English Diary

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16th. A little better this morning. Almost frozen lying on the ground without anything under or over me. I ate a little soup today. I don't care for the rations.
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17th. Feel much better today. I think it must be a heavy cold that I have, as I feel my bones all sore. About three hundred prisoners passed by here this morning on their way to Barrett's prison, about two blocks down from us. They were well fixed; the most of them have their overcoats and look well. Poor fellows! they won't look so well two months from now.
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18th. One-half of the prisoners will die from sore arms. They say that it is the same in the rest of the Richmond prisons. Some of the best men in the world are almost falling to pieces through the treachery and malice of the doctor against the Northern soldier. Brady of my company died today from the effects of the vaccine, his arm almost falling off. Poor fellow, how he suffered. This is getting to be a horribly sickening place, with suffering of all kinds, disease and starvation.
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19th. Prison rations about the same. Not enough change the last three or four days to mention. The rebel guards say that there are five or six amputations every day now in the hospital, and it gives the young doctors a chance to practice in that line. While we were talking, one of the guards came up and said he was on guard at the hospital day before yesterday and was a witness to twelve amputations in four hours, three dying. The guards say they will all die as there is no care taken of them after the amputation.
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20th. The rebel quartermaster came into the building this morning and read off a long list of names, saying there were boxes for them from the North and to come and get them. While he was reading off the list, you could have heard a pin drop. Among the list was my name. Oh! how glad I was when I heard that name! About twenty of us went over to the quartermaster's storehouse and sure enough the boxes were there. We had to open them in the presence of the officer and two of the guards. He took everything out that he thought unlawful to pass into our hands. He took a book from my box called "The Collegians of Ireland," but I said nothing, for if I did, he would not let me have it at all. So I carried the box over to the prison on my shoulder. A happier set of fellows never walked into Pemberton than we, with the boxes. The other poor fellows gathered around us to see the good things from home. My box contained one large sweet cake, tea, coffee and sugar, salt, pepper, writing paper and envelopes, two pairs of drawers and shirts, which I needed badly, stockings and several other things very useful in a place like this. It came in time for a Christmas present and more appreciated than any I ever received.
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21st, Some of those that received boxes yesterday had some of the things stolen from them last night. Mine is safe. I had some tea this morning. How good it tasted. Gave some to three or four of the sick boys who are close to me. I wish I had enough to give them all some. Three or four of us belonging to the one company are going to keep watch over it by turns. And of course I have to pony up with them. If I don't do that, it will be all stolen from me in one night.
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pony up means to pay money, to pay what one owes, to make good a debt
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22d. Prison rations I care very little for at present. I forgot to say I received a ham and two dried beef tongues. How I do enjoy to go to my box and take a piece of boiled ham. I think it is the best thing I ever ate.
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23d. I don't feel very well this morning. Probably been eating too much. I must be a little careful with what I eat. It is very strange I do not get a letter from home. I sent two and they must have received them, or I would not have received the box. Three of us who received boxes got one of the guards to bring us in an armful of wood for us to cook our tea and coffee, and we paid him three dollars in Confederate money, which is equal to thirty cents in our money.
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24th. Webb and Gallagher, two of my company, watched my box last night. Culberson and myself go on watch tonight. There is a great deal of stealing among the prisoners, and starvation is the cause of it all.
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Christmas Day, 1863, and still in the Confederacy. Thinking of our friends at home, enjoying themselves, and the condition we are in. The most barbarous country would hardly treat a prisoner thus. One of my regiment died last night. It was a relief to a great deal of suffering. There was a hole under his arm large enough to put your fist in. Rations two biscuits, half a loaf of corn dodger and two spoonfuls of molasses, for our Christmas present, but I will attend to my box today. The Richmond papers state that the stench from the prison is endangering the health and the lives of all in the City, and it would be well to remove these "Lincoln hirelings" to where scant fare and cold weather would reduce them in number; consequently we will be removed to Bell Isle.
