10.-the Southern Prisons.
whoever may forget the interests and the glory of our common country, the soldier, whether in the field or in the prison, never forgets it or forgets us. And whoever may forget the loved ones at home, those upon the field and in the prison never forget them.
I have heard many prayers in the Libby Prison
, and whoever was offering prayer, whether a Chaplain, Captain
, or Lieutenant-Colonel
, (for we had a Brigadier-General
there that offered public prayer in the prison,) all the prisoners were willing to hear, and when they invoked the divine blessing for the loved ones at home, in spite of all self-control a tear would gather in their eyes, and there would be tremor in the voice as they remembered those that were far away.
As we are here tonight, not in prison, but under the aegis of the stars and stripes, permitted to surround our own firesides and our own altars, should we not remember the brave soldiers?
Who would begrudge the small pittance that we give to the Aid Society?
We have had some good singing here to-night.
I have heard a good deal of singing in Libby Prison; I have heard three hundred, I presume, join in the chorus of “John Brown
's soul is marching on.”
The rebel officers did not like this, and sometimes, when we made them angry, they shut off the supply of water, and then we had none to cook with or to drink.
Sometimes when we offended them by singing the Star-Spangled Banner, the Red
, and Blue
, or, “We are coming, Father Abraham, Six Hundred Thousand more,” (for we made the prison ring,) they would refuse to bring us up any wood to cook with, and then we had many times to go without our breakfasts; but still we kept up the music.
When a man has been imprisoned it is not an uncommon thing to inquire how he got there, how he happened to be captured, and why he did not make his escape with the rest.
I will say to you that I remained behind, when the retreat from Winchester
:took place, by the orders of Colonel Keiffer
, the colonel of my regiment, (the One Hundred and Tenth,) and when they had determined to cut their way out, it was the request of the Colonel
that I should stay behind and see to gathering up and burying the dead and taking care of the wounded.
I may remark here, that having remained behind, I saw a good deal more of the rebels and rebeldom than I otherwise should have done.
I can assure you that the rebels came up through Winchester
like the locusts of Egypt
They came exceedingly thick.
Not less than thirty-five thousand invested the place, and it was told me that they had eighty pieces of cannon in position.
How many they really had or used I do not know.
These rebels passed through on their way up to Pennsylvania
Our entire loss in killed and wounded was about three hundred.
The loss of the rebels in killed and wounded was about one thousand three hundred; so that their loss was over four to our one.
After our forces left on Monday morning the rebels came in, and I saw a General ride up to the fort and pull down the stars and stripes and hoist the rebel flag in its place.
This was a pretty hard sight to look upon.
I was engaged in burying the dead around the town of Winchester
, but in spite of all that I was able to do, I presume that some of our men never found a burial, and while the rebels gathered up and took back their wounded to what they called the Louisiana hospital
, some three miles upon our right, I do not know of their paying any attention at all to our soldiers around Winchester
Upon our extreme right, where the Twelfth Virginia regiment, and One Hundred and Twenty-third and part of the One Hundred and
Tenth regiment fought on Saturday, some of our men were killed, and I have been told, eaten by swine; and I believe it to be true.
After spending three days in connection with our own hospital in gathering up the wounded, I found in the dead room of one of our hospitals five men, who were lying in a state of decomposition.
The nurses told me they could not be handled or taken out, as the stench was such that the room could not be entered.
I immediately went to an old German, who had furnished us with coffins when our forces had possession of Winchester
, and engaged coffins from him, which I carried on my shoulders to the hospital.
Those whose business it was to attend to this matter of burial refused to do it, and I had to use my authority, and say that the thing must be done, and that it should be done.
I got a detail of our own men from the provost marshal
, and we dug graves and buried those men. I worked at Winchester
from Monday morning until Saturday afternoon--and this was the first I had seen of the provost marshal
, when I had called upon him for a detail of men to dig those graves and bury these men. He ordered me to report to him to-morrow, and then the next day.
On Saturday, when I reported to him, he said there was a charge preferred against me. He then read the charge.
The man who preferred the charge was in an adjoining room and I had an interview with him. He said that I had sent his negro girl to Ohio
I told him I had nothing to do with sending his negro girl away.
After having — some conversation with him, he told me that if I would engage to return that negro girl to him it would be all right.
I told him it would be as much an impossibility for me to return the negro girl as to go to Ohio
and gather up any other free girl and bring her down and give her to him. I had nothing to do with the matter, and did not know where the girl was, and could not make any such promise.
