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Doc. 213.-prison-life in Richmond.


Journal of a Union soldier.

Annapolis, Maryland, November 6, 1663.
You doubtless have heard a great deal about the way our prisoners are treated during their captivity in the land of Dixie, yet I feel sure you will do a soldier the kindness to give the following notes a space in your columns. These notes were taken while I was a prisoner, and are strictly correct. I desire the public to know how the boys that were wounded and captured in the battle of Chickamauga were treated by the chivalry:

Steward's hospital, Sept. 20, 1863.--At nine A. M. this morning I was wounded and captured by the rebels. I was hurried to the rear as fast as possible, with quite a number of our wounded. We were taken to Steward's Hospital, which is situated some three miles from the battle-field. We were put out upon the ground, with no shelter whatever, and a great many of us had no blankets. There were some eighty of our wounded at this place. Dr. Hamilton (rebel) came round and examined our wounds; some of the worst cases were washed and partially dressed. Toward evening, all that were able were marched off. Captain McWilliams and Lieutenant Cole, of the Fifty-first Illinois infantry, were among them. About sundown we were forced to believe our troops were falling back. The rebels are jubilant. They say they have captured half of Rosecrans's army.

Sept, 21.--To-day the rebels have been so jubilant on what they term the “Yankee rout,” that they have taken no notice of us whatever; the men are lying weltering in their blood, suffering beyond description.

Sept. 22.--To-day we had a man die. Dr. Story (rebel) has been put in charge of all the Yankee wounded. He appears to be a gentleman, but as yet there has been nothing done for the wounded, who are suffering intensely.

Sept. 23.--To-day the Doctor dressed most of the wounds. Many of the men have shattered limbs, and are suffering beyond description. We have had nothing to eat since we came here.

Sept. 24.--Two of our men died to-day. They had shattered limbs, and the worms had got into their wounds; had they had proper attention, they probably could have been saved.

Sept. 25.--The rebels say they have driven Rosecrans over the river, also Burnside out of East-Tennessee. The doctors are having a spree over it. No attention has been paid to us to-day. There are two or three hundred rebel wounded here that have to be attended to first. One man died to-day.

Sept. 26.--To-day we drew the first rations we have had since we came here. A ration consists of half a pint of corn-meal and two ounces of beef, a miserable pittance for a hungry man. No doctor has been near to-day. Some of the men are suffering intensely. The rebels don't seem to care how many of us die. Heavy firing in the direction of Chattanooga.

Sept. 27.--We lost one man by death to-day. Two of the boys have had limbs amputated; both will probably die. The boys are suffering a great deal from their wounds; mortification has taken place in many instances, while some have worms in their wounds. Many are very sick; no medicine to be had.

Sept. 28.--We lost two by death to-day; arteries burst; surgeon absent; bled to death. We have had nothing to eat to-day. I believe they mean to starve us to death. It is a pitiful sight to see the haggard countenances of the men. Today they have sent two hundred rebel wounded to the hospitals. [595]

Sept. 29.--Dr. Hamilton told us this morning that arrangements had been made to send us all through our lines. We drew rations to-day.

Sept. 30.--To-day the boys are trading their pocket-knives and every thing they can for rations. There is scarcely five dollars among us. The miserable thieves robbed us of every thing we had. To-day has been a day of intense suffering among our men. It has rained all day, and we have no shelter.

Oct. 1.--It rained all night last night. We look like a set of drowned rats. Some of the boys are very sick; many must die with such treatment. The sergeant of the guard procured a tent for eight of us. Dr. Story does all he can for us. We drew our pittance of corn-meal to-day.

Oct. 2.--We expect to leave here to-day. I sincerely hope we will. I long to be in God's country once more, and behold the good old flag again. The lice and filth here are intolerable.

Oct. 3.--No signs of leaving yet. Dr. Story is doing his best to make us comfortable, but we have no bandages to dress our wounds with. Two deaths to-day.

Oct. 4.--To-day is very cold. We have no blankets, hence there is a great deal of suffering from cold. Our rations have ran out, and taking all things into consideration, it would be hard to embitter our condition.

Oct. 5.--Heavy cannonading has been going on in the front all day. The rebels say they are shelling Chattanooga. We learned to-day that the armistice was over, and that we would have to take a trip to Richmond. The trip will doubtless kill quite a number of us. We got our mush to-day. Intense suffering from cold nights.