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26th. Great talk of sending us to Bell Isle, but I hope they won't, for it has a dreadful name and there is no shelter there. To take us out of this building and put us on Bell Island would wind up our career, as two-thirds of us have barely enough clothing to cover our nakedness, not speaking of keeping us from freezing.
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27th. Orders given for us to be ready to go to Bell Isle at two o'clock this afternoon, and pass the balance of the winter there. There are a great many of the prisoners here who cannot walk, and of course must be left behind. All hands move as soon as they get their rations, so the quartermaster said, "and get over to Bell Isle; Tote all your dirty rags with you, as we won't have them here." One of the boys spoke up and said we would leave them with him for a New Year's present. I did not think so many of our number were disabled. I really believe that one half of them cannot get up. What agony when comrades must part in this way, knowing full well that we will never see each other again. Two brothers from a New York regiment, one of them almost dead and the other was taking care of him and now they must part. They tried hard not to be parted, but they were not allowed to stay together. This is part of the horrors of war. Some of the boys did shed tears notwithstanding their hardened hearts.
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tote - to carry by hand
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28th. About five hundred of us marched from Pemberton prison across the bridge to the other side of the James river, opposite Richmond, and then crossed a small bridge which brought us to Bell Isle. The space to be occupied by the prisoners is about six acres, enclosed by an earthwork three or four feet high, and with a ditch about five feet deep and six wide, to prevent any of the prisoners coming near to the grounds. There are about five thousand prisoners here. The part occupied by us is a low, sandy, barren waste, without the shadow of a single tree, and exposed to the chilly damp winds, with only a few tents with which about half of our number are protected from the severe cold and the other half are lying on the ground between the tents to keep the cold wind from them as much as possible.
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29th. I was lucky in getting into one of the tents, so did Webb and Culberson. The reason we got in this tent was on account of what we had in our haversack out of the boxes. There are ten of us in this tent, if I may call it that, and I promised to pony up with them. Webb and I went to work and made a large can of coffee for all hands. Those poor fellows, how they enjoyed it. This is a horrible place. Pemberton we thought was bad, but nothing compared to Bell Isle. Very cold last night.
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30th. Rations for the next twenty four hours about three fourths pound of corn dodger and two spoonfuls of molasses to each man. Prisoners dying very fast here. A number of Pemberton men died last night. They say Uncle Sam's rations are all gone. Resorted to box and got a cup of tea, some cake and ham.
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31st. Four hundred more crossed from Barrett's prison for here this morning. It is dreadfully cold on the Island this morning, It is not strange that life under these circumstances should become weary. It is a sad thing to have established on the pages of history. These poor defenseless soldiers not only to be deprived of their arms which were so much their pride to bear and their glory to wield, but also deprived of every personal comfort and convenience and compelled to lie down exposed to the frowning elements of nature, and the still more pitiless abuse of mankind. It were scarcely possible to conceive of more persistent wholesale misery, deliberately heaped upon men, than agents of Southern malice have poured upon their Northern kindred. The tortures of the inquisition were horrible and we shrink with horror as we peruse the history of that period. Those terrible pages telling us how the flames rose from a bundle of sticks, and curled above the martyrs as they were tied to the stake, have a power to stir our souls within us to their utmost depth, but who will say they are more dreadful than the slow burnings which eat out the vitals, leaving the tenement of clay a mere wreck before the spirit quits its frail abode, more to be feared than the lightening which prevents the play of life, more sure than the anaconda's grasp or the tiger's embrace. There are some of these things which have to be taken as the natural consequences of war, but some of them are not. We know that the misfortunes and chances of war are privations, exposures and suffering, which is the inevitable lot of those who engage in the service, but we seldom hear our willing soldiers complain of these; it is the inhuman and inexcusable treatment they receive as prisoners.They bear their misfortunes bravely and patriotically, blaming only the conduct of our merciless enemies. Later in the history of this war, the people will become acquainted with the treatment of Union soldiers in the various Southern prisons.