He then informed me that if I did not return his girl he would hold me responsible.
I told him that he might do so, but I had nothing to do with his girl, and it was out of my power to return her. The provost marshal
then said that my parole was revoked, and he ordered me under arrest; and under a charge of bayonets I was taken before General Early
, and was informed that by the laws of some of the Southern
states the offence for which I was charged was punishable with death; that men were hung for such offences, and I ought to be. After leaving General Early
, under charge of bayonets, I gathered up two blankets and rolled them up, for I had nothing else, my clothing having all been captured.
I also took the only Bible that was there.
I asked permission of the provost marshal
to look among the baggage for my valise, but this permission was refused me. I gathered up my two blankets, and supposed that I was to go into some place of confinement in Winchester
; but instead of that, I soon discovered that there was already in line of march out of the town some five or six hundred in number, and with them I was started on my march towards Richmond
The provost marshal told me that my destiny was to be delivered over to the civil authorities to be tried for the offence.
I knew what the laws of Virginia
were in regard to this matter, and I knew at the same time that there was no truth or honesty, no justice or humanity in the bosom of rebels.
I knew that there was nothing for me to expect from them either in the way of justice or humanity.
My only hope, then, was in the strong arm of our government.
As I had seen thousands upon thousands of Confederates going up into Pennsylvania
, I did not know what the result might be. I was considerably gloomy and downcast in my mind.
Some of our soldiers and officers were marched out on the road, where they lay down upon the bare ground, and spent the night in a drenching rain, without hardly any blankets or protection.
Many were left in the dust and heat for three days before they were taken out, and without blankets, or provisions, or anything to make them comfortable.
When they lay down at night they lay down in the dust, and when they rose in the morning they were in the dust, and among this number were twelve or fifteen respectable women whose husbands were serving in the army.
They were not camp-followers, but respectable women, and they were crowded into that fort with those three to four thousand men. Such objects of pity I never saw before.
There they lay in the dust of a crowded fort, with nothing to protect them, nothing to eat, and nothing to drink, (for the water gave out in the cisterns,) and they were nearly famished for water.
I was at the entrance of the fort, before my arrest, when the husbands of these women were marched out. They started out with them, but were driven back at the point of the bayonet into the fort; and though they wept and entreated to be permitted to accompany their husbands, they were kept there, and sent to Richmond
in the same gang in which I was sent.
I saw these women on the march for Richmond
, lying on the bare ground and in the drenching rain.
That is the way the Confederates
treat our soldiers and our women.
The speaker here related an incident of the daughter of a wealthy merchant in Winchester
, who had fallen in love with a Lieutenant in the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania regiment, and had married him, and after the battle had asked permission to enter the fort to look for her husband, who fortunately had not been captured.
Said the commander, “Is your husband in the Federal
How came he to be there?”
“Why,” said she, “he was there when I married him.”
“You,” said he, “a high-born Southern lady, marry a Federal soldier!
Ain't you ashamed of yourself?”
With a look of as much indignation in the countenance as I ever saw in the countenance of any lady in my life, she answered him, “No, sir!
I am proud of him.”
In a short time an ambulance was sent to her father's house, and she was notified that immediately she must get into it and start for Richmond
She could not stay within the rebel lines.
She must be sent north.
The lady who was proud of her Federal soldier sat down fiat in the ambulance, and rode
ninety-two miles to Staunton
I shall never forget, after we left Staunton
, the remarks of this lady.
At nearly every station that we came to, the rebels crowded upon the platforms to see these monstrous creatures called Yankees.
After we commenced our march from Winchester
, we reached Staunton
, ninety-two miles, in four days. The first loaf of bread we bought we paid two dollars for, and we paid the same price for a little bucketful of milk.
At night we had a stick of wood or a stone for a pillow.
When we sent rebel prisoners to Martinsburg
, twenty-three miles, we sent them in wagons; but here were Lieutenant-Colonels
, Chaplains, and Surgeons marched the whole distance on foot, except when one of the guards got tired of riding, and would let some one ride his horse a short distance.
We arrived in Richmond
towards night, of a dark, drizzly, damp day, and there we were separated from the ladies who went down with us. The ladies were sent to Castle Thunder, and we were sent to Libby Prison.
This Libby Prison stands on the north bank of the James River
, on the east side of the city of Richmond
, and gets its name from the former owners of the building, “Libby
It was formerly used for a tobacco house.
It is a building of about two hundred and fifty feet on the street, and one hundred feet back, and is three stories high.
There are nine rooms, all about of a size.
I should suppose that in the basement there are an equal number of rooms.
There is not a sash nor a glass in a window in that building, with the exception of the one room that has been used for the hospital.
I presume our officers who are there to-day, while we are here comfortable in this room, are without either sash or glass in the windows.
In the room that I was in, which was one hundred feet long by fifty feet wide, there were fifteen openings for windows, but no sash or glass in any of them.
We were conducted into the office of that building, Captain Turner
(By the by, let me say to you, that if ever Captain Turner
falls into the hands of any of the Union
officers that have been confined in that prison it will be a sad day for him.) He is a man that is entirely devoid of humanity.
There is not a good streak in him, from the ends of his toes clear up to the ends of his hair.
He has another man under his control who acts as inspector, who is as mean a man as ever the Lord
let live anywhere, and, as they say down in Castle Thunder, if the devil does not get him there is no use in having a devil.
When we arrived at this office they took us into another room, where the process of searching commenced.
They took our gum blankets and all our money, provided we did not hide it. Some of them hid their money, and, by keeping it out of sight, they succeeded in taking it into prison with them.
From me they received ninety-one dollars in greenbacks.
They gave me a receipt, and stated to us that all our money should be returned to us when we left the prison.
But it so happened, as they said, that they got a despatch only an hour before we had to leave, and all our money was in the hands of the quartermaster, and he was at the other end of the town; and, with all the good wishes they had for me, and my fellow-chaplains, and much as they professed to desire the return of the money, it would be impossible to do it. So we came off without the money.
[A voice--“I thought they did not like greenbacks.” ] They are as greedy for greenbacks as a pig is for green corn.
I tell you that the guards of the prison would roll up Confederate money, and put little stones in it, so that they could throw it, and we would throw down greenbacks in exchange.
They were punished severely if caught at it, but with all their care, and everything they could do to stop it, we could get all the money exchanged that we had; and if we had had ten times as much we could have got it exchanged.
As a punishment, they reduced some officers to the ranks, and did all that it was possible to do to stop the circulation of greenbacks; for whenever a Confederate gets greenbacks enough to pay his way out, he is almost sure to desert; and that is one reason why they wish to keep greenbacks away from them.
When we were searched we were sent up stairs, and there I heard one cry I shall never forgets as it rung in my ears: “Fresh fish!
I thought we were to have fine living if we were to have fresh fish every day; but as soon as I got up I found that we were the fresh fish they were talking about.
When we entered the prison we were called Milroy
's thieves, for they had a terrible spite at Milroy
They said if they had only got him they would have torn him in pieces.
Seeing that they had not got Milroy
, they must have somebody upon whom to vent their spite.
When Colonel Streight
was first brought in they vented their spite on him. The Governor of Alabama
issued a requisition that Colonel Streight
and all his officers should be delivered over to the civil authorities, to be tried by the laws of Alabama
, and executed.
They endeavored to intimidate them.
Well, when we came in they changed their spite from Colonel Streight
's men. They were all bad men. They must not buy a single thing.
We must not buy any coffee, or tea, or sugar, or bread, or anything at all. They were going to put us on the scantiest rations and the strictest discipline.
They were very angry towards us. The first scene that I witnessed in Libby Prison made a strong impression upon me. A surgeon, Dr. Pierce
, a fine young man that had travelled with me on the march from Winchester
down to Staunton
, and from Staunton
to Libby Prison, and after we had got there, on a hot day in June, sat down in the window and pitt his head out to breathe the fresh air. The guard on the street, passing by, ordered him to take his head in, but he did not hear him. It was said that the guard repeated the order, but he did not hear him. I heard the crack of a musket, and saw the bullet strike in the sleeper joist, just above Dr. Pierce
By the good providence of God, it barely missed him. I assure you we took care how we put our heads put of the windows after that.
At Castle Lightning, opposite to Castle Thunder, a
guard fired upon a soldier at the window, the ball taking effect in the arm, and he was brought to the hospital.
The second scene that I witnessed in Libby Prison, was the selection of Captains Sawyer
, to be executed in the place of those two that were shot for recruiting within our lines by the order of General Burnside
An order came into our rooms that all the captains should report below, and there was a gay time among them.
They said, Now we are going to be paroled, and go home.
There was a smile upon every countenance, and we said to one another, don't you wish you was a Captain.
I do. I would like to leave this place and go home.
Seventy-five captains, with light hearts and happy countenances, passed down stairs into one of the lower rooms.
When they got down there, one of the officers came in with an order from General Winder
, that from this number, then confined in Libby Prison, two were to be selected by lot to be executed in retaliation for the two that were shot by General Burnside
They stood there around the room in a circle.
A box was placed in the centre, and in that box was put the lots.
Two of the chaplains in the prison with me came down to witness the drawing of these lots.
Old Father Brown
, a man whose head is almost as white as snow, Chaplain
of the Sixth Maryland regiment, was the man who was to draw the lots.
The lots fell upon Captain Flynn
and Captain Sawyer
: one was from New Jersey
and the other from Indiana
I did think then that it was exceedingly singular that as New Jersey
had been more Butternut than any two other states, that the lot should fall upon them.
I thought it something singular, and so it was. I hope these states have since redeemed themselves.
The lots were drawn and the captains returned.
There was a solemnity upon the countenances of the captains that I never saw upon the countenances of men before.
To go into the battle-field, and stand before the cannon's mouth and before musketry, and even to shout in the charge and die upon the battle-field, seems to be something glorious, and men go into it with spirit and with nerve; but to be drawn by lot, and deliberately executed, was something for a brave man to face.
I saw men, who had braved every danger, quail under the idea of being thus selected for execution.
These men have never been executed yet, and they never will.
For our government holds General Lee
and Captain Winder
in their stead, and we say to them, just as you deal with Flynn
so we will deal with Lee
The third scene that transpired in Libby Prison was in regard to Colonel Powell
, who, in an engagement with the rebels, had been shot through the breast, and it was supposed that he would die. The Confederates came upon him where he was lying in his gore, and wanted to butcher him in cold blood.
He was sent to Richmond
and put into the hospital.
He had been in the hospital about two weeks, when the man Turner
took him down into the basement of the building, and opened the door of a dark damp cell, and said to him, “Get in there.”
said, “Sir, for what am I to be put in there?”
said, “God d — n you, get in there!
you will know before you get out what you are in there for.”
He went into the cell, and we got word of it in the upper part of the building, and one of our number got down below, and Colonel Powell
got a chance to send a slip of paper to us, saying, “I am here in a cell; I have nothing to read; I have only a few leaves of Matthew, which I have got by heart.
I can hear you pray and sing up there in the officers' room.
Pray louder and sing louder: I want to hear you.”
Well, we began to inquire how he came to be in this cell.
Finally, we asked General Winder
why he was in the cell.
The General replied that he did not know why it was, and General Jones
knew nothing about it; and said he had given no such order.
Our government, after a time, got word of it, and they informed the rebels that unless Colonel Powell
was released from that cell, an officer of equal rank would be put in the same condition; and then Colonel Powell
came out of the cell, having been put there simply upon Turner
's authority, and because he had the power to do it. A truer, better, and nobler man never lived.
A better soldier never drew a sword in battle.
His regiment is the Second Virginia cavalry.
It happened that the whole regiment was recruited in Ohio
; but at that time our government had no need of cavalry, but was willing to accept them as a regiment of infantry.
They crossed the Ohio
and tendered their services to Governor Pierpont
, of Virginia
, who received them and commissioned the officers, calling them the Second Virginia cavalry, and in this way Ohio
loses in the count one thousand two hundred men. I have seen men confined in the dungeon two days, on bread and water, for spitting on the floor of that old tobacco house.
I have seen a member of the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania regiment confined in one of these cells five weeks, until his clothes were mouldy.
In regard to the charge against me. They said there was abundance of evidence against me, but I was suffered to go with the other chaplains, and I never heard much more about the charge.
They permitted me to fare as well as the rest of the officers, and to choose the soft side of a plank to sleep on. When a friend came in to see us we could not offer him a chair or a stool; we had to sit on the floor.
Among our number in prison we had one who amused himself in sketching.
He would sketch the new-comer in his first observation of the prison; next, as he sat down to meditate on his condition; then, with a rebel paper in his hands reading rebel news; then, disgusted with rebeldom, as he laid himself down to seek some repose.
There he lay, stretched on the floor, perhaps without a blanket, and a stick of wood for a pillow.
There he lay down to repose.
Next he made a discovery, and that was, that there was one of those great graybacks at work, about as big as a large grain of wheat.
We understood the grayback
process pretty well.
Thunder poetry said that the lice were so big that they themselves became lousy.
On the fourth day of July we determined, in Libby Prison, to have a celebration, and by odds and ends and scraps among the officers then in Libby Prison, we gathered together material enough to make a Union flag--the stars and stripes.