Oct. 6.--We expected to leave here to-day for Atlanta, but for some reason the ambulances have not come. All we have to eat is mush, with little or no salt in it. Many are suffering from diarrhoea.

Oct 7.--To-day we drew rations of flour. Captain Foster, Forty-second Illinois, is baking bread. One of our men died to-day. We have lost fourteen by death since we came here.

Oct. 8.--At nine A. M. this morning we were stowed in lumber-wagons and hauled to Ringgold, a distance of eight miles, over the roughest road I ever travelled. Many of the men were so sick that they could not raise their heads.

Oct. 9.--Last night they put one hundred and eighty of us into box-cars and brought us to Dalton, where we stopped for the night. We had to sleep in the cars, and they gave us no supper. The night was very cold. It was heartrending to witness the suffering among the sick and wounded. This morning we left for Dalton without breakfast, and arrived at Atlanta, Ga., at six A. M. We were then taken to a military prison, where we now lie upon the ground with no shelter and no fires. Our wounds have not been dressed for three days; the stench is awful.

Oct. 10.--We are under the charge of our own doctors here, but the rebels won't furnish bandages to dress the wounds. I never suffered so from hunger in all my life. They have been promising us rations all day, and now they tell us they will be here early in the morning. The boys are selling their rings and every thing they have for something to eat.

Oct. 11.--We are a little more comfortable today; the surgeons have amputated several limbs and dressed all the wounds. One man died this morning. On the seventh instant, one of our men was shot by the guard for going too near the fence. One of our officers is here, carrying around a thirty-two pound ball and chain; several of the men are handcuffed.

Oct. 12.--Two men died last night. The wounded are doing pretty well under the treatment of our surgeons. We get a little better rations, but not half enough. Later: All the wounded that were able, were taken out of prison and put in tents; things are much more comfortable here.

Oct. 13.--This morning the names of all those who are able to travel were taken. We start for Richmond to-morrow. We drew five days rations to-night--ten crackers and half a pound of pork to the man.

Oct. 14.--At two A. M. we fell in and marched down to the depot, a distance of one mile; many of us had to go on crutches. There were over two hundred of us, and we were put into five box-cars. Only those who experienced it know how we suffered on the train. For eight days we were jammed up in these cars. One of our number died, and we had to leave several at hospitals on the road. Our five days rations lasted only two, and those who had no money had to share with the rest. Bread was a dollar a loaf, and pies sold as high as two dollars. The fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth were spent on the cars.

Oct. 21.--Arrived at Richmond and were put in Libby. Although we found this a miserable hole, it was much better than the filthy, lousy cars. When we got to Libby we were as nearly starved as men get to be, and navigate. We drew our rations here and got all our wounds dressed, although no surgeon was there.

Oct. 22.--To-day they have stopped our rations for punishment. Four men escaped from Castle Thunder last night. We get grub from our officers who are confined above, but we have to be very sly, as they allow no communications to be held between us and them.

Oct. 23.--They still keep our rations from us The wounded are doing pretty well; but we are all so dirty and filthy it is a wonder we don't catch some contagious disease; we can get no soap to wash with.

Oct. 24.--This morning all the wounded were taken to the Alabama Hospital, and all those who were not wounded were sent to Belle Isle, to remain there until exchanged or starved to death, the latter the most probable.

Oct. 25.--We are much more comfortably situated than we were at Libby. We have a very [596] good room, yet we have no blankets and have to sleep on the floor. There is no medicine even here.

Oct. 26.--Nothing of importance to-day.

Oct. 27.--To-day they took the names of one hundred and eighty-five of the worst wounded to exchange at nine P. M. We were put in a scow and started for City Point.

Oct. 28.--We are now on the flag of truce boat New-York. The Stars and Stripes float proudly above us, yet it is a sorrowful sight to see the poor boys, they look like skeletons. I venture not more than ten of our number will weigh one hundred pounds. I fear quite a number of the boys will die, they are beyond medical skill.

Oct. 29.--I feel like a white man now, the first time since I was captured. We are now in St. John's College Hospital. Each one of us had to take a good scrub, and was put into a clean shirt, after which, the most welcome of all things, came a beautiful roast. I trust our troubles are ended for a season.


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