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January 1, 1864. Ten or twelve died last night, one out of my regiment. About one-half of the prisoners that were captured at the time I was, are sick. Rations very small and the good things that I got from home are almost gone.
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2d. Rations three-fourths of a pound of corn dodger and a pint of bean soup for the next twenty-four hours. Hardly any of the prisoners have anything to get their soup in, and it would make your heart bleed to see how poor fellows trying to get their soup in their caps and anything that will hold it. Two hundred more prisoners came in here this morning. They were captured at the Rapidan. They have their overcoats and blankets. Lucky fellows! as they will have to sleep in the open air and on frosty ground.
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3d. Received a Ietter from my mother this morning. It was dated Bristol, Nov. 15111, 1863. There were about four hundred letters for the boys. Walter Webb, my comrade, was very sick this morning; made him a little tea. I must keep the tea and coffee for ourselves in case of sickness. Some of the new prisoners have plenty of money and keep up a general trading with the guards, buying butter, eggs and wheat bread. I forgot to mention that we are divided into squads of twenty, and one man goes outside prison lines with the guard and brings in three sticks cord wood for the twenty men, and after that is divided up, we have to wait our turn for the axe, there being only three on the Island. We have not received any soap since we came here. We look like a lot of colored persons.
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4th. Great demand for greenbacks; ten in Confederate for one of ours. Prison rations the same for the last four or five days; several fellows had their feet frozen last night and quite a number taken to the hospital this morning. A little time on this island will soon make one a fit subject for the hospital.
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5th. Heavy rains this morning and freezing. Poor fellows sitting around small fires in some of the tents, with wet green wood burning.
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6th. Rations same as yesterday. Great many of the prisoners sick now; Bell Isle's history will be dreadful.
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7th. Rations to-day half a loaf of corn bread and half a pint of boiled rice.
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8th. Rations same as yesterday. Have a little left from the box yet, but very careful of it. Had a cup of coffee this morning. Froze hard last night and about six hundred of the prisoners who came in last night were almost frozen to death, not having any shelter.
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9th. No change in the rations for the last two or three days. The part of the Island I occupy is the part nearest Richmond and washed on both sides by the James river. At the place where the river unites again, the point of land running in between is very narrow, and here the prisoners meet in hundreds all day long to wash and draw water. You may think it is a very nice place, but no person can form any idea of Bell isle as it appeared to us unfortunate creatures. It is very much crowded now, about eight or nine thousand prisoners being here, naked and hungry, and shivering with cold and suffering with vermin. And then you cannot walk five yards without meeting men answering to the call of nature, diarrhoea being very prevalent, rendering the camp a wilderness of filth, which requires a company of prison police to clean every day. Hogs are better cared for than us poor prisoners who are in the South. I wonder if our government knows how we are suffering in this hell upon earth.
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10th. Rations half a loaf of corn bread. Froze hard again last night.
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11th. Rations as usual; the same kind and quantity; no change whatever in the bill of fare. Sometimes when I look around and see so many fine fellows carried out dead, I think I will not write any more in my diary, expecting that the same will soon be my lot, and my diary would never be sent home to my friends. But then, again, I think I may probably pull through, and that spurs me on. It occupies my mind for a time at least.
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12th. No change in rations. One of the prisoners was shot at by a guard this morning. The poor fellow saw a small piece of wood near the ditch, and in attempting to pick it up, he fell on the ice", and as he was straightening himself up, a guard shot him through the lungs. He died in about an hour. Our lives are not safe here for one moment. A sentinel may at any time of the day or night deliberately shoot any prisoner or fire into a group and he is not even taken off his post or the least attention paid to it.
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13th. Rations half a loaf of some kind of stuff, I don't know what to call it. It is cobs all ground up and raw, also half a pint of rice.
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cobs-short for corncobs
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14th. Resorted to the contents of the box this morning. Rations half a loaf of bread and two small raw turnips. The rebels say the turnips will give us an appetite and help us digest the corn dodger.
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15th. It is reported that the flag of truce boat arrived this morning with political prisoners and that they are going to send a boat load of us North. I do hope that I will be one of the lucky ones. Rations a little better than usual.
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16th. Some of the guards reported that Commissioner Auld (rebel) went to City Point to meet General Butler to make arrangements for exchange of prisoners. Rations same as yesterday.
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17th. About five hundred more prisoners came on the Island today from Richmond. They say they are going to send all the Yankees they have in Richmond on this Island, so as to freeze them and get rid of them. Rations about the same, It is hardly worth while to mention rations and the quantity. There is not enough change to be of any importance.
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18th. Railroad trains running all night towards the South. The guards say they are sending reinforcements to Longstreet, who, the rebel papers say, was badly cut up.
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19th. Three men found dead this morning; dying of starvation; no rations at all today; many taken to the hospital.
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20th. Rations three-fourths of a pound of bread, half a pint of boiled rice, and about a gill of molasses. They say it is to make up for not getting anything yesterday.
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21st. The prison police receive extra rations; and well they earn it; they carry the filth away in tubs and empty it in the James river. Heavy rain last night and this morning.
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22d. We got rice soup and dodger this morning. One prisoner stabbed another today, the result of an altercation.
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23d. Great joy this morning owing to the news of a speedy exchange and that every prisoner in Richmond and vicinity would be paroled or exchanged before the first of the month.
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24th and 25th. Nothing transpiring.
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26th. Guards report great excitement in Richmond about our cavalry making a raid on the city.
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31st. Rations for the last four or five days the same, and I thought it was no use to use my diary, as I had nothing to put in it but starvation and suffering.
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February 2, 1864. About five hundred prisoners came in here today. They were captured at the Rapidan and they say our army is in fine condition for the Spring campaign. Some of them cannot eat the prison rations, and as they have money, they can trade with the guards.
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5th. The prisoners who arrived the second bought some beans, eggs and sausages from the guards and cannot get them cooked right; it is making them sick to eat it. I saw one of the prisoners gather up what one of them vomited, wash it off, cook it over again and eat it. Starvation will make us do anything. Orders received here this morning that some of us would be sent to Pemberton prison and from there to City Point for exchange. About five hundred of us were taken out this afternoon and brought over to the old place. Some say for exchange but others say that we are going to be sent to Georgia,
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7th. Saw Captain Meaney, of my company, had a friendly salute from him. He made signs with his hands indicating that we were bound for Georgia. Rations today just twice as much as we received on Bell Isle. The men are in good spirits, thinking they are going to be exchanged. Some new prisoners came in today and were taken to Libby to be searched. Reports have it that Kilpatrick is making a raid on Richmond. The guards will not talk to us. One of them fired a shot from the guard room up through the floor. The ball passed through the third floor; on its way it struck one of the men on the finger and smashed it. Another man was struck on the head but not fatally, while standing at the window, two other prisoners had narrow escapes and having been fired. Possibly they are furious because of Kilpatrick's raid.
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8th. Left building this morning at 4.00 o'clock and marched to the depot and took the cars. The guards say we are going to Georgia (that is the exchange.) Each man receives a loaf of corn bread as he marches out of the building. There are six hundred of us, about sixty of us packed in each car. No seats, but lying in all positions tall swearing and fighting; remain in the cars all night.
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9th. Arrived here at Raleigh, North Carolina, at 4.00 P. M., and will remain here all night.
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10th. Four or five prisoners made their escape last night and several died in the cars. Started for Branchville, South Carolina, this morning.
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11th. Arrived at Branchville this afternoon and changed cars and guards.
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12th. Several prisoners jumped off the cars on the Georgia Central Railroad in the night and made their escape, Several men too sick to take from Raleigh, so were left behind.
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13th. Drawing close to Macon, Georgia, and the guards say we will remain there till morning and get something to eat. Arrived at Macon at about 9.00 P. M.
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14th. Start out for Andersonville this morning; it is about 40 miles from here and we expect to get there about 2.00 o'clock this afternoon, I wish we were there, for I am tired of being in these old freight cars for the last four or five days.
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February 15th. Our train, after groaning and creaking along for five or six days, during which time there were many adventures, escapes and recaptures, at last reached its destination. The trip from Macon was nearly south over a railroad passing through a continuous stretch of dense pine woods and vine tangled swamps. After a run of sixty miles from Macon, we stopped in a clearing, where there were few houses, and which we learned was Andersonville. We were taken from the cars to an open piece of ground just east of the station. Looking eastward about a quarter of a mile we could see an immense stockade. The last few days of our journey we had no water and suffered from thirst; the car that I was in had been used for hauling lime, and had half an inch of lime on the floor. When they loaded us in at Richmond, Va., they put about sixty men in each car and any moving around would stir up the dust. Our lips and tongues seemed parched and cracked; two died in our car on this trip. There was a small brook within two rods of us, but the guard line was between us and the water. I was pleading with the guards to let us go to the water when a little grinning-faced rebel captain on a gray horse rode up and shook a revolver in my face and said : "You Yankee, you must wait, or you get so much water that you drown in putty quick." He rode around us several times, bounding high in his saddle, flourishing a revolver and swearing at the guards and us alternately; by this time we learned that this was Captain Wirz. the Commander of the prison.
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train - a succession of vehicles traveling in the same direction
clearing - a tract of land with few or no trees in the middle of a wooded area
hauling - transportation
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We were ordered forward towards the big stockade, moving quietly and painfully along, our spirits almost crushed within us, urged on by the double file of guards on either side of our column of ragged, lousy skeletons, who scarce had strength to run away if given an opportunity. We neared the wall of great square logs, and massive wooden gates, that were to shut out hope and life from nearly all of us forever. The cheerless sight near the gate, of a pile of ghastly dead, the eyes of which shone with a stony glitter, the faces black with smoky grime and pinched with pain and hunger, the long matted hair, and almost fleshless frames swarming with vermin - gave us some idea that a like fate awaited us inside.
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The guards knowing our desperation, used every precaution to prevent a break; the artillery men stood with lanyard in hand at their canister, shotted guns being trained to sweep the gates. All being ready, the huge bolts were drawn and the gates swung open on their massive iron hinges, and we marched into that hell on earth. We felt we were cut off from the world and completely at the mercy of our cruel keepers.
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shotted guns - the firing or discharge of a weapon, such as a gun
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canister_shot
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The creek that runs through this pen was pointed out to us, and a rush was made for it, as we were nearly dead from thirst. The water soon became cloudy, and two comrades, to get the clean water, pushed above the dead line, and not knowing the danger, reached beyond it, and both dropped dead in the water, shot by the guards on the wall or stockade. We dared not move their bodies until ordered to do so by a rebel officer, who was some time in getting around. The water remaining red with our comrade's blood, stopped the drinking until their bodies were removed. We had not been in the stockade fifteen minutes until two of our number were ready for the dead pile we had seen outside the gates.
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The poor fellows, however, missed the horrible torture which was planned for them and us, and which, if I knew I had to pass through again, I would cross the "dead line" and ask the guards to show me mercy by tearing my body with the ball and buckshot from their old musket.
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About twenty rods southwest from the southern gates, on high ground overlooking the prison, was a large log house wherein were quartered the rebel officers, The Confederate flag floated from a pole in front of the house. Near this pole were two cannons or signal guns, used to warn the whole rebel force in case the prisoners attempt to break out.
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Re: English Diary

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At various places between the gate and this house, there were different instrumeuts of torture; viz., stocks, thumb-screws, barbed iron collars, shackles, ball and chain, etc. There were three kinds of stocks — one in which the prisoner stood on his tip-toes, his hands protruding over a piece of timber under which his head is crowded forward, another timber forcing the small of his back forward — in the second stocks, the prisoners sits on the ground with hands and feet elevated and fastened to a frame work in front of him, — in the third stocks there was a horizontal frame, the prisoner lying on his back with hands and feet fastened, the head being fixed in a standing head board, which moved outward until the body was in a painful tension. These instruments of torture were brought from where they had evidently been used to hold slaves in obedience. Our prison keepers seemed to handle them with familiarity.
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Re: English Diary

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About a half a mile northwest from the pen is a large sandy field, where the dead are carted und packed in trenches without boxes, coffins or clothes, and but a scanty covering of earth. Time drags slowly by, and we feel utterly God-forsaken and beyond the limits of civilization, our praying bands petitioning the Almighty to soften the hearts of our cruel keepers.
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Re: English Diary

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The confederate soldiers who did the fighting at the front seldom ever robbed their prisoners. My experience was that they were well-meaning, humane and honorable, and would divide their drink and rations with their captives. They honestly believed they were fighting for their rights, and of them I have no word of complaint to offer.
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Re: English Diary

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The rebel Quartermaster, with an eye to business, put up a shanty about the middle of the northern half of the prison, and appointed two of our "Jay Goulds" and put them in charge of it. He then supplied them on commission with meal, peas, salt, sweet potatoes, tobacco and any article which it was thought would draw hidden money from the Yanks. We call this the sutler's shop. Its goods were sold at incredible prices — a teaspoanful of salt, 25 cents; a small biscuit, 50 cents; turnips, 25 cents each; sweet potatoes, 25 cents each ; and other things in proportion. The famished skeletons would stand around and look in on the good things, then consult their money, then their stomachs, and the money was turned over for the article. No one, except he was there in the prison can form anything liken a correct idea of our appearance about this time. We had been in prison nearly five months and our clothing was worn out. A number were entirely naked; some would have a ragged shirt and no pants; some had pants and no shirt: another would have shoes and a cap and nothing else. Their flesh was wasted away, leaving the chaffy, weather-beaten skin drawn tight over the bones, the hip bones and shoulders standing out. Their faces and exposed parts of their bodies were covered with smoky black soot, from the dense smoke of pitch pine we had hovered over, and our long matted hair was stiff and black with the same substance, which water would have no effect on, and soap was not to be had. I would not attempt to describe the sick and dying, who could now be seen on every side.
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article - a particular item or object
sutler - a person who followed an army and sold provisions to the soldiers
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Re: English Diary

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The prison lot contains about 30 acres, located on two hills with a swamp between and a small stream running through the swamp. In this swamp men meet to draw water, wash, etc. We are served with raw rations consisting of corn meal and a small piece of bacon, so the men have to cook for themselves. A large number have nothing to cook in and bake little cakes on pieces of boards held before the fire.
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Re: English Diary

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The prisoners are divided into detachments of two hundred and seventy men, each of these detachments being sub-divided into three companies of ninety, with a sergeant in charge of each ninety. He takes their names, company and regiment and also their occupation and descriptive list, and when and where captured. Roll is called every morning and each sergeant must account for his men. and if he fails to do so, his company is kept in line or ranks until the absentees are found.
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Re: English Diary

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16th. Rations today one pint of corn meal, about four ounces of bacon and a spoonful of salt; cook it the best we can.
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Re: English Diary

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17th. Yesterday a company of my detachment rode a Jew on a rail about the camp. He was absent from roll call and the company did not get their rations until two o'clock in the afternoon. Instead of nine in the morning.
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Re: English Diary

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18th. There were only five hundred prisoners here when we first came, but they are coming fast; two trains a day for the last three days. There must be in the neighborhood of two thousand here now.
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Re: English Diary

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19th, Raining hard this morning. We were told that this was an elegant place for prisoners, a fine stream of water and comfortable quarters, but we know better now. You would pity us to see from five to twenty around a small fire trying to make mush in a canteen and bake cakes on a board.
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Re: English Diary

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20th. There are no buildings or tents of any kind, but lie out on the ground. Some of the fellows dig holes in the ground, and when it is cold or rainy they crawl in and are somewhat protected.
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Re: English Diary

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21st. I only wish I had some of the good things received from home, but alas, that was all gone two weeks ago. There is a wooden fence or wall around this pen, fifteen feet high. It is made of strong logs put close together and sunk five feet in the ground. The guards walk on a platform, their heads and shoulders above the top of the fence. About five hundred more prisoners arrived today from our old quarters. Bell Isle; they look as hard as ever.
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pen-a small enclosure in which sheep, pigs, cattle, or other domestic animals are kept.
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Re: English Diary