We had to make it very secretly.
We then appointed our committees, and had correspondents, one from one of the Cincinnati
papers, and one from the New York Tribune.
We had men of talent, and we drew up a set of resolutions, and had everything in readiness in one of the upper rooms, with our flag spread out over us, when up came a rebel surgeon and pulled down our flag, and vetoed everything that we had in progress — and we had to submit to it.
Many ask us what we had to eat in prison.
The officers drew a half-ration loaf of bread every day, and three ounces of meat.
The officers had meat that was fit to eat, although none of the fattest and best, but it was not of that kind of beeves mentioned in the Castle
Thunder poetry, that had to, be killed to save their lives
. We also got a small amount of rice, or some black-eyed beans.
The peas were of a curious variety.
They were live peas
. Some of the men did not seem to care; they said it made the soup thicker.
For drink we had the pure extract of James River
, always warm and never cold, sometimes thick and sometimes thin.
The soldiers confined on Belle Island
are nearly starved, or fed on tainted meat.
If a man has money he can send out and buy a barrel of potatoes for sixteen dollars, a barrel of flour for forty dollars, a pound of sugar for three dollars, a pound of coffee for ten dollars. On Belle Island
there are thousands of our men without clothing to keep them warm; for when they go into a battle they sometimes lose their hats, or throw off their coats, and leave their blankets, and many of these men are destitute of sufficient clothing to keep them warm.
At night they lie down upon the sand, without any blankets to keep them warm, and nothing but the great canopy of heaven for a covering, and the stars, as it were, for their candle.
And there some of our soldiers have been, month after month, without anything under heaven to make them comfortable.
You pity the soldiers in our own hospitals — then, my friend, let your pity go to our soldiers on Belle Island
They are there sickening and dying by tens, twenties, and by hundreds.
Here before you to-night, and before God, at whose judgment bar I must stand, it is murder for those Confederates to put our men there on that island in that condition, and our government should take some step to relieve those men who are absolutely being murdered in this way.
I saw your townsman, William Hayes
, who was on Belle Island
, and had been brought from there to the hospital.
He told me of his sufferings.
Twice he was paroled to be sent north, but he was too weak to go to the depot.
Men who are in the hospital are put in an ambulance and taken to the depot; but if they are on Belle Island
they must walk.
Now this man was twice parolee but was too weak to walk to the cars and was left behind.
Many of our men become so weak that a number of them join together to help one another.
was brought to the hospital, reduced to a living skeleton, and I obtained permission to visit him, and learned of his trials and sufferings, and received his message to his family.
In view of eternity just before him he was cheerful and contented, with the hope and prospect of glory before him. But, my friends, this is only a single instance of the sacrifice that has been made, not only for our country, but as a sacrifiec to rebel cruelty.
Our boys on that island, instead of good provisions, get mule meat, or tainted meat, that before it was killed was as poor as the turkey that had to lean against the gate post to gobble.
Many of those men are absolutely starved, and left without fuel, water, or blankets.
There are about eight thousand brave men there, many of them from Ohio
, whose sufferings must be terrible.
Can you wonder that my sympathies go out for those suffering men, who have become so weak that they can hardly stand upon their feet?
Castle Thunder is north-west from Libby Prison, and is a place where they confine both men and women.
Down in one room in Castle Thunder there were three hundred men. This room runs the entire length of the building, and was about one hundred feet long.
There was one window in the end of the room, and that was closely cross-barred.
There were three hundred men confined in this room, and two of them were in an entirely nude state, without one particle of clothing on their bodies.
They had been there two years, and what little clothing they had when they first went in had worn out and gone, shred by shred, until they were in an entirely nude condition.
They spent the winter by heating sawdust at the fire, and then, making a bed like pigs, they would get into it, and get those who were clothed to lie around them, to keep them from freezing during the winter.
The floors of the prison were covered with two or three inches of sawdust, and having but one window in the room, only a few could get to it to examine their clothes, and, as a consequence, they became so covered with vermin that the rebels had to take them out into the yard and set their negroes to scrubbing them off.
When the rebels heard that we had prayers in Libby Prison they scouted the idea, and came out in their papers against us, and said that they would just as soon expect that God would hear the cannibals pray as to hear the thieving Yankees
; and they wondered at our temerity, and referred me specially to the second chapter of Romans
, twenty-first verse, and advised me to read it before I prayed any more.
This verse reads, “Thou, therefore, which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?
thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?”
