edge. Hundreds were forced to leap into the water and were drowned in squads, while others who could swim or had secured pieces of drift wood were unable to rescue themselves on account of being grabbed by others, and consequently perished.
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"Night of Terror"
"One thing favorable for the occupants of the boat was that a lively gale was blowing, hence, the bow of the boat having no cabin, it faced the wind until the cabin from the stern was burned. The boat gradually swung around, the unburned part acting as a sail, while that below acted as a rudder, and finally all were driven into the water. The very dark night, heavy rain, and the extreme high stage of the river were decidely to the disadvantage of even those who secured means of escape, From survivors it is learned that hundreds swam for miles, in the hope of reaching some point of safety, and finally sank from exhaustion. Others were caught on protruding limbs of trees, where they remained until the rescue boats appeared the day following. Still others clung to rafts made of fragments from the boat Seven boats came up the river the next day and picked up all the unfortunates who could be found. Some were taken to Memphis, others to St. Louis and Cairo, and all were placed in hospitals, where they remained until able to be released. A significant fact was that out of only fifteen women on board none was saved. They were members of the Christian commission — something similar to the present Red Cross movement.
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''A Heroic Woman''
"One of these women, with more than ordinary courage, when the flames had driven the men from the boat, seeing them fighting like demons in the water and destroying each other in their mad endeavors to save their lives, urged them to be calm, and finally succeeded in quieting them down, and they were saved on pieces of timber that were available. This good woman did not heed the flames that were lapping about her and, when urged by the men to jump into the water and save herself on floating timbers, she refused, saying: "I might lose my presence of mind and be the means of the death of some of you." And so, rather than run the risk of becoming the cause of the death of a single person, she folded her arms deliberately and burned, a voluntary martyr to the men she had so lately calmed. As the dawn of the new day came, the wreckage began to move down the stream, and one survivor, who had saved himself by clinging to the top of a tree, gives this description of the last that was seen of the boat's remains :
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"The hull of the "Sultana" came floating down the river, with a dozen or more of the boys still clinging to the burning wreck. A mound of earth which had not been overflowed had formed a sort of island, and several of the men on the wreck had lodged on it. As they discovered the men on the hull of the boat, a raft of logs was made and they were rescued. Before they landed the last man, the hull of the "Sultana" went down, its hot iron sending the hissing water and steam to an enormous height." Among the "Christian commission" above referred to were two Sisters of Charity who accompanied us all the way from Vicksburg, Miss., and one of them was the heroic woman mentioned.
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May 3, 1865. I am one of the lucky ones who escaped the sad disaster. I was well taken care of when I arrived here about a week ago. We are going to start to our Northern homes tomorrow to Annapolis, Md.
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May 6th. After three days ride we arrived at Annapolis, Md., tired and worn out. Will stay here for a couple of days and will then start for Philadelphia, to he mustered out of the service.
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May 9th. Arrived at Philadelphia this noon; they say that we are going to be sent to a place called Spring Mills until we are discharged.
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June 27, 1865. Discharged at Spring Mills today. Arrived at Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, this afternoon, to the great joy of my morher and sisters and not forgetting myself. I am more dead than alive after all my trials of suffering and hardships, with shattered constitution and crippled with rheumatism and scurvy from my long confinement in Southern prisons. When I left for the Army I weighed one hundred and fifty pounds, now I really believe I do not weigh one hundred.
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I placed myself under the care of Dr. E. J. Groom, and in less than one year he had me in a fair condition, and was able to go to work. I cannot stand much yet, for the disease contracted in those prisons is in my system, and will be, I suppose, as long as I live; I suffered for 23 months and 17 days in Southern prisons.
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I have carried you hastily through these scenes, but you have not seen all, as it is beyond the power of pen or brush to portray or tongue to tell of those scenes, which will haunt me to my grave. The reality calls for a better light and a nearer view than your clouded, distant gaze will ever get.
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Believe me, I have told you the truth as to what we have suffered in Confederate prisons, which you never can and which I pray God your children never may.
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As you would have your own woes pitied and your own cries for mercy heard, I beg of you to read the accounts written by the prison survivors, for while they seem so horrible and you mentally suffer, you will be paid a thousand-fold in being the better able to appreciate the many blessings you now enjoy, and to encourage the efforts of a poor survivor to teach the youth of our Republic to show an undivided patriotism for one county and one flag.
MICHAEL DOUGHERTY,
Late Co. B and Co. M, 13th Pa, Volunteer Cavalry.
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Medals of Honor,
I have been presented with a handsome gold medal by the Colonel of my regiment, afterwards Brigadier General M. Kerwini for bravery in carrying dispatches from General Mulroy's head-quarters at the battle of Winchester. June 16 to 19, 1863, in the three days' fight.
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I have also been granted a medal of honor in accordance with an Act of Congress, which entitles me to membership in the Medal of Honor Legion; and the publication issued by the War Department relative to those receiving medals of honor gives the following data:
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"Name rank at date of
action, and organization .... Michael Dougherty,
Priv.,Co. B, 13th Pa.Cav.