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22d. Washington's Birthday; thinking of friends at home.
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Re: English Diary

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23d. Rations the same for the last four or five days. The rebels have a large pack of bloodhounds for the purpose of hunting up any of the prisoners who may happen to escape, but I cannot see how any one can get out of this pen, it is so strong and guards are stationed all around, every fifty yards in full view. They call out the number of their post. It is quite amusing to hear them yell out every once in a while such words as these : "The Yankees are safe and the North is trembling; make Georgia's soil rich with the black abolitionists; bury them deep, let the crows have them; free the nigger and enslave the whites;" and all the slurs they can think of.
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Re: English Diary

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24th. Rations one sanitary cupful of corn meal and about three ounces of half-rotten bacon. Each man got about two spoonfuls of soft soap, something we needed very badly. I have an idea that it would take about two pounds to take the black off some of us.
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Re: English Diary

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25th. Five hundred prisoners to-day from Bell Isle; prisoners getting sick fast; four deaths yesterday; a great many can hardly walk to the swamp.
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Re: English Diary

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26th. Rations a great deal better; over a cupful of meal and about a half a pound of corn beef. Men busy all day sitting in the sun and picking themselves. I believe there is scarcely a pair of shoes in the whole place, prisoners all in their bare feet. When it rains, a few of them who have old blankets tie two of them together and stretch it over a pole and keep part of the rain and the night dew off. Ten died yesterday and last night. What a sight! We are pretty looking soldiers now.
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Re: English Diary

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27th. More prisoners today. The rebels say they are going to send every Yankee that is in the Confederacy here before two months. Five more deaths yesterday and last night.
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Re: English Diary

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"Ye sons of Columbia, give ear to my story !
Come hear what I say and your blood will run cold.
'Tis of the poor prisoners confined down in Georgia,
But what they have suffered can never be told.
Deserted by friends and ill-treated by foeman;
Starvation and hunger from morning till night,
And the hopes of our freedom can never be awaking:
Our visions of hope are almost out of sight.
There is Lincoln and Seward, Gideon Wells and Old Butler,
Who figure so high in this American war,
They must be devoid of all humanity and pity,
And resolved to leave us die where we are.
In Richmond, in Danville, besides down in Georgia,
Our bones they lie bleaching above the red sand ;
Although for our friends we may weep broken hearted,
We may never return to our own native land.
When Lincoln came out with his great proclamation.
Resolved, as he said, all the darkies to free.
He did not consider the mistake he was making.
Until it had spread over the land of the free.
When Butler tried to exchange us poor prisoners,
The negro rose up and stood in the way.
And Lincoln declared if he did not get Pompey,
The white and the black man together must stay.
And now to our fate we have bowed in submission.
Although hundreds and thousands are laid in the dust.
Two thirds of our number, the whole world may wonder,
Are laid neath the soil to moulder and rust.
Although our kind friends at home are waiting,
For those that may never again answer the call,
'Tis those fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers.
All sigh that their friends in this manner must fall."
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tis=it's
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Re: English Diary

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28th. Rations the same as yesterday, There is plenty of fire-wood here just now, but how long it will last is hard to tell, as new prisoners are coming in all the time. Five deaths last night. Raining hard this morning and cool, but not as cold as it was on the Island. Quite a number sick.
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Re: English Diary

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29th, Rations a little better this morning — about half a pint of meal and half a pound of salt junk. We can live on that. The guards were re-inforced today, and they also brought four pieces of cannon here. They say they are going to make a slaughter-pen out of this place. A great number of the guards are boys and crippled old men.
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Re: English Diary

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March 1, 1864. Rations reduced to a half a pint of meal and four ounces of salt beef. We were also given a little soft soap. Four prisoners died last night. When a prisoner dies here, if his name can be ascertained it is written on a piece of paper and pinned on his breast, and then the body is hauled away in a wagon, one body thrown on top of the other, head to feet, in a previously dug ditch. These ditches are dug in rows about two hundred feet long and three feet deep, and about enough space between each row for a horse and wagon to drive.
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