They thought to be accused of stealing a negro was a great thing; and when they thought they had a special case they wanted to make a special example of it. They forgot how the rebel leaders perjured
themselves with an oath upon them, to supprot the Constitution of United States
, and the laws of the United States
; how they plotted treason against the government, and had stolen all our arms, robbed the treasury, stolen our ships, forts, and arsenals from the government of the United States
, and yet they accused me of stealing, when they were the greatest thieves that ever trod on God's footstool.
Men complain of Lincoln
tyranny, and they talk of the Lincoln
This has been their hue and cry.
I tell you to-night, my friends, that throughout the length and breadth of the Southern Confederacy the jails and penitentiaries are full to overflowing.
There is not room to put the men. If they had tried me by the law of Virginia
, and sentenced me to ten years imprisonment in the penitentiary in Richmond
, they would have had to build a room for me. What is true of Richmond
is true of the rest of the South
The jails are full of men who love their country and the stars and stripes; men who would not swear by Jeff Davis
; who would not take an oath to support the Southern Confederacy; men who prefer to lie in prison and rot, than support such a government as that; and yet with all this, thousands of good Union men are found in the South
besides those who have been imprisoned for their loyalty, or murdered in cold blood.
You talk about Lincoln
No man ever lost his life under Lincoln
I wish you knew something about tyranny.
I have seen them come into churches, where men were quietly worshipping, and take conscripts out of the church at the point of the bayonet, and force them into the rebel army; take them away from the house of God--take their sons, brothers, husbands, and march them off to camp.
That is the way they do down South
They conscript everything there: old men, young men, and boys, into the army, and they all have to go, or go to prison.
Now a word about their pay. These rebel soldiers get eleven dollars per month in Confederate money, and a barrel of potatoes costs sixteen dollars, a barrel of flour forty dollars. How much can these rebel soldiers do towards supporting their families?
Their wages amount to about two and a half or three cents per day for their services, and yet, by the tyranny of their government, they are forced from their homes and their families, into the rebel ranks.
Some of the men of this country complain about their heavy taxes, and how much they have got to pay to carry on this war. The rebel is taxed one tenth of all that he may raise to support the government, and if the government should need the balance they compel him to sell it to the government for the price that they see fit to put on it. Thus you see they take one tenth without giving anything, and fix their own price on the balance, and pay for it in Confederate money.
Should you ever come under such a tyranny as that, you will then know what tyranny is; but God forbid that you should ever be in the condition of the rebels under the Jeff Davis
tyranny; and under this tyranny the rebel soldier, if he goes forward he dies, and if he turns back he dies.
Death stares him in the face turn and look which way he will, and the rebel soldier, for want of sufficient food, is pale and haggard, and they look gloomy and disconsolate.
The speaker then referred to the determination of the rebel leaders to push this war to the bitter, bitter end, and to use every means in their power to establish their independence; and he would say that the more we do to raise men and support this administration and sustain the government, the sooner will this rebellion be put down.
There is no other way but to fight it through.
There is no peace on this continent but in the restoration of the Union
and in the suppression of this rebellion.
Let me say in conclusion, that when I again saw the stars and stripes floating in the breeze, it was a blessed sight; and when we were to be delivered to the United States
authorities, my, heart beat rapidly.
I was nervous and excited.
I thought that after all something might come up, and that we might have to be marched back to Libby Prison.
I did not fully decide the question then whether I would die on the spot or go back.
The speaker then referred to the rebel soldiery, and believed that many of them were not true to the South
, and only waited for deliverance from their tyranny; and that all over the South
, as soon as our armies advanced in sufficient force, thousands of Union men would rise up and assert their allegiance to the old government.
Among the many incidents related by the speaker, we refer to a single instance of an infidel Surgeon
, who said that he had never seen but one passage of Scripture fulfilled in Libby Prison, and that was, “Seek and ye shall find
After we had been in prison for some time, and had been praying for the prison doors to be opened, the Surgeon
ridiculed the idea, and said we had been praying a long time that the prison doors might be opened, and that we had got no answer to our prayer; while the prospect was that the surgeons, on account of the great need of their services in the army, would be delivered in preference to chaplains.
Yet the prison doors were opened, and the chaplains stepped out, while the surgeons were left behind.
I declare to you to-night, my friends, that I believe my deliverance was in answer to the prayers of God's people in my behalf.
The speaker urged upon all the value of prayer for the soldiers and the captives, and the necessity of all loyal men doing all in their power to assist in alleviating the sufferings of the soldiers who are fighting the battles of our country.