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[249] each on each side of the vessel, leaving a very narrow passageway, so narrow that two men could with difficulty squeeze by each other. In the centre of the rows the lower and centre tiers of bunks were shrouded in continual night, the little light through the port holes being cut off by the upper tier of bunks. My bunk, which was about five feet ten inches square, and occupied by four persons, was right against the boiler, occasioning an additional amount of heat, which made the sensation of suffocation almost unbearable. Here we lay in these bunks, packed away like sardines, in all eighteen days, in the hottest part of summer. In two instances the guard placed in with us fainted. I heard one of them remark: “A dog could'nt stand this.” Perspiration rolled off us in streams all the time. Clothes and blankets were saturated with it, and it constantly dripped from the upper to the lower bunks. Our sufferings were aggravated by a scarcity of water. The water furnished us was condensed, and so intense was the thirst for it, that it was taken from the condenser almost boiling hot and drunk in that state. One evening, during a rain, we were allowed on deck. Several of us carried up an old, dirty oil-cloth, which we held by the four corners until nearly full of rain water. We then plunged our heads in and drank to our fill. I remember well the sensation of delight, the wild joy with which I felt the cool water about my face and going down my throat. On one occasion, hearing that the surgeon gave his medicines in ice water, I went to him and asked for a dose of salts, which he gave me, and after it a glass of ice water. He remarked upon the indifference with which I swallowed the physic. I told him I would take another dose for another glass of water, which he was kind enough to give me minus the salts. It was strange that none of us died during this trip. I can account for it only by the fact that we were sustained by the hope every one had of being soon exchanged and returning home. Our skins, which were much tanned when we started, were bleached as white as possible during this trip. We lay for some days off Port Royal, while a pen was being made on Morris' Island in which to confine us. While at anchor, three of our number attempted their escape. They found some “life preservers” somewhere in the ship. With these they got overboard in the night, swam some eight or ten miles, when two of them landed; the third kept on swimming, and I have never heard of him since. The other two got lost among the islands and arms of the sea, and after scuffling and suffering for three days were re-captured and brought back to their old quarters. On the 7th of September, 1864, we landed on Morris' Island. We disembarked during the middle of the day, under a scorching sun, but yet the change from the close, and by that time, filthy hold of the ship, was delightful. During the voyage we were guarded by white soldiers. They were now relieved by blacks, and they were certainly the blackest I ever saw. But black, uncouth and barbarous as they were, we soon found that they were far preferable to the white officers who commanded


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Morris Island (South Carolina, United States) (2)
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September 7th, 1864 AD (1)
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