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[281] who had wintered on this desert isle, but just before my release, I talked with a gentleman who had resigned or been removed from the place of post surgeon because of his repeated but fruitless protests that it was impossible to maintain men in health while half fed and half clad, and who in particular had attempted to evade the barbarous regulation about overcoats, by giving out certificates, as rapidly as he could write or sign them, that the bearer needed an overcoat on the score of health.

At Fort Lafayette we were well fed; but I have never been able to understand by what rule or principle of civilized warfare, an honorable prisoner of war could be immured for weeks in a stone casemate, among deserters, and prisoners under charges for violating the laws of war.

It gives me pleasure to state that I experienced great kindness from some of the Federal officers during my imprisonment, and especially from a Major Lee, who succeeded Colonel Hill at Johnson's Island. He had lost an arm I think in Gen. Sickle's corps at Gettysburg. The surgeon of whose humanity mention was made above, was not the only Federal officer who during my brief prison experience protested to his superiors against the inhumanity of the prison regimen.

The following statement can be vouched for as strictly accurate:

Rock Island prison, 1864-5.

By Charles Wright, of Tennessee.
I record here my experience in Rock Island Prison, simply as a contribution to history. For the truth of what I state, in some cases I refer to official documents, and in others I refer to thousands of witnesses yet living.

The treatment of prisoners in Northern prisons is a subject that has received little attention from the press, and consequently is little understood. The charges of cruelty to prisoners, made with such confidence against the South, on a recent occasion, for the purpose of political aggrandizement, and which recalls the old story of “Stop thief,” where the thief bawled the loudest, makes it necessary in common justice to ventilate the Northern prisons. This could not have been done within the past eleven years for obvious reasons.

The Federal soldier returning home to a land of plenty, his necessities anticipated by benevolent associations, his spirits cheered by the sympathy of a grateful people, and his services rewarded with bounties and pensions by a generous Government, found leisure and encouragement to recount his sufferings and privations to eager listeners, and the air was filled with cries for vengeance on his jailors. But the Confederate soldier returning home from a Northern prison to a land of famine, found his substance wasted and his energies enfeebled; disfranchised and beggared, he forgot

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