Date of issue January 23, 1897.
Place Jefferson, Va,
Action
Date October 12, 1863.
Ground of award ... At the head of a detachment of his his company, dashed across an open field, exposed to a deadly fire from the enemy, and succeeded in dislodging them from an unoccupied house, which he and his comrades defended for several hours against repeated
attacks, thus preventing the enemy from flanking the Union forces."
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The following is a copy of the communication I received from the War Department advising me of the award of this medal:
Subject: Medal of Honor. 432, 1 39
RECORD AND PENSION OFFICE,
WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington City,
January 23, 1897.
Mr, Michael Dougherty,
Late private, Co. B, 13th Pa. Cav.,
Bristol, PennsN Ivania.
Sir:
I have the honor to inform you that, by direction of the President and in accordance with the act of Congress approved March 3, 1863, providing for the presentation of medals of honor to such officers, non commissioned officers and privates as have most distinguished themselves in action, the Assistant Secretary of War has awarded you a medal of honor for most distinguished gallantry in action at Jefferson, Virginia, October 12, 1863. In making the award the Assistant Secretary used the following language.
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"This soldier, at the head of a detachment of his company, dashed across an open field exposed to a deadly fire from the enemy and succeeded in dislodging them from an unoccupied house, which he and his comrades defended for several hours against repeated attacks, thus preventing the enemy from flanking the position of the Union forces." The medal has been forwarded to you today by registered mail. Upon receipt of it, please advise this office thereof.
Very respectfully,
(Signed) F. C. AINSWORTH,
Colonel, U. S. Army,
Chief, Record and Pension Office.
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SUMMARY
The variation — from month to month — of the proportion of deaths to the whole number of living is singular and interesting.
The following facts were taken from the official report, shows:
In April, one in every sixteen died.
In May, one in every twenty-six died.
In June, one in every twenty-two died.
In July, one in every eighteen died.
In Augustj one in every eleven died.
In September, one in every three died.
In October, one in every two died.
In November, one in every three died.
Does the reader fully understand that in September, one-third of those in the Pen died, that in October, one-half of the remainder perished, and in November, one-third of those who still survived, died?
Let him pause for a moment, and read this over carefully again, because its startling magnitude will hardly dawn upon him at first reading.
It is true that the fearful disproportionate mortality of those months was largely due to fact that it was mostly the sick that remained behind, but even this diminishes but little the frightfulness of the showing.
Did anyone ever hear of an epidemic so fatal that one-third of those attacked by it in one month died; one-half of the remnant the next month, and one-third of the feeble remainder the next month?
If he did, his reading has been much more extensive than mine.
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Day and date of greatest number of prisoners at Andersonville — 33,114— August 8th, 1864.
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Day and date of greatest number of deaths, August 23d, 1864, 127. Number of Prisoners received during its occupation, 45,613. Daily average of deaths during its occupation, 29. Ratio of mortality per i.ooo of mean strength, 24 per cent. Mortality of 18,000 registered patients, 75 per cent.
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Number of Prisoners received during its occupation, 45,613.
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Daily average of deaths during its occupation, 29.
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Ratio of mortality per 1,000 of mean strength, 24 per cent.
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Mortality of 18,000 registered patients, 75 per cent.
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THE WAR'S DEAD.
The total number of deceased Union soldiers during and in consequence of the war, is 316,233.
Of these, only 175,764 have been identified, and the rest will probably remain forever unknown.
Of the grand total, 36,868 are known to have been prisoners of war, who died in captivity.
There are seventy-two National Cemeteries for the dead of the Union armies.
Besides which there are 320 local and Post Cemeteries.
The largest of the Government grounds are:
Arlington, Va,, the former homestead of Gent-ral Robert E. Lee, 15.547 graves; Fredericksburg, Va., 15,300 graves; Salisbury, N. C, 12,1 12 graves; Beaufort, S. C, 10,000 graves; Andersonville, Ga., 13,706 graves; Marietta, Ga., 10,000 graves; New Orleans, La., 12,230 graves; Vicksburg, Miss., 17,012 graves; Chattanooga, Tenn., 12.964 graves; Nashville, Tenn., 16,529 graves; Memphis, Tenn., 13,958 graves; Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, Mo., 8,601 graves.
The National Cemetery near Richmond, Va., contains 6,279 graves, of which 5,450 are of unknown dead, mostly prisoners of war.
The cemeteries are kept in good condition, and are generally well sodded and planted with ornamental trees.
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Trial of Henry Wirz, In the foregoing pages' you will fiind the name of Capt. Henry Wirz mentioned in several instances as being cruel and inhuman to
the Union prisoners. He was tried and convicted of murder, the trial commencing August 23, 1865 and ending October 26, 1865,
hundreds of witnesses testified that he committed murder on eleven soldiers who were confined in Andersonville, Ga., prison. He was
sentenced to death and the sentence was executed at Washington, D. C. between the hours of 10 and 11 o'clock, Friday morning, November 10, 1865. His body was interred in the Arsenal grounds.
(The above was taken from the official report of the trial of Henry Wirz )
(THE END.)
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