previous next

[199] 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 despotism. 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 despotism! No man ever lost his life under Lincoln tyranny. 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.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (3)
South River, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Abraham Lincoln (3)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: